Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Deal of the Week

No special deals this week - we are staying out of the stores since we don't need anything. Instead, I'd like to share a great, EASY way to earn gift cards - like Starbucks, etc.

Instead of using Google, Yahoo, etc. to do my searches, I use a site called Swagbucks. Everytime you do a search you can earn "Swagbucks" - they come up randomly but frequently enough that's it's easy to get to free giftcards quickly.

Give it a try!

Search & Win

Monday, December 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Well, still another holiday week, but a little bit back to normal:

Monday - leftovers - we have a TON!
Tuesday - Spaghetti with chicken and olives; salad
Wednesday - taking cheese and crackers to a friend's for a party
Thursday - Mexican - burritos with all the fixings
Friday - out of town - mini vacation, so we'll eat out
Saturday - still out of town
Sunday - Tempting Thai Chicken (Desperation Dinners cookbook - one of my favorites!)

No need to hit the grocery this week, but I'm sure the following week will be a big stock up trip!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deal of the week

As an update, I'll be posting sporadically for the next few weeks. We are on "holiday" and taking some time off our normal schedules. After the first week of January, things should be back to normal.

Well the best deal was the CVS ECB's Sunday and Monday, but those are over now . . .

So, second best:


I typically don't shop at Kohl's, but a good friend of mine gave me her 30% off coupon. I did great - I picked up some birthday presents for upcoming birthday's, a few things for my husband and some socks and tights for me. A good tip for Kohl's is that they combine coupons and sales. So, I was able to use their 30% off coupon, on top of the sale prices. Plus, the promo they had going on gave me a $10 off $10 purchase to use next week - I ended up with several of those by carefully combining purchases!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Frugal Fridays

Okay, the Chicken Florentine was WONDERFUL!!!! My husband even told me how much he liked the spinach (which he normally isn't a huge fan of).

Today my daughter doesn't have school, so I'm taking the day off and we are going to exercise, run some errands and then go to a movie. I love going to the movies, but boy can they be expensive. So, a few tips to make it more reasonable:

1. Matinee - cuts your cost by a LOT
2. Entertainment book or AAA coupons/ advance tickets - look at the bar at the top of my blog for a link to purchase the Entertainment book.
3. Sign up for the theatre frequent movie programs - they all have them
4. Sign up for the theatre newsletters

So, for example, today we are going to see Bolt. I am a member of the movie program with Goodrich (the theatre we are hitting today). We are going to the matinee, but even if we weren't I could get discounted tickets by showing my card. I also signed up for their newsletter and they have TERRIFIC coupons each week with popcorn deals. Today I can get a small drink and popcorn for $2.75 with my coupon. So our total outing will be $12.75 for the movie, popcorn and a drink to share. Not bad for a special girls day treat!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yummy dish

Okay, the Pasta with Sausage that I made for dinner last night was fantastic!!! Plus it's the perfect dish in that you can keep all the ingredients on hand and when you need a quick meal you are ready to go.

I followed the recipe in the book with a few adjustments:

I didn't feel like opening a whole bottle of wine for 1/2 cup so I omitted it and added a scoopful of the pasta water. I also didn't have any frozen artichokes, but I did have a bottle of marinated ones in the pantry, so I used that - it gave the dish a nice flavor. I used Rigatoni because that's what I had on hand, and I used dried herbs. Finally, I used a bag of the sun dried tomatoes I had made and frozen this summer from our garden excess, so they weren't packed in oil - YUM!!! Next year I'll be planting even more!

Can't wait to try to Spinach Chicken dish tonight!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Deal of the week!

My favorite deal this week involves chocolate! Plus it's perfect to stock up on and give away to teachers, friends, etc.


Turtles are on sale for 99 cents using the coupon in the ad. The Smartsource ad from a few weeks ago (mid November) has a coupon for $1.50 off Turtles. So, free candy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I didn't really go to the grocery last week (or even the week before), so we are bare on things like fresh fruits and veggies. So, this week I'm going to be stocking up on the fresh stuff. I decided to pick a cookbook I haven't used lately and plan my menus from it - so half of this week's dinners are from "Giada's Family Dinners" - the rest are just my standard stuff.

Monday - carryout using a gift card
Tuesday - Beef stew
Wednesday - Penne with Sausage p.147
Thursday - Chicken Florentine p.87
Friday - stuffed shells (having friends over)
Saturday - leftovers
Sunday - Rigatoni w/ steak p.140

A lot more meat this week also since we have half a cow in our freezer!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas joy!

I love Christmas time - everything about it from the sights to the smells! This year, I finished my shopping (and wrapping early) and plan on spending the month of December enjoying my family and this special time of year. As I've put some thought into it, I realized there is a lot I can do without spending much of anything. Some of what is on our agenda:

1. Baking Christmas cookies
2. Looking at the Christmas lights
3. My daughter's Christmas program
4. My "book" Advent calendar - I wrapped up (using scraps of wrapping paper), all of our Christmas books that I had packed away with the decorations. We had well over 25. Each day, my daughter opens one and we read it together.
5. A few neighborhood Christmas parties
6. Christmas Eve with the Grandparents
7. Decorating the house
8. Delivering cookies and homemade cocoa (or spiced Chai) to our friends
9. Baking some special goodies for my Grandparents
10. Church services filled with Christmas music!
11. Listening to Christmas music in the car
12. Popcorn and Christmas shows before bed
13. Some fun Christmas crafts with the kids
14. Christmas at the Zoo and a day at the Children's Museum (using our memberships)

So, aside from a bit of money for ingredients and maybe a Starbuck's splurge during our Christmas looking at lights drive, I don't anticipate spending anything at all this month!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

November recap

Time for my November recap! You'd think that since November was all about me, it would have been easy to accomplish all my goals - but you know, how life gets in the way . . .

1. Select and start a new personal improvement book. I found some I really like and have been working through (although not each day), The Total Mom Makeover by Hannah Keeley. I do think I'll try to pick a new book every month or so next year.

2. Take some time each week to relax. I did a little better in November than usual, I did go to the coffee shop once to just sit and read blogs, and I did a little shopping all by myself! I also went to the movies with a girlfriend one night - something I love to do and NEVER do.

3. Get up earlier. Much better at this than in previous months. I've been going to bed at a reasonable time and if I get up earlier the day goes so much better! I'm still not up before the kids, but my little guy is such an early riser (and light sleeper!)

4. Make my office more of a "haven". No real progress - maybe January?

5. Take better care of myself - consistent work outs, watching what I eat, etc. Much better job - I've worked out more days than I didn't and I've been doing less snacking - I haven't "seen" the difference, but for the holidays, maintenance is good enough for me!

All in all, a productive month. December's focus is Christmas!!! More about that one tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Deal of the week

Tough week for me dealwise - I did so well on Black Friday and I don't need to go to the grocery so I'm actually (big gasp here!) kinda shopped out . . .

So, this week, my deal is different:

When you don't need anything, don't shop. Yes, I probably could have gotten a bunch of free or nearly free stuff, but we all need a break sometimes and this week is my break. Plus, I didn't spend a dime! So, that is a bit of a deal right there!

We have been having fun each night this week decorating the house for Christmas - I'm pulling out one box at a time to keep the clutter down and the interest high for the kids. We've also been indulging in the great Christmas shows ABC has on each night! Last night was my favorite "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Finally, this year I got my act together and wrapped up all our Christmas books (ones we already own) - each day my daughter gets to open one and we read it. It's only day three, and she is onto the routine - first thing she said this morning was "I get to open a new book today!"

Fun stuff around the house!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Well, we have a whole cow coming to us later this week, so I'm working out of the freezer trying to make room for the meat! Any big items have to go!!!!

Monday - pan fried spinach ravioli, garlic bread
Tuesday - Turkey pot pie (using up the rest of the T-day leftovers!)
Wednesday - date night (mystery shop)
Thursday - ham, baked apples, fried green tomatoes
Friday - Daughter's Christmas program, so crock pot meal afterwards
Saturday - Pasta with roasted cauliflower and ham
Sunday - Shrimp with pesto pasta

Lunches will be leftovers, ham salad, soup
Breakfasts will be smoothies, eggs, cereal, pancakes and waffles
Snacks will be veggies & dip, fruit, homemade banana bread bites and peppermint chocolate cookies

The best is that all I have to buy from the grocery this week is milk, eggs, yogurt and champagne and orange juice! I'm having friends over for a cookie exchange Saturday morning and we'll be having mimosas!