Sunday, May 31, 2015
First up is...
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I had gotten this book free from our local school on the last day of school and thought I'd be able to read it to my daughter as a summer reading project. Never having read the book myself, and having only seen about 2 minutes total of the movie version of the book in my time, I was intrigued with the premise of the story and really looked forward to reading it to my daughter.
The premise of the book, in case you are unfamiliar with it (as I was) is a girl by the name of Mary loses her entire family to typhus in India and moves in with her uncle back in England. Her uncle lives on a lonely moor and doesn't know what to do with an orphaned child that looked ill and thin and so he basically let the servants take care of her. Since she had nothing to do in the way of toys, the girl who was supposed to watch over her basically tells her to start playing outside or she was going to go batty. So, Mary heeds her advice and starts playing outside.
In the course of starting to gain some health from the fresh air, Mary learns of a garden that had been locked for 10 years, since the death of her uncle's wife. Mary, never being denied much of anything, decides she has to look for the garden and so she looks with the help of a robin who has befriended her.
She finally finds the garden and gains access, but doesn't know much about gardening beyond instincts, so she tries the best she can to get the garden growing again. And then she meets Dickon, her servant Martha's brother. Dickon is a boy who loves nature and all things animal and plant, so he knows immediately how to help her bring the garden back to life.
Things are starting to take off in the garden when Mary then learns another secret of the estate. Her invalid cousin, Colin. Colin's story is somewhat complicated, but basically what it boiled down to is that nothing is physically wrong with Colin, but he'd been told something was wrong with him for so long that he'd started to believe it. Mary befriends Colin and then finally lets Colin in on the secret of the garden and Colin joins the rag tag group in the garden.
Finally, one day the head gardener peaks over the wall and sees the children in the garden and so Ben Weatherstaff joins the group.
Overall, I found the book entertaining, although I think it might offend some modern sensibilities in people when they read about young children running around outside all day, rain or shine, without adult supervision or even an adult that really cares much. There's even a part of the book when Mary's uncle comes back to the estate and admits to her that he had forgotten all about her.
My biggest problem with reading the book to my daughter was the Yorkshire accents the characters speak in. I was KINDA able to do a facsimile of a Yorkshire accent (I THINK), but my daughter just got confused repeatedly about what the characters were saying and would get frustrated with the story very quickly. So, we finally called it quits on the book until she is a bit older.
I will keep the book around, though, for when she gets older as I do think she'll enjoy the book as she already has an interest in gardening and growing things. I think she'll enjoy the book a lot when the language "barrier" isn't so frustrating to her.
Next up on my reading list this month was...
The Gatherhing Place by Graham Kerr
Okay, confession time. I LOVE Graham Kerr. I've loved him since he was "The Galloping Gourmet" making me laugh on weekends when my dad and I would watch his reruns. I now avidly watch episodes of his shows on You Tube and I own no less than five Graham Kerr cookbooks (and you can actually get a look at the Galloping Gourmet kitchen scale I own as it's part of my blog banner).
So, when I saw "The Gathering Place" I HAD to add it to my collection. And I'm so happy I did.
This is a cookbook that is half cookbook and half storybook, but the storybook end of the book will take you on a wonderful mental vacation around the world. The book is all about Graham Kerr and his wife as they travel all over the world and the dishes that he made inspired by those places.
The nicest part of the book, for me, is the point of the book. Which is he wanted to write a book about cuisine from different parts of the world so that you could have interesting meals to cook for family and friends when they'd come over for dinner and eat at your family table, or gathering place. He gives ideas for different ways to do get togethers with friends and family at the beginning of the book. And then throughout the book he gives you wonderfully vivid recollections of his travels to the point that you really can picture that you are there, which is a double bonus for someone like me who has never traveled outside of her home country.
I have to say that the recipes, well, they're a bit rich for my blood on the ingredients end of things (as in cost), but I did find a lot of inspiration to make some of my own special meals for my family using some ideas I gleaned from his travels.
And the icing on the cake, for me, was when I opened my used book to find this...
So, final opinions? "The Secret Garden" is a classic, so I'm not sure how much I can really add to that, other than it might be confusing for you to read to young children, especially if you can't do a Yorkshire accent worth a darn, but it is worth having on your shelf, especially if you are trying to inspire your kids to play outside more or get them more of an interest in gardening.
And "The Gathering Place" was, as usual with a Graham Kerr book, vastly entertaining to read. Graham Kerr's writing style is much like his TV personality; very engaging, funny and witty.
So, really, I can't recommend his books enough, period, but this is yet another one I was happy to add to my cookbook collection.
Fred Meyer Deals for the Week 5/31/15 (Prices reflect Alaska pricing)
Large Washington Red Cherries on sale 3.99 lb
Tilamook Ice Cream on sale 3.99 with in-ad coupon (56 fl oz. or 3 to 4 ct treats. Limit 4)
Country Oven Bread on sale 2.50 with in-ad coupon (limit 6)
Fred Meyer Frozen Vegetables (select varieties) on sale .89 with in-ad coupon (limit 6)
Yellow or Orange Bell Peppers on sale 1.50 a piece
Select Varieties General Mills Cereal 2.50 per box (the last time I looked at this sale it was literally Cheerios and like two other varieties of cereal, so I'm not doing coupon match ups for the sale this time until I can confirm what is EXACTLY on sale).
Rice a Roni or Pasta Roni on sale 1.00 per box.
Arm and Hammer Laundry Detergent (select varieties) on sale 2.99
Big boxes of Comforts diapers on sale 18.99
Pringles on sale 1.25 a piece
La Victoria or Hernendez Salsa on sale 2.50
Daisy Sour Cream on sale 1.99
Head and Shoulders Shampoo or Conditioner on sale 4.79 with in-ad coupon (limit 2)
Yellow or White Sweet Corn on sale .66 a piece
Personal Watermelon or Tuscan Cantaloupe on sale 3.50
And sadly those are the best deals I could really find this week, although it's great that there are some decent produce sales this week.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
This is a pantry friendly recipe that I developed because I didn't have the money to buy 1/2 and 1/2 or cream to make quiche, but really wanted something different for dinner. So, I came up with a recipe that called for evaporated milk instead. It also calls for canned peaches to go with the pantry friendly theme as well. This is a recipe that really sounds kind of odd at first, but trust me, try it. It's definitely a different dish that would be great for breakfast or dinner.
If you don't have a pie crust or can't do a crust due to allergies or something you could easily make this crustless. Just be aware that you'd have to scoop out the final product instead of slicing pie slices.
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 Cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp.Cinnamon
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 can, or 6 oz, evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 can sliced peaches (15 oz) well drained
- 1 prepared pie crust (I used a prepared frozen pie crust I had)
Preheat oven to 350 degreesThis is excellent served with breakfast sausages for a breakfast dinner or a brunch type of breakfast. You can eat leftovers cold or warmed up. Both are excellent!
Place cheese and peaches in prepared pie crust (I like to lay them evenly around the edges, kind of in a fan pattern and then fit the small pieces in the center. That way it's all evenly dispersed).
Place eggs, mayonnaise, cinnamon, nutmeg and milk in a bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Pour mixture over peaches and cheese.
Place on a baking sheet (in case of boil over) and place in preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until firm to the touch (kind of like Jello). Cool quiche at least 15 minutes before slicing.
Friday, May 29, 2015
So here we go!
1. I went to Fred Meyer today and got my Freebie Friday find (it's a free Bai drink by the way). I got the mango flavor and am still sipping on it as I type this. We needed to get water softening salt, so I just got the freebie while I was there.
2. I was able to get a free cookbook made on Shutterfly a couple of weeks ago, paid my 7.95 shipping and now I have a nice little compilation of some of the recipes I use a lot (it finally came in the mail). Nice part of doing this too, is if my blog ever goes down I won't lose everything as I have printed back ups of my recipes (that aren't just written down scribbles on pieces of paper).
I do this a lot when I get a free book code for the online print outfits. It's a great way to back up recipes you use all in one place. I have another cookbook of family recipes from my husband's family and my own family that I use a lot, especially during the holidays. Totally worth the 8.00 shipping to get these things. Trust me :).
3. I didn't really shop this week, honestly, so coupons didn't do me a lot of good. I spent 20.00 on groceries and I DID pull my kids out of the house early on the day when the grocery store does their dairy mark downs in the hope I could get milk cheap. I was able to score 5 half gallons at 50% off. Hopefully that will see us through the weekend combined with the 1/2 gallon we have in the fridge already (yes, we go through that much milk around here). Otherwise, I got water softening salt which I got at Fred Meyer as it was a lot cheaper there than other places and I got a dozen eggs for cheap meals throughout the week.
4. I made all of our bread this week, which saved us money by keeping me out of the store.
5. I also used my grill more this week, so I wasn't consuming gas to cook. Sure, I consumed propane, but I use a lot less propane than gas to cook and the double bonus was that it stopped my upstairs from getting super hot with the oven being on, so I was able to avoid turning on our super huge living room fan, which meant I saved money on electricity.
6. I worked hard doing surveys and watching videos on Swagbucks to get up to my first Amazon giftcard. I'm planning on saving up the codes for Christmas gifts, so I'm really actively working on Swagbucks at this point to get those dollars adding up. Every little bit helps, especially right now.
7. I was able to score some things really cheap at a yard sale last weekend, which was an upper to help when life started getting me down this week.
8. We got invited over to my Sister-in-law's house for dinner last Friday night, which was a blast and a half. She and her family go out of town for the summer every year due to her husband working in a remote area of Alaska, so we were happy to see them before they were going to leave for the summer. We got to eat a delicious meal, got to enjoy some great company and my daughter had a blast playing with her cousins. I especially love these times in our lives as my daughter doesn't get out much due to my son and his needs with his autism, so it was great to see her able to go off and play with her cousins and let me and her dad watch my son (who really had a lot of fun playing and I just had to make sure he didn't wander on us). I'm really hoping I can get to do more with them once they get back after the summer is over as I'd love my daughter to be able to experience things like sleep overs and other little girl types of activities. It was a night, overall that made my heart happy :).
And that, honestly, is about it in the way I've saved money this week. Well with the exception of taking care of my garden and nurturing it like it was another one of my children.
So, let's check out the garden's progress shall we?
My tomatoes are starting to bloom (seen up top of the post), which is nice to see. I've been taking my coffee grounds from my morning cup of coffee, saving them in a jar and dumping them on my plants to help give the garden a bit of compost. I've also been smashing up the old leaves that blew into the garden in the fall last year and working those into the soil as well for some extra compost. The tomatoes in particular seem to be loving it (that and the fertilizer I'm hitting everything with once a week). Living in Alaska tomatoes are hard to grow, especially in the ground as our growing season is so short and tomatoes tend not to like cold, but I took advice from my grandma years ago and plant only early producing varieties of tomatoes up here. And so far I've had pretty good luck with getting tomatoes.
I planted four locally sourced potatoes that were sprouting in my pantry on me and so far it looks like I'm going to have one potato plant out of the four. Which, honestly, at this point I'm happy with that as at least the potato was free.
The kale I planted is starting to grow, but it seems it is growing slower than last year. It does seem to make great gains, though, whenever I fertilize it, so I'm wondering if the plants this year are just eating heavier than in previous years. I know from researching that onions are heavy eaters, so I've been being very careful to make sure I fertilize regularly and that seems to be helping all of the plants. Since we haven't been getting overly much rainfall of late, I'm thinking that is probably a good portion of the issue. It always seems like my plants do better with rain water than they do with well water. Why that is, I'm not sure, but it is true. Probably something to do with soil and moisture saturation.
We always had chives in my yard growing up and I loved the spiky little flowers they produced. So, on top of having chives for cooking I'm just looking forward to getting to see those flowers again.
The herb planters in front of my yard are finally doing well. I'm growing elfin thyme for the first time and it is such an odd little plant. It looks kind of like moss to me, but it is growing well, so we'll see how hard it is to use in culinary applications when it's harvesting time.
I did have a couple of losses in the garden this year. The two basil plants I bought from my local nursery died. One just kept looking more and more sickly and didn't want to grow, so I'm thinking it was just plain unhappy in the soil it was in. I tried moving it to a pot and the transplant finished the poor thing off. The other one froze when we had a really cold night about two and a half weeks ago. I was able to replace one basil plant from one I found with minor frost damage from Fred Meyer and the new basil plant seems to be doing much better. I'm just hoping it produces enough basil to make a decent amount of pesto pucks come harvesting time as I love to have those in the freezer.
Oddly enough, while the spider mites did return this year they weren't as terrible as in previous years. Probably because they hit the side of my house vs the front so much, which kept them out of window wells and climbing the building where they could actually cause problems. We also haven't yet had time to mow our lawn (thus giving the suckers something to eat on) and I spread diatomaceous earth early on, which seemed to keep them, for the most part, out of my house. I'm still going to spray some spray to help break up their breeding cycle even further, thus hopefully getting rid of the terrible little pests for good.
And so there you are. My week and garden update. How did you do this week?
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Lately I haven't had a lot of money to do anything with, but I was able to score some yard sale finds before money seriously starting going South, so I figured I'd share those today.
This was, quite seriously, the most awesome yard sale finds I've ever gotten. All of the above cost me less than five bucks. Check out these finds...
1 vintage Pyrex mixing bowl (I have an exact one JUST like this that I got at an antique store for like 12.00 a while back) .50!!! I quite literally dove for the bowl when I saw it and made the woman next to me laugh hysterically at my antics. And I so didn't care ;).
1 Recipe box .25 (this is for my daughter. I'm going to make some pretty recipe cards with different kind of easy recipes, complete with illustrations, and put them in the box for either Christmas or her birthday. I think I'm going to dress up the recipe box with some pretty scrap booking paper or something, but we'll see how it goes.
1 SET of Vintage Tupperware storage containers in PERFECT shape for 1.50!!!! I collect vintage Tupperware (yes, an odd hobby, but fun and functional) and I use and interchange storage containers a lot, so I was over the moon thrilled to find these. Thank goodness we were so broke as the yard sale had like four sets of Tupperware containers and I just decided to settle on one set *laugh*.
1 aluminum square pan for 1.00. This wasn't a screaming deal, but I wanted to get one of those to be able to do stove top cooking with (like if I want to pre-bake eggs or something).
Not bad at all for 3.75!
Once I got a second bowl, I decided that between that and the other medium sized mixing bowls I have that I think I finally have a system of bowls I really like, so I am really glad I found that bowl!
So, yeah, I was happy with my yard sale finds for last week. Hope your bargain hunting has gone well this week as well.
This recipe is easy, takes about ten minutes total to put together and in less than an hour you have bread for breakfast and lunches. My type of culinary trick.
My favorite way to do this is to make 1 loaf of plain bread and then when that is done baking I make another loaf with raisins and cinnamon added to it for a breakfast bread. It's great because I still end up with two different types of bread in under two hours total. I wouldn't double this recipe and bake two loaves at once. I haven't had a lot of luck doing that in the past. The loaves just don't seem to raise as well when you have two loafs in the oven at the same time.
So, next time you need bread fast, try this. You won't be sorry. It might not be the best bread you've ever had (hard to beat a good baguette), but it just might be the easiest.
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 tbs. sugar
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk or soured milk*
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 cup currants or raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cookie/baking sheet.*To make soured milk: Place 1 tbs. lemon juice or vinegar in the bottom of a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Add milk to make 1 1/4 cups of liquid. Mix and then let sit for 5 minutes. Use as you would buttermilk.
In a mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients (including cinnamon if using) and raisins/currants (if using) and mix with your hands or whisk to combine thoroughly. Pour buttermilk or soured milk in all at once and mix until a sticky dough is formed.
Turn out onto a floured surface or counter top and knead dough until smooth (it doesn't take but a minute at most to get the dough smooth enough to work with, so don't worry about kneading for 10 minutes or anything).
Move dough to your cookie/baking sheet and pat dough into a circle about 2 inches high. Use a knife and make a large "X" in the top of the dough.
Bake for about 40 minutes. Loaf should sound hollow if you turn the loaf over and tap it with your finger. Remove to a cooling rack or a tea towel to cool.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Menu Plan for Week 5/26/15
Monday: Grilled Lamb Chops, pears, garlic toast
Tuesday: Grilled Steak, french fries, fruit coctail
Wednesday: Baked Chicken, pesto pasta, applesauce
Thursday: Eggs Benedict (this will be my first experience making english muffins from scratch so wish me luck)
Friday: Ham, greens, au gratin potatoes
Saturday: Hamburgers, potato salad, corn on the cob
Sunday: Crock Pot whole chicken, root vegetables
Breakfasts: Cheese Danish and Jam Braid (a new recipe I'm working on), orange rolls
Desserts: Apple pie w/ whipped topping, jello salad
And there you go folks. My menu plan for the week. Hope your menu planning for the week has gone a bit more on schedule than mine has.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Anyway, since it's Friday it's time for another Frugal Friday. As weeks go, this was a good one to score some free stuff.
1. The first free thing I got I just foraged from my yard. I've been doing this for the last couple of years, but due to the relatively mild winter we had up here I was able to start foraging for dandelion greens earlier than normal, which was great because I could pick the young leaves when they started to come up and process them and everything while the kids were still at school. It allowed me to be able to concentrate a bit on what I was doing.
I was able to get 3 bags of dandelion greens so far to store away for winter. Young dandelion leaves, by the way, taste pretty much like spinach (at least to me) and aren't the least bit bitter. Now if you don't get them when they are young, they do get bitter, so pick early.
I was able to find half gallons of milk on 50% off so I was able to score 2 gallons of milk for free with the coupon and still have a little bit left over.
I had a defective box of Dream Whip come with my Amazon order last month and I wrote the company to tell them about it. I was expecting them to just send me a coupon for a free box of Dream Whip to replace the one that was defective, but instead they sent me 3 coupons for 2.00 off Dream Whip or Cool Whip. Dream Whip is normally at LEAST 5.00 a box and Cool Whip isn't cheap either, so I was kind of disgusted that was how they handled the situation. But, I found when going through the Carrs ad for the week that they had Cool Whip on sale this week for 2.00. So, I went and used my coupons to get 3 things of Cool Whip for free.
The candy on the bottom was the last couple of weeks of Freebie Friday deals at Fred Meyer (this week is the Hershey's caramels by the way). We stopped in to grab a couple of containers of Pringles for my son and I grabbed my freebies while I was there.
Overall it was a good week on the free grocery front anyway.
6. I was also able to score a free Christmas gift for my husband through, of all things, a Mother's Day promotion that a printing company sent out over e-mail. I sat down with my daughter and had her pick out what she wanted to give him (there were like 5 different gifts to choose from) and then we designed the item as she told me to. It came out looking really cute (not pictured as my husband reads this blog from time to time). Cost me 5.00 to ship, but was worth it. Now to stop my daughter from telling my husband what she got for him until Christmas...ahhh challenges ;).
7. We went to the end of the year picnic for my daughter's school last weekend, which was not only a lot of fun, but we got a free fried chicken dinner out of the deal. They had a system where if your last name began with... you had to bring the item listed after it on a sheet of paper and ours was salad. So, I opened up a couple of cans of fruit cocktail out of the pantry and brought it up for the dinner (I figured it was KIND of like fruit salad). People actually really liked it and we didn't have any leftovers to bring home. We did, however, bring a frisbee home as my daughter won one in the free drawing at the cookout. I was impressed as neither my husband or I don't really win anything.
8. The rest of our meals I made at home this week, which saved us money.
10. My son brought home, on his last day of school, a houseplant that they'd grown in class, so I got a free plant. I am trying really hard to keep it growing well as my luck with house plants has been minimal, but so far so good.
11. We've been spending as much time outside playing as possible, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine (a HUGE thing to appreciate in Alaska during the summers) and the double benefit is that while we're outside the TV's in the house are OFF, which really helps cut down energy consumption.
12. I've also actively been trying to do Swagbucks right. I'm nearly up to enough bucks to get a gift card. Mainly by taking surveys from time to time I've been doing alright so far with Swagbucks. We'll see if I can keep it up.
So, how did your money saving endeavors go this week? Well I hope?
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Carrs Deals for the Week 5/21/15
Lamb Loin Chops 5.00 each (the last couple of times these have been on sale it's 5.00 per POUND, so I'm going with that)
Lucerne Cheese on sale 2.50 a piece (6 to 8 oz)
Plumrose Baby Back Ribs 5.00 per package
Safeway Frozen Fruit (2 lb) on sale 5.00
Tropicana Orange Juice, 89 oz. chilled, on sale 5.00
O Organics Salad Blends on sale 5.00
Coke, 4 oz cans or 16.9 oz. bottle packs, on sale 2.50 a piece
6 pack 1 liter bottles, Smartwater on sale 5.00
A bunch of condiments are on sale B1G1 this week, which means it's a good opportunity to get things like French's mustard, Franks Hot Sauce, Vlassic Pickles and such on sale for a decent price (it usually works out to be about 1.75 per product after the B1G1 sale on average).
Personal sized watermelon on sale 4.99
Bush's Baked Beans on sale 1.66 per can
Safeway Kitchen's apple juice on sale 2.49
Selected varieties of Lay's potato chips on sale B1G1
Fresh Sweet Corn on sale 5 for 2.00 with in-ad coupon (limit 5)
Safeway Kitchens Hotdog or Hamburger buns on sale 1.50 a piece with in-ad coupon (limit 4)
Best Foods Mayonnaise on sale 2.99 with in-ad coupon (limit 2)
Use .50/1 E-Coupon
Final Price: 2.49 for a thing of mayonnaise
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce on sale 1.49 per jar
Poptarts on sale 1.99 with in-ad coupon (limit 4)
Use 1.00/3 E-Coupon
Final Price: 1.66 a piece when you buy 3
A bunch of frozen treats are on sale for 3.49 a piece this week
Heinz Ketchup 32 oz on sale 2.49 with in-ad coupon (limit 4)
Safeway Select olive oil on sale 4.99 (16.5 oz)
Mission Tortilla 10 ct on sale 1.99 with in-ad coupon (limit 4)
Safeway brand cleaners, selected varieties on sale 2.49 each
And there you go folks. The best highlights I could find at Carrs this week. Good week to stock up on condiments anyway!!
Today, I decided to do Thrifty Thursday a little differently and show you what I've been up to the last little bit. A lot of it was in the planning, figuring out a theme and such and then picking stuff up at garage sales, or more importantly from around my house, and putting the plan into action.
This was a direct result of my daughter really needing a reward of some type. She started out this school year really behind due to a stomach condition that made her miss probably at least half the school year last year. She worked hard at school, worked hard at home with me on her homework and as a result she finished the school year scoring average or above average in both math and reading! It was a long hard road, but we got there.
My daughter recently has become obsessed with the book series "Fancy Nancy" and when she saw Nancy's "fancy" room she desperately wanted a fancy room of her very own. Her dad and I sat down with her and told her if she worked really hard on her end of the year testing for school (which she did in spades) and cleaned her room before bedtime WITHOUT complaining (we just have kind of gotten used to a war at night getting her to clean her room every day) I'd fancy up her room for her. And she did everything we asked without complaining for the last three weeks.
So, this week it was time to repay her for all of her hard work.
Here's some pictures of her room before the redecorating.
One of the plans I had was to make it easy for her to clean her room by making the main floor space kind of minimalist in design. You can see the just open bins of dress up stuff and things that were just around her room. You can also see the top of her "tea table" that I set up for her to have her tea parties on that was kind of sitting in the middle of her room. My daughter's room is kind of tiny, so I decided if she wanted a fancy room it needed to be kind of empty or it wasn't going to be looking very fancy at the end. I didn't want to fancy up the room with tons of stuff and then my daughter just have MORE stuff to clean every night. That seemed counter productive. So, I worked out a plan/theme in my mind and went with it.
I decided the theme for her room would be, "A Garden Cottage by the Sea" and figured I could do a lot of the decorating with things I already had from around my house. Her room was already decorated with butterflies (my handiwork on the curtains and quilt on her bed) so I figured a garden theme would work perfectly. I then headed to the thrift store with a list of additional things I hoped to find/get to finish up the design work. And I hit pay dirt.
Here are the pictures of the room after the redecorating I did.
The biggest purchase I made was this.
I put a light green small tablecloth I had on my living room coffee table and placed it on her table with a doily I bought for 1.00 at the thrift store to dress up the space. It really is amazing how a doily can make any space fancier isn't it?
Another big thing I did, which kind of hurt for me to do, was I took the small bookcase I had in my bathroom and moved it into my daughter's room. I kept trying to avoid doing it, but I finally came to the conclusion that she needed a bookcase as I was picking the books she had been reading at night off the floor where they'd slid off her bedside table every night. She has book shelves in her closet, but they are kind of high and hard to get to, so I knew she needed something that was lower and easy for her to access or the problem with floor books would continue.
So, I rearranged and got the bookcase in her room. One of the things I bought for her room was some pineapple bookends I found for 1.50. I took the books she had around her room and placed them on the bottom shelf of the bookcase. This way she can take whatever book she's reading at night and place it on the bookshelf and it won't end up on the floor.
I took a basket I bought years ago that had been in my bathroom housing shampoos and things and placed it on the bottom shelf. In it I placed her chap sticks, moisturizers and other self care things that were scattered all over her room. On the upper shelf is a basket I found for .25 which I told her to put hair things in so she'll have a place for hair elastics and barrettes. And I dug her "Lorax" tree she made at school out of her closet and placed it on the shelf so she can enjoy it.
On top of the bookcase I placed a small crocheted blanket that my step-mom made that my daughter loves, but is kind of small to use as an actual blanket. But it sure does fancy up the space. And then I placed a couple of boxes my mother-in-law bought my daughter for her birthday that house little necklaces and things in them. I also bought a tin on a whim that says "Spring" on it with a little girl holding flowers for .25. I'm sure she can use the tin for something, but I thought it was super cute and went with the room well.
One of the main requests my daughter had for her room was that she wanted a mirror in it. We tried to convince her she didn't need one with mirrored closet doors and all, but she insisted. So, I took a mirror I had down in my den and hung it above the bookcase.
I also hung up some of my daughter's spring and summer themed artwork around the bedroom in places and took down her winter themed things to put into her closet until...well...winter.
I took the basket with her ponies in it and placed it over by her bed, mainly to discourage the space becoming a clutter catch all, which it always has become in the past. I then took the rest of her things and managed to rearrange her closets so everything tucks into the closets nicely and is out of the way, so she has plenty of floor space to play (at the end of her bed right now is a couple of cardboard boxes that she's using one as a dog house for one of her stuffed dogs and the other is a doll bed for her Elsa and Anna dolls. I left those because playing with boxes is important ;).
The only semi-permanent thing I kept out was her small tea table, which I placed over by her dresser so she has good access to tea parties, which she's really into right now. She even had been using a small picnic blanket I made for her 18" dolls as a tablecloth, which I thought was super cute, so I left it.
All totaled I spent around 15.00 on decorations total and I got one thrilled daughter out of the deal. She loves that the room is fancy and super easy to keep clean (really her closets might become a sty here very quickly, but at least it is off her floor) and she now has a "fancy" room to go into every day. And she's keeping it clean, multiple times a day, just so that it feels clean and fancy.
Total cost of redecorate: Less than 20.00 and rearranging items from around the house.
Cost of Having a Daughter Thrilled With Her Room and Not Complaining About Cleaning It: Priceless!
Monday, May 18, 2015
So, another week has come and gone and it's time to do another menu for the week. So, here we go!
Monday: Crab Rangoon Pasta (recipe coming soon)And there you are folks. My menu plan for this week. So far, so good!
Tuesday: Crock Pot Pork Roast With Potatoes and Carrots
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken, Garlic Bread, Pears
Thursday: Peach Quiche With Sausage (this is a new recipe I'm hoping turns out *fingers crossed*)
Friday: Dinner out with Family
Saturday: Braised Chicken, apple sauce, Biscuits
This recipe quite literally uses leftovers to the fullest extent I could get them to stretch. You could even take cranberry sauce and serve it on top of THESE leftovers in a sandwich for a filling meal the next day. Leftovers, gotta love um!
Leftover Roast Chicken Dinner Croquettes
- 2 1/2 to 3 Cups leftover cooked chicken, diced into chunks
- 1 cup leftover stuffing
- 1/2 to 1 cup leftover bread crumbs (great way to use up some leftover rolls that have gone stale when you forgot to put them away the night before...uh wait...where was I? Oh yeah...)
- 1 TBS dehydrated onion
- 1 egg
- 1 celery stalk, chopped into chunks
- 1 can (in my case it was a box) cream of chicken soup
- 1/4 cup milk
- Salt and Pepper
- Dry bread crumbs (for breading/dredging)
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
You can use leftover gravy or you can take...
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 3/4 cup milk
Take chicken, stuffing, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, onion, egg, celery, cream of chicken soup, the 1/4 cup milk and a pinch of salt and pepper and place in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse the mix all together and take a glance at it. If it's not the consistency of thick toothpaste, add some more breadcrumbs and pulse again until the mixture looks right (this took me probably about 3/4 of a cup of bread crumbs, but it's going to vary depending on what you have for breadcrumbs).
Once the right consistency is reached, pour the mixture out into a bowl or dish (I used a 9x11 Pyrex dish of mine for this), cover and refrigerate the mixture for at least two hours (this would be a great thing to do in the morning and then cook it at night).
When ready to cook:
Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large deep skillet or pan. Shape the refrigerated mixture into large patties (I actually use an ice cream disher for this) and place on a plate with bread crumbs on it and dredge the patties in breadcrumbs (the mixture is going to be soft, so be gentle). Slide the patties into hot oil carefully and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and the patties are heated through thoroughly, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.
While patties are cooking heat up gravy or mix the cream of mushroom soup with milk and set over medium heat until nice and bubbly and thickened. Reduce heat to a bare simmer to keep the mixture warm.
Serve patties on top of a mound of mashed potatoes and drizzle gravy/mushroom soup over the top.
This is a great way to dress up leftovers and keep chicken from getting too boring!
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Wow, it's been busy around here lately. I did manage to get some blog posts worked out when I was getting my oil changed yesterday, however, so be prepared for some recipes this coming week!
Anyway, onto the Fred Meyer Deals for this week.
Fred Meyer Deals for the Week 5/17/15 (prices reflect Alaska Pricing)
Whole seedless watermelon 5.99
Lays Family sized potato chips 2.50 with in-ad coupon (limit 2)
Ritz crackers 1.99 with in-ad coupon (limit 6. Any variety but family sized)
Tilamook Ice Cream (56 fl. oz) on sale 3.99 with in-ad coupon (limit 4)
Kroger Cheese (Bars or Shreds, 6-8 oz or Natural Slices, 6 oz; Any Variety) on sale 1.99 (limit 6)
Best Foods Mayonnaise( 30 fl oz Spoonable or 20 fl oz Squeezable; Any Variety) on sale 2.99 with in-ad coupon (limit 2)
Coke and Pepsi Products 12 packs on sale 3.50 with in-ad coupon (limit 4. Limit 1 coupon per customer, so be sure to only run your Rewards card once during the week if you want to do this deal twice).
Fred Meyer 18 pack eggs on sale 2.50
Fred Meyer sour cream or cottage cheese on sale 1.66
32 oz. Tilamook Yogurt on sale 2.50 a piece
Fred Meyer hamburger or hotdog buns 1.66 with in-ad coupon (limit 6)
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce on sale .99 with in-ad coupon (limit 4. Limit 1 coupon per customer)
Heinz Ketchup on sale 2.29 (38 oz. select varieties)
Yellow or white sweet corn 5 for 3.00
Sweet Vidalia Onions on sale 1.29 lb
Popsicle treats on sale 1.29 per box (8 pack)
Bush's Baked Beans 1.66 with in-ad coupon (limit 6). Any variety
Purex and Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent on sale 6.49 (42.3-122.5 fl oz or Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent, 128-150 fl oz; Select Varieties)
(If Applicable) Use 3.00/2 Purex Laundry Detergent (90 oz or larger)
Final Price: 4.99 each when you buy 2
Colgate Toothpaste on sale .99
Use .75/1 Colgate Total Coupon
Final Price: .24 (note: You have to join the Colgate community to access the coupon)
Venus Swirl Razor on sale 8.99
Use 3.00/1 Venus Razor from the May P&G or
Use 3.00/1 E-Coupon
Final Price: 5.99
Friskies Catfood (16 lbs) on sale 9.59
Carefree or Stayfree pads on sale 2.50
Use 1,00/1 Stayfree Coupon
Final Price: 1.50
And there you go folks. The best highlights I could find from this week's ad. Have fun shopping!
Friday, May 15, 2015
Anyway, it's Friday (woohoo!) so it's time for another Frugal Friday! Here's some of the things I did to save money this week.
1. I was able to score cheap toothpaste this week at Carrs. You can load a 1.00/1 E-Coupon onto your card for Crest and it's on sale for 1.25 this week at Safeway, so you pay a total of .25 for a tube. The glory shot of my .25 thing of toothpaste is above (normally I would just go for the Cavity protection stuff, but was worried the coupon might not like it for some reason, so I got the spiffier type).
2. I made some desk organizers for my bills and incoming and outgoing mail out of cereal boxes. I took scrap booking paper from a kit that I got as a Christmas gift years ago (thanks for the gift, Nicole!) and took some packaging tape and just plain wrapped the boxes once I cut them to be a more desk friendly shape. I thought they turned out rather well and they fit in my desk perfectly.
6. I went to Fred Meyer and got my free yogurt earlier in the week. I ate it for lunch sitting out on my deck enjoying the sunshine one day. And I even manged to avoid getting swarmed by mosquitoes somehow. It was a nice day.
7. I made all of our meals at home, which saved us money.
8. I went ahead and planted our garden (I'll give an update on that soon) as we're once again having a huge spider mite problem this year. I've never seen an infestation of bugs as bad as the spider mites that infest my front yard every year. I'll have thousands, literally, plastering the side of my house in no time flat, tons of them get into my house through the small cracks in my bedroom window...it's disgusting. Luckily my garden area has a expanse of asphalt between it and the garden (and my front yard is elevated by a retaining wall), so I've been able to keep the majority of the spider mites off of my garden plants. I ordered some food grade insecticide (can't use pesticides on my yard because our well is right in the middle of our front yard) that people swear by off of Amazon. Oddly enough shipping for the insecticide alone was going to cost me 20.00 and the printer I have been wanting to get (ours is on death's door) was on sale for 20.00 and would land me free shipping on the order, so I ordered the printer too. Figured this way I get the insecticide and end up with the printer for free. Hopefully the Canon works better than the Epson did...at least the ink is cheaper if nothing else.
9. I've started actively hitting coupon and deals blogs again for about 20 minutes in the morning to see what samples I can get or other things I might be able to get cheap or free. I've been getting a couple of samples a week that I know we'll use ordered, so once those start trickling in that'll be a boon.
10. I called and yelled at our electric company as I got an estimated bill this month that was estimating my energy consumption at above December's consumption. I have been working my tail off to save money on utilities as people who read this blog know, and it seemed like I was able to save money one month and then poof that was it. Turns out, once I threw a fit and went outside and read my meter for the electric company that they had estimated my bill THREE MONTHS IN A ROW! Wrongly of course. So my electric bill for this month is now 1/2 what they had estimated it should have been after adjustments. And that was 10 days AFTER what my normal read date would have been. I'm still a BIT mad about this...can't tell can you *laugh*.
Anyway, there are some of the ways I saved money this week. How did you all do?
Monday, May 11, 2015
But, anyway, I finally got my act together, took inventory of leftovers and came up with a menu plan for the week. So, let's get this show on the road!
Menu Plan for Week of 5/11/15
Monday: Pasta with Peas, Bacon and Onion (recipe coming soon)Desserts: Gypsy Tart (still eating the rest of this, recipe coming soon), cake and frosting (didn't get to making this last week).
Tuesday: Fish Pasties (trying out another WWII rationing recipe), cantaloupe
Wednesday: Leftover Roast Chicken Dinner Croquettes (recipe coming soon)
Thursday: Scotch Eggs w/ veggies and hash browns
Saturday: Butterflied Roast Chicken with herbed butter braising, seasoned rice, green beans
Sunday: Chicken and Dumplings w/ veggies
Saturday, May 9, 2015
First off is an AWESOME sale on cereal that they are running this week.
Mom's Best Naturals Cereals are 1.25 a piece!
Note: This is a great price for cereal, let alone organic cereal, so if you are going to hit that sale, hit it early in the week or you'll be requesting rain checks.
General Mills Cereals are on sale at Fred Meyer this week as well 2.00 per box (select varieties)
Various GM Cereals on sale 2.00
Use 1.00/2 – General Mills Cereal, any: Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Chex, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Trix, Reese’s Puffs, Fiber One, Cookie Crisp, Golden Grahams, Kix, Total, Wheaties, etc.
Final Price: 1.50 per box when you buy 2
Rice Chex, Corn Chex, etc on sale 2.00
Use .75/1 Chex Cereal
Final Price: 1.25 per box
Cinnamon Toast Crunch on sale 2.00
Use .75/1 Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal
Final Price: 1.25 per box
Tree Top Apple Juice on sale 2.00
Use 1.00/1 Treetop Honeycrisp E-Coupon
Final Price: 1.00
Crest Toothpaste on sale 1.88 (if you have the Proctor & Gamble insert from May you might be able to get this one more than once)
Use 1.00/1 Crest E-Coupon
Final Price: .88
Bob's Red Mill Save 25%
Seventh Generation Products 30% off
Boneless Chuck Pot Roast 4.98 lb
Boneless Petite Sirloin Steaks 4.88
Fred Meyer Butter 2.00 a piece with in-ad coupon (limit 4)
Dove Body Wash on sale 5.29
Use .75/1 E-Coupon
Final Price: 4.54
Herbal Essence or Aussie Shampoo on sale 4.99
Use 5.00/3 Herbal Essence
Final Price: 3.32 per container when you buy 3
Udi's Gluten Free Bread on sale B1G1
Tomatoes on the Vine 1.28 lb
Salads, Refrigerated Dressings or Salad toppings on sale B1G1
Tilamook Cheese is on sale this week! 2 lb chunk is 4.99 with in-ad coupon (limit 1)
Strawberries, Blueberries, raspberries or blackberries 2.50 per container
Foster Farms Whole Fryer Chickens on sale .98 lb
Tully's Coffee on sale 5.99 with in-ad coupon (limit 2)
Pepsi 12 packs on sale 3.50 a piece with in-ad coupon (limit 4)
Tropicana Juices on sale (selected) 3.00 per container
Speed Stick, Lady's Speed Stick and Soft Soap hand soap on sale .89 per container
And there you go folks. The best deals I could find at Fred Meyer this week. If you need toothpaste, gluten free bread (with the Udi's B1G1 sale), or cereal this is a good week for you! And you can pick up Tilamook Cheese and 1.00 apple juice while you're there (the ad says all varieties, so it better be ;) while you are at the store, which makes it even better.
Friday, May 8, 2015
And so, second, we find ourselves at the end of another week and it's time for the Frugal Friday recap.
So, here we go! Some good things did happen this week worth reporting on the money saving front.
1. I was able to score some free cream cheese after some Catalina coupons I had. I got some coupons for 1.50/1 Challenge Cream Cheese, and thought, "WOW! What awesome coupons!" Only to find that the normal price on those things was actually rather high (in the case of Carrs they are 2.99 a piece normally). I was in town earlier in the week to get some banking done, so I zoomed by the dairy case and found, to my surprise, some Challenge Cream Cheese for 50% off. So, after coupons I was able to score two of them free (seen above)
2. My husband's car, sadly, blew it's starter, but since we have classic car insurance on said car the tow home didn't cost him anything, which was nice (he's allowed under his policy so many tows within 50 miles of our home per year).
3. We were able to get a permanent registration on my husband's car this week. Our local area recently passed a bill where you could get permanent registration on a vehicle that was over 8 years old for a 25.00 fee over what you normally pay for registration. My husband and I talked about it, since the local government is already talking about repealing said law, that we should go and get as many vehicles done ASAP. We'd let our motor home lapse since last year because we couldn't afford to license it, but went in with my husband's car and motor home (which made me flinch, but figured it had to be done) registrations to get them done (my husband's car was due by the end of the month, so that needed to be done no matter what). Unfortunately, since we'd let the motor home lapse we have to wait one year and one day from the time we let it lapse to get the permanent registration done on it (which is next month), but we were able to at least get my husband's car done. That'll save us a lot of money over the coming years.
4. I used some coupons to get some free popcorn.
I'm a big believer in writing to companies when they do something right AND when they do something wrong, or I have a problem with a product or whatever. So, I wrote to Jolly Time popcorn telling them how much I appreciated a very positive customer service experience I had with them when my son had his garlic allergy (I kept meaning to write to them and I kept forgetting). I thanked both the warehouse worker who looked at all the ingredient labels of source products for me and thanked the woman at the front desk who answered the phone and was super nice to me about the entire thing. Since then we have been very loyal Jolly Time popcorn users around here (well, that and they are actually pretty allergy friendly. Their plain popcorn is produced in a factory with plain popcorn...that's IT, so it's awesome for anyone not allergic to...well corn).
As a thank you for being a loyal Jolly Time consumer (and I'm sure for giving a pat on the back to people who definitely deserved it) they sent me a couple of coupons for their popcorn and are sending us a book on their company history when it comes off the presses, which we're looking forward to. My son loves the "Blast O' Butter" microwave popcorn and hasn't had it in a long time due to money, so I've been carefully rationing out the three bags for him over the course of the week (I know it sounds like a lot, but popcorn is one of a few things he'll actually eat).
I made sure to get the popcorn on a Saturday as well, so I could take advantage of the double fuel points on the weekends at Fred Meyer with my E-Coupon right now.
5. I cooked our meals at home, which saved us some money.
6. I've been sick with a terrible cold this week (no energy what so ever), so I slacked a bit when it came to using the dishwasher, unfortunately. Sometimes you just have to cut yourself some slack and use a time saving appliance. I was careful to scrape the dishes well before putting them in the dishwasher, though, so I wasn't forced to rewash some dishes that were still dirty.
7. I tried my hand at making candied peel. My daughter is into a loving oranges phase (not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination) and I didn't really want to throw away perfectly good peel (I know, I'm pathetic). I have plenty of cleaners and am being careful with my vinegar, so I didn't really want to make citrus vinegar with the peels, so instead I just saved them up in a bag in the fridge and turned them into candied peel.
It took a while for the peels to dry out (I just dried them on my counter) after I'd dipped the final peels in sugar, but they actually came out really good and now I have a container of candied peel to use in cakes and other applications (or to snack on with a cup of tea, which I may or may not have done a few times ;).
8. I used the free evaporated milk I got at a yard sale a week or so ago to make a rationing recipe for a gypsy tart (with some tweaks as I made a boo boo, but it worked out well :). I'll share the recipe as soon as I'm sure the two tarts I made came out BOTH tasting good as I made one to see how well they'd freeze.
9. My daughter had a field trip for school that was going to require a 4.00 cost. I dug out quarters from our spare change and while at the bank exchanged it for dollar bills to put in the envelope for her field trip (I just always feel akward sticking change into a field trip envelope).
10. I got my Freebie Friday score from last week at Fred Meyer when I got the free popcorn and quickly spirited it away into the closet into the stocking stuffer drawer for my daughter after confirming online that the candy was made in a peanut free facility.
And there you go folks. Some of the ways I saved money this week. How did you do?
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
There's some good sales this week. Check it out!
Carrs/Safeway Deals for the Week 5/6/15 (Prices Reflect Alaska Pricing)
Strawberries (2 lbs) on sale 4.99 (these have been REALLY good lately)
Cantaloupe (whole) on sale .99 lb
Coca Cola 12 packs on sale B2G2 (This works out to be about 4.00 per 12 pack when you buy 4)
Lays Potato Chips or Tostitos Cantina Tortilla chips 2.50 per bag
Simply Orange Juice and Variety Juices on sale 3.50
Next up is the buy 4 save 4.00 sale First one is if you buy select General Mills Cereals or Kelloggs Cereals and buy 4, you save a dollar per box which comes out to 2.49 a piece.
Included in sale: 18.7-oz. Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, 10.5-oz. Frosted Flakes, 15 to 18-oz. Frosted Mini Wheat’s, 12-ct Pop-Tarts, 10.8 to 13.1-oz. Special K Cereal, 4.86 to 5.29-oz. Special K Bars or 6.7 to 7.44-oz. General Mills Nature Valley Chewy Granola Bars. Selected varieties Buy 4 Save $4 Mix & Match with Club CardSo, assuming you can find 4 boxes of cereal you want and your price goes down to 2.49 per box, now you can stack some coupons for an even BETTER deal! You can also mix and match products to save money as well, so I'll include some coupon match ups for those.
Cookie Crisp Cereal, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios, Peanut Butter Puffs Cereal 2.49 each when you buy 4Note: I was in at Carrs today to get milk and the Kelloggs gluten free cereal is part of this sale. Just an FYI to the gluten free folks out there.
Use 1.00/2 – General Mills Cereal, any: Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Chex, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Trix, Reese’s Puffs, Fiber One, Cookie Crisp, Golden Grahams, Kix, Total, Wheaties, etc.
Final Price: 1.99 per box when you buy 2 (and 4 total boxes of cereal overall)
Golden Grahams Cereal on sale 2.49 when you mix and match 4 boxes cereal
Use 1.00/1 Golden Grahams Cereal
Final Price: 1.49 per box
12 ct. Pop Tarts on sale 2.49 each when you buy 4 products overall
Use 1.00/3 Kelloggs pop tarts toaster pastries
Final Price: 2.16 a piece when you buy 3
Kelloggs Frosted Flakes on sale 2.49 per box when you buy 4 products overall
Use 1.00/2 coupon
Final Price: 1.99 each when you buy 2
Sunkist Tuna Pouches are on sale B1G1
Starkist Chunk Light Tuna (cans) on sale .89 each
Safeway brand Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise on sale 2.49 with in-ad coupon (limit 4)
2 Liter 7 Up on sale .99
Milton Gluten free Crackers on sale 3.49 (not sure if that's a good price, but was worth mentioning)
Safeway brand dish soap on sale 1.99 each
Stayfree and Carefree products on sale 3.49 each (this does not include the overnight pads)
Plum Organics Squeeze pouches on sale 1.25 a piece with in-ad coupon (limit 8)
Use 1.00/2 Coupon
Final Price: .75 each when you buy 2
Purina Cat Chow, Friskies or Friskies Variety Pack (wet food) on sale 12.99
Use 1.05/1 Coupon
Final Price: 11.94
Campbells Tomato and Chicken Noodle Soup on sale .99
Use 1.00/5 (I know right) Coupon
Final Price: .79 when you buy 5
Mangoes on sale 1.66 a piece
Yoplait Yogurt on sale .60 a piece
Safeway Kitchens Granulated Sugar 4 lb bag on sale 3.50
5.00 Friday Deals (deals are good for Friday ONLY)
Safeway Kitchen Breakfasts bread 2.50 a piece
Norther Chef Tilapia Fillets or Coconut Shrimp on sale 5.00 (10 oz. tilapia and 9 oz shrimp)
Lucerne Cheese on sale 2.50 a piece (6 to 8 oz chunk or shredded or 12 oz. American slices)
Safeway Kitchens Frozen Fruit (selected varieties) on sale 5.00 (2 lb bags)
Coca Cola 16.9 oz bottles (6 pack) on sale 2.50 a piece (these had a limit of 6 the last time I hit this sale)
Arm and Hammer Cat Litter (Clump and Seal included in sale) on sale 5.00 per box
Use 2.00/1 Clump and Seal Cat Litter
Use 1.50/1 Arm and Hammer Cat Litter
Final Price: As low as 3.00 after coupon
Viva Paper Towels 6 pack on sale 5.00
Use 1.00/1 Viva Towels
Final Price: 4.00
And there you are folks. The best deals I could find at Carrs this week. Good luck in your shopping!