Friday, January 30, 2009

Walgreens Haul


I had $15 in Register Rewards that were expiring on Wednesday so I made a quick trip on my lunch break. If I'm rushed, I tend to mess things up so of course, I messed this up! I should have done each of the Colgate Total toothpastes individually so I'd get a $2 Register Reward for each. Instead, I just got one plus a $5 RR for the St. Ives products. I didn't have time to return to the store so I may just attempt the deal again at a different store since this store was nearly out of the clearance Colgate.

Even with my mess-up, it still turned out ok. Here's the breakdown:
2 St. Ives lotions $4.99ea
1 St. Ives Apricot scrub $3.99
5 Colgate Total toothpaste clearance $2.19
1 got2b Hairspray $5.99
1 got2b Gel -$5.99 (buy one get one free)
1 Gerber Puffs $2.99
2 Balance bars $.85, I just noticed one rang up at $.84 (?)
Walgreens baby oil trial size $1.19

Coupons used:
2 $2/1 got2b hair products
5 $1.50/1 Colgate Total toothpaste
3 $2/1 St. Ives products
$15 Register Rewards

Total OOP: $7.17.
Received $7 in Register Rewards for future purchases! Gotta love that Walgreens!

Easiest Eggplant Parmesan

I really really wanted to give you more pictures of my recipe creations, but I am forgetful sometimes. And sometimes your husband goes to the boat show and takes your camera with him - which is why I have no pictures of this recipe!

Eggplant came in our organic veggie box last week. Most of the recipes I searched for involved breading and frying the eggplant but I wanted to try something a little healthier. Roasted eggplant was the conclusion. Of course all that cheese that you pile on top is very healthy, full of calcium, right?!

Easiest Eggplant Parmesan

1 eggplant, sliced into rounds
Garlic Salt
Olive oil
2-3 Roma tomatoes
Italian seasoning
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a glass baking dish with a tablespoon of the olive oil. Place eggplant rounds into baking dish and make sure each round is brushed with a generous amount of oil. I actually just poured the oil over each one but in hindsight, brushing will ensure more even roasting I think. Sprinkle each round with garlic salt. Roast eggplant for 15-20 minutes until fork easily pierces the rounds. Top each round with a tomato slice, sprinkle of Italian seasoning and mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. I like to keep it in until the mozarella is totally melted and has the brown crispy texture.

Serve this as a main dish or a yummy veggie side!

Grocery Cart Challenge is THE place to be on Fridays! Find new ideas and delicious recipes from all over. Thanks for hosting it, Gayle - awesome job!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Giveaway Alert


If you've read this blog with any regularity, you already know how much I like the Grocery Cart Challenge ! Every week on Fridays, Gayle hosts a wonderful recipe exchange where I always find yummy new recipes and ideas that really help inspire my menu planning. I usually share one of my favorite recipes as well.

Now Gayle's got a Giveaway - an awesome Keurig coffee maker - the Platinum brewer and 4 boxes of coffee pods to go with it!! Go HERE to enter her contest. It's so easy to just leave a comment on the site for your chance to win this fabulous coffee maker.

I'll say it again: Somebody's Got to Win! Why not you?!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Awesome Albertson's


I had $18 ONYO coupons that were expiring today so I had to make an Albies run. Here's what I got:

3 packages Ball Park franks marked down to $2.99 each
8 cans Albertson's tomato sauce, 8 for $1 with ad coupon
1 package Tully's coffee $5.99 with in-store coupon
1 package Ocean Spray Craisins $2.69
1 bunch bananas $2.26 ($.88 per pound)

I didn't expect the bananas to be that much because when I weighed them on one of the produce department scales, it said they were only 1 pound. Oh well - I know a 4-year old who will be happy that we have bananas again!
Total OOP: $2.87

This leaves me $.47 under budget for the month. Now I just need Albertson's to run some more great Catalina deals next month!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Website Review: Family.com

Have you registered with Family.com yet? A Disney-sponsored site, Family.com has lots of great ideas for crafts and activities that you can do with your kids. The FamilyFun section has a cool tool where you can enter the type of activity you want to do, age range, and what your child likes and it will give you a list of activities. This would be awesome for foul-weather days. There are a ton of sections to explore and since the same company also publishes Wondertime magazine, there is also a Wondertime section.

Yes, they also have COUPONS! If you scroll to the bottom, there is a heading for coupons and you can choose what kind of coupon you want: grocery, health and beauty, online. I need coffee today, so I printed $1/1 Caribou Coffee coupons this morning.

Register today or if you've already registered, don't forget to enter these 2 fantastic contests:

The Great American Family Sweepstakes - win three years of vacations at Disney resorts!

The Pampered Mom Sweepstakes - win a trip to the Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tuscon, AZ! What Mom doesn't deserve this?

You know my motto: Somebody's got to win!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday





Last week was a bit of a bust in Menu Planning! I pulled the quiche out of the freezer but it didn't seem quite right. I cooked it anyway but when I cut into it, the crust was not right at all. It was a grey-ish, purple-ish shade of "your freezer is not working properly." One of our garage freezers (yes, there are 3 of them in the garage) is not keeping things frozen. Bread was salvageable and I really only lost a tray of lasagna, a plum crumble and that poor quiche. The Deluxe Chicken Caesar Salad turned out wonderful- you can get that recipe here.


This week I have to travel AGAIN – ugh, so I'm planning it all, knowing that all won't be used.


Anymenu, here it is:


Eggplant Parmesan


French Onion Soup


Cobb Salad


Taco Night


Orgjunkie is where you can find all the devoted menu planners. I am always so inspired by all of her great organization ideas and plans. Organizing – not just for the New Year!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

IKEA Free Breakfast


IKEA is offering a FREE breakfast again, Friday, January 30th through Sunday, February 1st. Check with your local IKEA to ensure that they are participating. Yummy - a good frugal way to start to next weekend!

Somebody's Got to Win!


People often ask me about the deals that I get using coupons and sending for rebates. They wonder, doesn't that take a lot of time? I respond that the money I save by planning ahead and doing the deals actually makes it feel like I spend less time shopping and less time shopping means less money spent.

My husband USED to think the same thing about online contests or sweepstakes - it takes too much time to enter these things for such a slim shot at winning. Well, I say he USED to think that way because now I have been redeemed!

I won a local mall's online contest that I honestly don't even remember entering. I know I went on their website in November to check their Santa schedule and that must have been when I entered it. I got a call the other day that I'd won a $250 gift card! That $250 is going to go a long way in helping us stretch our budget this year.

So was it worth the 1 minute that it probably took me to fill out the online form? ABSOLUTELY!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Deluxe Chicken Caesar Salad

We adore Caesar salad at our house. We serve a Caesar almost every time we have friends or family over for dinner. What makes our Caesar so good? It's homemade and absolutely delicious. We use this beautiful seasoned wood salad bowl, shown below, in which we mix up the dressing. It's really easy and once you do it, you'll never want to eat another store bought dressing again.

The best part about a Caesar is that it's excellent on its own but then you can also add meat or another veggie to it and make it a one-stop meal. I added French's onion chicken to this one but we also like grilled chicken, salmon or steak. The versatile salad!



Dressing:

2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg* or you can substitute 2 tbls mayonnaise
2/3 to 3/4 cup good olive oil
1 medium lemon
1/2 cup parmesan cheese plus 1/4 cup for garnish
1 tsp dijon mustard

Using a garlic press, press the garlic into a large bowl. We then press the garlic further by using the back of a spoon until garlic "oil" coats the sides. Sprinkle in salt and then crack egg into bowl. Whisk the egg and then slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Squeeze lemon juice into mixture and continue to whisk, adding olive oil 1/4 cup at a time until dressing is thick. Whisk in mustard, then cheese. Add 1-2 heads of chopped, washed romaine lettuce to the bowl and toss thoroughly to combine. Add croutons and your choice of topping for a healthy, lite dinner.





Gayle's Grocery Cart Challenge is always chock full o' recipes and meal planning ideas. She generously hosts the recipe swap each Friday so go check it out and see what other creative cooks are dishing up this week!

*Those with salmonella concerns or other health concerns should not consume products made with raw egg

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Betty Crocker Newsletter and Free Sample

Ever since I was a kid, I have been a fan of Betty Crocker. I remember saving the points that used to be on packages of products and getting all excited to get a catalog with all the products that you could get for redeeming your points. That program is now Box Tops for Education but I am still a big fan, especially of these newsletters. There are great recipes, cooking ideas and lots of valuable coupons included in each newsletter. Best of all, this one comes with a yummy sample of Chex Mix Turtle flavor! Sign up for yours today!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Earning Extra Money

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post about earning extra money by participating in research studies at your local college or university. Another easy way that I've found to earn extra money is by taking online surveys. There are a lot of marketing firms that will pay you to answer questions honestly about products or services. I would not rely on these for income but when I'm online and have some spare time, it doesn't hurt to answer a few questions and earn money for my time.

Here are some of my favorites:


Pinecone Research - This is a market research company that conducts periodic surveys and sometimes product trials based on your household information. It frequently sends out household questions for which you receive sweepstakes entries. If you are selected, based on your household criteria, the surveys are generally between 20-30 minutes and you receive $3.00. It used to send out physical checks but recently moved to PayPal as a payment option. I've been selected to participate in 3 or 4 surveys and getting cash is great, but the opportunities are limited and not very regular.

e-Rewards - This has been a mainstay of "earnings" for me. It sends out periodic survey opportunities, tells you approximately how long the survey will take and how much you will earn for qualifying and then completing the survey. Drawback is that it does not pay cash, but rather e-rewards currency that you can use to redeem for things like magazine subscriptions, money off coupons for places like Omaha Steaks, FTD, Proflowers. It also offers a $15 credit to your Borders Rewards card. Drawback is there is limited redemption of the rewards. For example, you can only get the Borders credit once per calendar year.

YouData - I just recently signed up with YouData and I am hooked! I installed the Ad player and as I am working on my computer or during down time, I get paid for watching ads and for clicking through to the ad's websites. The ad player shows you exactly how much you will earn for viewing the ad and then the additional amount you will earn for clicking on the ad. You can say that I got sucked in but I have actually discovered some really neat products. YouData pays through PayPal and it pays fast. Even if you earn just a few cents, it pays immediately to your PayPal account. I've accumulated a nice little PayPal balance by just checking my YouData ads once or twice per week.

e-miles - This is a similar concept to e-rewards but instead of earning rewards currency, you earn frequent flyer miles for a variety of airlines. You log on to your member page and click on the ads and marketing information, earning designated number of miles for just looking or more if you actually sign up for the offer.

Others I have tried:

Inbox Dollars - Not a big fan. Although you are paid to read the email ads, the pennies that they pay were just not worth it to me. The couple of surveys I tried to complete were way too long for paying so little. I like knowing exactly how much I am earning for my time.


I'm not making my living by doing online surveys but as is said, every penny counts and if I'm online anyway, why not earn something while you're there?


Do you know of other programs that I don't know about yet? Leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite online survey is.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Grocery Budget Update

We had 12 people (3 couples each with their 2 kids) at our cabin this weekend. As you can probably guess from what I bought - we are in charge of breakfasts! So my trip to Fred Meyer cost a little more than I expected to spend at this point in the month. I thought I went over but it turns out, I made it under by $3.34.

I had never seen marked down Organic Valley milk at my store before so I was happy to pluck those 3 gallons right off the shelf at $2.79 each!
Romaine lettuce $2.98
Bar S Bacon 3 for $7
Parmesan Cheese 2 @ $3.99
Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls 4 @ $1.99
Pillsbury Recipe Creations 2 marked down to $.89
Naturally Preferred Cage Free Eggs 2 for $5
Bananas $1.45
Red Band Bananas $1.39 - I got two bunches for this price

Coupons used:
$1/2 Stella cheese - found this at the deli!
$1.50/1 Organic Valley milk
$1/1 Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls
$.30/1 Recipe Creations

Total spent: $44.09

I still have $18 in Catalina coupons from Albertsons that I will need to use by next week, which will get me by for the rest of the month for any needed essentials but I'm not sure what I'll do if a screamin' deal comes my way!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


Last week was so busy that we only made 2 of the 5 dinners I had planned. The chicken stir fry turned into a chow mein dish and we had lots of leftovers that we ended up eating on Wednesday. My parents brought us some delicious chili and cornbread on Thursday night and Friday night we left for our cabin so unfortunately we ate fast food that night.

I have to travel on Tuesday, so we may not get to everything on the plan but my theory is that it is better to have planned and not used than to not have planned and need!

Chicken Caesar Salad
Eggplant Parmesan
Quiche (this frozen quiche is feeling awfully rejected at this point!)
Spaghetti - using what sauce may be leftover from the eggplant dish

Eggplant is not a usual veggie that I would buy but it came in our CSA box this week. I had a roasted eggplant pizza for lunch last week and that really whet my appetite so it was a great coincidence that our organic farm would have eggplant in the box!

Visit orgjunkie.com for tons more menu plans and awesome organization ideas. She is the master organizer!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Slow Cooker Beef & Barley Soup

We had a delicious but very expensive prime rib roast for Christmas dinner - it was a special occasion after all! Since my husband's family was unable to join us for that feast due to weather, we actually had quite a bit left over. I could not bear to see that rich meat go to waste. So I cut it all up, chopped a bunch of onions, carrots, potatoes, celery and divided it all into freezer bags. One will be French Onion soup (check back for that recipe!), 1 will be a beef stew and 2 were designated for Beef & Barley soup. I always loved that soup as a kid and hadn't had it in years!

I'd never actually made this soup before and it turned out better than I had imagined. There's not a ton of meat (because this was a rich cut, but any less expensive stew meat, cut into smaller pieces will be just as good) and the barley really thickens it up. The barley directions said to pre-cook it but I figured that since it was going into the crockpot, that wasn't necessary. I used a concentrated bouillon product called Better than Bouillon but regular bouillon cubes (2 for max flavor)should work just fine.

Slow Cooker Beef & Barley Soup

1 cup beef, cut into cubes/small pieces
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup onion, diced
3/4 cup barley
2 tablespoons Better than Bouillon
4 cups water

Put all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Perfect for those cold winter evenings: warm food, warm soul!

I love the souper (har har) recipes on The Grocery Cart Challenge every week. Go over there for more great ideas and recipes!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Free Coupons Galore



I'm pretty new to couponing to the extent that I do it now, so at the beginning it was hard to get a good stockpile. A good stockpile, I have learned, is necessary to really get the best deals that are out there. Luckily, there are companies out there that want you to buy their products - so they give out free coupons. Get started with some great coupons AND some great healthy eating tips for the New Year and sign up for the Eat Better America newsletter. Get yours now - these don't last long!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Awesome Albertson's


Albertson's did it again! It was running a great spend $30 get $15 off your next order promo this week. I still had coupons from last weeks great diaper deal. Additionally, it was running a double coupon promo and had some essentials on sale so I decided to make a trip and wow! was it worth it. Here's what I got:


2 for $5

2 boxes Bisquick heart healthy

2 boxes Fiber One muffin mix

2 boxes Betty Crocker blueberry muffin mix


3 for $5

6 boxes Chicken/Tuna Helper

3 boxes Betty Crocker Scalloped/Au Gratin potatoes


The promo did not actually include the blueberry muffin mix shown but since the store was out of the promo item, my wonderful cashier let me get these instead. She rang the Bisquick twice to make sure my $15 in coupons for my next purchase generated.


I also got 10 Kashi Go Lean bars on sale 10 for $10. I had 5 $1/2 coupons for those and then got back an additional $3 off coupon for my next purchase.


I also got:


2 dozen Alb eggs $.99 each

1 32 oz. Cheddar cheese block $4.99

2 1lb Alb butter $.99 each

1 kids sleep pants $7.99


Coupons used:

2 $1/1 Bisquick

2 $1/1 Fiber One muffin mix

2 $1/1 Betty Crocker muffin mix

2 $.40/1 BC potatoes

Coupon double took off $3

plus 6 $5 off my next purchase coupons


Total oop: $13.57 and I got $18 ONYO coupons! Total coupon savings: $82.35!


I always thought that it was too much hassle, too much work to spend the time to coupon. After a trip like this, how could you not believe - it is totally worth it! The next question is - where I am I going to put all this stuff?


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Grocery Budget Update

At the beginning of the year, after analyzing the nice chunk of change that I saved by meal planning, shopping wisely, and using coupons, I set a yearly grocery budget of $1,003.50.


That's $83.62 per month or approximately $20.90 per week. For me, I think a monthly amount is an easier model to follow because I do have weeks where I don't shop at all because hubby is out of town or we just simply don't need to because we have stockpiled enough to last through a week. I also don't include personal care items or things like diapers in my budget.


So here's what I've spent so far this month on grocery items:


1/2/09 Fred Meyer. Coupon Savings: $3.00; Total spent: $12.62

1/2/09 Target. Coupon Savings: $0; Gift Card used: $5 Total spent: $9.59

1/6/09 Albertson's. Coupon Savings: $0 Total spent: $13.98 (You can read about this transaction here. I bought the coffee as insurance that my total would get me the Catalina coupons for $15 off my next purchases at Albertson's)


Total spent as of January 13, 2009: $36.19


Budget remaining: $47.43. I still have $40 in coupons from Albertson's to use by next week. That deal alone is going to keep me right on track to stay on budget and hopefully get some good stockpile items.


What is your budget for this year and how do you keep it on track? I'm always interested to hear other people's methods and ideas.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


My husband and I were with some friends this weekend and somehow we all decided that we are going to run the Rock 'n Roll half marathon on June 27 of this year! Like I always say, the first step to reaching a goal is to set it. I have run 5K and 10K races before but never anything close to a half marathon. I also haven't run since I was pregnant with my daughter, who was born this summer so it is going to be interesting to see how I can fit training into my busy schedule. So this meal plan is step one to getting back on track with planning healthy meals!


Chicken stir fry

Beef and barley soup

Waffles

Quiche

Meat loaf


I am going to try a new version of the beef and barley soup and if it turns out well you will see it here on Friday for the Grocery Cart Challenge recipe feature.


This week's meal plan and other great meal planning and organizing ideas can be found on orgjunkie.com!


Hope you all have a great week and check back for my Grocery Budget Challenge update!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fantasy Banana Bread

When life hands you brown bananas, make banana bread! I often ask the produce employees at the grocery store whether they have any "red band" bananas that sell at a reduced per pound price. They can be frozen in zipper bags for later use, just thaw and mash with a fork.

My friend Melissa gave me a version of this recipe. I modified it to include a little more healthy options whole wheat flour and yogurt instead of sour cream. The original had way more sugar than I feel comfortable with and even with the amount in there now, you still get a nice almost carmelized crust on the bread. Perfect and warm for a cold snowy January day or for a delightful winter brunch.


1 1/2 cup Mashed bananas
3/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Butter
1 cup low fat or non-fat yogurt
2 tsp. baking soda
3 cup Flour
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup chopped nuts (optional)

Blend Butter and sugar, add eggs & yogurt, add flour, baking soda & nuts if you want. Lastly, I stir in the mashed bananas.

Fill TWO loaf pans
Bake at 350 for about an hour

The Grocery Cart Challenge hosts a fantastic recipe swap every week. Lots of great recipes and ideas to help with menu planning!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Walgreens Haul



Ok, it's not much of a "haul" this week but I really try to only buy stuff when I need something or when the deal is just too good to pass up. This week, I took advantage of two free items that I actually needed. I usually get at least one calendar but this year - nothing, so I got these plus another one for my mom, which is not in the picture. I wouldn't normally buy the M&Ms (especially since we're still drowning in Halloween candy for goodness sake) but needed it as a filler in order to use my Register Reward.

Garnier Fructis Hairspray $2.99
Electrasol dishawasher tabs $3.49
Family organization calendar $5
Islands/Coast calendar $2 each
M&Ms $.50

Coupons used:
Easy Saver catalog $2 off Garnier
$1/1 Garnier
$2.50/1 Electrasol

Total: $11.48

Used $10 RR from Dimetapp/Robitussin deal and paid tax ($1.48) with my Walgreens rebate gift card.
$0 OOP!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Awesome Albertson's!



I read about this deal at Common Sense With Money - buy $25 worth of participating products and get a Catalina good for $5 off your next baby care order AND buy $30 worth of participating products and get $15 off your next order. Pampers Jumbo packs were on sale 2 for $20.

I wasn't sure if the $30 needed to be before or after coupons so I added some coffee (we're almost out anyway and it was also on sale) to make sure that my total was enough to generate the Catalinas. I also wanted to be sure that I got two sets of Catalinas so I did two separate transactions. When I went, I was a little bummed that I only had one measly $1/1 for the Pampers but figured it was better than no coupons at all. Imagine my great delight when there was one of those little automatic machines right at the Pampers display with $1/1 coupons spitting out galore!

Here's what I got:

3 Jumbo Packs Pampers $10 each
1 Tully's coffee $6.99
Coupons used: 3 $1/1 Pampers
Total: $36.69

Used 2 $5 Albertson's gift cards (rebate from the Jolly Time popcorn deal) on my 1st transaction for OOP of $26.69.
2nd transaction was identical except no gift cards, so $36.69 OOP.

I've now got $30 in coupons for my next purchases at Albertson's and $10 in coupons for my next baby care purchase! Thanks Albertsons - this is an awesome deal if you need to stock up on diapers and it is going to do wonders for me in stretching my grocery budget.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Earning Extra Money

Part of reaching your financial goals is not just about saving money but also earning extra money. I work full-time but am always on the look out for easy ways to earn extra money.

One way we earn extra money for our kids' college funds is by participating in research studies. When I was pregnant with my son, I saw an ad for a 1st time parents study. I called the number, answered a few questions and we qualified to participate. It was completely easy: every month I filled out a calendar listing all doctor or other health care provider visits for the family, once a year my husband and I filled out a questionnaire about our relationship. We earned $10 for each calendar and $10 for each questionnaire. The study lasted until my son turned 3 so we earned a total of $420 - not a bad little kick start for a college fund!

When my daughter was born this past summer I filled out a card at the hospital that asked if we were interested in participating in other research studies and of course, I checked "YES." I got a call last week for her to take part in a hearing study that pays $15 per session. We have 2 sessions scheduled for next week. Each session lasts approximately 1 hour and consists of me holding her on my lap, the researcher playing different sounds and watching her for signs that she recognizes certain sounds.

These have been completely painless and easy ways to participate and I don't know that I would do anything more invasive. It has been a very positive way to earn some money for my kids and also help researchers. It may be worth your while to contact your local college or university for research opportunities.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Menu-less Monday


We both have to travel this week so my husband and I are fending for ourselves for food. I have a big stockpile from the holidays and hope to use some of it up. Since we have so few days that we'll be home together, I did not do a Menu Plan except that we're having Tacos tonight. I will be back next week with another awesome menu plan.

You can check out other Menu Plan Mondays at orgjunkie.com!




Puree and Freeze 101

It takes some planning and some freezer space but over the past year, I have become a great believer in not letting any of the wonderful organic produce that we get from a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm go to waste. Here is a step-by-easy-step method to steam, puree and freeze those veggies for future use as baby food or just added nutrition to everyday meals.

We got a load of garnet yams over the last 2 deliveries. I've experimented with different yam dishes outside the holiday realm and haven't found anything that the family is wild about. So I just steam and then puree them to use later.

First, cut each yam in half. No peeling necessary!

Place halves in steamer and cook for approximately 35 minutes:


I should have taken a picture of how easy it is to scoop the yams out of the skins. I love it when I don't have to peel something. Scoop it all in to a food processor and blend until smooth:

Then load the puree into ice cube trays. I got these at the Dollar Store and they come with a cover! I only use these trays for food freezing:


Freeze for 1-2 hours or overnight. Remove from freezer and let sit for about 5 minutes. Loosen the cubes and place in to zippered freezer bags for long term storage:


I did a bunch of spinach after the yams and just started feeding my 6-month old the spinach - she is loving it. I am loving not spending money on expensive organic baby food and knowing exactly what my kids are eating. I also love adding a few cubes to spaghetti sauce, mac n cheese or any other casserole. It saves time and adds valuable nutrition to your meals. Here's to a healthy 2009!

Friday, January 2, 2009


I analyzed our grocery budget from 2008, which came to a total of $2,007.00. Not bad for a family of 4. I even compared what I spent in the first half of the year ($1,206.00) to the second half of the year, after I discovered the fab community of deal seekers and money savers ($801.00). So just by being diligent about using coupons, shopping wisely, meal planning and reading lots of other blogs - I saved $405!
My budget for this year is 1/2 that amount - $1,003.50. I am optimistic that I can do this by just doing more of what I've been doing in the past 6 months. It may not be easy but if it were then it wouldn't be called a Challenge!

Thursday, January 1, 2009



I like New Year's celebrations because I feel that it really is a great opportunity to reflect on the prior year, good or bad, and to build on your strengths and work on your challenges.

I am so blessed to have found the community of savers and 2009 brings opportunity to continue my quest to be closer to Debt-Free!

About Me

My photo
Seattle Area, Washington - the state
I am an attorney, working mom of 3, who loves a bargain, a great deal and freebies. Who doesn't want the best, for less? Come here to see my triumphs and budget tribulations, good deals and my take on what the good life can mean...