Friday, January 30, 2009

Parker Update

With all the meal planning, coupon cutting, money saving endeavors of late, I have been remiss in posting an update about Parker for the grandparents, aunts, and uncles, etc.

She has been busy as a bee playing with all her new Christmas toys.  She especially likes playing with her new kitchen and her baby dolls.  Her vocabulary is getting bigger and bigger everyday and she says please and thank you.  She helps me feed the cat after work and gets mad if I do it first.  Oh how I hope she always wants to be so helpful.  She thinks she is 30 so we have to remind her she is 2.  As I write this, she is trying to figure out how to open the front door, NICE. 

Here are some recent pictures:


Yes, I am one of those parents who lets my kid veg out in front of TV.  Don't worry, she does not sit still for long.


Look at me Pap, I have a pink conductors hat.   

Monday, January 26, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Last week was a little crazy so we ended up not following most of our meal plan.  We were out of town Fri and Satuday nights so I have those meals saved up for later.

Here is what is on tap for this week:

Monday-left overs

Tuesday-Spaghetti (moving this to Tues this week since I have an after work meeting Monday and we have leftovers from Sunday)

Wednesday-Chicken Teriyaki, rice, and brocoli

Thursday-White Chili

Friday-Pizza Hut (we have a $5.99 coupon)

Saturday-Fiesta Chicken Pasta

Sunday- Slow cooker Cheeseburger soup

Hope you all have something yummy planned to eat this week!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Focus: Being more Fiscally Responsible and CVS

So, in an effort to be more fiscally conscious this year, I have been looking at the sales and clipping/printing coupons.  I am stockpiling items we need/use when they are on sale versus paying full price.  Of course, before I embark on something I have to research it until the cows come home.  And I have hit the motherload of advice on how to save is like a cult out there on saving money at CVS, Walgreens, Publix, etc.  I did my first purchase at CVS today using my new knowledge...I felt like the coupon police were going to come after me when I first went in but once I only spent $2.30 on my items, I was hit with a rush and cannot wait to save some more. 

SO, look at what I got for only $2.30 out of pocket (oop):


My Home Ec and 4-H teachers would be oh so proud of me. Here's the lowdown:

The CVS allergy tablets were $3.79 but you get an extra care buck (ECB) of $3.79 back=FREE

The St. Ives was on sale for $2.99 but I had a $2 off coupon from the internet=- $.99

The V-day Cards were $.99 a piece but if you buy 3 American Greetings cards, you got $3 in ECB back=FREE

The Johnson and Johnson Buddies Soaps were $1.19 but I had a $3.00/3 coupon making them $.19 apiece= $.57

The Kleenex is on sale for $.99 and I had a $.25 coupon=$.74

On top of all of that, I got a $5 off on $15 coupon on the bottom of my receipt.  I have $10.58 in ECB to use the next time I go in and I had a $10 ECB that I used on this above transaction so I really saved some moola. 

I had other purchases to make but I needed the Throat Coolers to be in stock (you get one at 4.99 and you get 4.99 back in EC's and I have 5 B1G1 coupons) so once those come in Thursday, I will be back to get them and to use my ECB's earned to buy the Pepsi and Cover Girl deal and I will come home from those purchases with another $13.00in ECB's to use in the future 

The best way to make all these deals happen is to use your ECB on purchasing other items where you get an ECB back, and to of course only buy things you will use or can give away as gifts or as a donation.  There are some great deals out there for free where you can stuff for your favorite charity of choice. 

Here are some resources I have found super helpful:

Money Saving Mom-insight on great deals, lists and links to CVS and Wal Green scenarios and links to printable internet coupons.  She has all kinds of links that will take you to other great resources.

Coupon Mom: Great description of how to save money in her free e-books, excellent message board and she matches up the weekly sales to the coupons in the paper so you can keep track of all this mess easily and she will e-mail them to you based on your store preferences.

Hope this helped get some of you motivated to try your hand at saving a buck!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

I am so loving this meal planning....we did pretty good last week except Michael went out of town so I splurged on Wed and Fri with Parker.  We had McDonalds Wednesday and Dominos Friday but I had not put our food out to thaw yet so I still have Taco Chicken Packs and Bruschetta Chicken in the freezer for another night. I ate left overs on Thursday so all the food for the week was maximized. 

Stay tuned for another post this week on maximizing your savings at CVS...all I can say is WOW, where have I been. 

OK for this week, we are having:

Sunday: Slow Cooker Lasagna (this was supper easy and supper yummy)

Monday: Leftovers (switching it up this week bc we have so much left in the fridge to get rid of from the weekend: Taco soup and the lasagna)

Tuesday: Spaghetti

Wednesday: Taco Bake

Thursday: BBQ Chicken, green beans, and wild rice

Friday: Calzones

Saturday: Sweet and Sour Meatballs, rice, and brocolli

Sunday: Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup

Slow Cooker Lasagna:

1 lb uncooked lean ground beef

1 sm onion, chopped

1 medium garlic clove, minced

28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

15 oz can tomato sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp basil

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup part skim ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cup part skim mozarella cheese shredded, divided

6 no cook lasagna noodles

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Heat large nonstick skillet and brown the onions, garlic and ground beef.  Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, red pepper and simmer 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, stir together mozarella and ricotta cheese.  Spoon 1/3 of the beef mixture into the crock pot, layer 3 lasagna noodles on top, add the cheese mixture and repeat.  Cover slow cooker and cook on low 4 to 6 hours.  Remove cover; turn off heat, and season to taste.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup mozarella cheese and the 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, sprinkle over beef mixture.  Cover and set aside until cheese melts and lasagna is firmed up.  About 10 minutes.

Note:  I left out the Ricotta cheese and it was still yummy.

Mexican Chicken Soup

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 cups water

1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes and green chile peppers, undrained

1 tsp ground cumin

sour cream (optional)

crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Brown chicken in skilet coated with cooking spay and transfer to slow cooker.  In a bowl, combine the soup, water, beans, undrained tomatoes, and cumin.  Pour over chicken in slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low about 6 hours. Ladle into bowls and top with sour cream and chips.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Plans for the New Year

So I am a little late in blogging about this but I wanted to take a minute to share my plans for the new year (ya know, you write it down and it might happen but if you tell people than it has a better chance of happening). 

Ali Edwards, Life Artist (ala scrap-booker) extraordinarie, has a word for each year and she challenges her readers to get a word can read about it here. So, I chose my word and it is


What do I plan to do with this word, well....

I plan to focus on ME, FAMILY, HOME, and CAREER

Some things I am looking at focusing on specifically are is to:

live Greener (recycle, change our light bulbs to fluorescent compact, reduce our waste by consuming less, etc)

live more Fiscally Responsible (buy things on sale and become a coupon/sale strategist (I am already seeing a return here, I have saved about $100 already on groceries by planning ahead and shopping sale items), institute a budget (we already have given ourselves a $20 limit a week per person on incidentals), SAVE, SAVE and SAVE some more, and shoot for one no spend month this year (meaning no spending on incidentals and crap)

Focus on Balance at work/home (leave work by 4:30 so I can get Parker on time and a bit early, TIME MANAGEMENT, focus on the priorities at work and look for ways to delegate/change site needs)

Focus on the family (family fun night, creating memories for Parker instead of buying "stuff", look for teachable moments for Parker)

Of course there is the usual focus on things like eating healthier, moving more and I also want to focus on my time where I can relax or scrapbook, etc. 

I am excited about this year ahead. Parker is growing like a weed and becoming a contributor to our family and is becoming really fun to talk to.  I know she will present us with many challenges this year and I hope our Focus can remain on being patient and creating a learning opportunity for all of us from the crazy times.  I expect Michael to have a great year this year too with the derby gearing up and being even better than last year.  So here is to a GREAT 2009!





Sunday, January 11, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Here is this week's meal plan:

Sunday: Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Roll Ups- (not sure where I got this so I apologize for not giving credit where credit is due)-recipe below

Monday- Double Cheese Chili (from last week's post since we did not eat it on Saturday)

Tuesday: Leftovers (Probably the Spaghetti we should have eaten Monday

Wednesday: Foil Pack Taco Chicken, broccoli, yellow rice

Thursday: Bruschetta Chicken with salad ( I do make one change to the recipe in that I let the chicken marinate in italian dressing first to give this more flavor)

Friday: Deep Dish Pizza Casserole-WW style (recipe below)

Saturday: Taco Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Roll Ups: 6 servings

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook time: 7 to 8 hours on low, or 3 to 4 hours on high

1/2 C plus 2 TBSP all purpose flour, divided

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into 2 or 3 strips

2 TBSP butter

1 C Chicken Broth

1 small onion, diced

1/4 to 1/2 C jalapeno peppers, sliced

2 TBSP whipping cream or milk

6 (7 to 8 inch) flour tortillas

6 slices American cheese or Amercian cheese with jalapeno peppers

Cut each chicken into 2 to 3 strips.  Combine 1/2 cup flour and salt in resealable bag.  Add chicken strips and coat.  Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Brown chicken strips in batches and then place in slow cooker.

Add chicken broth to skillet and scrape remaining browned bits.  Pour broth mixture into slow cooker.  Add onion, jalapeno pepper and oregano.  Cover, cook on Low 7 to 8 hours or high 3 to 4 hours.

Blend remaining 2 TBSP flour and cream in small bowl until smooth.  Stir into chicken mixture. Cook, uncovered on high for 15 mins or until thickened.  Spoon chicken mixture onto center of tortillas and top with 1 cheese slice.  Fold and serve. 

Deep Dish Pizza Casserole:

1 pound ground round

1 15 oz can chunky italian style tomato sauce

cooking spray

1 10 oz can refrigerated pizza crust dough

6 1-oz slices of part-skim mozarella cheese, divided

Pre-heat oven to 425.  Cook meat in medium skillet, over medium heat until browned.  Drain.  Return to skillet and add tomato sauce and cook until heated.  While meat cooks, coat a 13X9 pan with cooking spray.  Unroll pizza dough and press into bottom and halfway up sides.  Line bottom of crust with 3 slices of cheese.  Top with meat mixture.  Bake uncovered at 425 for 12 minutes.  Top with remaining cheese and bake 5 additional minutes.   

Parker is in the News!

Take a look at the picture below....Parker and her classmates were in the paper yesterday from taking a walk while at school.  It was an article discussing how cold it plans to get this next week.  Parker and I took a walk this morning and it was snowing.  Parker would not wear her gloves so she was complaining that her hands hurt by the time we got home.  We made it all better with some hot chocolate :)

I will be posting tomorrow our meal plan for the week. I am happy to report that I did not eat OUT once this week and we stuck to the plan, except Saturday but it was because we were at a birthday party for Lucas.  I sitll made the chili and now we have it to also eat this week.  I also lost 4 pounds this week, guess there is something to be said for eating at home is healthier.  I also ate green beans this week, TWICE.  Amazing, I know (Mom, don't keel over).  I had the Green Giant Steamers, and they are good, especially with italian dressing. 

Parker in the news

Monday, January 05, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

So while off work I took some time to get us organized in terms of what we will eat for the month of January. I also have started delving into the world of coupons and paying attention to store sales.  I found an on-line resource called Coupon Mom.  There is loads of info here and a message board...kind of addicting.  I already saved some crazy money on chicken and roast at Bi-Lo (like my total before sales was $65.00 and after using my bonus card, it was only $30).  Not bad for a first timer.  OK, so I digress.  Here is our meal plan for the week in case anyone needs ideas out there...

Sunday- Slow Cooker Salsa Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Monday- Spaghetti and salad (courtesy of my "Nana".  She cooked spaghetti every Monday night.   I used to think this was such an odd, I get it.  It is an easy way to start the week. I've got 5 weeks of saghetti sauce mixed with ground beef in the freezer...)

Tuesday- Left Overs

Wednesday- Tortilla Soup (from to their free is awesome. 

Thursday- Shortcut Salsa Chicken, brocolli, yellow rice

Friday- Calzones and salad

Saturday- Double Cheese Chili

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Holidays are Over...

but we had a great time.  I basically took 2 weeks off of work and had a wonderful time with Parker and the rest of my family.  Michael's parents were here for about a week and his sister, brother in law, and our nephew joined us the day after Christmas.  We had a quiet New Years at home but I did cook a nice meal and we watched the ball drop (Parker was asleep).  Michael got a Wii for his birthday so we have been enjoying bowling and tennis and I even figured out how to download Super Mario Brothers (old school style) and we have been playing that (a lot!).  We enjoyed spending time with my grandmother this last weekend and she had a good time playing with Parker.  It is back to the swing of things tomorrow for Parker and I are going back to work and school.  Here are some pictures from the holidays..