Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Coupon Giveaway -closed winner e-mailed

I am doing a coupon giveaway.  All coupons are manufacturer coupons and are $1 or more off.  Here's the list of coupons with expiration dates. One lucky winner will win all.
  • $1/1 Frosted Mini Wheats, exp. 7/31/09
  • $1/1Fiber One Cereal, exp. 5/31/09
  • $1/1Total Cereal, exp. 5/31/09
  • $1/1Yoplait Fiber One Yogurt Multipacks, exp. 5/31/09
  • $1/8 Yoplait Yogurt cups, exp. 5/31/09
  • $1/1 Cascade Gel or Action Tablets, exp. 9/30/09
  • $1/1 Gillette Fusion Shave Gel or After Shave, exp. 6/30/09
  • $2/1 Gillette Fusion Razor, exp. 6/30/09
  • $1/1 Old Spice Bodywash, exp. 6/30/09
  • $1.50/1 Dove Cream Oil Body Lotion, exp. 7/8/09
  • $1/1 Crest Toothpaste (4.2 oz or larger), exp. 6/30/09
  • $1/1 Febreeze Fabric Refresher, exp. 6/30/09
  • $1/1 Gain detergent, exp. 6/30/09
  • $1/1 Dawn Simple Pleasure, exp. 9/30/09
  • Free Kashi Frozen Entree, exp. 6/30/09
To enter to win all the coupons:
1) Leave comment below with e-mail or blog link to e-mail or send e-mail to
2) Link my giveaway on your blog, twitter or whatever you use -- leave comment to let me know.
3) Subscribe to my blog -- leave a comment letting me know you subscribe.

Winner will be e-mailed on Wednesday, May 6.  Be sure to leave an e-mail address.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's Cookin' - Broccoli and Carrot Saute

This is a great side dish.  It was simple to make and has fabulous flavor.

Broccoli and Carrot Saute
I found this recipe in Prevention Freezer Cookbook: Quick Dishes for and From the Freezer. However I changed the way I cooked it a little.

2 cups broccoli
2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup chopped onions (I used green onions)
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice (I used fresh)
2 Tbsp fresh parsley (I used 2 tsp dried)
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 pepper

1. Heat oil in skillet on medium until shimmering.
2. Put broccoli, carrots and onions in skillet. 
3.  Cook stirring for about 6 - 8 minutes.  
4. Add garlic at the end of cooking to avoid it from burning.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.
5. Vegetables should be crisp when done.  
6.  Turn off heat.  Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Mix well.

For more great recipes, check out The Grocery Cart Challenge!

Look what I made during nap time today

My toddler loves to learn, but colors are not her strong point.  I don't believe in drilling or constant flash cards for kids.  I do believe in making fun games and activities that accidentally teach skills.  By no means should my 20-month old know her colors, but she does know her letters and a few numbers.  So why not encourage more learning.  

I made a color book during nap time today.  I had picked up a small binder a while ago on the clearance rack and finally found good use for it.

Binder any size
10-20 sheets different colored paper
Flower Pattern (found here -- I used the second size)
Laminating paper (or contact paper)
Hole punch
20 pieces of Velcro (or magnet tape)

1. Cut 10 pieces of different colored paper down to size. 
2. Laminate paper.
3. Label color on paper.
4. Punch holes in paper and put in binder.
5. Trace pattern  on 10 pieces of different colored paper to correspond with the paper in the binder. (or you can feed the paper in the printer and copy pattern on paper).
6. Cut pattern out.
7. Laminate pattern.
8. Place velcro on laminated paper in binder and also on pattern. 
9. Put pattern on corresponding paper in binder.

Games to play/Variations
  • Simply have child match pattern to correct color.
  • Mix patterns up in a bag and have child pick one and find correct color in binder.
  • Encourage them to say the words or find a certain color.
  • You can use different shapes.  I made some squares and rectangles with the scraps.
  • On one side of the pattern place the same color or a scrapbook designed paper.  Place all pattern pieces upside down and have the child play a matching game.  Find the pattern, then the correct page.
  • Cut out pictures from magazine with the colors.  Laminate the pictures and have child find corresponding colors. Older kids could find their own pictures.
  • Binder paper and patterns could include stripes, plaid, checkers, etc.  Scrapbook paper would be fun for this.
  • Patterns could change with seasons.  I actually am looking for a good truck pattern.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Placemat Craft

Okay, so this doesn't look like much, but it was a really fun for my toddler.  Recently, my daughter has been doing a lot of coloring.  The other day she made this picture and she told me what each item was.  She has a slight obsession with "twinkle stars" and "airplanes" right now.  So I labeled each item that she told me after she colored the picture.  She also colored both sides.  Then I laminated the picture with clear contact paper and used it as a placemat at her spot at the table for about a week.  She really liked looking at it while she was eating.  I plan on doing this again with her.  It was a lot of fun.  

This would be a fun activity for any age.  You could encourage children to draw items for seasons, holidays, birthdays or any scene they wish. I learned about this while working at a child care center when I was in school.  We did this activity with 3- to 5-year olds.  The nice thing is that if it does get ruined, it's not a costly item.  I also like that art get used, not just tossed.

Organizational Monday

Today is the first day in two weeks that my back finally feels better.  I didn't realize how much I usually do in a day  until this happened.  Thankfully, my husband helped me catch up on laundry and the floors this weekend.  I like to clear my thoughts and write down some things I like to accomplish. 

My hopes for today are to: 
  • File all the clutter piles
  • Work a little more on my meal plans for freezing meals
  • Write up my Menu Plan for May (wow, it's May already!)
  • Upload my photos, put some on a website, upload them to Walgreens
  • Find out if any dress clothes fit me (I tried on a pair of sandals last week and even those were to loose)
  • Decide which of my daughters summer clothes will be play clothes and which will be "good" clothes 
  • Check insurance claims 
I like have a bunch of little easy tasks to do.  I feel more accomplished when I can actually finish the list.  I bet there will be some distractions throughout the day to make it a little difficult to finish. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Egg Fu Young

I made this tonight for my husband, who has been searching desperately for a Chinese Restaurant that makes it as good as a restaurant we used to go to in Minnesota.  I took several ideas from several recipes and tips.  This is what I came up with.  He loved it.  Except I forgot to make rice.  

Egg Fu Young
6 oz bean sprouts
4 green onions
2 oz mushrooms
1 cup cooked chicken, I used leftover chicken from the freezer.
6 eggs
8 Tbsp peanut oil (don't substitute another oil here -- read this)

2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce

1. Make sauce by combining all ingredients.  Bring to boil, stirring constantly.  Let simmer on low.  
2.  I added the chicken to the sauce here.  However you could add a couple extra eggs and add it to the egg mixture. **Too much egg will make this runny and it won't work, too little and it won't form a patty**
3.  Saute onions, bean sprouts, mushrooms in 1 Tbsp peanut oil for about 5 minutes in frying pan.  Just to get them soft.
4.  Put onions, bean sprouts, mushrooms in medium size bowl with eggs.  Beat eggs until just before bubbles appear.
5. Heat oil on medium until shimmering.
6. Use a ladle or 1/4 cup of egg mixture and pour into the oil.  They will form a patty.  
7. Flip patty when browned.  Take out when both sides are browned.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until egg mixture is gone.  
9.  Serve patties with sauce and rice.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rainchecks and Flyers

Yesterday, sore back and all, I made a crazy run to two grocery stores in an attempt to save a little extra money.  One is a Roundy's store and the other is an employee owned store.  It turned out the stores are only 5 minutes apart, so it wasn't too much extra driving time.  I first did all my deals at the expensive Roundy's grocery store.  Except, they didn't have two items that I really wanted.  I remembered that many stores have rainchecks if an item isn't available.  So I got rainchecks for both the whole fryer chicken and for cereal that were a steal this week and sold out.  It's funny, when I asked if they had anymore chicken the butcher said "no" and I had to ask if they still give out rainchecks.  Don't walk away just because what you want is not there.  

I also seem to have a little advantage in my shopping right now.  The ad for the Roundy's store runs Thursday to  Wednesday.  I get the next week's ad on Wednesday.  Wednesday is also double coupon day.  So I can plan two weeks of shopping instead of just one.  I made three lists yesterday, one for each store this week, and one for the Roundy's store for next week.  There are items at the other grocery store (that is employee owned) that are just cheaper every day.  For example, Johnsville brats are 50 cents cheaper and my daughter's milk is 80 cents cheaper.  
Yesterday, I priced out items for next week's deals at the Roundy's store and compared to everyday prices at the cheaper store.  Sometimes even with double coupons the prices are cheaper at the employee owned store.  But the good thing about spending a little money each week at the Roundy's store is that I get my Fuelperks reward and that helps me save on gas.  

The outcome yesterday was $20 at the Roundy's store and $39 at the employee owned store.

I know I saved a lot of money with planning and I believe it's the only way to come out a little ahead.  It really isn't that much work when you meal plan and know what items you want stocked in the freezer and pantry.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What's Cookin' -- Chicken Pot Pie

I've been wanting to make this for some time, now.  I made a crust for a quiche that we didn't care for, but my husband said the crust would be perfect for chicken pot pie.  I made it tonight and it was delicious.  I found the recipe here, but after reading the reviews, I modified it a little.  Here's what I did!

Chicken Pot Pie

Crust x 2
1 stick butter (1/2 cup -- room temperature)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp ice cold water

1/2 pound chicken
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup frozen corn
1 small potato, diced
1 celery stalk
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
14 oz can chicken broth (or homemade chicken stock)
2/3 cup milk

Crust directions:  
1. Mix flour and salt together.
2. Cut butter into sections and mix in flour salt mixture with pastry  cutter or whisk. Mix until butter is pea size.
3. Mix in water and use fork to mix all together.  
4. Form into two balls, wrap with cling wrap, and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.  

Filling directions:
1. Boil vegetables (except onions) and chicken for 15 minutes. Drain.
2. Meanwhile put one crust in a 9 inch pie plate and bake for 8 minutes at 425 degrees.
3. In saucepan, melt butter and add onions until translucent.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder.
4. Slowly stir in milk and chicken broth.  Bring to boil, then simmer until sauce thickens.
5. Mix vegetables with sauce.
6. Pour into pie plate (after baking crust for 8 minutes)
7.  Place other crust over mixture.  Make several cuts in top crust to allow steam to escape.
8. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Obese kids

I found this news story shocking and alarming. One in five 4-year-olds is obese.   Four-year-olds are usually so active and what they eat is still "suppose" to be monitored by adults.   Something is wrong here.  Something is very wrong.

More people really need to think about these statistics.  I understand the genetic issue for some kids and empathize deeply with those children.  But I think we as a society need to take action to help kids eat healthy and be active.  How can we think this is okay?  How can we sit by and watch this happen?  I'm very concerned about this issue and it seems as though it will be around for some time.  

Toddler Friendly Recipe

Check out my other blog for Toddler-Friendly Quesadillas!  

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Glade Coupon Giveaway

I recently was asked to review Glade Sense and Spray.  I was a little leery of the product because air fresheners have a way of making me sneeze.  It turned out I really like this product.  You simple put the air freshener in a room and it sprays nice smells without you having to do any work.   It will spray if it senses movement or when you turn on or off the light.  Then it is on hold and won't spray for another 30 minutes.  You can also manually spray, if you want to. 

If you are interested in trying Glade Sense and Spray, I am giving away two $4 coupons. 

I recently saw Glad Sense and Spray on sale at Target for $6.50, so this would make it pretty cheap to try.  The refills often have coupons or deals, too. 

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment below.  I will use on April 21 to choose two winners.  Please leave an e-mail or blog address to contact you.  Or send an e-mail to

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's Cookin' -- BBQ Pork Chops

I tried this the other night and it was great.  We might try it in the crock pot and let it sit in there all day.  This is a combination of several recipes.

BBQ Pork Chops
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1 tsp Chili powder
4 pork chops
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place oil in pan and heat on medium until shimmering.
2. Put pork chops in pan and cook on medium. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes or side is browned.
3.  Mix BBQ sauce, Italian dressing and chili powder in bowl.
4.  Flip pork chops, add sauce mixture and cook 10 minutes or until pork chops register at 140 degrees.
5.  Place on plate and tent with foil for 5 minutes before serving.  The temperature should go up to 160 degrees for safe eating.  

Check out more great recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge!

Not meaning to be neglectful

We've still been catching up on appointments and yesterday I twisted my back putting my toddler in the car.  It's better today, but I tried my best to rest, in between everything else.  We also have been trying out new activities in our city to see what we might enjoy.  

Here's a list of some of the fun we've been doing lately:
  • Conservatory with outdoor garden ($1 each)
  • Zoo (free)
  • Playgroup (first visit was free)
  • Open Gym ($3 with coupon)
  • Library (free)
  • Walks (free)
  • Park (free)
  • Backyard (even though there's not much back there yet -- free)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I paid $1.69 per gallon for gas

The expensive grocery store here just started a new rewards card program.  I signed up right away, not knowing what the benefit would be.  The card is free and of course, it still offers discounts throughout the store.  Some good ones, too.  Usually that's the reason I go to the store after looking at the ad.  The new card is also connected to a program called Fuelperks.  For every $50 I spend at the grocery store, I get 10 cents off a gallon of gas.  You can let the reward accumulate and earn more cents off for gas.  You have two months before the reward expires.

I had accumulated 40 cents reward to go toward gas.  When I went to fill up, I swiped the rewards card and it automatically lowered the gas from $2.09 to $1.69 a gallon.  The max you can fill up is 20 gallons.  The best part is that BP stores are participating and we have a BP Chase card that gives us 5 percent back on gas.  I figured I save more than $5 on gas and at these higher prices that like getting more than 2 gallons free. 

Grocery Stores that are participating in Fuelperks include:
  • BI-LO
  • Giant Eagle
  • Roundys
  • Ukrop's
  • Winn-Dixie

My advice, don't scoff at free reward programs.  I have tons of card in my wallet.  But I use them at the select stores.  Every little bit helps out and eventually you gain a reward. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What's Cookin" -- Lazy Lasagna

I can't remember where I read this one, but it was on a blog.  This is a super easy recipe that tastes really good.  I also like that you can easily adapt it for a large family or small family.  

Lazy Lasagna
1 large bag frozen ravioli (I used beef ravioli, but any will do)
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 jar spaghetti sauce (or homemade sauce)

1. Layer ravioli, cheese, and sauce in casserole dish.  End with cheese on top.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for half hour.

Serve with Garlic Bread.  Yummy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Little Slow

We've been busy with appointments and things lately, so I'm not getting as much on my blog as I would like.  I've got the dentist tomorrow and need to go grocery shopping, too.  Seems like it's been hard to catch up.  Hopefully, in the next day or so I'll get a project up, a recipe and a great deal I go on gas!  

However, I did want to share why it takes me 45 minutes to make a 20 minute meal. Yep, I was making dinner and in runs my proud 20-month-old with no clothes or diaper on.  In case you were wondering, the dirty diaper is about to go on the top of her head.  I think she's turning 2 a little early.

Monday, April 6, 2009

More on freezing meals

I'm trying to figure out what will work for my family in order to spend less time cooking every day.  I've started freezing meals for future.  Recently I checked out some books from the library that are great resources for meal planning and freezing food.

Here are some books that I've found helpful.  They do go with the Once a Month Cooking plan, but I don't find that realistic for me.  I can't imagine making meals that we aren't familiar with just to freeze them.  The books are all a great resource for how to do this with your own meals and give great recipes.  I also like some of the tips for freezing and unthawing food.  
  • Frozen Assests, Deborah Taylor Hough.
  • Once a Month Cooking, Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg
  • Prevention's Freezer Cookbook, Sharon Sanders
  • Fix, Freeze and Feast, Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shopping at a Bread Outlet Store

Since we moved, I keep driving by a Sara Lee Outlet store.  We almost exclusively eat Sara Lee bread and buns.  I try my best to find them on sale and stock up, but on sale is still around $2.50 for a loaf of bread.  Last weekend I made a trip to the outlet store and
was pleasantly surprised. 

Here's what I bought:

2 loaves of bread -- 99 cents each
2 hamburger buns (8 count) -- $1 each
2 hot dog buns (8 count) -- $1.25 each

Total: $6.48

Normally I would have paid twice the cost or more for these items.  I brought them home and split up the buns into packages of 4 each and froze them.  This will help with our freezing meals plan.  With a small family sometimes we end up throwing away buns because we don't eat them all up in a week.  By splitting them up , this will cut down on waste, as well.

For more info at shopping at an outlet bread store, go here!

What's Cookin -- Chicken and Cashews

This is a Thai dish that I came across while I was searching for a chicken meal that had cashews in it.  It is really good and tastes like a good home-cooked Asian meal -- not tasting like fast food like so many places do these days. 

For more great recipes, check out the Grocery Cart Challenge!

Chicken and Cashews
This recipe was found here.  I added my variations below.  This is a large 2 serving meal.

2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 medium onion
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (I cut mine in strips)
1 cup salted cashews
Hot cooked rice

1. In a bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, water and soy sauce until smooth, set aside.
2. In skillet saute onion in oil until tender.
3. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink.  About 5 minutes.
4. Stir in soy sauce mixture.
5. Bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes or until thickened.  
6. Stir in cashews.
7. Serve with rice.

**If you were to omit the cashews it would still taste really good.  Between steps 5 and 6 I put broccoli in the skillet.  I steamed it first for 3 minutes in the microwave.  You could be very creative and use different vegetables to vary the taste of this meal.  See the reviews for the recipe here.**


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