Sunday, May 31, 2009

$5.00 Menu

I try to stay as close to $5.00 a meal as possible. I figure in the amounts of the main ingredients.

Sunday: Black Bean Tacos and corn $3.00

Monday: Veggie Pasta Alfredo $1.50

Tuesday: Veggies, Baked Beans, Hushpuppies $2.70

Wednesday: Deep Dish Pizza Casserole $3.00

Thursday: Lentil Rice Casserole $3.00

Friday: Leftovers $00

Saturday: Spaghetti w/ Garlic Bread $2.00

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Groceries for $21.98

This week was a light week. I got so much stuff last week that I really didn't need alot and the deals weren't that great, even with Kroger triples. I also needed some staple items that weren't on sale or had coupons available. So, I had to get a little creative. I tried to find as many items as possible that, with coupons, would be free with an overage. Publix is the best store to do this as they will actually give you the overage toward your overall purchase. Many other stores will adjust the coupon value down to the price of the item, making it free but no overage. I found several items that gave me an overage this week, allowing me to buy some regular (and high dollar) items for a lower price.


3 French's Mustard FREE + Overage (We don't even eat mustard! This is being donated to a local food bank)
1 Knox Gelatin FREE + BIG Overage (Don't know what I'll do with this yet)
2 Beneful Dog Foods FREE + Overage (Already donated to Nashville Humane)
Publix Mac N Cheese .01 (Penny Item)
2 Taco Bell Dinner .35 each
4 Kraft Mac n Cheese .25 each
Publix Soy Milk 2.69
Publix 2% Milk 1.69
Gatorade Mix 7.99 (ugh! See why I needed items with an overage??)
Total after Q's $10.97

Kroger was tripling coupons this week, but I got there too late. Almost everything that I wanted (i.e. had a coupon that was going to make it a steal) was gone. But here's what I got:

8 Knorr Pasta Sides FREE + Overage (I had paper coupons and 2 electronic coupons)
2 Dial Hand soaps FREE
1 Daisy Sour Cream FREE
1 Clabber Girl Baking Powder .40
1 Pk Duracel Batteries .75
1 bag Hushpuppies .65
4 Red Bell Peppers .88 each (to be cut up and frozen for later)
Bananas 1.37
Organic Carrots .99
Whole Wheat Bread 2.50
TOTAL $10.42


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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Adopt a Cat Month at NHA

June is adopt a cat month !

Nashville Humane Association has set a goal of adopting 100 cats/kittens in June so please if you are looking for a new feline member for your family, consider them.

Many of the adoption fees have been reduced and all cats have soft claws applied.
NHA can be contacted at 615-352-1010

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Pet Memorial Celebration

Buttercup's Pet Hospice and Bereavement support is hosting a Pet Memorial Celebration.This is an opportunity for folks to sociailize and connect with others who have loved and lost a pet.

There will be music, poetry and more.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 from 2pm-4pm

Crockett Park Shelter

9025 Crockett Road

Brentwood, TN. (Look for Yellow Balloons)

Participants are encouraged to bring a peicture of your pet to display.

This event is free.

For more information please call 615-426-5044

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nashville Library presents "Hansel and Gretel"

Hansel and Gretel

May 22 - June 13

9:30, 10:30, 11:30 am

Location: Children's Theater

The classic Brothers Grimm tale is told with the charming Peeko Puppets and our DANKE! Danke is a hand made wooden marionette and gift to the library from the Magdeburg Puppet Theater in Germany.
My daughter loves these puppet shows. And best of all... they're FREE!

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$5.00 Menu for this week

Again, late, but.... what do you do???

Monday: Baked potatoes, baked beans, corn $2.01

Tuesday: Pizza, french fries $4.50

Wednesday: Chili Mac, corn muffins $3.50

Thursday: Stir fry Veggies and rice $2.00

Friday: Garlic Penne with veggies $2.00
Saturday Roasted potatoes, cous cous, veggies $3.00

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Over budget but stocked up!

I'm a little late posting this, but we've been plagued with injury and illness.

I went way over my grocery budget, but the deals were just too good to pass up.

I made 2 trips to Publix and 2 trips to Kroger. Publix had an EXCELLENT sale this week. I could have went back a 3rd time, but really, nothing else would fit into my freezer or cabinets.

There were too many items to list all, and I could not fit everything into the picture, like the produce and my second trip to Publix but here are the highlights:


California Pizza's on sale 5.49 - $2 coupon = 3.49. If you bought 4, you got a $5.00 Kroger coupon towards your next grocery purchase, just like an ECB.

I took the $5 Kroger coupon and applied it to a second transacation with fresh produce.

Green Giant Frozen veggies were on sale for $1. I doubled some .50 q's and they were FREE

Kroger brand frozen veggies on sale for $1. I had 1 .35 q, but I bought 10 bags. We use ALOT of frozen veggies.

Publix (after coupons)

Edy's Ice Cream .50
A-1 sauce FREE (for sis)
Heinz white vinegar .19
Mueller's Pasta .41 per box
Cole's Garlic Toast .31 per pack

HG Hills - This is a store I rarely shop because it's not convenient, but I was in Franklin and they had some really good deals on some items I needed.

After coupons:
Hunt's ketchup .59
Dixie Crystal suger (4lb) .88
Cool Whip .58

After all said and done my total grocery bill for all stores and 5 trips was $61.19
Regular retail of all these grocery items would be 174.91. Not that I would have ever spent that much to begin with.

Well over my $40 goal. But, well worth it. I don't expect this week's grocery bill to be even $40.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Red Cross First Aid Class For Dogs

The Nashville K-9 Association is offering a Pet First Aid training for Dogs.

The class will be held on

Tuesday, May 26


Nashville Area Red Cross Auditorium.

2201 Charlotte Ave., Nashville, TN 37203.

The cost for the class is $80. It includes a certificate of completion, Dog first aid book and DVD.

If you adopt a dog from Nashville Humane Association beteween May 19 and May 26th, you will receive a 50% discount on the class. To receive your discount, please mention that you adopted a dog during this time frame and bring your adoption papers.

You must register to atttend by contacing Nashville K-9 at 615-482-260 or email training at nashvillek9 dot com

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Holiday World on a Budget

We had a good time at Holiday World. My goal was to make this trip for under a $100 and I think we did it! Of course what started this whole thing was getting 2 free tickets from a local radio station promotion. Without that, the trip would not have been possible, especially not for under a hundred dollars.

So, here's the tally:
1 child's ticket $28.00(brought a Pepsi can, and they knocked $2 bucks off the price of the ticket)
1 tank of gas $24.00 (drove the Honda instead of the SUV)
3 Brunches at Cracker Barrel $6.50 including tip (used gift card to knock off $20 bucks)
3 Ice Creams in the Park $5.00
1 Nachos $2.00
3 Fast Food dinners $16.00
TOTAL $81.50
My daughter's first themepark experience = PRICELESS

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Homemade Dryer Sheets

So, word has gotten around that I've been making my own dryer sheets. I have. I like it. A LOT cheaper than the store-bought ones, and less chemicals getting onto your clothes and skin.

I've had no problem with the scent or static cling.

I must give Gayle at The Grocery Cart Challenge all the credit.

Here is the recipe for anyone interested:

Homemade Dryer Sheets

2 cups of water
1 cup of vinegar
2/3 cups of any hair conditioner
Mix in spray bottle and stir. Don’t shake, this will cause foaming. Soak a cloth rag and ring it out until slightly damp. Then throw it into the dryer with your load of clothes.

Gayle also has many other homemade recipes:

Homemade laundry detergent

Homemade Windex

Homemade Frebreeze

Homemade spot remover

The list goes on and on. I highly recommend her blog for frugal and simple living ideas.

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Garage Sale in the Rain

Today was our community Yard Sale. It rained. Actually, it poured at times. And then we had nice breaks when the sun would come out. I had hoped to make enough from the yard/garage sale to buy a freezer to put in the garage. But, sadly not. We made $96. So, we will tuck our $96 dollars away and hopefully come up with some other creative ways for the rest of the $$ needed for a freezer.

But, here is what I've learned about garage sale customers:

1.) Customers LOVE kid DVD's. I wished I had a hundred more to sell (I would have met my goal for the freezer).

2.) Customers really like cookbooks. I sold about 10.

3.) Customers don't like stuffed animals. None sold

4.) Customers don't like fake flowers. They did not sell.

5.) Customers will ask you how much something is, even if there is a bright, florescent pink price sticker on the item.

6.) Customers will pay you in pennies.

7.) Hard core yard-salers will show up at 6 am in the pouring rain to look at your stuff.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Adoptable pets on Comcast's "On Demand"

If you have Comcast Digital you can go to the "Local" section of your On Demand feature and see new cats and dogs available for adoption at Nashville Humane Association. The pets are updated every 2 weeks.
Go here for complete details on Comcast's ON Demand for pet adoptions.

Don't have Comcast (like me)? Go here for dogs and here for cats for NHA's website with lots of pictures and details on animals available for adoption.

I volunteer at NHA and there are lots of great animals just looking for a good home. NHA is a great temporary home though, lots of volunteers and a very caring staff. You are welcome to come by anytime during business hours and just look around and meet some of the great pets available.

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May 18 Menu

Monday Red Beans & Rice, Veggies, Biscuits


Tuesday Scalloped Potatoes, Veggies, corn muffins


Wednesday Veggie Helper

Thursday Dinner out!


Friday Baked Ziti


Saturday Crock Pot Falafel (click for link to recipe)


Sunday Spaghetti with marinera , garlic bread


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This week's Grocery Bill

This week I actually went to 3 different stores. That's not typical.
It's kind of a combination of weird stuff this week.
1.) I'm really focused on trying to eat from our stockpile.
2.) There really wasn't alot of great stuff on sale this week that could be matched with coupons and
3.) I bought an unusual amount of junk that should satisfy our road trip munchies that will be coming up soon.
1 bottle of Gatorade flavored water FREE
2 packages of Flipz .50 each
2 Loaves of Earth Grain Bread $1.50 each
4 Bags of Kroger french fries .99 each
1 Bottle of Kroger Cayenne Pepper $1.00
1 bag of Kroger Mozzerella shreds $3.99
Total OOP $16.41
UPDATE: Had to make another run for some items needed:
romaine lettuce, parmesian cheese, cheese popcorn (found on clearance for .69), frozen mixed veggies additional $6.66 to Kroger total for week.

Total $13.35

Zatarain's Rice .75 each
Corn .25 each
Bananas .94
Tomatoes 1.85
Lipton Tea (100 ct) .66
Keebler Cookies 1.00
2 Bic Lighters .75 each
Publix Window Cleaner .01 (penny item)

Total + Tax 11.54
Minus GM Bakeoff Gift card 10.00

My best Publix trip yet!


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Looks like we're going to Holiday World!

Since E and I are in a self imposed quarantine for a couple of days (see below post for details), we've gotten a little ansy around the house. So, today I heard a local radio station mention that they would be in Lebanon giving away free tickets to Holiday World

So, I told E to use the potty and put on her shoes, we were taking a road trip! We had to wait for about an hour (we got there kind of early) but we were the 18th people in line ( I know this because they gave us a number). We got 2 tickets to Holiday World and a beach towel.

So, within the next few weeks, we'll be off on a mini vacation (aka: day trip) to Holiday World . This will be E's first trip to a themepark. She has no idea what's she's in for (and neither do we, probably)

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

She has infant what???

Last night as I put E to bed I noticed she had a couple of little red bumps or spots on her face. I thought she was just drinking too much orange juice (she has a weird citrus allergy) at school and told her I would talk to her teacher about it. She promptly told me "Mom, I have to drink what they give me". I told her it was no big deal, I would just remind teacher that orange juice just doesn't agree with her.

But then, we get up this morning and her face is covered in red bumps, some look like pimples. This was not the citrus allergy rearing it's ugly head. E was acting fine, no fever, no complaints of not feeling good. She seemed fine. But, we made the decision to keep her home (and me home from work) and take her to the doctor.

When we were finally able to get in to see the pediatrician, she took one look at the bumps and said "Oh it's impetigo" pronounced "In fed TY go". A staph infection. Not deadly. Can easily be taken care of with some antibiotics, but very contagious. E has to stay out of school for the next few days. We're not sure where she picked this up, but since she still sucks her thumb at night, and when she's tired, she could have easily picked it up anywhere and transferred it to her mouth.

So, now we're in a self-imposed quarantine for a few days. And I can check off one more thing in the "Mommy book of knowledge" -- Impetigo (doesn't sound like it's spelled).

The picture above doesn't really do it justice on how bad it looked. I couldn't get E to stand still long enough to get a good picture.


How to get marker ink out of an upholstered chair

So E decided to use her little pink chair as a desk while she colored with markers. Here's what it looked like after her art project:
I tried to wipe it off with no luck. I remembered a friend telling me that Crayola had a cleaning solution page on their website, so I took a shot. Well, yes they do! Any Crayola product and just about any item that a child could write on is on this page. It told me exactly what to use to get the marker stains out.
Rubbing alcohol
Carpet cleaner
Spot stain remover (I didn't end up using that)
It worked very well. I ended up using some laundry detergent and bleach to scrub off the whole chair after the marker ink was gone. There are some very faint remains of the red marker, but not very noticable.

Thank you Crayola and thank you Leslie for telling me about Crayola's website.


Monday, May 11, 2009

May 11 Weekly Menu

Here's what's on the menu for our family this week. I try to stay within the $5.00 per meal cost, but will probably go over it a little this week.

Monday Veggies and Noodles
Tuesday Spinach Casserole
Wednesday Breakfast for Dinner!
Eggs and Waffles

Thursday Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta with Mixed Veggies
Friday Pizza night! May be frozen or we may splurge and get take out
Saturday Baked potatoes and salad
Sunday Spaghetti Broccoli Bake w/ Corn on the cob

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Becoming a Mom -- overnight

I ran across this article from Nia Vardalos about adopting a toddler. Nia is an actress, most famous for her movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I love how she articulates all the feelings an adoptive parent experiences in those first moments and days when they bring their new child into their home.

Although our circumstances with E were very different, the feelings were no less overwhelming.

Go here for Nia's story.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Free Family Movies

It's that time again, Regal Theatre's Free Family Movies Summer Program is set to start Tuesday June 2. Certain theatres will run selected G and PG movies at 10 am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the summer.

I've not personally been to this film festival, but I've heard that it's fun and a great event for the kids. It's first come, first serve, so get there early.

Go HERE for a full schedule and location of theatres.

We'll see ya at the movies! (Well, I won't personally, Tuesday and Wednesdays are work days for me )

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Redbox discontinuing Free Movie Monday

Got a bummer email today.

Redbox is discontinuing their Free Movie Monday promotion after May 11. So, we have one more week to get a free movie.
They are going to do a free movie code once a month starting in June. I think the process will be the same, they will text you the code on Monday.

Redbox is still a good deal, $1 for a movie for 24 hours. But, I prefer free! :)

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$3.60 spent at Publix

This week was probably my lowest dollars spent on Groceries yet. My stockpiling is working and we are eating more out of the pantry rather than the grocery store.

Here's what I got at Publix

3 Electrosol FREE + $1.56 in overage

2 Frozen Green Giant Vegetables FREE

2 Post Trail Mix cereal FREE

2 Silks Soy Milk $1.24 each

4 Del Monte Green Beans .32 each

Total OOP $3.60

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another trip to Kroger's for Triple coupons

I had to make another run to Krogers today as the end of the triple coupons is nearing. Here's what I got:

2 cans Bushes Baked Beans .01 each

1 Red Baron singles Pizza 1.08 (makes a good quick lunch on workdays)

2 Ortega Taco Seasonings FREE + .97 in overage

1 Bertolli Pasta Sauce .24

1 Birds Eye Frozen Veggies .61

1 Earth Grains Wheat Bread FREE + .15 overage

Banana Nut Cheerios .89 (tripled a paper coupon AND used a cell fire coupon)

3 Gerber baby yogurts (for baby D) .30 each

After tax I paid $4.39

That's a good day at Kroger, but not as good as Frugal Dr. Mom, click over to her site to see how she scored at Kroger.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

$5.00 Dinner Menu

So, I've been planning our dinner menus for a couple of months now. Let me tell you, it is great! It does take a little time, discipline (which I'm NOT known for) and effort, but it pays off!
When I have a menu already planned, and written out, it makes my evenings a little less stressful. Especially on the evenings that I've worked all day. It also helps prevent last minute runs at the drive thru out of desperation or exhaustion. So, that way we are eating healthier, even if I'm making french fries or pizza, I believe home made french fries and pizza are better than fast food.

Another big plus, it's cheaper! I've discovered that I can make most meals for $5 or less when I use ingredients that I bought at the grocery store on sale and with coupons.

Here is our menu for this week the (total cost of the meal is listed below the day):

Monday Veggie Helper (this is Tuna Helper minus the tuna mixed with frozen veggies)

Tuesday Homemade Macoroni and cheese, green beans

Wednesday Teriyaki Stir Fried veggies

Thursday Rice and Lentil casserole with tortillas & salsa

Friday Cuban Black bean patties with Spanish rice (new recipe, we'll see how it turns out)

Saturday Tamale Lentil Casserole

Note: part of the reason our total meal costs are lower than average is because we are pursuing a vegetarian life style. When you eliminate meat from you daily meals, your costs are visibly reduced. So, think about a vegetarian meal some time, if not for the sake of the animal, your health or other reasons, just think of the $$ you can save!

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Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves

The latest puppet show at the Nashville Public Library is:

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
Fridays & Saturdays April 17 - May 9 10:30 & 11:30 AM

Children's Theatre

40 Minutes

Open to all ages

“Open Sesame!” Enter the magical Cave of Wonders and behold Wishing Chair Productions' colorful adaptation from the Tales of the Arabian Nights. Classic storytelling with a cast of exotic marionettes, clever sets and props, and exciting original music are sure to enchant the entire family.
My daughter always loves these shows. They are a great activity for a cold or rainy day. And, best of all.... they're free!!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Calling All Dog Lovers

If you love dogs, especially rescue dogs, you'll LOVE the movie "Hotel For Dogs".

It's just out on video. It stars Emma Roberts (you know, Julia's niece) but the real stars are all the sweet and funny dogs. It centers on two of my favorite topics, animal rescue and adoption of children.
We loved it and give it two paws up! You can rent it today for $1.00 at Redbox, or even better, sign up at Redbox's website and they will text you a code every Monday for a free rental.

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Triple Coupons at Kroger

As most avid couponers know by now, certain Krogers around Nashville (the ones within a close proximity to Harris Teeter) are tripling coupons up to .99 cents until May 9.

I have broken my once a week grocery trip rule this week. I've been to Kroger 4 times! I can't help it! I'm having so much fun with all the free or extremly cheap groceries.

Some of the items I've gotten:

Suave Deodorant FREE

Flipz Pretzels FREE

Daves Hot Sauce FREE

Bush's Baked Beans .01 cent

Bertolli Pasta Sauce .24 cents

Bisquick (40 oz) .99 cents

Domino brown sugar .22 cents

Bagelfuls .55 cents

Nature Pride Bread .85 cents

McCormick Spice .04 cents

Fleishman Yeast .44 cent

Red Baron Pizza singles 1.08

Land O Lakes butter (1lb) .66 cents

I'll make at least one more trip before the promotion is over. I love coupons!!!!

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