Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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! :)
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.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Dillyeo.com 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!
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 blog...man 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
I also used moneysavingmom.com'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
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 :)
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 amazon.com 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?
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
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!! :)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
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!
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.
Monday, January 19, 2009
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
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
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.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
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
Bargain Banana and click here to see her awesome goal for Jan 2009
Money Saving Mom
Money Saving Methods
The Coupon Game
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:
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
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
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
M&M: 2 for $5, $2 ECB rewarded
Total Paid: $0 OOP, $2 ECB from #2 adn $3 ECB from #3.
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
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
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,
I also found (thanks val) this AMAZING website: caloriecount.about.com 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
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 http://www.motivatedmoms.com/ 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
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
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!