Thursday, August 28, 2008

Frugal Friday

This is the last week of August so, you'll want to check out the rebates and monthly ECB at Rite Aid and CVS if you haven't already before they run out (some you can even make money on!!!). These are a few deals to mention that you may still be able to get in on if you hurry... ___________________________ CVS Monthly ECB Deals: Infant or Children's Advil $5.79 - coupon here = $4.79 ($5.79 ECB back) = $1 profit CVS Weekly Ad (through 8/30): Kotex Pantiliners $1.49 - $1 coupon in All You magazine = $.49 ($1.49 ECB back) = $1 profit Stayfree pads 2/$9 - BOGO coupon from newspaper = $4.50 ($5.00 ECB back) = $.50 profit

Rite Aid Weekly Ad (through 8/30):

Pert Plus Shampoo/Conditioner $2.99 - $2 Rite Aid rebate - $2 coupon from newspaper = $1 profit French's Mustard $.99 (I also found one with a $.30 coupon taped to the bottle) = $.69 Frank's Red Hot $.99 - $.50 coupon = $.40 Heinz Ketchup 32 oz $1.79 Drano Max $2.99 - $1 Rite Aid rebate = $1.99 Duck Brand Packing Tape free after Rite Aid rebate Rite Aid $30 gift card with transferred prescription printable coupon here Rite Aid 25 free digital prints with purchase of 25 prints...also 50 free 4 x 6 prints with new account! McDonald's Free Southern Style Chicken (or Biscuit) with medium drink purchase coupon was in the Parade newspaper insert or also available here fast food is not necessary "a great deal" in my opinion but getting it once in awhile is ok I guess especially since it was free and it worked well for a quick dinner for us...I had leftovers the night that Mike got the sandwich (no fries). Buehler's (weekly ad through Sunday) 5 lb basket of Freestone peaches for $3.99 Arm & Hammer Essentials free after rebate at this link (I couldn't get the coupon to print but it still ends up free even though I didn't get the $1 profit) ______________________________________________

Monday, August 25, 2008

Meal Planner Monday: Boneless Chicken Wings

It's season is here...I've already heard the words "That's my fantasy player!" here's my contribution to the start of football season...
...something to eat while you watch the game...
Mike really likes wings, but they are so unhealthy, so I came up with a way to make them much healthier and I think they taste just as good...
Cut chicken breast into strips and begin cooking on stove top. Part way into cooking, cover lightly with your favorite wing sauce or hot sauce (We use the Buffalo Wild Wings Mild or Parmesan Garlic...we've tried the Lube's sauces but they are very unhealthy...BWW's Mild sauce only has 2.5 gms of fat per serving) and finish cooking.
You can use additional sauce or dip into ranch or blue cheese dressing when serving, if you like. Take a small serving of the chicken and an extra large side of celery and it turns out to be a rather healthy meal (and cheaper than traditional wings especially if you ordered them out).
Also, I usually make homemade oven fries with these.
Easy! (And Mike's happy too!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Michael Lee!!!!

This is a fun picture...Last year for Mike's birthday I surprised him by putting a cake and balloons in his office so that he would see it when he went into work in the morning. The cake was made to look like a hamburger. (I didn't make it). And I was proud of myself for pulling off the surprise since the building to his office just happened to be unlocked when I "went to the grocery store" and was able to drop everything off without anything looking suspicious.

We are heading to Detroit for the day tomorrow to celebrate his birthday, so that's why I am posting this a little early...

I hope you have a fun and special 33rd birthday, Mike! I love you!

Family Fun Times

Well, I haven't had much free time to blog lately but we 've been able to spend some time with our family lately. My parents came to visit us in Ashland August 9-11. Then we went to Dubois to visit Mike's family this past weekend August 16-17. Mike made a couple videos and they are posted on his blog. The vidwo with my parents only shows us playing Fricket...we also went shopping, played cards, got ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery and just hung out and talked. (It was funny because mom and I shopped at JoAnns while dad and Mike went to the Football Hall of Fame...actually we had a couple different stores we wanted to go to and the guys called to let us know they were done at the Hall of Fame before we even finished at JoAnns which was our first stop). So, if you haven't seen them yet, check out the videos on Mike's blog under "What's Up Wednesday" and "Family/Friends Friday" and you'll see what we've been up to the last 2 weekends!

Faith and Politics

Some of you have already heard this, but anyone who hasn't, it is worth taking a look at now. Both presidential candidates were recently interviewed by Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback church. The interview involved several questions that prompted them to talk about their religious faith.
The easiest way to get to the videos on CNN is through this link.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Testimony of God's Sovereignty and Grace

We watched Larry King's interview last Thursday with Steven Curtis Chapman and family talking about the tragic death of 5 yr-old adopted daughter Maria Sue. You can see all 6 parts of the program here. (Be sure to watch part 6/6 because there is an amazing story...)
As Steven Curtis Chapman prayed to God for comfort and that God would help him see that Maria Sue was safe shortly after the accident, he came across a drawing on the art table that Maria Sue had drawn the day she had 6 petals and only one was colored in. Steven said the petals represented his 6 children, and the one completely colored in was Maria Sue..she is whole now, as she is in Heaven with Jesus. The word "SEE" was written in Maria's handwriting on the page with the flower and they knew that she had never learned to write that word...
The video and story behind the song "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman written long before Maria Sue's death.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Beijing China Summer Olympics 2008: The Games Have Begun

We watched a lot of the opening ceremonies last evening and hope to be able to watch a lot of the events (we got our cable hooked up on Thursday). But, look what we discovered this morning!!! Through the internet at this link you can watch any sport you want live (click on the list of events on the left that are marked "live")! Lots of other info at that site, too. Wow...That's pretty cool!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The New Carpenter Shop

I stopped by the "new" Carpenter Shop today because I had heard good things. I was pleased to find exactly what I was looking for and ended up with 2 books (list price $19.99 each) which look brand new for a total of $8.54. Some of their books are clearly "used" looking (although good condition) but others could pass as new. And their used Bibles (which look like new except for maybe looking a little older) are free! It was a lot like a thrift store - hit or miss...but today I was pleased with my finds (and I usually don't have much luck in thrift stores)! So, I'm sure I'll stop back again...
*For anyone who is not from Ashland and does not know what the Pump House is all about, you can read a little bit here. There is also a great and inspiring story behind how it came into being. The founder had a vision that God would someday build a ministry through him and that the facility/property where the Pump House is now located would be given to him for this ministry to reach out to the community. Many people doubted him and many people thought he was crazy when he turned down an offer to purchase the Myers Pump facility/property because he felt so strongly that God was going to give him all of that property at no cost somehow. Well as it turns out, that is exactly what happened and with perfect timing, (due to a financial benefit to the owners through a tax writeoff) the owners agreed to donate the property to him for nothing! Ever since then the vision has been growing and now there are several facets to the Pump House Ministries, including the Pump House Grille, Thrift Store, Bookstore, Work Re-entry Program (job skills and training in the factory and other programs), Men's Shelter, Bible Studies, Easter dinners open to the community, Food Pantry and housing for the twice-a-week Christian Health Clinic. When I think about the story and how God has used this ministry to touch so many people's lives, I am amazed! What a great God we serve!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Farmer's Market

Since this seems to be the theme for the week, I just wanted to mention the Farmer's Markets in Ashland on Wednesday afternoons 3:30-5:30 and on Saturday mornings 9-11:00 for anyone in the area that has never checked it out. They are now in full swing. I stopped after work today and they had lots of produce...corn, peaches, potatoes, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and probably several other types of produce that I am forgetting. And the prices are a lot better than even Aldi! Without a garden of our own, this is the next best thing!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Meal Planner Monday: Mexican Chicken Salad

This is another delicious summertime salad. It is a great way to use leftovers when you have extra corn-on-the-cob at the end of a meal in a way that doesn't seem like leftovers.
I got the idea for the recipe here then made some modifications to it.
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 1 (1.27 ounce) packet dry fajita seasoning, divided 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Mixed salad greens 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 (11 ounce) can Mexican-style corn (or fresh corn cut from the cob is much better!) 1/2 cup salsa, optional 1/2 sweet onion, chopped 1 tomato, chopped 1 green or colored pepper, optional
Tortilla Chips
Ranch dressing
DIRECTIONS Rub chicken evenly with 1/2 the fajita seasoning. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the chicken 8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear; set aside. (I skipped the oil and used a non-stick skillet and it worked fine.) I served everything in separate bowls and then that way everyone can put the salad together how they want. Our neighbor brought over some homemade hot but sweet salsa and it was really good on the salad.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Date Night: A Trip to Malabar Farm

I was finally able to get the pictures to upload onto blogger... Mike and I decided to go out last evening to do something fun together - outside of Ashland (usually the fun things that we do together include playing a game at home or watching a movie or something like that). We drove down and had dinner at the Malabar Inn Restaurant. It was a gorgeous summer evening so we chose a table outside on their deck. The food was delicious. They claim to use mostly ingredients from their farm.
Then we headed over to Malabar Farm. We browsed through the museum and gift shop (maybe I will know the difference between Holsteins, Brown Swiss, etc when we go to the fair this year).
We took a leisurely stroll around the farm, stopping at the pond.
Finally, we watched some of the barn dancing that they had going on that night. It looked like fun!
We are making plans to go back to the next barn dance! We had an enjoyable evening together. Thanks, honey, for suggesting it and for asking me out on a date down on the farm!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Frugal Friday: Lessons Learned

I have not done a Frugal Friday post in a few weeks. That's because I have been struggling this past month - although I have been trying, I have not felt very frugal myself...The CVS deals have not been very good, the prices at Walmart seem to keep going up, the local grocery stores' weekly sales have not been anything to get excited about either, I had some additional grocery purchases for dinners that I prepared while away from home, and Mike needed some "emergency" medical items for his clogged ear (which ended ultimately with a visit to the doctor to remove what the doctor referred to as the most wax he has ever seen in a patient's ear - he said it would have taken 10 years for the Debrox ear drops to get rid of all that wax). So...the lessons learned are:
  • It is very likely that the fewer trips that you make to the store, the less money you will spend. (Due to being away so much of the month, I was not as organized in my shopping or my meal planning.)
  • Cooking meals while away from home may be more expensive than what you are used to at home but still less expensive than eating out.
  • Increases in the cost of food are apparent and inevitable due to the economy and inflation - do the best that you can, but plan for some flexibility in your budget (such as taking money from your "going out"/entertainment budget) and evaluate to see if it is time to increase your grocery budget a little bit when costs go up. (I was still under budget for the month, just not below my own frugal goal.)
  • Unexpected necessities happen, especially when it comes to medical care. We spent almost $20 in ear drops, decongestant, and an ear curette to try to avoid an unnecessary trip to the doctor, but...that's OK...the important thing is that Mike got what he needed. Sometimes a trip to the doctor really is necessary. (I am also relieved that he can hear me again - it's kind of funny because he keeps saying how loud everything is now.

...We did get in on a deal earlier in the week through Amazon Prime. Mike was able to get the movie Flywheel for free. (It was pretty neat because he has been thinking about getting the movie - it's produced by the producers as Facing the Giants - but just didn't feel it was the right time to buy it - then it turned out through this deal that he got it for free!!!) Unfortunately this was a one-day deal, so it is no longer available.

The good news is that today starts a new month!

Some money saving opportunities:

  • Anyone that uses PayPal may be interested in checking out Yahoo Revolutionary MoneyExchange. It is a new competitor for PayPal but the nice thing about MoneyExchange is that there are no fees associated with the transaction, unlike PayPal. Mike signed up and got free stat tracker for fantasy football ($15 value) and $10 deposited into his account. If you are interested, please let me know because there is a referral bonus offer as well.
  • is having a promotion where you get $5 off any item through August 8th. You can read about it here.
  • Get $6 in coupons for Cheerios at (I'm not sure, but I think they email you 1 $1 off coupon each week for 6 weeks)

As always, there are many other deals over at Money Saving Mom, but those are the ones that caught my attention this week.