Pages

"Coupons Are Too Much Trouble"

This is what the young woman behind me at Kroger told me today. I smiled back and asked why she thought so. We had a nice little chat while waiting in line. She kept going on and on about how it took loads of time to clip coupons, file them in those little accordion file thingies, then there was remembering you even had them at all, and if you did you probably only actually saved a few cents. Her opinion was that they were just not worth the hassle. Now, I am always sharing my enthusiasm for coupon shopping with others, so I showed her the Couponizer I had with me and how easy it was to use. I also explained that I was skeptical at first, but did really well with my couponing now. It was obvious she doubted me. Then I paid slightly less than $15 for $81.33 in groceries. She asked me to wait while she checked out so she could get my email info and asked if I'd help her get started with coupons. Yes! I love helping people learn to save money. With the rising cost of everything these days, I like to think I am am helping people stretch their budgets. I know if I had not picked up my couponing habit that our family would be struggling to eat well right now. So, for us, coupons are not too much trouble. Coupons are a blessing!

A Letter to CVS and Hershey

Dear CVS & Hershey,

I am going to weigh 500 pounds and it's all your fault! CVS, why do you put candy on sale so good that I cannot pass it up? Hershey, did you have to start producing the oh so addictive Bliss bars? ECBs and chocolate together are just too much for a girl to resist! The bags of Bliss in my deep freeze are calling to me as I write this. Shame on you both!

Sincerely,
A Shopper With a Growing Waistline

PS: CVS, please put Slim Fast on sale soon!

A Must Read - I'm Not Wonder Woman, But God Made Me Wonderful



I absolutely devoured this book over the past few days! I love books that make you think, and this one sure does that. It's also one of those books that makes you feel like the author has been your friend for ages, which I really like. I think all woman have struggled with their roles in life from time to time, so I think this book will touch all women who read it. Reading it really opened my eyes to how I behave and why I do it. At the end of each chapter are questions for you to reflect on and these sure have given my a lot to talk with God about. This is just a great read for every woman and I highly recommend it!

I Beat the Ink!

If you've read my post The Day the Ink Made Mom Insane, you know that we had an ink pen stowaway in the dryer last week. Evidence pointed to it being stashed in a hidden pocket of a pair of cargo pants. After finally getting all the ink out of the dryer I was left with the chore of attempting to salvage the clothes. Naturally, it was a load of the kids school clothes that suffered the inking. I tried a few things I found online like spraying hair spray, Goo Gone, Biz, and Oxy Clean, but nothing seemed to work. After multiple washings I was at my wits end. My very wise grandmother told me to stick the clothes in a trash bag and pop them in the freezer, since I didn't want to dry them a second time, so they would not sour. She was completely confident that I would find a way to rescue the clothes.

So today, I took a bunch of online suggestions and mixed them up. I really had nothing to lose, if the ink stains stayed we just had more play clothes. In a huge stockpot I mixed one cup of Purex 2 color safe bleach powder, one scoop of Sun oxygen cleaner, and 3/4 a scoop of Surf detergent with water. I brought this whole mess to a boil on the stove, then turned to simmer. I then sprayed aerosol hair spray on all the ink spots, then scrubbed with a stiff rag - this alone had not worked the first time around and did not look to be working this time. I then put one piece of clothing at a time in the pot and let simmer about 15 minutes each. It was a long process, but the house smelled great all day. As I took each piece out of the pot, I threw it into the washer and let it soak in cold water with an additional scoop of the Sun oxygen cleaner. After all the clothing had been "cooked" it was all ran through the cold water/Sun washer load again.

I was absolutely amazed at the results! Only one short/shirt set is still stained, a very pale pink set. Everything else looks great! Warning: this did seem to fade the clothes a bit, but I'm honestly not sure if it was this treatment or one of the dozen I tried before this. So, if you are at the last resort stage, this might be a stain treatment to try. It's kind of a long process, but totally worth it! The idea of clothes in great shape being ruined forever was really bothering me.

Good Deal Alert: Bush's Grillin' Beans

Just wanted to let you know that I picked up some new Bush's Grillin' Beans, 22oz cans, for a quarter each after coupon at my local Walmart Supercenter. Not a bad price at all. You might want to check it out. They were priced $1.25, and the coupon was for $1 off.

Also, they had Iams Puppy Biscuits clearanced for $1 a box.

Just wanted to share the good deals!

Menu Plan Monday

Click the pic to check out all the yummy menu plans over at Organizing Junkie.

This week I'm trying some new and some family favorites.

Monday: Extreme Low Fat Sweet-And-Sour Skillet Chicken for some reason I've been craving sweet & sour chicken. I found this recipe and it sounded so much healthier than the fried chicken version I had in mind, so I decided to give it a try.

Tuesday: Brisket Sandwiches, Potato Salad, Beans

Wednesday: Cheese Enchiladas W/Sour Cream Sauce I am on a mission to make enchiladas that are as good as or better than those served at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I may be doing a lot of experimenting in the next few weeks. I think I'll make Spanish rice and refried beans as sides.

Thursday: Blender Quiche This will most likely be made with Swiss cheese, some bacon, shredded smoked chicken, onions, jalapenos, and spinach. I love this recipe! It is so versatile and that makes it an old stand by in my kitchen.

Friday: Bandito Chili Dogs Another family favorite!

Saturday: Crock Pot Honey-Mustard Pot Roast This is a new one. If you've been following my meal plan, you have probably guessed that my freezer has been pretty well stocked with roast for awhile now. I am actually getting quite tired of pot roast, so this sounded different and yummy.

Sunday: BBQ chicken, twice baked potatoes, tossed salad, rolls

Funtier Days Cook Off - Our Weekend

On Saturday, DD and I joined our guys in Santa Anna where they'd spent the night while participating in the cook off. It was DH's first competition experience and he placed in the chicken category, so I was quite proud. He and DS seemed to have a really good time.

The library had set up a book sale right across from our cooking site, so the kids and I spent a great deal of time digging for treasures. We spent $5 on 6 bags and a huge box full of books! I was so excited! We should all have plenty to read over the summer. I had not been to a library sale in years, so this was a lot of fun for me. I highly suggest checking these sales out, as we got all sorts of books for literally pennies each!

Sunday was spent at my grandparents house feasting on leftover brisket, ribs, and chicken. We've really been enjoying our weekend visits with the family.

No Mouse, CVS, and Girl Bonding

I recently had to start using DH's computer because mine is acting up so badly. His mouse has been acting weird for months and naturally totally quit within a couple of days of me using it. There is a very funny story about this, which DH is threatening to write up and post about this, but we'll talk about that later. Let's just say I can be a bit of a dingbat and DH bought me a new mouse today.

DH and DS are overnighting in Santa Anna at a cook off, so it's just us girls. While we were trying to decide what to have for dinner, the two of us ran to CVS because we needed milk. I think we did pretty well. Our haul:

2 Glade Air Freshener sprays
1 gallon milk
1 Intuition Razor
2 Aquafresh Extreme Clean toothpastes
1 CVS Non-Drowsy Allergy Relief, 5 ct
1 Twix Bar

Spent $2.07 OOP, not bad considering I would've spent more than that on just the milk!

Then we came home and devoured a spinach Alfredo pizza as a special girls' night treat. Pizza and a free Redbox movie rental have made for a great night. I've loved spending time with Little Miss.

Just a Quick Funny to Share - What Does DH Mean?

Last night DH was reading over my blog. I was thrilled because he honestly doesn't seem that interested most of the time. About ten minutes into it he looks up and asks "What does DH mean? Dumb husband?" I burst out laughing and told him what it meant. My poor sweetie thought I was referring to him as my dumb hubby to the whole world wide web!

Mommyfest Potluck

Here is one of my family's favorite snack foods. They can have a bit of a kick, depending on the peppers. Hope you enjoy!
Last Call Jalapenos AKA Armadillo Eggs
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
2 teaspoons garlic powder
15 large fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced lengthwise
15 slices of bacon, cut in half
Toothpicks

Preheat grill to medium heat. Mix cream cheese, Cajun seasoning and garlic powder together. Fill each jalapeno half with cream cheese mixture. Wrap stuffed jalapeno with bacon slice and secure with toothpick. Place on grill and cook until bacon is done, about 10 minutes. Remove toothpicks before serving.
Makes 30 appetizers
This came from The Cook Like A Man Cookbook, which was put out by the Marlboro company a few years back. It just showed up in the mail one day.

Five Things About This Mom MeMe

This sounded like a fun thing to do. I just hope I can think of five interesting things about me, lol.

1. I LOVE to cook. Trying new recipes is one of my favorite things. I can already tell this is something I am passing down to my kiddos, which makes me very happy.

2. House work is not my thing. It seems that lots of people think that all SAHMs are like June Cleaver, but that is sure not the case around here. Thank goodness for Flylady; she helps my house stay straightened out.

3. I am a closet gamer. My game of choice is Sims 2 on my pc. I really like it. A lot.

4. At any given moment there is a stack of coupon inserts sitting on my desk that need clipping and filing. They all get done eventually, but I need to be more organized.

5. The tv character I drool over is House M.D. (Hugh Laurie) His eyes make me weak in the knees!

There you have it! Maybe they aren't very interesting facts, but they are some of the lesser known things about me.

Mommyfest 2008 Blog Party Introduction

I hate that I'm just now getting to this party! For those who don't know what I'm talking about click the button on my left sidebar and check out all the fun for all us moms!

Now for the introduction part. I am Nessa, a 29yo SAHM of a son, 11 and daughter, 8. We live in west central TX on a lake that my dh loves to fish. I started blogging because I am passionate about living frugally and I wanted to share what I've learned with others. But, my blog is not limited to frugal living tips, I blog about kids, food, life, love, marriage, pretty much anything that pops into my head. I love the idea of Mommyfest because I love making new Mommy friends. So, thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll come back again.

Bartering

This is such a simple thing, I cannot believe I never thought of it before. I was on the phone with a friend who lives on the West coast and we were talking about coupons, deals, the rising cost of everything, all that fun stuff. I made the comment "If only I could feed us on toothpaste and shampoo, we'd have it made." She immediately replied "Why don't you barter some of the things from your stockpile?' Now that's a good question. Frankly I'd never even considered it. So, finding someone to barter with became my mission. Then, I came across a message in an email group I belong to from someone want to sell or barter for farm fresh eggs! God is so awesome! So, I met a wonderful little lady named Lila, who gave me two dozen eggs for atube of Colgate and a bottle of Dove shampoo. Both of us were just delighted! My new goal is to find other people to barter with and to see if there is a formal bartering network around here. So, bartering is something you might want to consider doing. It worked for me!

I'd love to hear from any of you that barter regularly. Do you belong to a formal bartering group? Please share any bartering input or stories.


The Day The Ink Made Mom Crazy

My kids are responsible for sorting their laundry and cleaning out all their pockets. Sometimes my ds does his own wash but it's rare. Anyway, it seems one of my kiddos missed a black pen that was hidden an inner hidden pocket of a pair of cargo shorts. I know accidents happen, I missed it myself, but boy has it caused a mess. The pen wasn't discovered until the clothes came out of the dryer last night. I finally got the inside of the dryer cleaned up using fingernail polish remove diluted with a bit of water and lots of elbow grease. I've spent my entire morning trying to save the clothes. I've tried regular stain remover, hair spray, fingernail polish remover, dishwasher detergent, and soaked them in All and Spray and Wash all night last night. I am out of ideas. Did I mention this was a load of school clothes? Do any of you wise readers have some advice for me? I hate to give up on the kids' "good" clothes; if they were platy clothes a little ink wouldn't bother me. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Click the pic to check out other great kitchen tips over at Tammy's Recipes.

I have two kitchen tips for this week.

First we live on the lake and do quite a bit of fishing. I am not fond of the fishy hands smell, so we keep a tube of toothpaste (thanks to CVS freebies) on the kitchen sink. Washing with toothpaste after washing with soap leaves your hands minty fresh without the fish smell. It works with other strong odors like garlic and onion as well.

Second, try baking muffins in a cake pan. I've recently started doing this and it works great. A double batch works well in a 9x13 cake pan, while a single batch works best in a 9x9. This works great as you can bake a bunch at one time without the hassle of greasing muffin tins. We all love the muffin squares!

Johnny Carino's Copycat Recipes

Chicken Marsala
Chicken Marsala (Photo credit: Sea-Turtle)
I had another reader email me about this, so I am finally posting them. Enjoy!

CHICKEN MARSALA from JOHNNY CARINO'S

BUILD FOR THE LEMON BUTTER
1 Lb. Margarine
2 Lb. Butter
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup White Wine
2 Tsp. Chopped Garlic

Combine these 5 items into a mixing bowl and beat at a medium speed until a smooth consistency in the batter is formed. Once combined, keep refrigerated until needed.

BUILD FOR THE CHICKEN MARSALA
1 Oz. Seasoned Oil
1 Cup Sliced Fresh Mushrooms
1/2 Tsp. Pepper, Salt, Garlic Salt
3 Precooked Breaded Chicken Medallions
10 Oz. Precooked Fettuccine Pasta
3 Oz. Marsala Wine
1/2 Cup Lemon Butter

Into a heated saute pan combine oil, mushrooms, spice mixture, and chicken medallions. Saute those ingredients until well heated and mushrooms begin to darken in color. Add Marsala wine and allow to reduce by 3/4s. Them remove from flame and fold in lemon butter. Serve over a bed of precooked fettuccine pasta.
------
Johnny Carino's Italian Nachos

7 ounces won-ton wrappers (about 1/3 of a medium package)
Canola oil
2/3 cup Asiago Cream Sauce (recipe follows)
1/3 cup ( 3ounces) ground Italian sausage, fully cooked
2 cups (8 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese, divided
use1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup Kalamata black olives, sliced
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1/4 cup banana peppers, sliced

ASIAGO CREAM SAUCE:2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 1/2 cups Asiago cheese, shredded

Separate won-ton wrappers and cut each square in half diagonally to form triangles. Deep-fry wrappers in canola oil until light brown, about 30-45 seconds. Drain on paper towels.

On a large, ovenproof dish, place fried wrappers, curled-side down, in a single layer. Top with Asiago Cream Sauce and cooked sausage. Add half of the mozzarella cheese (1 cup). Layer on the tomatoes, olives, scallions and banana peppers.

Top with remaining mozzarella and broil at 400 to 500 degrees F. until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.

TO MAKE ASIAGO CREAM SAUCE:In a cup, combine cornstarch and water. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in bouillon granules and cornstarch-water mixture. Add Asiago cheese and stir until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Makes 3 cups.

Note: Won-ton wrappers can be found in the produce or freezer sections of your supermarket. Asiago is an Italian cheese similar to Parmesan but has a smoother texture and mellower flavor. It can be found in most grocery stores. Use any leftover cream sauce to top steamed vegetables or a baked potato.
-----
5 MEAT ITALIAN PASTA from JOHNNY CARINO'S

1 Oz. Seasoned Oil
1 Tsp. Chopped Fresh Garlic
1/4 Cup Chopped Italian Sausage
1/8 Cup Diced Ham
1/8 Cup Diced Green Peppers
1/8 Cup Diced Yellow Onions
1/8 Cup Quartered Pepperoni
1/4 Tsp. Salt, Garlic Salt, Pepper
4 Oz. Meat Sauce
8 Oz. Cooked Bowtie Pasta
1/8 Cup Asiago Cheese
1 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese

Into a warm saute pan, combine oil, garlic, sausage, ham, bacon, pepperoni, onions, peppers, saute mixture, saute until onions begin to clear and garlic begins to brown. Add sauce and pasta, toss, and plate. Garnish with parmesan and asiago cheese.
-----
CHICKEN PENNE GORGONZOLA by JOHNNY CARINO'S

BUILD FOR ALFREDO SAUCE
1 Quart Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Whole Milk
Saute heavy cream, milk, and black pepper to a consistent boil. Remove cream mixture from heat and fold in parmesan cheese. Store completed sauce in refrigerator until use.

BUILD FOR CHICKEN PENNE GORGONZOLA
1 Oz. Melted Butter
1 Tsp. Chopped Fresh Garlic
1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms
3 Oz. Chicken
1/2 Tsp. Salt/Pepper/Granulated Garlilc
1 Oz. Heavy Cream
3 Oz. Alfredo Sauce
1/4 Cup Gorgonzola Cheese
10 Oz. Penne Pasta
1/8 Cup Diced Roma Tomatoes

In a heated saute pan, combine butter, garlic, chicken, mushrooms, and spice mixture. Once mushrooms begin to soften and garlic becomes translucent, add heavy cream and gorgonzola cheese. As cheese dissolves into the dish, add Alfredo and penne pasta. Once dish is fully sauteed and combined well, remove from heat and allow to slightly cool to thicken. Top with diced parsley and roma tomatoes.
-----
Johnny Carino's Shrimp Scampi

1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms
1 teaspoon sliced basil
9 Raw Shrimp
1/2 Cup Lemon Butter
1/4 Cup Diced Roma Tomatoes
1 teaspoon Fresh Chopped Garlic
1/4 teaspoon Salt, Pepper, Garlic Salt
1 ounce White Wine
10 ounces of Cooked Angel Hair Pasta
1 teaspoon Grated Parmesan Cheese

Lemon Butter
1 lb. Margarine
2 lb. Butter
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup White Wine
2 teaspoon Chopped Garlic

Combine these 5 items into a mixing bowl and beat at a medium speed until a smooth consistency in the batter is formed. Once combined, keep refrigerated until needed.
Into a warm sauce pan melt 1/8th cup of lemon butter. Combine garlic, mushrooms, shrimp, spice mixture, and basil. As shrimp browns on one side turn over and add white wine to reduce. When shrimp has completed cooking and wine has reduced by 2/3rds add lemon butter and stir until butter is completely melted. Toss in pasta, plate and garnish with tomatoes and parmesan cheese.


Menu Plan Monday

Click the pic below to check out all the other great MPM menus! You might find a yummy new family favorite!We are eating out of the freezer and pantry this week. I am also trying recipes I've never made, so it may be an interesting week! Everything sounds good, so I'm hoping for the best!

Monday: Simple Beef Gravy Supper

Tuesday: Indian Corn
1 lb. ground beef
1 (16oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (12oz) jar taco sauce
Brown meat and onion until done. Drain. Add corn and taco sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream.

Wednesday: Sunshine Casserole

Thursday: Texas Pot Roast

Friday: Frugal Hash

Saturday: The Frugal Gourmet's Sour Cream Meatloaf

Monday Musings: I'm FLYing!

Mondays are my busiest days. Every weekend a small tornado runs through my house and I am left to survey the damage. It amazes me the damage that can take place in 72 hours!

So today I've recommitted myself to the FLY Lady system. For those of you that don't know about FLYing, I urge you to check it out! I have a control journal and everything, but the past months when I was ill I just lost track of my routines. So, today I will begin anew. I am restarting the baby steps and keeping up with the zone missions. The kids bath and bedroom are my focus this week...wish me luck!

Is housework a problem for any of ya'll? What are your household routines and chore schedules like? How do you get the rest of your family to help? I am always curious about how everyone else runs their household. I don't know why, but I am convinced everyone else is like June Cleaver while I am drowning in my mess!

Small Investment Equals a Nice CVS Score

Yesterday evening the whole family and I went to Walmart to pick up a couple of things. I was impressed because for the first time every I used $8 worth of coupons there without the cashier losing her mind over it. Anyway, I grabbed 3 All You magazines for $5.31. Off to CVS we went, armed with the wonderful Free Adidas Action 3 product coupons that were in the magazine.

My $5.31 got me:
3 Adidas deodorants
1 Swiffer starter kit (I've wanted a Swiffer for ages!)
2 tubes of CVS sunblock (sunscreen was the purpose of the whole shopping trip)
1 pkg. Oreo cookies (shopping with dh is never a good idea)
1 pkg. Raisinettes (see above comment)
1 bottle black pepper
2 Johnson's Buddies Bars
2 Colgate 360 toothbrushes
1 pkg. Bic Comfort 3 razors (DH is super picky about razors, he never likes the moneymakers)

This is a monthly ECB deal: Buy one Adidas Action 3 antiperspirant (2.8oz) at $4.99, Get $4.99 ECB --limit of 3 Thanks for the heads up on this coupon Janice! The coupon is located on page 85 of the May 30, 2008 issue (Issue 5) that has a yellow and pink cover.

Not a bad trip. I also picked up some bargains at Kroger, so the day went well. It also reminded me why I NEVER shop with the hubby and kids along.

What I Know NOW About Motherhood

This is such an interesting topic. One could go many different directions with this because you learn lots very quickly once you become a mother. But, the post below is the first thing that I thought of.

What I know now about motherhood is that it is the biggest emotional roller coaster one could ever ride. Not only that, but I didn't know what emotions really were until I became a mom.
Now I know...
I know what joy is..pure joy. It is lots of things, starting with that first little butterfly wing type movement in your belly. Then that amazing moment when you hear the first cry. Joy is the first time you touch the face of your tiny miracle. Later, joy is seeing the look of happiness on the face of your child. I am constantly rediscovering what joy is.

I also now know what real pain is. Who knew that another person's hurt could cut you like a knife? It can and does...be it from a skinned knee or the school bully's constant teasing. Your heart aches when your babies hurt.

Fear is real now too. You feel it when you are waiting for the doctor's office to call you with test results or when you only look away for a moment and your child has vanished. It is an excruciatingly awful feeling, words cannot describe it. I never knew real fear until I held the title of Mama.

The emotions a mom experiences daily can go from one extreme to the other, but no matter what it makes you feel remember it's the most important job you'll ever have.

Check out other moms' talking about what they know now at the Notes From My Nest Mother's Day Blog Bash Giveaway. Lots of good reading, prizes, and fun to be had!



Mother's Day Giveaway Event @ Hip Mama's Place

Hip Mama's Place is a great blog I recently discovered. They are hosting a great Mother's Day Giveaway Event that you should go check out right now! Look around while you're there; it's a fun blog to visit.

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday everyone! My weekend was pretty good, I guess. On Friday my computer crashed and I ended up having to reinstall XP. Thankfully all our pics and important stuff are on DH's computer as well. I'm not at all good with computers, so having a clean harddrive and having to reinstall drivers and things took me forever. We spent Saturday helping my grandparents around the farm. I wish I had taken the camera because they have the cutest calf that's being bottle fed and 9 of the most adorable little puppies! I am a sucker for baby animals. For our anniversary dinner, we ate at Sonic, woo hoo! Sunday, the kids and I visited a church and really enjoyed the morning service. Then we spent a lazy day at home.

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

The Couponizer, I'm Impressed

Recently, Amy Bergin, President of The Couponizer Company, sent me The Couponizer system to try out. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the system is to use and how much information is included with it. Everything you need to get started using coupons comes with it, other than the actual coupons. The system is super easy to use and does a great job of getting you all organized. It has a notepad so you can track your savings, which I really like. And comes with a coupon sorting mat, which makes the whole ordeal of clipping and sorting a lot easier.

I shopped with The Couponizer for a week and was very pleased with it's performance. But, I decided to let a complete coupon beginner try it out, to see how easy it would be for a newbie to use. My mother took it for a week and was also thrilled! I've been trying to teach her how to enjoy the benefits of shopping with coupons for ages, but she said it was too hard to get started. Her first trip out with this system she saw savings. I was so excited!

So, if you are a "coupon newbie" or just haven't found a coupon organization system that you're comfortable with, I urge you to check out The Couponizer. The website explains the system much better than I can and has lots of helpful info on it. I truly wish I'd known about this system when I first started couponing. Not only would it have saved me lots of aggravation as I searched for a system that I liked, but it would have saved me lots of time spent trying to figure out how to best use coupons to my advantage. It is just an all around great system, especially for those just starting out. If I wasn't truly impressed, I wouldn't recommend it. So check it out, it might be just what you've been looking for!