Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Red Beans & Rice

Red Beans & Rice Southern Style

When I was about 16 my parents went on a trip for two weeks leaving me, my sister (12) and my brother (15) home alone! We could not wait for them to pull out of the driveway! We had a great time but when I look back I am not sure what we did other then shopping, staying up late and going to church! Yep, we were real wild kids! I guess that's why they felt they could leave us alone! While they were away they sent us a post card with this recipe. Living in Louisiana you would think we would eat cajun food often. Nope! My parents were from the mid-west so Cajun cookin was not on the menu. Once we tried the recipe it became my favorite and I still used it today. I made it this week and the pot is empty! Its a cheap and easy meal but you need to plan to be home for a few hours to simmer the beans. I let my beans simmer all day and continue to add seasoning as needed so the flavor is sure to pop.

This is a great recipe to cook on Saturday and enjoy on Sunday! Let me know if you try it!

1lb Small Dark Red Beans
1/4 cup Chopped Parsley
1 Large Onion
1/2 tsp. Basil
1 Cup Chopped Green Onions
2 Bay Leaves
1/4 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper
Salt & Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
1 pkg Smoked Sausage cut into bite size pieces

Place beans in a large pot with enough wather to cover, bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Cover and let soak overnight. In the morning, bring to another rolling boil, add the next seven ingredients (not sausage), let simmer uncovered for at least 3 hours. Add cold water as needed as well as salt and cayenne. In last hour of cooking add sausage. Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve over fluffy rice with a slice of corn bread! Enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Deal of the Day @ Bi-Lo

I never thought that shopping would cause laughter! What am I going to tell the cashier when she says, "What are you going to do with all that Mustard??" Its enough to last a year okay maybe two! I have plans for it, my family is getting some and some is going into the Christmas food pantry. The following is a list of items purchase today and you will see why all the Mustard!!!!

8 - Bottles of Mustard - This was the fun deal that made me laugh! Bi-Lo has coupons for buy one name brand items get their item FREE! I keep the coupons until the name brand item goes on sale. This week it was French's Mustard. It was BOGO Free! Okay, so I purchased two French Mustard and got two free, that made 4, so I get 4 store brands FREE! I am only purchasing 2 bottles but getting 6 FREE. Now, the two that I am purchasing cost $1.14 each so that is $2.28. I have 4 French's Mustard so I am using 4 coupons (from the Sunday paper) at .50 cents each. Bi-Lo doubles coupons up to .60 cents so that is $2.00 in coupons! Phew, almost done! So, that means I got all 8 bottles of mustard for .28 cents!!!!!!!!! Potato salad here we come!!! Wonder how much potatoes will be? Sign up for a Bi-Lo card and get access to these coupons!
6 - Packs of 50 count Paper Plates - This was the same deal as the Mustard! No need to go through the whole break down again! I purchased all 6 packs for $1.30!!! That is 300 plates for $1.30!!!! Great for holding that potato salad!!!!
6 - Hamburger Helper - On sale BOGO and had 3/.80 cent coupons. Got all 6 boxes for $4.37. Love the Chicken Alfredo with grilled chicken, fresh steamed broccoli and chopped tomatoes!
So good!!! Internet coupons!
4 - Beef Hot Dog - This was another sale item like the Mustard. I did not have a coupon for the Carolina Pride Beef Hot Dogs but still purchased four packs of beef hot dogs for $1.98! Great with the upcoming potato salad!
3 - Bottles of Ketchup - On sale at Bi-Lo for .99 cents! Had three coupons for .20 cents which were doubled, so purchased all three for $1.77! Man this is going to be good with the hot dogs and the potato salad, served on a paper plate! My little boy was thrilled when he saw the ketchup! He is an addict! Coupon from the Sunday paper!
3 - Luzianne Green Tea Bags - Another family favorite! Love making sweet tea with this! This was on sale 2/$3.00 had a .60 cent coupon which was doubled! So, purchased all three boxes for .90 cents!!!! Woo Hoo, tea with our hot dogs and potato salad!!! Coupon-from the paper!
3 - Del Monte Fruit Chillers - Now for dessert! I don't know about where you are but its been so hot here, my kids would eat Popsicles all day and skip the food if I let them. So to get Popsicles on sale, that makes me happy! These were on sale for $1.88 a package and I had $1.00 coupons! So, purchased all three boxes for $2.64! Soooo coooollllll!!!
2 - Weber Grill Creations - This is a new product for us but we love spices! It looks delicious and it was to good of a deal to pass up. These were on a BOGO free sale! They were $2.49 each, since I purchased 2, I used 2 coupons for .50 cents each, of course they were doubled so I purchased 2 for .49 cents! This will taste good on the grilled chicken for the Hamburger Helper Alfredo!

When checking out the cashier was a little upset with me. She wanted to tell me they did not take the Bi-Lo printed coupons (I know, get off the floor, I wanted to laugh too!). When I pointed out they had the Bi-Lo logo on them she still did not want to accept them. I just said, "I guess you need to call the manager." The manager came over and looked at her and said, "Are you kidding, of course we take these, their our coupons!" He left but she was still upset with me! She looked at me and said, "I would never spend time printing and clipping coupons!" I did not say anything but when my total went from $95.23 to $13.73 I just looked at her and said, "I think it was worth my time!" The ladies behind me all chimed in and asked, how did you do that? It was a good shopping day!
Leave me a comment about your deal of the day!
Oh, anyone need mustard?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Harris Teeter Deals

Ok, let me first apologize for not taking pictures today! After going with Mark to get grocery's for our house and Dad's house it was to much for me to ask Mark to unload so I could take pictures! I did not even go there! We had a great time just the two of us. We first went by Goodwill and dropped of a trunk full of donations, filled the cooler with ice (we keep one in the van all summer with bottle water and drinks. Saves us from spending money on drinks when we are often out for the day) then took off on our adventure to HT. We do not have one close so it was about a 20 minute car ride which we enjoyed.

Before we get started HT has a few coupon rules you need to be aware of before planning your trip.

1. Limit of 20 Coupons per person (Mark went with me so he could use 20 and I could use 20 - He used Dad's VIC card and I used our card)

2. Limit of 3 identical coupons per product

3. Limit 2 identical Internet printed coupons
4. BOGO items ring up half price
5. They do accept competitors coupons; however, they may not ring up double and they will not adjust register if the do not ring up double.

6. Make sure to sign up for a free VIC card!

Keeping these tips in mind will help you save as you plan your shopping trip.

Deals of the Day - Remember, they are doubling coupons up to $1.98 all week!!!

3 - Country Crock Tub Butter - on sale for $1.27 - coupon for .75 doubles
Total Price - 23 overage on all 3! Love That!!!
Coupon - Available at Publix in the turn table out front, it was a manufactured coupon

4 - Kraft Pasta Salad - on sale for $1.69 spotted coupons on the box for $1.00 off two boxes-doubled Total Price - .69 per box

2 - Kraft BBQ Sauce - on sale $1.25 bottle - internet coupon $1.00 doubled - 75 overage on both!!!

2 - Kraft Salad Dressings - on sale $2.49 (not a good sale price but good with coupon) - $1.00 coupon doubled
Total Price - 49 cents each!!

2 - Dole Mandarin Oranges $1.00 each - coupon 2/.55 cents doubled - Total Price - ,45 cents each

2 - Kraft Velveeta Cheese - $2.99 each - $1.00 coupon doubled - Total Price - .99 cents

2 - 4pk Yo Plus Yogurt - $2.35 each - $1.00 coupon doubled - Total Price - .35 cents

10 - Dannon Yogurt - 10/$5.00 - $1.00 coupon doubled - Total Price - 10/$3.00

There were many other sales today but those are a few of the highlights.
Today we purchased $248.96 in grocery's and walked out paying.....drum roll please.....
$109.54 with a savings of 139.42!!!

Print your own Kraft coupons here and start saving money for your family!

Happy Shopping! Let me know how you saved money this week!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Living By Faith-Week Two

We are in week two without a job. Mark has applied for about 80 plus jobs and we are excited because he has had three interviews. I'm sure you're wondering why we are excited for three interviews! After talking with several people we have come to realize its about one interview out of 100 applications, so we are blessed, that he has had three! No, its not a bed of roses, yes, there are days we feel a little overwhelmed, yes, my husband desperately wants to be back at work and yes, I there are days I need him back at work (come on I'm not a saint)! According to the Department of Labor, the number of unemployed persons increased by 787,000 to 14.5 million in May, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 7.0 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 4.5 percent-age points. Unemployment rates rose in May for adult men (9.8 percent) United States Department of Labor. What a staggering statistic! Our Lord comforts Mark and I and we rest assured that even though this mountain may be bigger then we ever imagined, we believe faith still moves mountains and when it get discouraging that its not moving fast enough. We're reminded that God sees the big picture, we may not understand His plan, but we have faith knowing His plan is much grater then anything we can even comprehend. Today was a tough day but, we are encouraged that God has a plan and we continue to press on.

2 Samuel 22:31
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fabulously FREE Friday

If you have a Twitter or Facebook account you can follow Pizza Hut! They will be sending out a code for free stuffed pizza rolls on July 4 to all their followers. Details here
Not quite Free but almost and still considered Fabulous!
Now at participating Starbuck stores get a refreshing, handcrafted Grande Iced Coffee with Milk (or without milk) for only $1.95 plus tax.
More details Here

Harris Teeter Deal - Don't Panic While Reading

Okay, just when I thought my week could not get any better this just came in my in box! If you could see me, I'm am so doing the happy dance, no, the camera will not capture that! Trust me, you would thank me! Now, if you are reading this and you're already putting on your shoes, slow down, DON'T FORGET TO TAKE YOUR COUPONS WITH YOU!!!! Okay, deep breath, we can do this, all is going to be well, there will be items left when I hit the store tomorrow! I'm getting organized and going to take the 20 minute drive to my local store! Will post what I got soon! Make sure to post what you saved and we will do the happy dance with you too! Let the shopping begin! Can't wait to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Black & White Blessing!

Yesterday was a day I thought would never happen! I was so excited, okay, almost gitty to get three Sunday papers free!!! I went to Food Lion as posted previously (here) and when walking to the front of the store I noticed a lady unlocking the paper box and pulling out the old Sunday papers. I asked if she was throwing them away and when she said, "Yep" I asked if I could have them. Surprised when she said, "Sure!" I felt like one of my boys getting a new toy! Man, I'm a serious addict! Anyway, since I had three I went in the store with the purpose of giving one away. I went to the meat department, made my selections, when I went to leave there was a sharp looking, older couple, making their selections very carefully. The gentleman started asking me about a brand of sausage and that was all it took for us to become engulfed in a pleasant conversation as if we were long lost friends. I joked with them and told them not to tell people about the Food Lion meat mark down because its a secret! They had a good laugh about that. They then told me they were getting items to last for the rest of the month and it was nice to find the markdown meat. That opened the door for a coupon conversation. They told me they do not buy the paper because it cost and they did not want to waist their money because "Its dwindling faster then they anticipated". I reached in my buggy and gave them a paper then showed them the coupon section. We found four coupons for items they had in their buggy saving them $4.00, enough to buy another package of meat! What a blessing! Do you think that happen by chance? I don't, I think God put that all in place to give me and my new friends a blessing. I left that little store with much more then just a bag of meat. I left that store with my "buggy" running over! When I got to the car, the Lord and I had a little talk and yet again I felt his arms around me saying; "Rachel, just have faith, I am here." What a great God we serve!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Deal of the Day at Food Lion

It was another good shopping day at Food Lion! I went in there looking for some ground beef for our sloppy joe night and came out with much more. I purchased a family pack of ground beef, family pack of stew meat (which my husband loves in beef stroganoff), three packs of 93% fat free ground beef, one package of ground chuck, two packs of chicken thighs for just $24.73! I saved $29.12!!!! I love it when I get meat on sale because that is a big part of my food budget! This week is busy with VBS so it was nice getting meat that I can use for those quick meals.

This Week on the Menu
Monday - Sloppy Joe's, Garden Salad & Corn on the Cob
Tuesday - Baked Chicken, Green Beans, Roasted Potatoes, Garlic Toast
Wednesday - Cold Veggie Pizza with Spinach Dip & Ruffles
Thursday - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Garden Salad
Friday - Taco's
Saturday - Fish Fry with Grandpa

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Its Time For Camp!!!

Our oldest is getting ready to leave for camp in just a few short weeks! He has been planning and saving for a few months and he is so excited. This year he is going to camp as an official teenager! He will be traveling further and will get a chance to do a few things he has never experienced before, he is going to an amusement park (has not been since he was 6), attending a bus demolition derby (and they get to paint their own team bus), traveling 900 miles away from home, attending a conference with over 5000 teenagers, participating in a paintball contest, and riding home with his Aunt (he is very excited about that, spoiled all the way home). Planning for camp is an exciting time! This will be his 4th year going but his first year going this far away. We've been keeping an ongoing list since his first trip of things to pack (look for that in a separate post). Although as a Mom, its not my favorite time when he goes off for a week but as a part of his training (Prov 22:6) we believe its an important time for him to experience leaving home. We know the day will come when he will leave for college and these little trips are all part of his training. There is something special that takes place in the heart of a teenager when they go to Bible Camp where the preaching is the focus. The preaching they hear and the training they receive is something I could never give him sheltering him here at home. God has worked in a mighty way in his heart every year and that is something I would never rob from him. We make going to camp and exciting time, but we also make coming home just as special (more on that to come). The first part of our series is budgeting for camp.

1. A Plan To Pay

Planning to go to camp starts long before the week of camp. When the Lord places a camp opportunity in front of us we always sit down and plan out a camp budget. We include everything from registration, travel, food, entertainment, extra clothing, shoes, personal items, souvenirs & gifts (he always likes to bring his little brother home a gift). We list anything extra that is going to be needed.

2. Raising The Needed Funds

Raising the money for camp is a family project with the majority of the responsibility being on the one going. We decide how much we need to raise then with prayer, faith and a little hard work we set out to raise the needed funds. He starts by letting family and friends know he is looking for a little extra work and he will do odd jobs like yard work, burning papers for Grandma, dog sitting for friends, collecting cans. He has also made homemade treats and sold them, candy bars and this year his has been selling lunches to family and friends. As hard as it is to tell him, he knows if the money is not raise the trip is not taken. Trusting God to provide has increased his faith and when God provides, its always an exciting time!

3. Budgeting For The Week
I remember going to camp when I was 13 and having money in my purse, boy did I feel rich! Thinking I had enough money to live off for a good year I did not budget and by mid week I realized I better look into a budget and quick! Using the age old envelope system has worked great for budgeting camp money. We use an envelope for each day. I let our youngest get involved and he is in charge of decorating each envelope for big brother. On the outside of the envelope we put the day of the week. On the inside we put a 3x5 card and list all the activities for the day. We would put something like this - Monday - Traveling then under that we would list Breakfast $5, Lunch $5, Dinner $8, Snack/Extra $5 - Total $23 - This way he knows what the money is to be used for and will not over spend at one location. We always ask the counselor what type of meals they will be eating so we know about how much to budget. We do not want to budget $5 and they stop at a nicer end restaurant where the meals start at $15! This has helped greatly! We do one for each day and we tuck them in his suitcase so he is not caring around all his money. When he was younger we gave the envelopes to the counselor but now that he is older, its his responsibility to keep up with the money. Judge the maturity of your child. At the end of the day any extra money he has goes in an envelope marked "extra funds" he can use this money if needed or save it for another fun day when he gets home! Each year we have a talk about how not to flash around his envelopes and tell all his friends about them and where they are located.

4. "Just Incase"
Just incase there is a problem we always give the counselor an envelope with an extra $40. On the outside it says Kyle's Just Incase Fund. This is just incase his money is lost or stolen. He has never used the "Just Incase" envelope but its a peace of mind thing for Mom and it keeps the counselor from being responsible to make up the needed funds should it become a issue.

I hope these tips will help you as you plan to send your little one (or not so little) off this summer. I would love to hear your budgeting for camp tips too. Next Up...Packing Ideas

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Happy Father's Day Dad!

What Makes a Dad?
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,The joy of a morning in spring, The faith of a mustard seed,The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,Then God combined these qualities,When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it ... Dad
~~Author Unknown.~~
I Love You Dad! Thank you for being my pillar of strength.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ooops! Mom Did It!

Having Mark home has been an adjustment, but one that I have been enjoying, he is really pitching in and helping with the house hold chores. He puts in applications all day and in between he helps around the house. He has however upset my routine a bit! I usually start the dishwasher after lunch so its ready for our evening meal. Well, today he started it before lunch, I noticed it had only made it through the first cycle so I turned it off so we could put the lunch dishes in there too. I forgot about it and that afternoon I had the boys unload it! Still not remembering I turned it off earlier! When I put a dish in I closed it then noticed the dial was still at the same spot! I just started to laugh, then went back to the cabinet unloaded the dirty dishes and reloaded the dishwasher again!
No one asked why I was washing "clean" dishes!
I think its because they have seen me goof more then once!

Help, I Can't Sleep!!!

Last night was one of those nights where I went to bed tired, fell sound a sleep, but then, about 1AM, I woke up and could not get back to sleep! What do you do when you can't sleep? Do you lay in the bed tossing and turning getting mad (at your husband of course) because you can't sleep? Do you turn on the TV knowing that will solve the problem? Do you take a sleeping pill then pray really hard that you will wake up in the morning? I have done all those things too but over the years I have learned if I am awake the best thing to do is just get up. Now I realize there are many reasons why one can't sleep but I am talking about those nights where there is no reason. When I have those nights when I can't sleep I take it as the Lord waking me up to spend some alone time, just the two of us. I get a blanket and curl up in my chair with my Bible and often my devotion book and I have a little alone time with my Lord. The house is quiet, everyone is sleeping, there are no distractions. Often an hour or two will pass and I don't even realize the time. When I go back to bed, I seem to get the best sleep and I always wake up feeling so refreshed. So, the next time you can't sleep, get up and have a date with our Lord. I bet you will feel his love for you in a very special way. .

Psalms 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Great Deal On Produce Today

Not every shopping trip consist of a buggy full! Today I was paying a bill and in the same parking lot was Save-A-Lot and I knew they often get in good produce so I popped in and was pleasantly surprised. They had bananas 3lb/$1.00 (a few missing because we ate them on the way home), Jumbo Cucumbers 2/$1.00, Mango's for .69 cents, White Onion for .59 cents, tomatoes still on the vine for .99lb. and a 5lb bag of potatoes for $1.99 so my bill today was $7.78. We are having grilled burgers for supper so the tomato and onion are going to taste good on top! The cucumber and tomato are going in a cold pasta salad and the mango is going in a drink that my honey has been wanting to try. The potatoes and extra onion will be use Thursday for Mark's Famous Potato Salad!
It was a good produce day!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Top 10 Coupon Tips

The other day our youngest came in the room and instead of saying, "Mom...", he said, "Coupon Queen, may I have a Popsicle?" I in no way pretend to be a "Coupon Queen" but I do love saving money for my family. The following are tips that have helped me as I coupon and I hope they will help you too!

10) Invest in a Printer with Cheap Ink
I like to print coupons from the Internet as well as getting them from the paper and other sources. I purchased a printer that is very cheap on ink (yep, got it on sale). My old printer cost $60 to fill the ink, my new printer cost $25 (for black and color ink!) and I get more prints! Now I don't feel bad hitting the print button over and over and over!
9) Print in Draft
When printing coupons set your printer to draft. It not only prints faster but it uses much less ink.
8) Purchase Lower Grade Paper
Since I like to print coupons I was buying the paper I always purchased. The other day I noticed I was still buying the paper with the higher brightness count. Because I was doing this my cost was about $3 higher. I noticed if I purchased paper with a lower brightness count I could save a substantial amount of money. After all, I don't think the cashier is going to look at me and say, "Man, you have dull looking coupons!"
7) Clip & File
I like to clip my coupons and put them in a little basket so they don't fly all over the place (in our house there is always a fan running). As soon as I am finished cutting I file. It only takes a few minutes and I want them ready when I leave the house.
6) Watch For BOGO Free Sales
Don't you just love BOGO Free Sales? I sure do! Did you know, in most stores you can use two coupons because you are purchasing two items? How exciting is that! So, start matching them up and get even bigger savings!
5) Know The Policy
I have found if there is a problem with a coupon its due to the cashier not knowing the store policy and assuming you are going to take his/her word as law. If you know the policy before going into the store it will help when issues arise and if an issue arises, remain claim and just explain the policy. In most cases it will work out in your favor if you know the policy.
4) Read the Fine Print
Don't take for granted that the item in the picture is the only thing you can purchase with the coupon. The other day I had a coupon for $1.50 off a brand of makeup and there was a picture of eyeshadow on the coupon. I was in the aisle and noticed the same brand lipstick was 75% off, after I read the fine print on the coupon I noticed it said, "ANY Item" on the coupon so I was able to use the coupon on any product this company made. I was happy to get a tube of lipstick marked from $10 to $1.00! Make sure to read that fine print, a better bargain could be hiding in there!
3) Look on the Sale Aisle
Just about every store has a sale aisle. I have noticed the drugstores have end-caps in the back of the store as their sale area. Look there for clearance items. The other day I noticed they had tape on clearance for .75cents, that was great for me because I had coupons for .75 cents off! So, I stocked the boys art basket with FREE tape!

2) Buy Two, Three, okay, maybe Four!
Sometimes I purchase two even three Sunday papers if they have good coupons. With most papers you can go online to see what kind of coupons they will have available that week. A few weeks ago I purchased four! The next week our local grocery store had a BOGO Free sale on Sausage. I had 4 coupons for $1.50 off, so I got 4 sausages for $1.18! The sausage was $3.59 BOGO so it was $7.18 for 4 sausages. Since I had 4 items I used 4 coupons at $1.50 each. I paid $1.18 for all four sausages a savings of $13.18 and for some reason, when you do that, Red Beans and Rice taste so much better!
1) My Number One Tip
Have fun with it! Set aside a little time each week to see how much you can save. I started out trying to save 1/4 of our bill, then 1/2, now 3/4! Challenge yourself, get the family involved! Set aside the savings for something fun, like a mini vacation or a Wii! Make it a family affair and soon everyone will spot a coupon!

Sunday we were on our way home from church and we were at a stop light. There was a white piece of paper blowing in the wind and for some reason we all noticed it. I said, "Stop the car, its a coupon!" They looked at me and yelled simultaneously,
"You've got to be kidding!!!!" Then everyone started laughing!
Just have fun, after all, you are saving cold hard cash!
Treat Yourself!

Trusting God-Week One

We are in week one with out a job. Mark has been putting in applications all day and making phone calls. He was up before anyone in the house having his devotions and on the computer applying for jobs. Isn't the Internet great! He put in about 20 applications today and we were thankful he did not have to drive all over town! That right there is the blessing of the day. He called the temp agency to get an appointment and they said, due to so many applications they are no longer setting up appointments for jobs they are only accepting applications. They will review the application then call if there is anything open. Looking for a job now is like being one grain in the salt shaker! There are thousands unemployed in our area and that is why its so exciting! God must have something very special in store just for Mark! Life is a day-by-day adventure. Only when we fix our eyes on the Lord can we have victory. Yesterday our son asked if we could get more batteries for his game and we talked about getting chargeable batteries so it would save money. That made me think about our daily lives, we need to turn to God's Word everyday to keep our inner batteries charged so we keep the focus on Him.
Ps. 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Another Good Day At Publix


Its so nice to enjoy shopping again! When you go, and come home spending less then half on groceries its such a joy. Today was shopping for Dad day so many of the items I usually do not purchase like the Stoffers meals but Dad likes having them for those days we are not home to fix him dinner. Although everything was a great deal some of my top deals were the Chex Mix for .23 cents a bag, Nabisco 100 Calorie Snacks 2 boxes for $2.99, Green Giant Steamers for .45 cents a bag, Dial Body Soap 2 for $1.99, Carnation Evaporated Milk for .13 cents a can and baby carrots for .84 cents a bag. As you can see there are many other items we came home with today!
It was a great day at Publix! You can do it too!
Just spend a little time!

Today's Deal Breakdown

Total Bill...............................$181.66
Publix Savings....................$ 67.44
Manufactured Coupons.....$ 29.70

Total OOP Expence (including tax)..............$84.52
Total Savings...............................................$97.14

Deal of the Century!!!

I am so excited about my find of the century! I went to Rite Aid today because Mark needed a refill on some medication. They are offering a coupon (of course!), if you transfer two prescription they will give you a gift card for $50! Since Mark's medication was only $5 it was worth it! Plus he needed it anyway. After receiving the gift card I wanted to come home and go through the sale paper first before spending the money, you know, so I can spend $50 but walk out with so much more! Well, on my way out I noticed they had shampoo and conditioner on clearance for 75% off so I figured it up and it was only $1.04 a bottle. I thought, we are almost out so I will pick up two bottles. When I got to the register the cashier noticed there was a coupon on the back (can you believe it, a coupon go by me!) so he ripped it off and it was for $1.00 off!!!!! I said, "Are you kidding me?" He just laughed! Since the store was empty I asked if I could go get more before he totaled me up. I went back and bought all they had! So, I got 7 shampoo and 6 conditioner (two missing in the photo) for a total of .52 cents!!! Now, that is a deal!
$3.42 per bottle x 12 bottles = $41.04
Paid .52 cents = $40.52 savings!!!!
Note: Coupon for prescription is available in the store at the pharmacy or in their sale paper by the front door. My coupon from online would not scan so get one at the door.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer Binder - Daily Activities

My Favorite Potted Plant

The second chapter to our Summer Binder is daily activities. Keeping activities in front of the boys helps keep away those summer time "I'm bored!" or "Mom, what can I do?" statements. I remember as a child my Mom always had a creative activity in mind for us. My favorite was the playhouse they made out of an old pump house. Mom made me curtains, Dad put in a laminate floor and I supplied the imagination. I loved that playhouse and it provided hours of entertainment. That's what this section is dedicated to, supplying the tools to spark imagination and growth.

Supplies Needed: Monthly Calendar (June-August), Bank, Blank Paper, Pen, Hole Punch, Imagination

Reading Schedule
This Summer we are focusing on reading more. To encourage the boys to read I created a calendar with a large 25 on each day (even the blank days on the calendar page). Although they are required to read everyday we thought we would make it exciting for them. Each day they read for 25 minutes they get to color in a square, for ever square they get .25 cents deposited into a bank, at the end of the summer they get to take the money in the bank and do a special activity. They deciede they want to go to the Outlet Mall and Dad said he would treat lunch! They can earn extra money each month by coloring in the extra blanks that are on the calendar. They love this! I catch them reading longer then 25 minutes because they are interested in their book. We plan a library visit on Monday mornings and we have had a great time thus far.

Top 20 List - Indoor
Again, to keep from hearing, "Mom, what can I do?" I had each boy create a top 20 list. This is a list of 20 things they like to do at home. They could only pick three thing on the list they like to do with someone the rest had to independent activities. I had our youngest go in his room, look through his toys and come up with things he liked to do. He forgot he had a few things until he went looking. He would run in and say, "Playdough! I forgot I had that!" We would add it to the list then off he went to find another fun activity! My favorite thing on their list was spend time with Grandpa! Grandpa lives with us and I thought it was precious to see each one put that on their list. This has been a great help! When they get attached by the evil "I'm bored bug" I just send them to their list then off they go on some fun adventure!

Top 50 Outside
Our outdoor list we created together. We came up with a huge list of activities they can do outside . We even bought great water guns so they can have a few "wet activities". They loved creating this list and it was fun watching it grow and grow and grow!

So, there you have it, now you are set to create your own summer binder and have the best summer ever! I would love to hear your comments about your binder and how its going for you! Just remember, your summer will only be a good as you plan for it to be, so let's make it a GREAT one!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Binder - Weekly Activities

After mentioning our summer binder on face book I had many people request more information. I hope this will answer your questions. I hope you will create a binder for your children this summer and have the best summer ever!

When I look at the life of our children and I break it into years it seems so short to say I will only have 16 summers with them until they are getting jobs and taking on "adult" responsibilities. When I look at it that way it seems so short. With that in mind, I plan for our boys to enjoy the summer and when its time to go back to school, I am the one sad. I love having the kids home and with just a little planning, you can enjoy it too. So, get a cup of coffee and let's plan to have the best summer vacation ever!

Supplies Needed: 1" 3 Ring Binder, Hole Punch, Dividers with Pockets Labled Week 1-4, Blank Paper, Pen and a Good Attitued!

Weekly Calendar
The first thing in our binder is a weekly calendar. I like to print one week at a time since we plan our activities by the week. I print out enough calendars to last the whole summer, hole punch and put into your binder. Once printed write all the appointments, commitments, vacation, VBS that you already have committed to this summer. Once that is filled out then have a family planning meeting. This is the boys favorite part. I get a special drink, we sit around the table and I simply ask what they would like to do this summer. On a blank piece of paper we start writing everything they would like to do. Many of our activities are free or low cost but we do throw in few things like water park and maybe a mini trip, adjust it for your budget. After we have planned that list I fill in one or two activities a week on our calendar. I keep their list in the back of the binder to use for filler the next week. Another idea is to cut the activities into strips, put in a hat and pull out the activity you are going to do for the week. Since we have boys they like the same thing, but if we had a girl in the mix I would probably do the hat idea. Once we have planned our activites for the week we then go on a coupon hunt! Yep, coupons! If we have an activity where we will be out for lunch then we look for coupons for lunch or if we take a lunch we look of a dessert coupon like BOGO Free on an ice cream or other dessert. When we get our coupons they go in the divider pocket for that week. Coupons can be used for the activity too! We get our bowling coupons every week, we love those! You can also go to your local visitor center and get coupons for just about any activity you plan. If you can't find one, call the place you are wanting to visit and see if they offer any. Our water park has BOGO Free days and half price if you come after a certain time. If you have older children have them help find a good deal or have them make the phone calls for you. Praise them when they get the information needed.

Chore Chart
The next list in our binder is a weekly chore chart. We had a family meeting talking about how we all needed to work together at home. My husband and I came up with a personalized chore list that they needed to do each day (keep in mind, they are kids, don't make it so long they are working 8 hours a day). I do not use this as a time to say, "If you don't get your chores done then no activities!" Let's face it, they are kids and they are learning. If they had as much character as you then there would be no need for training. There are going to be days when teeth don't get brushed or the bed is not made and guess what, its okay! The world will not shut down! Kids respond so much better to praise then they do punishment. If you are positive about it and help guide them to get it done then they will be positive too and it makes for a much better day. I praise them all the time when I look at the list and its all marked off. If I notice they have not started then I just say something like, "How is the list coming along today?" or I will say, "Boys, in 10 minutes we are going to get started on our list." I am not yelling nor threatening. After all, what is that accomplishing but a negative attitude in the home, then every one feel the stress of Mom is MAD!!! Who is the winner there? I want to teach them responsibility and I do not want to be the nagging woman in their life. Now, we have the charts and they know what is expected each day. On the list are a few things that need to be accomplished weekly like cleaning the bathroom, bathing the dog, those need to be accomplished by Thursday so we can keep Friday's open to run errands, go to the thrift store or do any make up work. If they see what you expect and you are positive about it, they will enjoy getting it done. Keep a positive attitued and remember, you are training and they are learning.

Cooking Class
This year we started cooking class on Monday (that is Monday's when we are not busy with other activitis). I gave the boys cookbooks with picutes and had them pick out a recipe. Our oldest cooks the main meal and our youngest makes a dessert and drink. They are responsible for choosing a recipe, making out the menu, creating a grocery list, looking for coupons, going shopping with Mom to look for the best deal, putting away the food, preparing the meal and then clean up. We do this over a few days. Once they have picked their recipe we make a copy of it and put it in out binder along with the menu and grocery list. We do this to show them its important to plan ahead so you have everything you need. It has turned into a fun activity. We make the dessert in the morning so we are not all in the kitchen in the evening. Kyle has learned its easier to fix the meal in sections like getting as much of the menu done in the morning so when its getting dinner time a lot of the prep is already done. We have really enjoyed what they have cooked and they are having fun doing it! Again, its an activity where you have to keep yourself in check and remember you are teaching and they are learning.

Matching Socks!

This has been a crazy week! Its been basketball camp during the morning, errands during the afternoon and revival in the evening. The boys were in the kitchen talking about tomorrow and Kyle was reminding Caleb to find socks for basketball. I heard Caleb fussing about not having any socks then he said, "I would have socks to ware but MOM makes me ware socks that match!" He did not realize I was paying attention to him. When I started laughing he quickly realize I was and of course it was my fault he had no socks!
I think the week is getting to all of us!
We found matching socks so all is well and the little boy,
well, he is sound a sleep!

Living A Life Of Faith

Do you have a life's verse? I know many people say, "The whole Bible is my life verse" but I mean a verse that you claim and when things get tough you can see these verses come to life and you just feel that God is right there with you. A few years ago I was really struggling and began to pray and ask God to increase my faith. Boy, did I not know that was like praying for patience! I claimed Matt 17:20
"And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." I love the ending and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Knowing how much I love this verse my husband gave me a necklace with a mustard seen incased in a glass cube. How little that is and we do not even have that amount of faith. I also claimed Heb 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." These verses have blessed me many times in the past several years and I am always reminded that God is right there holding our hand we just need to have faith in Him. In the past when things would come up in our lives I would have a melt down, get depressed and walk around sulking. After asking God to help me to just trust in him I have seen my faith increase and my pity party turn to joy knowing God is in control. A few weeks ago I was talking with my Pastor's Wife and I said to her, "God has really tested my faith over the past few years and I feel more at peace with Him today then I have in my whole life. I feel as though I can trust Him with anything that comes up and it is a good feeling to have that comfort." Little did I know, God was about to open the flood gates of testing. Yesterday I decided to take a much needed nap before leaving for our revival services. I got all snuggled into my bed, put on a movie for the boys and planned for a restful hour nap. About 30 minutes into my nap I felt big arms around me and I thought it was our 13 year old coming in to give me some hugs. I reached back to pat his face and felt whiskers so I knew it was not my son, I rolled over and it was my husband. I sat up and said, "Are you sick? What are you doing home?" He looked at me and said, "I don't know how to tell you this, but I was laid off and they are doing away with my position at work due to the economy." WOW!!! What a complete shock! No warning, just boom, no job and only three week severance package! We both sat still on the edge of the bed, then it was like the Holy Spirit filled our bedroom and a complete peace filled my heart and my life verses came flooding my mind.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." ...."If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." I was so glad I had those verses at that moment. God knows all, today I have climbed into His arms and He is comforting me and has given me Blessed Assurance.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Our First Born

God has truly blessed Mark and I with Kyle. Since Kyle's birth
God has had his hand of protection upon this young man. You Mother's know the bond you have with you first born son its one that is unexplainable. From the moment I found out I was expecting Kyle I fell in love with him. I was sick for the entire 9 months of pregnancy but never regretted the decision to have him, even during the 40 hour labor process (well, maybe once or twice during that!). Kyle is our miracle baby. He was stuck in the birth canal and according to several doctors should have some form of mental problems and multiple health issues. However, lack of medical assistance during his birth could not stop God from giving us a healthy baby boy. We knew at that point God has a special plan for Kyle. Kyle was different then any child I have ever cared for or been around. From the time he could walk and talk he has had the desire to do right. I can remember walking into the room when he was just three maybe four and seeing him in the corner. When I inquired why he was in the corner he informed me he was in time out (which was funny because we did not use time out). When I asked what he did he said, "I put a stick in the mail box!" That's Kyle! When he was a little older he begged us to ground him! When we asked why? He said, "Well, all my friends have been grounded and I was just wondering what it was like!" To this day he is a son we are extremely proud of. He is growing into a fine young man. He was saved at a young age and has never wavered in his faith. A few year ago he went to Bible Camp and God really got a hold of his heart. He loves the Lord, he has witnessed to all his friends in the neighborhood. Kyle is a young man who stands for right even when his pears stand for wrong. Kyle has worked hard to keep our trust. After a talk we had when he was just 6 or 7 about the boy who called wolf, Kyle has made it a point not to lie and when circumstances come up where its his word or another we always know Kyle is telling the truth. He volunteers at the Nursing Home once a month, he has taught himself to play the guitar, he is an amazing big brother, he has a heart for missions (China), he loves his Grandparents and is a great family guy, he loves anything to do with the arts, he is now an assistant teacher to the 3-5 year olds as well as 6-12 year olds, at the theater in town, he has studdied yo-yo and can do some fantastic tricks, he taught himself how to make cool balloon animals, and even though his azthma keeps him from playing sports he has taught himself some radical skateboarding tricks and he helps couch his brother in all his sports. He is a young man any parent would be proud to call son. Is he perfect? No! Is he a teenager? Most definantly yes! Is he going to make mistakes? Yes! But we look forward to what God has in store for Kyle, this year he has the opportunity to go to Bible Camp where the emphisist is "Be The One" We are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for him this year and we covet your prayers that he will continue to Be The One God wants him to be.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Deal of the Day

Don't you just love walking away with a good deal? I sure do! Today was just that at Walgreens! Today I purchased these items for a grand total of $3.21! The best deal was the Ecotrin. They were on sale for $2, I had a coupon for $2.25 and they gave me $2 in Walgreen Dollars for each one! The dental picks were $2.99 on sale for BOGO Free and I had 2/$1.00 off coupons so I got both for just .99 cents. The Listerine was $4.99, I had a $2.00 off coupon. The Dark Chocolate Mocha Milk I got for my Dad and it was on clearance for .32cents, the Milk was not on sale but we needed it for breakfast (because my honey said he would fix breakfast if I bought milk). I also had $6 in Walgreen Dollars so my grand total out of pocket was $3.21 but that is not the best part! I walked out with $10 in Walgreen Dollars for the next tirp! Yeah for free Money!!!! You can do it too! What did you save this week?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Little Is Much When God Is In It

Teaching our children to pray and have faith is something we strive to teach, but sometimes lessons better if they are experienced then if they are taught from a book. For me can it can be a challenge teaching our children about faith because as a parent we often have the ability to "answer" the prayers of our children. Often we have the ability to give them the money they need or solve the problem they have. As a Mom of boys I have to constantly remember that I am teaching young men, future husbands, future adult men to have faith in God and to trust that God knows best. Caleb is our sports boy, he loves anything to do with games and competition. A few months ago he had an opportunity to play soccer and he loved it! As soon as soccer was over and really even before it was over he was asking us, "When is basketball starting?" He began to practice, talked about the possibilities of his team name, pondered what color his team would be, he even started watching basketball on TV and was always rooting for the winning team. When I called to see when sign up was going to take place I quickly realized we missed it! My heart was broken. I hung up the phone, looked at his excited face and said, "Buddy, I am sorry but we missed the sign up and its already closed." I honestly wanted to cry. He had look forward to this for months and now I felt like I disappointed him and broke his little heart. He looked at me and said, "That's okay Mom." I knew he was being brave so we both would not cry. I said, "I will call and talk to see if they can find a place for you." I called and left a message and then we just put it in God's hands. Its been two weeks since we called and today, Caleb said, "Mom, do you think I am going to get to play basketball?' I said, "Buddy, I am not sure, but if God wants you to play, he will open a spot for you. Why don't we pray one more time." We prayed and continued on our trip home. When we arrived home, Kyle met us at the door and said, "Mom, the man over the basketball teams called and said they have one spot left and they would like Caleb to come play." I about jumped out of my skin! I was so excited that he was going to get the opportunity to play and even more excited that our little 7 year old was able to see that God answers prayers of little children too. What an amazing God we serve, in the good times or the bad, in the little or the big, we need to remember God is worthy of our trust.

Matthew 19:14
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.