Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I have been so bad lately about posting/taking pictures of the girls! I know most of you don't really care what we're having for supper, or how much I paid for my last brownie mix :). Sorry that my posts have mostly been along those lines lately. I hope to find a balance, but have just been so busy lately that keeping up with my menu planning and budget is all I've had time for!

This is the girls new trick. Olivia discovered it and just thought it was hilarious. Now it's her favorite way to drink :)
My favorite cousin, Shannon ;) sent me this HUGE package last week of all of her scrapbooking stuff!!! It was like Christmas all over again!!! We had just walked in the house on Friday evening when Brad said, "Oh, I almost forgot. Were you expecting a package from Shannon? I went to get our mail today and you had a huge package from her." I didn't have a clue what he was talking about, and definitely wasn't expecting anything like this! She had been doing some early Spring cleaning, realized she hadn't touched her scrapbooking stuff for almost 5 years, and thought I would put it to good use! Well, she was right... I started making cards the next day :). I was absolutely floored at what all she sent! I hope she never realizes the small fortune she gave away :). A set of Creative Memories felt tip pens, 2 albums, a pack of new pages and page protectors, TONS of paper, stickers, idea books, you name it! Thank you, Shannon!!!

Olivia's new favorite book is "drop" - Raindrop Plop. She wants us to read this book to her all day, every day. She has it practically memorized, and it is so sweet for her to read it with me. Here they are reading it for their bedtime story. They're putting up the umbrella :)

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Menu Plan Monday

Now that we've been free from throw up for 48 hours, I guess it's time to start cooking again :). Brad is the only one that escaped (so far) the worst stomach flu that I've ever had. I'm SO thankful that we're finally on the mend, and to celebrate, the girls and I finally got out of the house today and did all of our grocery shopping. This morning at breakfast Kathryn asked if she could have some "alligator" to drink... Yes, we've been keeping lots of Gatorade on hand lately :).

Monday: eat with friends

Tuesday: Lime chicken, broccoli, cooked carrots, 30-minute rolls

Wednesday: Beef stroganoff, cornbread, green beans

Thursday: Lasagna, garlic bread, salad

Friday: out to eat with friends

Saturday: Poppy seed chicken, Lima beans, 30-minute rolls

Monday, January 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday...

...will have to wait until after my kiddos stop throwing up... And while we're on the subject, surely somebody could have come up with a worse name that "stomach flu" for it. That's not nearly dramatic enough. The one thing I can pretty much guarantee will not make the menu is pepperoni pizza :-/.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Meijer & Target steals and deals

I made a quick trip to Meijer and Target yesterday to do most of my grocery shopping for the week. They had a 10/$10 sale going on with most of the products that I bought, and in addition, I had coupons for almost everything that they doubled! I got several things for free, and the other things just for a great deal, or because I needed them. My total before sales and coupons was $39, and I ended up paying $20.03!

I really just went to target for butter, but ended up getting the coffee for free (with coupons) and the Cream of Chicken soup for $0.20/can with coupons, so I got all of this for $3.14! I didn't have a ton of things I needed this week because I had lots of potatoes left over from the $0.50 bags last week, chicken left over because we only used 1/2 a package, 1/2 of my pizza toppings left over, and a couple of meals that we didn't get to. I'll just tuck my "left-over" $$ in case I need extra next week.
Here is Kathryn enjoying her favorite meal: waffles with "chocate" - she asks for these every day, for breakfast, lunch, and supper :)

Here are the girls playing church. Kathryn found this sheet music of her daddy's, and they were both singing away! Kathryn always has to "blow the note" before she starts singing, and if you start singing without her blowing the note, she'll stop you and say "I never blow the note!!!". Anything round constitutes a pitch pipe :)

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

First to make some clarifications. Several people have asked me to "share my secrets". First off, they're not mine, second, they're not secrets!!! I get almost all of my tips from Money Saving Mom's blog. She is the one who started the $35/week menu planning, and she has several menus stored on her site to give you some starter ideas. The main idea is that you buy things for the week that are on sale and that you have coupons for, and you plan your meals accordingly.

Yes, I really do go to "all those stores" :). Our Wal-Mart does price match, but they don't do double coupons, so, for example, this week I have a coupon for Totino's Pizza Rolls for $0.40 off. Meijer has those on sale for $1, and they double coupons, so I can get them from there for $0.20. If I went to Wal-Mart, they would be $0.60 - not a huge deal, but since I have several items like this, it's definitely worth my extra stop. All of these stores are in a strip, so I go to all of them in one day, head to the one that's farthest away, then work my way up. (They are all on the same street).

One more clarification before I start: Brad and I are trying to stretch our $35/week to cover personal care items and paper goods. We started doing this because we were getting most of these items for free or almost free from CVS anyway, and since we bought a quarter of a beef last year, we knew we wouldn't have the expense of meat to add in, and figured they balanced each other out. If at any time we see this not working, we will simply change the $35 budget to cover food items only. And, by the way, Money Saving Mom is also the one helping me with my CVS trips. Over to the right on her blog is a tutorial explaining way better than I could how it works :).

My breakfasts and lunches will basically be the same things that I posted last week, mixed and matched, so I'm not going to plan those unless something special comes up - I'll just make sure I have things on hand for them.

Monday: Spicy Vegetable Soup, Garlic Cheese Biscuits

Tuesday: *eating at some friend's house

Wednesday: Poppyseed Chicken, 30-minute rolls, peas & carrots

Thursday: Pizza with sausage, pepperoni, and green pepper (had 1/2 left over from last week), Breadsticks, Salad (I'm making this meal to share with the Babcock's)

Friday: Tacos

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Target specials this week

No, I didn't buy all these in one trip, they just kinda... added up after our 6 trips to Target last week. Needless to say, Target had a pretty good deal on Huggies wipes this week, and in keeping with our budget plan for the year, we decided to stock up. Yes, it is nothing short of obsession, but if you could have gotten 2 years worth plus of wipes for $13, would you not have done it too???

Menu Plan Monday posted on Thursday night :) (but planned last Sunday :)

I've never been a big resolution maker when the New Year hits. I've always tried, then fail by the end of January. So this year, I resolved to make changes as they needed to be made - not because it was January 1st :). I did, however, decide to jump on board with the $35/week meal planning, and since things have been so crazy since Thanksgiving, the obvious time to start was the first of the year. This is our second week now, and so far, so good! I do plan to post my menus every week, and wanted to go ahead and post this week's even though it's almost over :)


fresh fruit every morning
waffles ( this lasts us for 2 mornings)
banana bread
pancakes (this lasts us for 2 mornings)
omelets (use leftover green pepper and sausage from pizza night & cheese)

note: Brad will be at an audit job all week and will be eating all of his lunches out
The girls and I will mix and match these things all week:
peanut butter and crackers (peanut butter was free after coupon at Meijer's this week and crackers were free at CVS after coupon this week!)
crackers and cream cheese (Mom had bought 6 lbs of cream cheese at Sam's and offered me a pound)
fresh fruit (my sister Christi brought tangerines from FL when she came home for Christmas - plenty for this week and next. I found a bag of apples at Meijer that were reduced to $1)
yogurt (manager's special at Kroger $0.50)
Kashi cookies (this may sound more like dessert, but trust me, it is nothing but WHOLE GRAIN all the way! I actually feel really good about giving these to my girls for lunches!)
Kashi snack crackers (the Kashi products were $0.50 at Target after coupons)
Carrots and broccoli with Ranch dip


Sunday lunch: potato soup (potatoes were $0.50/5lb bag at Target), fresh fruit, carrots and dip

Monday: Lime chicken (chicken $1.88/lb at Marsh), 30 minute rolls, cooked carrots, peas

Tuesday: *went out to eat with Mom and Dad

Wednesday: Pizza with sausage, pepperoni, and green pepper

Thursday: Chili, cheddar bay biscuits

Friday: *going to eat at some friend's house

Saturday: Parmesan chicken, fettuccine (have whipping cream I need to use up :), frozen veggies

Sunday lunch: Roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls

I probably won't be this detailed every week about how much I paid for everything that we're having, but wanted to do that this week so you could see how it was possible to only spend $35/wk! This budget will also include our personal care items (which I plan to get mostly for free at CVS every week - more on that later), paper goods, and diapers/wipes.

Christmas was the best ever

Do I say that every year? I do think it gets better every year. As the kids get older, it just gets more and more fun. We started the festivities at Brad's aunt and uncle's house for the annual "Stocking Stuffer" party. His extended family gets together usually the last weekend before Christmas and does stockings for all the kids. The girls were SO excited to see Grandpa and Gramma and had such a fun time getting to finally open some presents.
We were so excited that we got to hook up with Brad's cousin Luke and his wife Shannon on Christmas Eve, even if it was only for an hour at McDonald's.
Then it was off to Opryland Hotel to check out the lights and eat supper
This was the best food I've ever eaten at a restaurant. It was absolutely amazing! I kept willing myself to not get full so I could try more things :)
When we woke up the next morning, there was no denying that Santa had been there! He brought the girls this terrific wagon! Unfortunately, there was no room in the truck for it, so we haven't gotten much of a chance to try it out yet. Gramma and Grandpa are going to bring it up when they come, and hopefully we can try it out at the Children's Museum :)
After presents Gramma made the best breakfast ever - Brad's favorite! Then for supper she went all out with our annual beef tenderloin dinner - amazing!!!

Olivia watching for Pheobe :)
Kathryn got to help make breakfast with Gramma every morning while Mommy and Daddy slept in :)

Many thanks to Brad's parents, for not only putting up with us for an entire week, but for treating us like kings and queens! It really was the best Christmas ever!