Monday, September 15, 2008

Wow, that was more than a disconnection!

I have to apologize...really I do. You see, when I posted that I was going to take a week off to go camping, disconnect and reflect...clearly I meant A MONTH. I had great plans to come back and blog about our wonderful trip (which it was wonderful!) and our adventures getting the crew ready for another school year, but life got in the way.

We have had death in the family, along with a couple of other things that have really just kept me away from anything normal in our lives.

So.......that said, I'm glad to be back!

I'm getting back in the swing of things, and I'm still planning my "launch party giveaway fiesta celebration blowout brewhaha" so stay tuned!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We have a winner!

Congrats to Lacey! She won my fabulous coupon giveaway!!! Be on the lookout for my "giveaway launch party" happening in a couple of weeks. Lots of great prizes from great friends to great friends!

Lacey - I have emailed you to get your address. Once I have it, I'll get these coupons right in the mail, as they expire August 31st!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What to do with all this Kool-Aid?

What in the world am I going to do with all this Kool-Aid? Thanks to Amy over at Mom Advice, I found something that we'll try out next week when we get back from our camping trip.

Check out this great recipe for Fruity play dough!

Any other ideas you would like to share for the 290857 packets of Kool-Aid I have at my house?

Wooohooo...gotta love free groceries!

I used the last of my stash of Kraft freebie coupons (like the ones I'm giving away below) yesterday, and came away with the following items:

(4) Oscar Meyer all beef hot dogs
(5) Wheat Thins
(5) Kraft salad dressings
(42) packets of Kool-Aid (the necesary evil in making this transaction work out right :-)

For a grand total of: $6.40!!!!!!

The kids are going to have a beverage stand within the next couple weeks, so I'm sure they will make the $6.40 back (not that I will see a penny of that, but they love having their own "spending money").

I got several different flavors of dressing to try as marinades for the 395720 lbs of chicken I have in the freezer from past chicken sales :-)

I hope someone gets a lot of use out of the coupons I'm giving away below. Hurry and enter, the contest ends tonight!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My first giveaway! Coupons valued at over $60!!!

I was going to wait until I had my "launch party" in a couple of weeks, because I'm having a huge giveaway party with some great prizes from my friends sites on my sidebar (check them out by the way!), but I was inspired by everyone over at Moneysavingmom, that I decided to join in the fun!

I have Free item coupons valued at over $60! These are the coupons that were recently featured in the All You Magazine! You do have to make a small purchase to make the item free, but as many of you know, or have already done it....all you have to buy are Kool-Aid packages, and you get great free items in return!

I have to give away as a package deal:

(5) Free (up to $4.50) Nabisco Wheat Thins Crackers - when you buy three Kraft, Nabisco or Oscar Mayer products (excluding single serve)

(10) Free (Up to $4.50) Crystal Light - when you buy three Kraft, Nabisco or Oscar Mayer products (excluding single serve)

Again, Kool-Aid packets are not single serve, and do count as your three Kraft products - so for as low as .30, you can have crackers and Crystal Light for FREE!

These coupons expire 08-31-08 - I will mail them out Thursday morning, and you should have them by Monday. It gives you over a week to use them, but for free stuff - that shouldn't be a problem!!

How to enter:

*Simply leave a comment below for an entry (1 entry)

*Link to this post in your own blog (5 entries) *Leave in your comment that you linked so I can get your extra entries!

Hurry, this contest ends tomorrow night (Wednesday night) at 9pm PST. Winner will be posted Thursday morning!

Good luck!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I survived!

What a crazy weekend! My Mother-in-law was here for the weekend, quite unexpected I might ad. That sent me into a cleaning frenzy that seriously only happens when she comes down. It is really kind of nice, because I get the chance to Spring clean more than once a year! :-)

We had a nice time on Saturday, took Turbo out to ride his quad. He sure is getting good (and fast) on that little thing. I took some video that I hope to post later in the week. We then went to DH's cousin's house for dinner, and saw some family that we haven't seen in ages (another thing that only seems to happen when Mother in law is here). Sunday we took Taterbug out to see/feed her horse. Then the kids went school clothes shopping with Grandma (something she has never done before, but I was ohhhhh so thankful!).

All in all, a great unexpected weekend...and the white gloves my MIL owns never came out...not even once! Maybe I'm getting better at this cleaning thing afterall!

Friday, August 15, 2008

What, you're here in town?

Yes, yes, my mother-in-law called about an hour ago, she is in NOT ENOUGH TIME TO CLEAN here in town. So, if I am MIA this weekend, it's because I am cleaning like a mad woman for the white glove treatment I expect to receive.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Menu Plan...Thursday?!!?

I know most bloggers use Menu Plan Monday, but you have to realize I'm just catchin' on here, and since I made a promise not to drag my family to any more restaraunts (who am I kidding...drag?), I decided to make my menu for the next week.

Friday: Broiled Halibut (bought on the Oregon coast last month)
Garlic & Herb pasta
Fresh green beans from the garden, with bacon and onions of course :-)

Saturday: Spiral sliced ham (have on in the freezer that I NEED to cook)
Au gratin potatoes
Mixed veggies

Sunday: Grilled jamaican jerk pork chops
PW's crash potatoes
Sauteed zucchini & onions

Monday: Ham, Cheese & Broccoli braid (old Pampered Chef standby)

Tuesday: Scrambled eggs with ham

Wednesday: Fish sticks
Macaroni & Cheese
Carrot sticks

Thursday: Something simple like sandwiches, chips and veggies - we will be packing for our camping trip starting Friday!!! Wooooooooooohoooooooooo a whole week away!

So, we'll see how I stick to it. Sometimes I use it as a list of what to choose from, and mix the nights around as I see fit, but we'll see.


Eating you enjoy it?

I have to admit, even in my frugal ways, if my DH says "Let's go out to eat" I am the first one in the car, buckled and ready to go! I love food...plain and simple! Mexican, Thai, Italian, Chinese, heck, even a good ol' burger at the local burger joint makes me weak in the knees...


We pay the bill. I can't believe how sick it makes me feel after we leave (could be the gross overeating of chips, salsa, and that huge chimichanga...) I get "buyers' remorse" when going out to dinner, and it honestly ruins the whole evening. All I can think about is what that money could have been spent on...groceries, paying down debt, all things that really mean more to me than a simple Pad Thai with chicken and peanut sauce...but yet we still go....and I'm always the first one in the car!

So, DH and I made a pact. I told him that even if I begged and pleaded, he was to tell me NO! Not really fair to put the weight on his shoulders, but I need his help! I pledged to keep a menu plan, and keep the house stocked with EVERYTHING I need to make sure the plan was followed. I pledged to take better care of my family by providing them with wholesome, yummy food that doesn't cost $50 for one meal! And you know what??? I'm a pretty darn good cook, maybe, just maybe, they'll start leaving me a tip every once in a while!

In order to be accountable, I will post dinner menus here, and let you know each and everytime I fall off the wagon. I plan on ONLY going out to eat if it is a special occasion...and no, every Monday is not a special occasion!

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

For reasons listed below (in my post about learning frugal lessons from my Mom), and many, many others, I am so thankful to have you as a mom! You inspire me to be the best mom I can be, and have taught me lessons that I cherish every day!

Love you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Great contest/giveaway to share!

Brandi over at Mountain Morning is giving away this great cookbook! I have checked out the author's site, and it sounds like a cookbook you don't want to miss!
I came across this blog today through Moneysavingmom, and wanted to share this giveaway with all of you! As many of you know, I am a cookbook addict! I figured this giveaway was right up my alley, so hop right on over and enter here.

What a weekend!

Sorry I've been MIA for the last couple of's been a crazy weekend. We had planned on having a family BBQ for Turbo's birthday on Sunday, but DH was called out of town, so we called everyone and cancelled. Then.....they called off DH's trip at the last minute, so we called everyone, letting them know the BBQ was on at the last minute...which means, last minute, I had to plan and cook food for 12 people. Here is the frugal menu I pulled off:

1 package FREE Oscar Meyer hot dogs (coupon from All You Magazine)
2 lbs hamburger (1.39/lb from a recent Albertsons sale)
2 packages hamburger buns - .88 ea
1 package hot dog buns - .88
2 boxes Kraft Pasta Salad - $1 ea
1 can Bushes baked beans - $1.25
$8.67 or .72 per person!!! Not too bad on a moments notice!

That doesn't include the cake....but even that was frugal, and fun to make! Turbo wanted an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. Not only was that not in the budget, but we didn't have enough time to order I made one! I paid $8 for all the supplies (two ice creams, store brand oreo cookies, store brand whipped topping). I made a 9x13 cake, one layer of chocolate ice cream, one layer of cookies and cream ice cream, with a layer of crushed oreo cookies in the middle. I "frosted" it with whipped topping, used my Pampered Chef decorator for some finishing touches, and viola! It was great! Who can go wrong with ice cream! $16.67 last minute BBQ was a total success!

Friday, August 8, 2008

One more day until my boy!

I can't hardly say the I'm not sure why I am having such a hard time with this, I mean, my 12 year old daughter turned seven once...and my heart didn't stop beating. So why is this so hard? What is the problem?

He's my baby. 7 years ago, we were anxiously awaiting our little bundle of boy, wondering what God had planned for us. You see...we were told that he would be a Downs Syndrome baby. Three tests proved it, and they were pretty certain. The only certainty would come if I would let them do an amnio. I declined, as I had just heard of a friend who had lost their baby due to an amnio procedure gone bad. DH and I decided that it didn't matter to us whether he was a Downs baby or not, we would love him just the same. I prepared to stay home with him and Tater, quit my job, and started researching the limitations, treatment, therapy etc. that would be involved with raising my son. We had several fetal medicine specialist appts, cool 3-D ultrasounds, etc. and noone could give us a definite answer, so we just waited. We chose our delivery hospital based on their NICU, because a good percentage of Downs babies have heart defects. We were prepared to greet whatever little man God was going to give us. I went in to be induced 08-08-01, and labored all day. There was a certain peace that wasn't there the first time I did this...maybe because it wasn't my first time, maybe because I trusted God and knew that whatever the outcome, we were ready.

At 12:49 am on 08-09-01 I delivered the most perfect, healthy little boy! There were a couple of anxious moments right after delivery when the team of Drs were checking him out. You know Downs Syndrome. Just a perfect, sweet, little healthy man waiting to meet his new family. Not to say that he wouldn't have been perfect if he did have Downs Syndrome...that's not it. It just seems like we had a huge amount to be thankful for right at that moment.

And now....well look out. No longer are we worried about developmental delays....this boy reads at a 7th grade level (entering 2nd grade this fall), speaks two languages (spanish and english) and learns in both languages (he is in a dual language immersion program at his school). We can barely keep up with his learning ability, and he amazes teachers on a daily basis.

Anyways, not to toot his horn too much (although I am EXTREMELY proud of both of my kids) I just had to pause and remember that day for a moment, just to realize again how lucky and thankful I am to have them in my life.

Happy Birthday Turbo!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ok, so y'all know how I love Albertsons!

How about some free popcorn!?!?!?!

Right now Albies has their Jolly Time popcorn on a 10/$5 deal. That's .50 a box folks! If you have kids that have the munchies like me, a package of their Better Butter or Kettle Korn can sure go a long way!

Welllllllll, go here and print out $1.50 off one Better Butter, and $1 off any Jolly Time popcorn. You can print each q twice (or at least it let me...). So here is the scenerio I used today:

10 Jolly Time popcorns (2 were Better Butter, the rest Kettle Korn) = $5
-$1.50 Better Butter coupon
-$1.50 Better Butter coupon
-$1.00 Jolly Time coupon
-$1.00 Jolly Time coupon

$5 oop
-$5 coupons
=FREE!!!!!!!!! My favorite price!

The kids love these after school snacks, and while they aren't the healthiest, they are better than Oreos (or at least a little better for you...)

A little story about the title of my blog...

Ok, so the story might not be so little, so I'll try my best to give you the Readers' Digest Condensed Version.

This is a tribute to my mother. Not that I could possibly do her justice in the pages of my blog, but I'll do my best to tell you just one of the reasons I really admire her.

We grew up poor. When I say this, I mean it in the truest sense of the word. Dirt poor.

My mom and "dad" divorced when I was 6. It was ugly. It was nasty. Let's just say that he left my mom with NOTHING! Well, nothing but a 6 year old girl that is. Luckily she had a friend (another kindergarten room mother) that had recently divorced as well, and was pretty down on her luck. They decided to become roomates, and look for a place they could afford. The funny thing about "affording" a place is that up to that instant moment, neither of them had jobs to speak of, but did have two hungry 6yo mouths to feed. Being the creative souls that both of these women were, they found a place to "house sit" for 6 months. They quickly started cleaning houses, doing yardwork, anything they could find during "school hours" to get by. That winter, we all slept in one room of that house, because they couldn't afford to heat the whole thing. We had a "Goodwill" christmas, with a tree that was given to them by one of their employers. I remember that Christmas well.

Fast foward to the next 15 years that followed. My mom and this woman lived together, becoming best friends as well as much needed support for their new found "single motherhood". They would work opposite shifts, paper routes, etc...whatever was needed so that we wouldn't have to be babysat, because they believed that simply wasn't an option. These men in their lives weren't going to force them into someone else raising their children. And child support....that just plain old didn't happen. They were on their own, and there seemed to be some peace with that.

We were still poor. Dirt poor. We lived in a trailer in a park that they were "given" as pay for working for a trailer lot cleaning out repossessed trailers. You can imagine that this thing looked like when we first got it. My mom and her friend cleaned top to bottom, painted, found carpet, and really cleaned the place up nice. We moved into this community, made fast friends, and had what we considered an ideal childhood, doing what every other kid we knew did. Played outside until we couldn't see anymore it was so dark. Doing skits with our friends, and creating wild performances the likes that Shakespeare would be proud of (ok, sense the drama there???) Molli, if you're reading this, you know exactly what I'm talking about!

I'm rambling, and really haven't even touched the surface of this story, but I'm really getting to the moral of this story...


We didn't know. We didn't have any idea. We knew, that we were just like every other kid at school. Our parents took such great care to make sure we had the things we needed, and one way or another, most of the things we wanted. We never knew just how hard they worked to make sure of this.

My theory here is this...even though we are trying to live frugaly, paying off debt and making sure our kids have a sound is truly my goal to NEVER say to my kids "No honey, we just can't afford it."

Does that mean I'm going to give them everything on a silver spoon? Nope! Does that mean I'm going to go into debt trying to make them happy? Nope! It means that I am going to try to live by one of the lessons that my mom taught me:

Do the best with what you have!

*A little side note - 18 years after leaving home, my mom and her best friend are still living together, and I'm proud to say that they retired 10 years ago (at the age of 48!) and now have the means to do pretty much what they want, when they want...which of course is STILL the most frugal thing they can come up with.

I love you mom!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Testing to see how this photo thing works

Just thought I would see how it works....more like make sure I was smart enough to make it work. This is an older photo of my taterbug and turbo boy - now that I know I can do this, I'll have to take over the laptop where the more current picture are....muahahahahaha look out folks!

Planning for Christmas...NO WAY!

I can't believe I'm saying this, but there are only 141 days until Christmas, which if your like me....sounds like 10 years, but if your like most people, you realize that this is really right around the corner. Crap!

In trying to be frugal and responsible with this years Christmas budget, I am trying to sit down and at least plan a little for this years holiday wrapfest - only to be discouraged in a number of ways.

1. I have a huge list to buy for - DH's side of the family refuses to draw names, and it kills me! There are 5 grandkids, 3 siblings and their spouses, and of course grandma and grandpa...that's a honkin' load of loot. Then you consider that they are 5 hours away, and we have to ship everything up there unless we plan to spend Christmas up there (no way jose, that's another story entirely!) This eats up a huge hole in my gift budget!

2. My kids - my kids are at the age where they either don't really need anything, don't really want anything, and if I didn't get them anything, they would throw a fit the likes of my mother in law (see item #1). I just don't know what to do for them.

3. My side of the family - My mom has everything she wants/needs, and has little interests, so finding something perfect for her is really hard. My sister and her family "have it all" and we could never afford the type of gifts they are accustomed to anyways. My nephew has very expensive hobbies and tastes, and is at that akward age where toys just really don't cut it anymore, and the video games and motorcycle things he does want are WAYYYYYYYYYYY over my gift giving budget.

Bah humbug you might say????

Nope, I'm not going there this year!

I am going to sit here and plan, plan, plan, until I come up with ideas for each of them - with a little help from you of course, if you're up for the challenge???

How are you planning for the holidays?

Oh Albertsons, how I love thee~

It appears that Albertsons has yet another ROCKIN' ad for this week!
I haven't even broken out the coupons yet, but have a list a mile long!

You can check out their ad here under the Grocery Stores>Albertsons>Albertsons NW region.

10/10 items plus $5 off when you purchase 10 items - making them .50/item!!!

Starkist white chunk tuna
Kings Hawaiian Rolls
Jolly Time 3 pack popcorn (my kids love this as an afterschool snack!)
Kraft BBQ sauce (gotta use those free Wheat thin and Kraft salad dressing coupons found in the All You magazine!)
**Free box of Wheat thins with above mentioned coupon.

There are a couple other items, but nothing else we need. Can you believe it? .50 each WITHOUT coupons. You can't even buy regular tuna for .50/can around here! Can't wait to stock up, those nights of cold fall weather and hot tuna casserole are just around the corner...oh how I love me some comfort food!

10/$15 items plus $5 off when you purchase 10 - $1 each!

Several items on this list, but here is what is on mine:

1 Clorox scented bleach
2 Kraft Tartar Sauce (the only kind DH will eat)
3 Kraft Sweet & Sour sauces - sense a theme with those All You coupons?
3 Del Monte Fruits
1 Albertsons Onion Soup Mix

**That will get me two more bottles of free Kraft salad dressing. Good thing I use them to cook with too, because my pantry is getting quite full of salad dressing, wheat thins and Crystal Light...LOL!

I will make the trip first thing tomorrow morning - gotta go about 9am, that's when the markdown meat and the markdown deli bin is fullest!

What kind of deals do you see at your stores this week?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ok, so I changed the look up a bit already.

I realized the focus of my blog should be about the things I listed in my first post...however the main focus will be on ways I try to bless my family with "deals and steals", and still be filled with general family stuff as well. I hope you enjoy it, and even learn some valuable tips from it along the way!

Well, day one went pretty well...

I managed to excersize....15 minutes on the treadmill, but it's a start right? Baby steps! I also took my meds, watched my portion sizes, and did some excellent grocery shopping (they paid me to take a cart full of stuff!!!). Here's how it played out:

Went to Safeway, they are having an Oscar Meyer sale where you purchase 5 O.M. products, and receive $5 instant savings.

I "purchased":

(5) Oscar Meyer Beef Hot Dogs - 2/$5 = $12.50
(15) Kool Aid Drink Mixes (we'll get to that in a minute) = $3.00
Total = $15.50


(5) Buy any 3 Kraft products, get Oscar Meyer Beef Hot dogs FREE (Kool Aid is Kraft) = (12.50)
Instant savings: $5 off for purchasing 5 Oscar Meyer products ($5.00)

Total savings ($17.50)

Overage of $2!!!!! I love to shop like this! Head over to Hot Coupon World for more deals and "steals" just like this one!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 1 - mini goals

These are the goals for week one.


Make a schedule and start working on it for the school year. If I start working on this "habit" now, it might stick by Sept. 4th.


Drink more water
Work on portion control
Start using the treadmill we were blessed with 3 MONTHS ago!


Listen more, fight less with DD
Spend more time with them in the evenings, less time vegging in front of the T.V.


Spend less on groceries this week (keep it at $100/wk)
Watch gas usage
Work on working budget

That's a good start for the week, let's see how I do at the end of the day!

365 days to a merrier mom...take one!

Ok, so I've been reading everyone else's blog...time to start my own. Let's just say that y'all have inspired me to write down my thoughts, even if it is just to be accountable for what I write down. I am going to start with a short list of goals for the next 365 days - kind of a New Years Resolution list of sorts - in August!

1. Make better use of my time - silly as this sounds, includes less time for recreational computer use. I am going to create a schedule that includes work, housework, time with the kids, and "me" time - something that doesn't happen too often.

2. Get healthier financially - This is a goal that both DH and I share, however, we aren't healthy right now. In fact, we are in horrible shape. Big fat blobs of debt and poor spending habits. This goal includes doing the best I can to save on groceries, curb spending habits, etc. I am also going to start reading Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey - as suggested by (she's one smart lady!)

3. Get healthier spiritually - My kids have been asking that we go back to church. This is something I am embarrassed to admit that we haven't done faithfully since we got married (13 years ago). We haven't found a home church that we feel comfortable with yet, so we are going to actively start looking!

4. Get healthier healthwise - This is an important one. I am obese. I have thyroid problems. I am not good about taking my thyroid medicine. DH has a belly. DH has asthma. DH has sleep apnea (I think). These are all things that scare me. I don't want my babies to be without either parent, so this is something we are going to work on big time, starting NOW!

5. Get healthier as a parent - This is something I feel I have been struggling with for some time. Having a pre-teen girl isn't easy. Heck, having kids isn't easy. I want to work on being a better listener, in hopes that she will continue to talk to me. I want to work on being a better friend, in hopes that they will continue to play with me. I want to work on being a better example, so they will learn from my successes, and my failures.

Like I said, that is the short list. I'm sure I will add to them, because goals are always ever changing. Thanks for taking this ride with me!

Please feel free to comment - I would love to hear your goals, successes, failures, etc. Maybe we can do this together!