Week ending 6/27/09

This week went by so fast we only made it to the grocery store 3 times! I planned my entire weekly menu around items we had on hand so I could use up some of the stockpile.

Total for the week

Shelf Price $46.00
Price Paid $27.00
Amount Saved $19.00

That is a savings of 41%

I was looking on a government website recently and came across this. Wild. I had seen a chart like this before but it got me really thinking about food prices and what the government thinks is an acceptable amount to spend for our family.

For our family it is perfectly acceptable for us to spend $611.60 on groceries each month. Actually this is the cheapest plan. Or as they like to put it… thrifty.  That is more than we spend on groceries and personally more than I am willing to spend on groceries each month. To be quite honest with you, if I did spend that much on groceries each month, we would not have money left over for bills.

Just to put things into perspective, I calculated the “liberal” plan. It came to $1186.70. Could you imaigine! I mean really?? A family of 5 eating buying that much food in a month! That is more than our rent!

We are going to have to buckle down a little more when it comes to buying groceries. We, so far, have been very lucky that Chris still has a job in this economy. Grated, he just lost his promotion at the beginning of the month (along with the raise he received), but at least he still has a J.O.B. With his new, old position comes a decrease in pay to the tune of around $400 each month. Now to some people this is just a drop in the bucket, but to us, it HUGE. That is our monthly car payment, electric bill for the month and 2 weeks of gas, just to give you an idea.

We are praying that something comes along for him. I know he has a lot on his shoulders at the moment and I couldn’t be more proud of the way he is handling it. He is such a good man, an excellent father and a wonderful husband and I truely appreciate him for all he does.

Is "good" customer service a thing of the past?

There is no easier way to get me fired up than for a customer service rep to talk to me like I am an idiot. Let me tell you this… I am FIRED up!

This started last night with a simple trip to the grocery store. Our destination: Winn Dixie for their Pampers special they have going on. We are enrolled in the Baby Club program there, and it has been nothing but a nightmare! They very rarely calculate the baby points correctly or actually give the reward for earning 200 points at the time they are supposed to.

Case in point. Yesterday I knew I had 185 baby points going in to the store. My goal was to pick up 2 packs of diapers to go over 200 points and then get my $10 reward to either be used on the diapers or the cart full of groceries I had.

I put the diapers up first thing. Nope, no baby points. No rewards. Nothing. Ugh.

When she finishes up my order I look on the receipt. No baby points whatsoever. None. The 185 I had from my last visit have just disappeared. I also noticed that my overall reward card savings have been reset down from around $4200 to $53. OK. No biggie. Maybe she scanned my card wrong. She didn’t. It was the right card number. Just something was screwy.

I went to the customer service center. Great. They can no longer help on the card issues. I have to call the 800# located at the top of the receipt. I thought nothing of it since I have called numerous times before and had no problems with anyone there.



I tend to be very well prepared when I call a customer service number. I hate calling them but I do try to be very nice when I call CSR’s. I know they get all kinds of crazies calling and I really do want them to remember at least one nice caller for the day. But once she had interrupted me 3 times, the gloves came off.

Note to CSRs… do NOT interrupt the customer. Let me say what I want to say to you even if it doesn’t matter. At least that way we can can say that we did notify you of the problem.

1st time : Interrupted me to tell me that the total saved that it says on the receipt is not the amount saved at my last trip. i.e. I didn’t save $4200 on my last shopping trip. Ya think?? I know I didn’t save that much on my last trip, but I do know that over a couple of years, I HAVE saved that much.

2ns time :  Interrupted me to tell me that my baby must be over the age of 2. Ummm… no. She won’t be 2 until mid-August, thankyouverymuch.

3rd time:  Interrupted me to tell me that she can not give out any information to me since my name is not Christian. Ummm… my hard working husband is at WORK. And what information is soooooo secretive about my grocery store savings card that you can’t tell me over the phone.


4th and final time : Interrupted me to tell me that the supervisor will tell me the same thing. LET ME TALK TO YOUR SUPERVISOR

Supervisor FINALLY picks up the phone. Proceeds to tell me that the CSR is correct in that she can’t give me any information. Whoa… did he just say the wrong thing.

“I don’t need you to give me any information. I just need you to do a little research and figure out where my baby points went! There is no information that you can give me that I don’t already know about this transaction other than the fact that you guys screwed up! What is so secretive about reward points anyway? I can call a Dr.’s office and get more information from them and that is important personal information. I can give you his SS#, his birth-date, his address, his phone number and even his first borns' name if you want. All you need to do it find out where my baby points went!!! ”

I think he got the point. He will be calling me back today. :)

Menu Plan Monday

I was bound and determined to get my menu done by yesterday and I did it!! Monday’s are always pretty busy and I just was running out of time to make up a weeks worth of ideas. I hope to be able to eventually do 2 weeks at a time. That way when we go to the store, I  get what we are going to fix for dinners, along with other essentials. But at least I’ll always have what I need on hand.

Here is what I came up with for this week’s menu plan. You can see more menu’s over at

Monday – Pork chops with scalloped potatoes, green beans and bread

Tuesday – Grilled stuffed burritos with black beans and rice and a salad

Wednesday – Chicken & dumplings, peas and carrots and any leftover bread

Thursday – Baked fish, squash, broccoli and bread

Friday – Homemade pizza and a salad

Saturday – Hambugers and hot dogs on the grill, potato salad and grilled corn

Sunday – Tuna noodle casserole, green beans and any leftover bread


What a difference a week makes

Last week I proclaimed that I hated suppertime. It was just too stressful. I have just recently started menu planning and since it’s easier for me to see exactly what needs to be done, I acutally do it! Imagine that!!

Last week went very smoothly. Yes, there were a few bumps in the road, but boy howdy was it much less stresful than the weeks leading up to it.

Last night was meatloaf night. I got an awesome deal on some ground beef that was marked down to $.99/lb and it was a 5lb package so I have plenty to work with. I used  about 2.5 lbs last night on the meatloaf mixture. It made enough for 12 meatloaf cups and then I used the rest to make the meatballs for Wednesday’s dinner. So while the meatloaf cups baked, I rolled meatballs. Almost 40 of them!! Then popped them in the oven and they were done in mere minutes. I love getting things made ahead of time. Makes me feel a little organized.

I commented to Chris last night about how I don’t have headaches anymore. At least not as much. I am a firm believer that it was the MSG in the packaged food we used to buy. We haven’t bought anything with MSG in it for a little over 3 months now and NO headaches for me! :) I can’t believe all the things at the grocery store with MSG in it. Soups, bullion, ground beef helper meals and even some potato chips! If MSG is in there, we won’t buy it.  I make my own cream soups now, as well as my own beef helper meals and stocks and broths. It’s tastier and much better for us.

Right after dinner last night, and after a HUGE thunderstorm, we noticed water dripping from the upstairs condo. I had heard their dog barking earlier during dinner so I thought they weren’t home. The first thing that went through my head was that their ceiling had either leaked or completely caved in and it was now coming in our house. (I know… I get a bit over-dramatical)

Chris rushed up the stairs to see if they were home. The husband was. He came downstairs and then right into our house. OMG… we had JUST finished eating dinner and dishes were everywhere and I didn’t have on a bra. I’m sure you know what boobs look like after 3 kids and no bra! I was trying desperately to hide behind the table. Not sure if it worked.

Turns out… the ceiling wasn’t leaking at all. His dog got spooked during the storm and knocked a tube out of his fish tank. Yup… stinky, dirty, poopy fish water was leaking into our dining room and down our living room wall. It stopped dripping after we chatted a while. Turns out they have been doing the Dave Ramsey plan. We chatted about that and about where they go to church. We may have to visit sometime.

So… organizing, cooking, fish water and boobs…. Now where else can you get that kinda of variety??


Menu Plan Monday

This whole week has been planned out with only the items I have on hand at the moment. We really don’t need to go to the grocery store during for anything except maybe milk and butter.

There are a few things that didn’t get made last week. I totally forgot that last Wednesday was our anniversary so I didn’t want pigs in a blanket for that special dinner. We ended up having Shrimp and Pineapple Stir-Fry. It was so yummy.

I ended up making beef stroganoff with the cubed steak instead of having it with the rice and beans. Let me just tell you, it was AWESOME! I got the recipe from a VERY old GoodHousekeeping recipe book that used to belong to my mother. The pictures are classic 70’s colors and I love using it. I have nice memories of my mother and I cooking from that book. :)

This week’s menu plan looks like this.

Monday – Meatloaf, three-cheese potato bake, broccoli and leftover homemade bread

Tuesday – Chicken noodle casserole, green beans, carrots and Puerto Rican bread

Wednesday – Polynesian meatballs (with homemade meatballs) over rice and a green salad

Thursday – Stuffed burgers,  oven roasted potatoes and carrots

Friday – Baked fish, packaged noodle mix, green beans and rolls

Saturday – BBQ chicken, bacon and onion pizza braid and a green salad

Sunday – Creamed chicken over rice (bumped from last week), carrots, lima beans and potato rolls

So there ya have it. I hope to stay on this menu all week since last week I had to rearrange a little. You can see more menu’s over at

Week ending 6/20/09

Not a great savings week this week either. A big chunk of the weekly total was for 2 large boxes of diapers. I also splurged and bought steak for dinner tonight (at least it was on markdown). Grilled steak with mushrooms, onions and capers in a red wine sauce, butterflied shrimp, smashed red potatoes, green beans and homemade bread. Chris said it was the best Father’s Day he has ever had. :)

For breakfast this morning I made homemade pancakes and sausage. I bought some heavy cream the other night since I have been wanting to try and make some homemade butter. Since I thought today was as good a day as any, I filled a jar about 1/2 way full with the cream and handed it off to Chris. About 15 minutes later, we had BUTTER! It was so cool to watch the different stages of butter forming. It made about a cup of butter and about a cup of buttermilk which I will be using for biscuits later this week.

I hope to get a menu plan up in the morning. It really helped me get things in order this week.  Anyway, here is the total for this past week.

Total for the week

Shelf Price $263.00
Price Paid $165.00
Amount Saved $99.00

That is a savings of 37%

I am really hoping to get our weekly average down to about $75 sometime soon. I know we can do it.


Pictures, MRIs and Ice Cream, oh my!

Whew… 2 very busy days in a row is something that I am NOT used to. I had an appoint with a specialist yesterday and they wanted me to get an MRI done on my foot. Well I thought it would be next week but the MRI place wanted me to come in today. Soooo I got up at 7:30 on a Saturday. Ugh.

MRI’s are not fun. My hips felt out of the place the whole time. Lucky for me it was an open MRI and only 1/2 of my body had to go in. All went well and I go back to see the Dr on the 29th for another follow-up. Hopefully, nothing will be wrong. The Dr. did tell me I need to start physical therapy for my foot and ankle, so that will be something I will tackle next week. 2 days of therapy a week  for 6 weeks is not something I am looking forward too. I would rather just stay in my little cave here and never leave to be honest with you.

I’m making the girls some skirts today. Nothing fancy. Just a simple skirt. It’s hot here in FL and a cool skirt is best for them. After that we are planning to get our garden going. Since this condo is just temporary, we will be planting in raised beds that can easily be taken with us. I am really excited too. I just love homegrown (homegrowed as my kids would say) veggies.

I am also gonna make some bread and ice cream today. Since the Dr. gave me a boot to wear, I am actually able to walk around a lot better so we went to the wall-to-wall mart last night. It’s brand new and so lovely. The aisles are so nice and wide. Lots of goodies and cheap too! So I picked up some cream that I needed to make the ice cream. We have some bananas in the freezer left over from a HUGE batch I got on markdown, so I am thinking banana ice cream would be just yummy! Maybe some peaches too. OooO…peach-banana ice cream. Yum.

As you know tomorrow is Father’s Day. I don’t have a thing planned. I am thinking steak sounds good and I am pretty sure Chris would not object. I found a yummy sounding recipe for chocolate malt cookies and figured “What the heck” I’ll give it a try. Chris love chocolate malt and these sound good. I think they would be pretty tasty with the ice cream as well.

I haven’t taken many pictures lately but here are a few that I took a few weeks back.

I hate how blurry this pictured turned out but she was jumping up and down so fast, my el cheapo camera couldn’t keep up. This was right as she saw the skates.

I know she doesn’t look happy in this one, but I told her to stand still and this is what I got. Yes, I know she needs a haircut. She seriously looks like a bum in her mismatched clothes as well.

Skating around the living room. Pay no attention to the unpacked boxes in the back. Don’t pay attention to the orange bench or the baby foot on the back of the couch.

The orange bench is from a kids table and benches set that my dad brought when he came to visit last month. We are HUGE Florida Gator fans around here and although I asked him to paint it a pretty red color, he thought it would look best painted in Gator orange and blue. :)  Love you Dad!

This was the view I had the other night from my computer. Chris was sacked out and the girls were jumping all over him while watching a Baby Einstein DVD. They love those movies.

So not too much going on. I will have the totals for the week posted later tonight. I am going to spend the rest of the day enjoying mi familia!

Week ending 6/13/09

This week was pretty much a weird week. We didn’t do much grocery shopping since I was laid up in bed.

The majority of the items bought this week were Motrin, Pampers (CVS deal – got $15 ECBs back!), milk, butter and flour. LOTS of flour! I have been a bread making fool I tell ya!! I love my new, old bread machine. No more tired arms!! YAY!!

Total for the week

Shelf Price $104.00
Price Paid $60.00
Amount Saved $44.00

That is a savings of 42%

It sure pays to be thirfty!

Before my o’ so graceful fall on Saturday night, we hit up the thrift stores. There are 2 stores within 5 miles of here that I really like to go to. Goodwill and The Salvation Army Thrift Store.

1st stop… Goodwill. Found some cookies cutters, for 29 cents each, 2 super cute baskets with removable canvas liners, a Wilton silicone 12 cup muffin pan, 3 spice cabinet spinny thingys, and a devotional book for Caitlin.

The Goodwill is OK. It’s new and clean and not stinky, but I much prefer The Salvation Army because it is, seriously, like a regular store. I have bought lots of kitchen thingys from there as well as books for the kids.

2nd stop…The Salvation Army Store.

One of my favorite books we picked up there was a kids dictionary. Every time Caitlin comes in and asks me what something means, I go tell her to look it up.

“Mom? What does flabbergasted mean?”

“Go look it up.”

“Mom? How do you spell spectacular?”

“Go look it up”

“Mom? Can I have a snack?”

“Go look…. er… sure!”

You see, I love for her to find things out on her own. That way there is alsways a little schooling going on whether she realizes it or not.

I bought my hand mixer as well as my (unused ’til this day) coffee grinder from there, under 5 bucks for both! The hand mixer works like a charm. They have awesome furniture there. One day I’ll remember to bring my camera and snap some pics so you can see. It’s like 1950’s housewife meets 1990’s grunge band in there. Such a funky mix of stuff.

So on Saturday, I went in seach of dining room chairs. Our current “set” consists of the 1 wood chair left from a set of 4 (Catilin broke the other 3 by leaning back in them), 1 leather desk chair and 1 VERY uncomfortable mesh back desk chair (mine of course). I found some really nice couches, but no chairs. So we made our way back to the “appliance” section. Lots of goodies!! I just love all the older gadgets. There was a Kabob-It for 10 bucks a waffle maker for I think 3 bucks. A bagel slicer…. cause you know… knifes are sooooooo last year.

Then I saw it…. “Hello there beautiful. Do you want to come home with me?? I have been looking for you lately. It’s HOT outside and we need relief.”

What was this little beauty you ask???

None other than an ice cream maker! And one you don’t have to crank yourself. Although I would might enjoy watching the kiddos sweat a little for some yummy ice cream.


An ice cream maker for 10 bucks! In the cart you go!

Then Chris saw it… The one thing I have being DYING to get. My poor arms are about to fall off from all the work they have been doing lately…. my fingers will surely thank him for eyeing this gadget.

A BREAD MACHINE! OMG and it STILL had the manual. Score, again. Ooooo and it’s 10 bucks also. Well I hadn’t planned on spending $20+ tax on gadgets that day so I was feeling a little guilty for wanting them both. I walked around the store tying to convince myself that this is a GREAT deal. The ice cream maker was worth $30 alone! Of course while walking the store I found some other things I just had to get. A new basket for bread, a brand new solar system wooden puzzle, and 2 books for Caitlin.

The check out lines are now clear and calling my name.  I strike up a conversation with the nice lady that gets behind me….She likes my kitchen gadgets. :) Then proceeds to tell me how it’s my lucky day.

Yup. It sure is! Even though I would rather have new, I will make do with my used appliances. Thankyouverymuch. :)

“$16.38″ the man tells me.

“Oh no sir, that’s not right. It should be more than that. These alone are $10 each.”

“No mam. One has a green sticker and one has a blue. They are 50% off today”

“Wait… what?!?!?” (Hi Wendy!)

“5 bucks each. WOW!…. This IS my lucky day.”

Then later that night my luck promptly ran out and I fell and hurt my foot.

Well it was my lucky day.

Just wanted some milk but got something else...

I am beginning to think I just need to stay inside the house ALL. THE. TIME. I am either EXTREMELY clumsy oooorrrrrr cursed. Take your pick. Right now, they seem about dead even. The outside light on our building has been out for about a week. We have alerted the condo association, but of course, nothing has been done yet.

Last night we needed milk and flour and some other things from the wall to wall mart. So we set out about 10 pm. That is my favorite time to go there since there are not many people in the store at that time. Chris got the youngin’s loaded up and I was finishing gathering up some coupons for the trip.

It had been raining ALL day and it was dark to boot. Well… you know me… Miss Graceful.. I just had to trip and fall on the very last step before getting to the car. O.M.G. I thought My foot broke off. I was in soooo much pain. I broke this same ankle when I was a senior in high school and had to have Orthoscopic surgery on it to repair the damage done to my cartlidge. All I could think about was having to go thru that again. Oh the pain.

But I haven’t mentioned that I am also VERY hard headed. But I like to call it “strong willed”. That just sounds better. There was no way I was going to the ER at 10 pm at night. I could just see all the banged up people in there… and then my kids wondering around asking people “What’s wrong with you??”. No way, no how was I doing that. OK then… we will get up in the morning and go. First thing.  Anyone who has 3 kids, 2 of them being toddlers, knows how hard it is to get going in the morning. Especially when mom can’t walk. We didn’t even get tot he ER until 3:45 in the afternoon.

There was all of 2 people in the ER and I went straight back to see a Dr. which was wonderful. I thought… Awesome… I’ll be in and out of here in like an hour. 3 hours and umpteen X-Rays later I am finally released. No broken bones. Thank God. Just a really bad sprain. Bed rest for 5 days and an appointment with an Orthopedist. There is a chance it may still be broken but just not shown up on the X-Rays.

I just wanted milk, but now I have a brand new shiny pair of crutches.

I will NOT be asking “What could happen next?”.

I don’t dare.

Week ending 6/6/09

Well this week wasn’t as bad as I thought, even though it wasn’t great. We still managed to save about 1/3 of the total grocery bill.

We weren’t prepared on Saturday afternoon after going shopping, so we ended up going to Publix and getting some fried chicken with beans and potato salad. Boy it sure was an expensive dinner! I won’t be doing that again!!

Total for the week

Shelf Price $136.00
Price Paid $92.00
Amount Saved $45.00

That is a savings of 33%

1st EVER Menu Plan Monday

Last night I proclaimed at dinner that I HATE dinner time.

(Not the best choice of words in front of my kids, I know)

Even when I have things prepared ahead of time, it seems like it still takes me forever and a day to get dinner on the table. Once I do have dinner ready, it’s like herding cats trying to get everyone to sit down, get drinks, silverware and napkins.

Before we moved in here last month, we hadn’t eaten a family dinner at a dining table in over 3 years. Sad, I know. But I kinda got used to eating on the couch and just getting up to get something that I needed.

Sitting at the table is different. Once I sit at the table, I like to be done getting up and running after things. Because of this I have started to plan out my weekly meals. I haven’t ever posted them, mainly because they haven’t been helping with the stress level at dinner time.

This week, it’s GOING to be different. I am not going to get stressed at dinner. I will have things ready when it’s time to eat, and we will NOT be eating at 8:30 or 9:00 at night. Not happeningno way, no how.

Here is what I came up with for this week’s menu plan. You can see more menu’s over at

Monday – Slow cooker Pork tenderloin, lentils, rice and Quaker bonnet biscuits (recipe at

Tuesday – Cubed steak with onions, olives and tomatoes, black beans, rice and homemade tortillas

Wednesday – Pigs in a blanket, broccoli and black eyed peas

Thursday – Creamed chicken (double batch), rice, green beans and homemade bread

Friday – Baked fish, buttered noodles and mixed veggies with any leftover bread from the week

Saturday – Creamed chicken bake (2nd batch of creamed chicken, add frozen mixed veggies and bake, then top with mashed potatoes, cheese and french fried onions, bake until bubbly) Soooo yummy and makes enough for leftovers -  Homemade rolls

Sunday – Pancakes and sausage for late breakfast and leftovers, pigs in a blanket or sandwiches for dinner

So there it is. I’ll let you know how it went. Wish me luck!!

Week ending 5/30/09

Whooo hooo it was triple coupon week at Harris Teeter and boy did we rack up the deals! We actually got some good deals at Winn Dixie as well so we scored all around.

I got some freezer meals prepared this week as well. Oh but let me just tell you about an awesome deal we got at Winn Dixie. They had Ball Park hot dogs on sale. Buy one get one free. I had several $1.00 off 2  coupons and right beside the hot dogs there was a coupon for a free pack of Sara Lee buns with the purchase of 2 packs of hot dogs. But get this… the buns were also BOGO free. We bought 8 packs of hot dogs, got 8 packs of buns for free. All in all, it cost less than $6 for all that. I couldn’t believe it.

I ended up putting most of the buns in the freezer and made these yummy pigs in a blanket with 2 packs of the hot dogs. I will definately be making these things again. They are a HUGE hit in our house. Plus since you cut each hot dog in half, you really only eat 1 hot dog. Love that!

Total for the week

Shelf Price $689.00
Price Paid $254.00
Amount Saved $435.00

That is a savings of 63%

Week ending 5/23/09

This week wasn’t that great but we did manage to save. That’s what matters to us.

Total for the week

Shelf Price $154.00
Price Paid $99.00
Amount Saved $55.00

That is a savings of 36%

Free float night! I am so there.

We love Sonic. Who doesn’t?? ( Don’t answer that!)

When I was pregnant with both babies, all I wanted was a lime slushie. Actually, I want one now! I am not real big on their food, but the drinks… the drinks I love!

We are gonna head out tonight after dinner and get our FREE root beer float.

I am so behind again on my weekly totals. Hopefully I can get those done within the next few days.

Caitlin got her skates in. She LOVES them! I got a picture of her opening them up that I will post shortly. It was priceless. Made me so happy for her.



Farewell my friend, for I am leaving you. I am going to bigger and better places.

OK maybe not bigger but definitely better.

I am over at WordPress now. I fell in love with it when I have my website blog there. Bare with me as I make the switch.

Please join me there.