Friday, January 30, 2009

Swagbucks code

I don't know how long it will last, but put in code: BeMine for a free swagbuck! I got it off Bargain Banana's blog, Thanks Jessica!

Awesome bloggy giveaway

Click here to visit this awesome blog giveaway--for over $830 in products! Make sure to enter soon!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tonight's dinner

So, I just wanted to use some stuff around the house. I had to thaw my last bit of pre-cooked chicken, but that's ok. I have plenty of ground beef and other proteins left for the last days of January. Anyways, I pulled out my trusty skillet, threw in a little olive oil, some leftover brown rice (probably a cup and a half), half of a baggie of pre-cooked chicken, an 8 oz jar of tomato sauce, some ground cumin and chili powder, and some parsley flakes. We just heated it through, then put it in some heated up tortillas with some shredded cheese. It was yummy!

Yes I'm doing taxes again

Since I've received so many emails and calls I need to say YES I'm doing taxes again this year. If I've done yours in the past just start gathering your information I will send out an email soon with what all you need. If I haven't done yours in the past and you are looking for someone to do them, I'm willing and able, just shoot me an email to find out more information.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So Excited!!

So, finally, a non-money, recipe or saving money related post! Eric and I are so excited, our friends Justin and Ashley are coming into town tomorrow to stay the night. We always have such a good time with them. Justin is going to work with Eric on Friday and Ashley will be hanging around the house with me and the kiddos.

The last time they came into town, they got here around 7:30 pm, 10/25, and by that point I had been timing contractions with Micah for 5.5 hours! We ate Taco C, and sat around and talked, while I had to breathe through the contractions every 7-10 minutes. I think I completely freaked Ashley out, she wanted me to go to the hospital right away! :) We ended up going at 1 am, and it was perfect that they were in town so we could leave Cara home. However, this time I'm looking forward to spending some ACTUAL concentrated time together, while NOT in labor! :)

Wednesday night meal

We usually spend $7.50/week at church for meals on Wednesday. That adds up to $30/month (And our new dining out budget is only $50)! So, we've started eating at home on Wednsdays. Tonight, we just had easy tuna melts. 1 slice of (homemade) whole wheat bread (recipe here). Tuna fish. Slice of cheese. Toaster oven. No real veggies, but we ate a lot of fruit today...we'll even it out eventually :).

Tuesday Night Dinner--Violette's Lasagna

This recipe I got out of my Fix it and Forget it Cookbook, LOVE it--lots of crock pot recipes.
8 lasagna noodles (I only had 7), uncooked
1 lb. ground beef (I used ground venison, obviously)
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1/3 cup water
4 oz. can sliced mushrooms (I left out..yuck, Eric would have loved it) :)
15 oz ricotta cheese (I didn't have any, so I used cottage cheese)
2 cups shredded mozzarell cheese

1. Break noodels, Place half in bottom of greased slow cooker.
2. Brown ground beef in sauce pan, drain, stir in italian seasoning. Spread half over noodles in slow cooker.
3. Layer half of sauce and water, half of mushrooms, half of ricotta cheese, and half of mozzarella cheese over beef. Repeat Layers.
4. Cover, cook on low 5 hours. I put it on late, so I put on high for 1 hour and low for about 3 hours.

$30+ in coupons

Go to Bargain Banana's blog to a link that gets you free coupons, lots of cleaning products, windex, fantastik, etc


This company is just like, but currenly they are offering a signup bonus. If you shop online, you definitely need to be using one of these cash back programs. As long as you go to Mr. Rebates and then click on the store, or coupon, or product you want to purchase, you will earn a specific cash back! Making money on money you were going to spend anyways sounds like a no-brainer to me. So, think of those special someone's you were considering buying valentine's gifts for, and go SIGN UP! They'll appreciate it, and you'll get some cash back! I'm putting a banner on my left side bar as well that you can click to go sign up!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thanks Julie P for tipping me off to this. I also saw it on For only 2 more is giving away $10 gift cards to everyone who signs up. Go here to get your card. The only requirement is that you invite a friend to also snag this deal. (Note: If you checkout with Google Checkout or Paypal, you won't need to input your payment information.) is a deal site which offers one very reduced offer per day. From looking at previous offers, it looks like you should definitely be able to get something or more than one thing for free with this $10 gift card. You have until February 8, 2009 to use the gift card.
These will go quickly so act fast! Thanks MSM!

A little love to my followers/readers!

Hello all -- I just wanted to say thanks for all my friends who enjoy reading my blog...and have signed up for swagbucks! You have made a huge difference, and I can see your SB adding up! And for those who read my blog who I didn't even know did (T. Dornak!!!) send me your email address!!! I lost it after I left ConocoPhillips and I'd love to get in touch :) Don't forget to go use it. I see lots of people who have signed up and then haven't searched. It really works, I'm halfway through to my 3rd $5 gift card!

Another Find Who doesn't shop online? I mean, I don't do it often, but when I do, I definitely use this. If you EVER shop online (and this particular site even gives you cash back for ebay!), go sign up for bigcrumbs. You should NEVER shop online without a rebate company such as this. All you have to do is sign up for, and then, before you PURCHASE something, go to, sign in and then go to the store you were going to purchase something from. You get money back, and it's as easy as that. You can click on the link on my left side back to see all they have to offer at various sites. AND, if that's not cool enough, go to MSM to read about $10 free for a purchase of $10 at oriental trading. And guess what, you get cash back from big crumbs on that as well!

Dinner last night

Ok, so I admit, I had planned on making a crock pot lasagna, and had pulled the meat out the thaw the night before, but it was still mostly frozen, and I kept forgetting to put it in the crock pot (it only takes 5 hours to cook, so I could put it in as late as noon). So I just made something up last night. I had meant to make a big pot of brown rice anyways (I'm trying to get more whole grains into our diet--I mean we already eat a lot--but rice is so easy and goes with everything), because it freezes so well. And, it takes so LONG to cook (brown rice takes 45-60 minutes!). So I boiled 4 cups chicken stock and 1 cup of water (usually I use all stock, but didn't want to open another can for only half of it) and a pinch of salt, and then added 2 cups of brown rice and let it cook for 50 minutes. It made a LOT. We ate it under the following recipe....probably a cups worth between Eric, Cara and I. Then I froze a 2 cup portion for the future, and left about 3 cups worth in the fridge for meals this week. I like to heat up a tortilla with some cheese, rice and veggies or leftover chicken for lunches, so now I have it readily available.

For the 'main' course (although it has no meat in it--some of my friends husbands just won't go for meatless dinners, but I've gotten Eric to eat them once or twice a week--sometimes--as long as it's hearty like tonights was) (oh, and he doesn't have to cook them) I made Cheesy Potato soup. I got the recipe off someone's I wish I had that link still. Here's the recipe:
Cheesy Potato Soup
· 5 cups diced potatoes (I used about 4 cups--4 small red potatoes)
· water (to cover veggies)
· 3/4 cup diced celery -I didn't measure this or the carrots..just diced some up
· 3/4 cup diced carrots
· 1/2 chopped medium onion
· 1 t. parsley flakes -- again, didn't mean, sure dumped some in
· salt and pepper to taste
· 1 can cream of chicken soup
· 3 (or more if you like it thinner) cups milk -- I didn't measure this, I KNOW I didn't use 3 cups because we were almost out
· 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese -- or any cheese will do, we used Mild cheddar
Cook potatoes, water, celery, carrots, onion, salt and pepper until done (I let mine cook long because I got on the phone and forgot about them! probably abou 25-30 minutes). Drain off water. Add chicken soup, milk and cheese. Cook until cheese is melted.
Optional: (and by optional, I mean you really should try one or more of these!) garlic, ham or bacon may be added.

So we spooned some rice in a bowl, added the soup and ATE IT UP! It was so yummy!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baking Day

So, today Cara is at school, and I really wanted to get a lot of baking done. Since I'm trying to use what I have, and not go to the grocery store between now and 2/1/09, I didn't need to go shopping today. I did look around last night and find some good recipes to try, and they are both super yummy! I made a batch of pumpkin muffins (I left out the butterscotch chips because I didn't have them) and they are YUMMY. I made 12 normal muffins and 12 mini muffins. I ate 1, left a few out for this weeks breakfasts/snacks and froze about 2/3 of them. I love having good for you homemade breakfasts in the freezer. It's just as easy to grab them (let thaw the night before) then to grab something out of the pantry that's full of hydrogenated oils (i.e. trans fat that your body can't break down). I altered the recipe by using 1 cup whole wheat flour and 3/4 cups white flour.

I also used's whole wheat waffle recipe and made a double batch. That waffle maker I got for my wedding 7.5 years ago is finally getting a workout ;). I'm freezing them as well. I'll post tonight's dinner later tonight.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Who doesn't want more? Who's tired of eating the same meals? I read in a book recently that most American families eat the same 5-7 meals each MONTH! No wonder we as a culture eat out (unhealthy) so often! So, I've been doing 14 day meal plans, and pulling new, EASY recipes from old cookbooks, friends emails, etc. I've also been trying to use up what's in my pantry before trucking out to the store, trying to save money. So, anyways, my plan is to post my recipes/dinners for the next few weeks. I wanted to start with last nights meal, because it has quickly become a new family favorite. It's quick, easy and YUMMY. I'd post tonight's meal, but I DIDN'T cook! :) My in-laws made a yummy stuffed bell peppers, green beans and mashed potatoes, and I LOVED it. And even better, they sent home leftovers for Eric's lunch tomorrow, YEA!

Ok, here's the Beefy Taco Soup recipe I got off Dine Without Whine . com. Read below to see what I did each time (I've never actually made the actual recipe).

Makes 4 servings (this can be stretched to 6)
1 pound ground beef, browned
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans rinsed and drained
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
Stir ingredients together; pour into crock pot. Heat on low setting for 6-8 hours; stir occasinally. Add water to thin consistency as desired (I usually add a cup of water every hour or more when I stir).

Ok, so I have yet to make this with beef. I usually use a serving size of shredded cooked chicken out of the freezer from my previous crock pot chicken. You can also substitute any tomatoes for the stewed tomatoes. I've used rotel and crushed tomatoes as well. Ialso forgot to mention, I rarely use mixes, like the taco seasoning mix. If you look at the ingredients, you can usualy figure it out. But for any mexican dish, I usually throw in: Ground cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder :)


Hi guys!

Just wanted to remind everyone that if you haven't already signed up for swagbucks, please go do it. Use it every time you'd normally use google, and win swagbucks. Just wanted to clarify, you won't win with every search, but they definitely add up. AND, please, if you have a blog, or lots of contacts via email, invite them using your own referral code. I have about 12 friends signed up from mine, and I've already been able to cash in 2 $5 e-gift cards. I'm saving up for a bread machine, YUMMMM! Each swagbuck your friends/referrals earn, you earn too (for their first 100).

If you think, that Misty, she has too many ideas, where do I even start??? My first 2 things I'd do are Swagbucks and YouData. They are super easy ways to get free money, and who couldn't use that?

Our little 3 month old man!

So...I've gotten many requests to actually post about my children on the blog. I know, it's been while! I stil love them beyond words. We have been blessed with great sleepers, a very loving big sister, and a very smiley little brother. Today our Micah Man is 3 months old! We can already see how big he is compared to his newborn photos. He's probably close to 15 pounds if not more now. He's SUPER long. He's been in 3-6 month clothes sine he was about 7 weeks old. He's already too long for a few outfits now! He LOVES his daddy, Eric can make him smile in the blink of an eye. We have both got a few giggles from him. He is just so laid back and calm. He usually eats between 7 and 8 in the evening and then goes to bed. Most nights he sleeps until after 6 before his next feeding. Sometimes we have to go in once or twice to put the pacifier back in, but not every night. I think I have so much time to blog because he is such a good sleeper (and napper). Everyone thinks I'm crazy, I just think I'm blessed beyond I ever imagined it! We are off to spend the afternoon at Eric's parents house. See you soon!

$15 CVS gift card giveaway

I found the link to this giveaway tonight. Please go link up to her and enter to win, who couldn't use a shot at $15 free!

Friday, January 23, 2009

6 Free Valentine's cards

I was so happy when I found this on my favorite blog, Money Saving Methods. Click here to make your 6 free cards, and this includes free SHIPPING! Use code Valentine when you check out. Enjoy!

Free money!

I thought that might get your attention. I've learned online from Bargain Banana about a service called YouData. You can see the login at the very bottom of my blog page. It is an ad site that lets you get to pick and choose what ads YOU want to see, and pay attention to, and they pay YOU for it! You make a 'MeFile' and then every day or so, you can sign in at the bottom of my blogs, and see what ads they have compiled based on the information you gave in your me-file. You only have to give them as much information as you are comfortable with but obviously, the more you give them, the more ads you get to make money off of. It's a VERY quick and easy sign up, and if you have a blog, you can also put the YouData login on it, and if someone signs in to check their daily ads on your site, you get a small commission. They pay you (via paypal) every Friday, and I've already made over $5 (in just a couple of days). Some of their target audiences are females, and texans, so if you are one of my in-real-life friends---there are lots of ads for you. Eric also signed up, and since he's male, he has had less ad offers, but he's over $3 now! Hey, it's $8 we didn't have before we signed up and spent a couple minutes there.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cheap Cheese!

Cara and Eric had Dad's Night at her preschool tonight, so I made a quick run to Kroger with my little man. I wanted to go the rest of the month without going, but I was totally out of cheese, which I needed for quite a few recipes. Plus, I needed some frozen spinach. Anyways, I jumped on a couple of my blogs I check about Kroger deals, and found that Kroger is having a big sale on cheese. You can read about it here. Well, I thought in my head, at least I'll get the cheese for $1.49 instead of $3.99. I didn't want to order coupons on ebay, I didn't want to wait. Anyways, I go to Kroger, and they have one of those coupon dispensers right in front of the cheese for $.75 off 2% kraft cheese. I sat there and took 10 coupons, so I got 3 packs of slice cheese and 7 block cheeses for $7.50 total! I froze most of it, but I also had a little tonight! I think this promotion is going on for 2 weeks, so don't wait!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My weekly earnings

My goal is to try to accomplish something each week for my family, to add to our earnings, or savings. I'm not going to go into detail on the savings, because I posted about most of those, but I'm going to let you know how I made some money.

I made Eric, Cara and Micah each $45 (so a total of $135!). I already had an (old) sharebuilder account, but Sharebuilder is currently offering $50 sign up bonus for each new account. And each person counts in a family! Read here about the current offer from MSM. There was also a new code online at sharebuilder's own website! You can easily set up a one time trade of $5 (that's why I only made $45 net-you have to do one investment to get the $50 in 4 weeks--which you can then take out or invest again).

Also, my $500 visa gift card will be in my hands in 4 weeks. I mentioned this to a few friends, and they all thought I was crazy, but I did it anyways! Click here to read about MSM's online offers (she basically has a tutorial for in general, and then for each specific parent company). I did an I-deal, and spent $40.62. You have to pay to order a few products, and have to pay to ship some back, but I still made a net profit of $459.38 for maybe 3 hours work. My advice is to have a good 1.5-2 hours to sit down and go through MSM's steps exactly and do the sign ups. After that is a waiting and cancelling game. It may take another 1-1.5 hours total to cancel all you need to cancel and ship back the few products, but it is well worth it. If you don't believe me, I will post a picture when I receive the gift card!! :)

SewCrafty Houston!

My friend just sent me this link. I know I have some friends out there who want to learn to do crafty things, and this might be the place to do it! :) Anyways, just wanted to pass the link along in case you were interested:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Celebrity and weight loss!

I feel like a celebrity commented on my blog!! haha! MckMama herself actually commented on my cutie in the same outfit as her cutie. See the post and comment here. Thanks MckMama, you made my day!!!

On another note, we had our 3rd weigh-in tonight (so 2 weeks of trying). I lost 3 pounds this week for a total of 7 pounds!! WOO HOO! I know it always goes faster in the beginning, and I'm sure I'll hit a plateau, like I always do, but I'm very excited! Now if I can just get the working out to be more consistent. I had my last coke last Thursday (that I'm counting---shhhh Trayce!)! I'm allowig myself to have one a week, so not depriving, but now, throughout the day, whenever I'm craving one, I just fill up my water cup. I guess it's working!

FREE swagbucks

Search & Win

If you haven't already signed up with Swagbucks, click on the banner above or click here.

Once you are registered, click on the big number on the right that says how many Swagbucks you have. Then, in the blank that says "Have a swagcode?" enter BeRewarded

And tell your friends to sign up, for every time they win, you win to, up to 100 bucks per refered friend. Thanks to Carrie at MSM for finding the code.

Inauguration Day

Hello all! I just watched the swearing in of VP Biden and President Obama on CBS. And it brought tears to my eyes. Not sad tears, not happy tears--I don't want to make this political--and I don't want hundreds of comments of how you voted--but hopeful. And SOOOO PROUD and honored that God planted my family in this amazing country. We get to voice our opinions through voting, we get change every 4-8 years. We get to legally and openly pray for our leaders. We get to gather and worship our Jesus without penalty of death. We get to know that God is with and CHOSE the leaders of this great country and our world, whether they agree with our views or not. Whether they acknowledge the real King or not, He is with them. That makes me happy and truly thankful!

Monday, January 19, 2009

If you live in Katy, go to Lifeway and Target!

I went to Lifeway today to pick up our book for our small group's bible study this semester. I was told the book was $21.95 or something. But, as part of my newfound frugality (ok, those that know me know that I've always been cheap!), I went straight to the clearance section. They had NICE christmas cards, 18 in a pack with lined envelopes and sweet sayings and appropriate bible verses! They were 90% off = 18 cards for 99 cents! I got 6 boxes, and now all I have to do for next year is stick our picture in there! They also had gift boxes for christmas snickerdoodle cookies (among others) for $.79. So I got a few of those, and then I went to the front to get my book. When I got up there, they said, "you got some great deals, and now, your book is 50% off!" So I spent $25 for about 10 things AND my book, all for what I thought I'd pay for my book. WOO HOO.

Also, I've read on others blogs that Target has put out all the extra toys that they ordered for Christmas and didn't sell for 75% off clearance. So today, while Eric was mowing the yard (yea!), the kids and I went to Target. I went straight to the clearance section, but it was only marked 30% off. But I started looking through the toys, and some were marked down 75% (not all). I asked a guy working there, and he said that some were 75%, and some were 30%. Since I had made my list of gifts I need for the whole year, thanks to this post by MoneySavingMethods, I knew who I needed to buy for, and who was coming up soon. I also checked the clearance section for the baby clothes and got Cara some pants for next year and Micah 3 sets of 3 piece jammies and a cute onsie in sizes 12, 18 and 24 months. So I got $179.86 worth of merchandise for $53.36---a total savings of 70%! Eric says, why'd you spend $53? And some people are right there with him, I'm actually SPENDING money, not saving it. But I just don't see it that way. I'd have to buy these birthday/christmas gifts anyways. And I can get them for 70% off now, verses pay 100% later. I actually got 2 birthday presents for family/friend's kids in February that I had budgeted $50 for. Now, I don't have that $50 in the budget for February anymore, I can put that straight to savings. AND, I got a whole bunch of other gifts/clothes, for only $3 more than my feb gift budget!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Meal Planning

Hi! Just a quick post. One way I try to save time (and time is money, right?) is by meal planning, batch cooking and freezer cooking (sometimes). I always cook big batches of chicken, which I've posted on earlier, and I usually split them into portions so I can just defrost and add to recipes. I ALWAY search the web for new recipes, we have our tried and true, but they get boring! Anyways, this is a blog I read on occasion, and she just recently posted 30 meals, some with links to recipes. I thought my blog readers might like to get some ideas from here. Here is the link to the Happy Housewive.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Superbowl Giveaway

First, gotta say, don't you just love that picture of Micah?? He's just too cute! :) Ok, onto the giveaway. One of the blogs I subscribe to is I LOVE it and, right now she's giving away a big superbowl pack! Click here to go read about it on her blog and enter. If everyone from NewGround enters, we may have a chance to win! :) haha.

Friday, January 16, 2009

HELP, who knows how to fix a laptop?

Ok, I was STUPID (bad word Cara!) and pulled the T key off of my laptop when something got under it. I was thinking, it's just like normal keyboards and it pops right off. I was wrong. As you can tell, it is still functional, but SUPER annoying. Does anyone know how to fix it, or of a place that can for cheap???


You know I love her blog, and I feel like I know her. Well, when I put this outfit on Micah the other day for the first time, I thought, she'd love this, it's bright and colorful! Guess what she posted little Stellan wearing yesterday? You guessed it! Click here to see her little man (just a few days younger than Micah) in the same outfit! Will post pic soon when I find it! :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

*NEW* Blog

Well, as you can tell, I'm transitioning this blog. I finally got the Merry Christmas border down. I want to be helpful to all my friends who read this blog (and man, are there more of you than I ever thought there was--I've received emails with questions, comments, referrals on sites I've suggested!!), and help people save money. When Eric and I were being "gazelle intense" in our Total Money Makeover, people thought we were crazy. We sold both cars and a house, but we are (almost) financially free!! Now with 2 kids, we want them to be able to go and do as we did when we were young. We want to provide everything (within reason) for them that we want them to have (however we don't believe in complete extravagance just for the sake of spending money). And I figure, since I'm searching online (using swagbucks) all the time, reading up on how people save money in their own lives, that I might as well share the information. I want to be a good steward with my money and help others do the same.

One thing I've got a LOT of questions over is our grocery budget. I did want to mention some things about it.
1) Sometimes I go over, I'm not perfect. Like this month, I budgeted a little more so that we could start stockpiling, in hopes that we will spend less later. I think with the amount of rebates and coupons I'm getting, this will be the case. Plus, we have enough toothpaste, deoderant, etc to last us months now, so I will only be buying that when it's pennies now!
2) I don't buy ground beef, or beef in general. My step-dad is a hunter, and my parents share their venison with us. They give us ground beef, round steak, etc, so I NEVER buy red meat.
3) I have now started only buying chicken when the split breasts are on sale for $.99/lb. This grosses me out (ask Eric, I still make him cut the skin and bones off), but it's a TOTAL money saver. And one way I make my chicken last...
4) About once a week or two, whenever I get a good haul in chicken on sale, I throw all of it in the crock pot with a little salt, pepper, and a few dashes of reduced sodium soy sauce, for flavor, and let it cook on low. From 4-8 hours depending on how much chicken I have. Then I transfer it to tupperware and put it in the fridge until the next morning (and save the broth! This is a new thing I'm trying.). Once the chicken is cooled, I cube it/shred it and put it in plastic baggies and put those smaller baggies in a large Freezer bag. I put it in about how much a recipe will call for. Another way I make it last, I NEVER put in the full amount it calls for. Sometimes I reduce by as much as half. I'll throw in other forms of protein (black beans are a fave way to up the protein in a mexican dish), and my family never notices.
5) We used to buy organic EVERYTHING. Now we've scaled back. I still buy organic milk, and try to buy organic canned items if they are within $.10-$.20 of the non-organic variety (like canned beans!). I buy organic apples and berries when they are on sale. I always buy organic yogurt (large cans, I portion it for her and less waste for the environment....although I recycle it)anyways, but I found a website where you can make your own (I have actually seen it on MANY sites) and really want to try it. We usually don't buy sodas/lots of extras (like chips, etc although this month was a fluke and Eric is totally excited, haha.
6) I bake from scratch a LOT. I've started making my own bread. I found this AWESOME website that has a lot of stuff from scratch. Can anyone say cream of _____ soups, for cheap and in bulk! :)

Ok, that's it for tonight. More to come.

Eat Better America Free Coupon book!

Click here and get a $10 coupon book and healthful recipes! Thanks to for posting!

Hey, has anyone heard of this? Someone mentioned it to me, for saving your computer hard drive. It's $50/year and you never have to do anything, they encrypt all the data on your hard drive and save it in case of failure. Has anyone used something like this? Do you think it's worth it? Leave comments please!!

Free Suave today only!

Don't forget to go here to get your free suave coupon. It's today only!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I just found out about swagbucks. Forget about using google to search the web. Why not use swagbucks and actually make some money doing it? You can read all about it here. If you sign up, please click here from my blog so that I get the referral. Then you can start referring your friends!!

More Fun Frugal Finds!

Ok, so today Cara is at preschool, and I stayed up WAYYYYY too late last night planning out my morning with Micah and our coupons ;). I didn't waste all that time trying to figure out where to go and what to buy, I was mostly reading old blogs, getting ideas on what else I can do, besides saving money on groceries, to help support our family from home. This was an unusual trip planned, because I only want to go to Kroger (and CVS to get free money like last night). I do not want to be going to 10 stores to save a few bucks. However, since I am beginning my stock-piling, I wanted to hit a few good deals that were about to expire, and make some money in return. Plus, if you know where I live, the 3 stores I went to (Kroger, Randalls and Walgreens) are within 5 miles of my house. So, maybe I spent $1 on gas....wait till you see what I saved!! Oh, and no, we try not to drink soft drinks except maybe a few times a week, in our house (especially now that I'm trying to lose weight). But we do have a fridge in the garage that is mostly empty (except the freezer), and we host gatherings quite often with friends and family. I want to be able to offer them drinks besides milk and water (which, if you ask my parents, my in-laws, maybe Sterling or the Whites, this has DEFINITELY been the case on more than one occasion!). So that is why I stocked up on cokes and juice!

5 12 packs of Pepsi products
1 4 pack of TP
1 bag of Baked Lays
1 box of Kleenex
2 cans of Lysol Disinecting wipes
2 Windex cleaners
2 mens deoderants
1 womens deoderants
1 Aquafresh toothpast
5 Juicy Juices
1 bag Iams dog food
1 Johnsons buddy bar
1 refill Swiffer dusters (I was totally out and this was FREE)
2 Quaker quick cooking oats
1 clearance 3 pack of huggies wipes (usually $6.59, got for $1.49, and since we use cloth wipes, I'm going to donate these to the pregnancy help center--this was an awesome find, I just happened to walk by the clearance table and they had 3 packs for $2.49--plus I had a $.50 coupon for huggies that I could double!)
Total paid OOP (out of pocket): $51.21 (a little more than I wanted to spend)
Total value of products received: $114.19 - Savings of 55%!!

Plus, on top of saving all this money up front, I have qualified for two rebates. Frito-Lay and Pepsi are having a rebate that you can read about here. That's also why I stocked up on Pepsi (and the entire reason for buying the chips. I had already purchased 2 other bags for recipes, so I only needed one). So, I'll get $15 in more coupons for doing that (and these 2 companies RARELY give out coupons). And PG&E has a rebate going on that you can read about here. I almost didn't participate in this because I didn't want to spend $25 more. However, then I remembered Iams is on the list. And my dogs are always needing to eat. I had already spent $19.99 (minus a $2 coupon) earlier this month on the monthly bag I buy, plus some money on Puffs and Cottonelle. So, I went ahead and bought next months bag, with a coupon, and the swiffer dusters (which were free with the buy $25 in PGE products, get $5 free instantly that's going on at Kroger right now) and now I have enough receipts and UPC codes to get $120 in more coupons! Plus, I really only spent $40 on PGE, because I got 2 $5 off instantly at the register this month. Spend $40 - get $120....sounds like a plan to me. Plus, I don't have to buy dog food next month, so that's an extra $18-20 not coming out of next months grocery bill.

On another note, when I spoke about my goals in an earlier post, I mentioned saving money, but did not get specific. How can you tell you reached a goal if you are not specific? So after reading online, and thinking about it, my goals are these:

1. Get grocery budget down to $150/month by December 2009. Currently it's at $250 a month, sometimes we hit it, sometime we go over. I hope now that I'm using coupons and stockpiling, we won't go over at all this year, and hopefully will go DOWN. Our grocery budget includes all food, dog food, diapers (we cloth diaper, so I only buy a small pack of disposables for church), cosmetics, toiletries (soap, TP, pads, deoderants, etc), etc. Dave Ramsey has all that broken out in his budget (in the Total Money Makeover book), but we have always lumped it together.

2. Earn $500 for the year in different online deals, ebates, bank offers, etc. I am already on my way to earning a $500 visa gift card, which I read about here. This will meet my quota, but in case that doesn't come through, I have other plans to do things to add to our families financial goals.

Ok, we are having friends over tonight, gotta get to cleaning that house before little man wakes up!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Frugal Misty!

Ok, I've totally become obsessed with finding deals/coupon bargaining. I never knew so much was out there in the blogosphere! Here are some blogs/sites that I just love to check:

Bargain Banana and click here to see her awesome goal for Jan 2009

Mommy Snacks

Money Saving Mom

Money Saving Methods

The Coupon Game

In Good Cents

To learn TONS about how to go "CVS'ing", please click here. This was what I wanted to 'try' first, so I went tonight. They were out of some of the monthly products that I have good coupons for, so I could have gotten a lot more (but I did get rain checks). But, I did want to give you an idea of what kind of deals you can get. And remember, I'm totally new at this (first time ever)!

This pictures includes the following: 2 Nasogel Drip Free nasal sprays, 2 bags of M&Ms (for Eric--not me, I'm trying to lose weight!), 2 tubes of Colgate Total Advance Whitening, 1 pack of Kotex large pads with wings, 1 pack of kotex pantiliners, 2 packs of fiber one cereal bars, 2 boxes of band aids and some SPF 30 sunblock. I got all of this for $10.80 AND I have $4 left in ECB, and another $3 off CVS brand items. So technically I only paid $6.80. That's less than what the Fiber One bars cost! Here's how I did it:
Transaction 1
Nasal Spray: $7.99 - $2 coupon, $7.99 ECB rewarded
BandAids and sunscreen: were on a 75% off clearance shelf. We are TOTALLY out of bandaids! So they marked down to under $3 for all three of them, and then I used a $3 off CVS brands coupon you can see how to print here.
Total paid: $6.05 OOP, ECB earned $7.99
Transaction 2
Nasal Spray: $7.99 - $2 coupon above, $7.99 ECB rewarded
Colgate $7.99 - $1.50 IPQ, search for it, 2 ECB rewarded
Total paid: used $7.99 ECB from #1 and paid $4.49 OOP
Transaction 3
Kotex: $4.99 - $1 coupon in 1/11 paper, $2, ECB awarded
Fiber One Bars: $6.99 - $1 IPQ (internet printable coupon, check those sites above you'll find it), $3 ECB awarded
Total Paid: $7.99 ECB from transaction #2 plus $.27 OOP
Transaction 4
M&M: 2 for $5, $2 ECB rewarded
Total Paid: $0 OOP, $2 ECB from #2 adn $3 ECB from #3.
FUN :)

Some more freebies I found:
Go Here to find out how to get a free photo book, who doesn't love those??
Go here on the 14th to get a free bottle of suave!

There are tons more, just go to all those blogs above.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Stop coming to my door and knocking and/or ringing my doorbell. I do not want to be a jehovah's witness. I already believe in the ALMIGHTY God. I do not want to buy something from you, and if you have a spray bottle of something in your hand, you can FOR SURE know that I am not going to open the door. You make my 2 dogs bark and my 2 babies cry. Oh, and you make my curtain fall down when I pull it over to see who you are. I'm very sick of you today, since there have been TWO of you show up. GO AWAY.

For friends of mine that are reading this, this is obviously towards those random people who ring your doorbell in the middle of the day (that are not UPS). UGH. Is it sad that I don't even open the door, I yell "Go away, I don't want to talk to you" through the window. They get the picture. :) Sorry I had to get that off my chest!

PS, I will change my blog layout, but tcbotb is down right now. Hopefully the site will be up tonight while 'guys night' is happening and the kids are in bed so I can get it done :)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

2009 - already day 8??

So, I haven't posted much lately. I've been busy. I'm one of those people who doesn't tell anyone else their goals, just in case I fail. Well, I figure, I need to put them out there, so it'll help keep me accountable. So, here are some goals for my 2009:

1. Read through the bible. I didn't actually start until today, but I'm almost caught up. It's amazing what you get done when nursing your son on the couch when you don't turn the tv on for 10 minutes, and instead spend time in God's word. I'm also starting Beth Moore's new Esther bible study next Thursday at church.

2. Lose 48 pounds. Random number, I know, but how I see it is that it's average/healthy to lose 1 pound a week. I'm aiming for 4 a month, just so I give myself a little room for wiggle. Plus, if when I hit my goal, I will be exactly where I need to be healthwise, and hopefully it'll lower my cholesterol to boot! I want to do it slowly, because I'm nursing, and because I want to do it by becoming more healthy. I'm not into the depriving business. It hasn't worked for me in the past. So, I'm cooking 13 out of 14 days, trying new, healthy recipes (more on that to come), making more from scratch. I'm drinking even more water (those that know me say "HOW?!?!", but it is happening), and focusing on changing my mindset. I heard this on KSBJ today, not focusing/saying "I'm so hungry!!" but saying "Wow, this is my body adjusting to less food, I'm losing weight!" I have a great group of girlfriends that are doing this with me. We are weighing in together weekly at my house and sharing what worked and what didn't.

I also found (thanks val) this AMAZING website: You can put in what you weigh now, what you want to weigh, and a goal date and it'll tell you how many calories per day you should eat, and how many activity calories you should burn. I just keep it up on my screen, and whenever I eat something, I log it in my food log. I input my recipes, and it calculates the nutrition facts for homemade items! It also has an activity log, and carrying an infant is included!! :)

3. Focus on saving money/spending less. I gave up on couponing a few 8 months ago, because by cooking a lot of things from scratch, and buying a LOT of produce, I felt like it was wasting time. A lot of the stuff grocery coupons save you money on are cream soups, and sugary cereals, etc that we don't eat anyways. But I've found quite a few blogs of money saving mommies that are also health conscience, so I'm putting a few things into practice that they are gracious enough to share. I'm also only shopping every 2 weeks. I make a 14 day meal plan, thus less trips to the store, thus less money spent (hopefully!). It's worked wonders this week. I always know what's for dinner the next night, and thaw accordingly. I also saved over $48 on my grocery bill!! I foresee having to restock fruits/veggies possibly more than every 2 weeks, but will hopefully be minimal (and even more hopefully...done by Eric on his way home) :).

We were doing great with our Total Money Makeover: budgeting everything, using the envelope system, which we still do. It just seems we've been off our game lately, and going over a few months in a row (thus lowering our emergency fund). I know we've been spending more freely on things we want vs. need, and that has hurt us too.

4. Recyle more. We've been recycling paper, plastic and metals for about 4 months now (paper longer). Whenever I'm making recipes that have a glass jar in it, I know I need to recycle it, but don't know where I can. Eric is also bad about throwing away cans, so I need to get on him more ;). I really want to start a compost (had one a short while last year) and a garden this spring (this was a goal last year, it just didn't happen!).

5. Re-get to know my husband. With 2 kids (although they are both on great schedules!), it's hard to spend lots of time together alone! We try in the evenings, but some days it just doesn't happen, or we get busy doing individual things. I really want to focus on being his "helpmate" (Gen 2:18) and really just loving on him. One way I do this is by cooking. I remember in pre-marital counseling he said one thing he would really would like was coming home to a prepared meal. I was like "UGH, I don't/hate to cook!!" But ever since Cara was born, I have really changed. I enjoy cooking, trying new recipes, providing healthy meals for my family.

6. Focus on teaching my little ones. I want to focus more of our day on learning and bible devotions. I feel like some days I just survive. I know that there will always be those days, but I really want to focus and put forth more effort into teaching them different things, not just letting them 'play' all day (ok, by them, I mostly mean Cara). My focus (and Eric's too lately, he's SUCH a good Daddy) for Cara over the next few months is phonics. She's known all her letters and numbers for almost a year, and I really want to get to the next level. Micah, I want to implement (at 6 months, as I did with Cara) baby signing. It was SUCH an awesome thing Cara picked up on, and allowed her to communicate from 10-20 months before there was much speaking. I knew exactly what she wanted. We are also trying to be more consistent with our family devos (devotions). I think Cara is finally at an age where she can really take things away from fun teachings. She is OBSESSED with singing, and can learn anything when we put it to song.

7. Keep a cleaner house. My house is clutter free a LOT of the time, but I need to do more cleaning! I found and now have a daily checklist, and man is that motivating. I HATE when I miss something. And I've noticed a big difference! Plus, it makes time for scrapbooking/hobbies. Yea!

Ok, that's enough for now, I found a new blog I want to read through, and Eric wants the computer too :)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Jesus is in the closet!

Ok, Cara was just too cute tonight, and as the below was happening, I told Eric, "This is totally going to go on the blog." Is that sad???!?!!

We were reading in Matthew about the Lord's prayer (from her new princess devotional bible, thanks Aunt Bailey!), and how we should pray like Jesus. The devotional also discussed how Jesus' kingdom is in heaven, and in people's hearts. We went over this a LOT, and we had her repeat after us a few verses. Ok, so then, this is the conversation that happened:

E: Where is Jesus' kingdom, Cara?
C: In the closet (hushed chuckles from E and me)
M: No baby, remember what we talked about? Jesus' kingdom is in heaven
C: heaven
M: and people's hearts
C: people's hearts
E: so where is Jesus' kingdom Cara?
C: Jesus is in the closet!

At this point Eric asked me if I put her little people castle she got as gift from Eric's aunt/uncle for Christmas in her closet (sometimes if she plays with things OVER and OVER and they are loud and obnoxious, I put them in the closet--that she can't open--while he's bathing her, and she forgets about them for a week or so until she sees them again, in which I always give them back). I said no, why? He said, well, she thinks the king and queen are Mary and Joseph, so maybe she thinks baby Jesus is in the closet with them!! hahahahaha. I couldn't stop laughing at this point, so the devotion kinda came to a halt. But A+ for trying!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Just wanted to say a quick Happy 2009 to all of my family and friends! We celebrated the year in style, on the couch! :) Cara went down around 8, Micah was up and down eating, etc until like 10:45, but he slept till 7, ate, then slept till 10! We watched a HORRIBLE movie from netflx that we thought was gonna be funny. I also started my very first knitting project. Its a diaper soaker, too cute. I've been wanting to learn, so I taught myself to knit from a website ( and the Knitting for Dummies book. I'm liking it so far, it's really easy to do while watching tv, etc. Anyways, our family hopes your family has a God Blessed and wonderful year.
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