Friday, December 17, 2010

A Time of Quietness and Preparation

My last post was called "Time Flies"...I guess that's true since it has been 2 months since that post! I had lots of things that I wanted to post about Fall, Thanksgiving, our weekend in Ashland (which we so very much enjoyed visiting with so many special people and also the hours of laughter), different craft projects that I've been working on (including a few Christmas gifts), recipes and money saving deals (there are always plenty of those). So, I'm sorry that I didn't get to share with everyone pictures and posts of those things. I hope to do better starting in the new year. I guess instead of trying to play "catch up" I'll consider that a blogging break and start new again soon.
I do want to wish everyone a blessed Christmas. We pray that you would be able to take time away from all of the things that easily consume us (especially this time of year) to center your thoughts and hearts on the truth of the Christmas story.
"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel - which means, God with us." Matthew 1: 22, 23
Merry Christmas!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Time Flies ?!?!

So, I was feeling quite older the other day when I received this in the mail (you can click on it to see it better)... Wasn't it just last Christmas that I got carded at the winery?!?!?! So does that mean I've aged like 30+ years in the last 10 months ?!?!?! Or does it mean that it's time for me to quit my job ?!?!?

To the Cross

I heard this song for the first time last weekend at Chippewa Evangelical Free Church. It immediately became one of my current favorites...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Frugal Friday: Deals of the Week

Wow, it's been awhile since I've posted anything. I know this isn't that exciting but I thought I'd post my deals for the last couple weeks. Martin's has been running coupons in their ads for $1 coupon doubler so I've snatched some great deals with those. Rite Aid
Oral B 3D Toothbrushes (no limit) = Free after +UP (I think I ended up with 5 by the end of the week)
Planter's nuts (24 oz peanuts) 2/$5 - $1 + UP - (2) $1 coupons = 2/$2
Nivea lip balm $2.99 - $1.99 rebate = $1
Tom's of Maine all natural deodorant $3.49 - $1 coupon - $1 rebate = $1.49
Giant Eagle - I used my $20 giftcard from the presciption that I had filled there last week (promotion for the Grand Opening of the Dubois store), so my shopping trip for:
5 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios
1 pie pumpkin
3 boxes of Mrs. T pierogies
1 bag of tri-colored tortellini
2 1/2 lb. of apples
was only $4.44
Martins (pictured)
Apple juice = Free with coupon
Triscuit crackers = Free with coupon
Bounty paper towels $2.19 - $1 coupon doubled = 0.19
Progresso soups 4 @ 10/$10 - $1 coupon doubled = 4/$2
Ronzoni Garden Delight Pasta $1.59 - $1 coupon doubled = $0.41 profit
All Natural Chicken Sausage (regular $5.19 each) BOGO - $1 coupon doubled = $3.19 for both
Green Giant Sugar Snap Peas $1.25 - $.50 coupon doubled = $.25
Shop 'n Save
Ragu 6 pk $5.94
Peter Pan 3 pk $2.97
I should have done even better if I would have gotten my milk at Giant Eagle instead of Martins I could have used a 5/$30 coupon. Also, I forgot that I had a catalina coupon for $2 off 5 GM cereals at Giant Eagle and a coupon for the Mrs T's - oops.
Last week...
Martins (not pictured)
Carolina rice $1.19 - $.50 coupon doubled = $0.19
Gain dish detergent $1.99 - $1 coupon doubled = Free
Ken's dressing $2 - $1 coupon doubled = Free
Snyder's pretzels $2.50 - $1 coupon doubled = $.50
Bestlife margarine $2.07 - $1 coupon doubled = $.07
...with Giant Eagle recently opening and Walmart SuperCenter opening next week, I'm loving these promos for the battle of the grocery stores...$1 coupon doubler, coupons for free items when you spend $15, coupons for $5/$30 or $5/$50, credits for gas discounts...I hope it last for awhile...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Summer Renovations and 1st Harvest

We've been focusing on the outside of the house and yard over the last few months. Home improvement projects included: gutters, resurfaced deck, patio furniture, grill, and patio door. Next on the list is getting the driveway sealed. So here are some pictures of the changes... Here is a picture of the dining room looking out to the deck when we first bought the house (notice all the snow): This is the back of the house and deck before the gutters or resurfacing: A couple pictures after they pressure washed the deck: The deck freshly painted and bright: The main reason that we got the new patio door was that it was rotted... More rotting revealed when the old sliding door was removed: Our new patio door (with a double screen door)... ...and finished deck with patio furniture, grill and vegetable and herb garden: By the way, for our 1st cookout, we had some awesome hamburgers (and bison burgers) with some "gourmet" type toppings...I made my with grilled peppers and onions, homemade hot mustard (I'll have to post that recipe sometime) and pepper jack cheese - Yum-O! And, the gutters make everything look new and bright too: I picked the first tomatoes the other day (from container pots on the deck). There aren't many and they're small. The peppers are really nice - I let them all turn red - too bad there were only three that made it. It's exciting to have something to harvest from my first attempt at any type of gardening...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mike's 35th Birthday Road Trip

Mike's birthday was last Saturday. We went away for the weekend and had a great time in Pittsburgh. Friday evening we met my Mom and Dad, and Mike's old roommate and his wife at the baseball game (used our free tickets). Saturday we went to the new casino on the North Shore with a friend of ours (Mike and I both won a little bit of money) and then went Swing Dancing Saturday night. Sunday we went to my old church on the Northside (Allegheny Center Alliance Church) - the service was great and we also ran into one of my roommates and her husband - it was great to see them. For lunch we ate at Max's Allegheny Tavern, an authentic German restaurant with a buy one entree get one free coupon from Tropicana Rewards . One of my favorite things about the city is the variety of places to eat. After a drive past the new Children's Hospital (my place of employment 11 years ago) and a tour through Aspinwall past our old apartment with a quick stop at Cold Stone Creamery for Mike's free birthday ice cream, we headed home. There's always so many great things to do in Pittsburgh. It was a great weekend. Special thanks, again, to Steve and Amy for their hospitality. Hope you enjoyed your birthday weekend as much as I did, Mike!

Frugal Friday: Recycling Water

Now that we have houseplants and vegetable plants that need watered regularly, I have been using water from our dehumidifier and cooking water (I collected in this empty juice container) to water the plants. It makes more sense than dumping it down the drain. It got me thinking about other ways I could "find" water for my plants in between the rain waterings...
I found some ideas here
Anyone else have any other ideas?
...Pictures of our completed deck and 1st harvest coming soon...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Frugal Friday: Deal of the Week

...was deodorant! CVS had Right Guard on sale BOGO (buy one get one free) and I had two BOGO coupons so I got four completely free deodorants! Then, I was at Big Lots and saw they had the clinical strength Right Guard (which Mike likes best but is hard to find and usually much more expensive - about $7 regular price) for only $2 each so I got 6 more! Those should last awhile...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meal Planner Monday: No-Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
6 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup butter
Mix in saucepan and bring to a roiling boil. Remove from heat and add:
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups rolled oats
Mix well. Drop by small spoonfuls on wax paper. Let set until hardened. Makes 2 1/2 dozen. Store in air-tight container. I think they taste best after a day or two. I guess I think of these as a summertime recipe because you don't have to use the oven on those hot summer days.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Frugal Friday: Cloth Napkins

We are buying less and less disposable paper products. Recently (with inspiration from Julie) we made the switch to cloth napkins. Julie had made hers inexpensively, but I picked up some at Walmart and a few on clearance at Target. I'm still trying to figure out how to keep them from getting wrinkled in the wash, but I do like using them better than paper napkins. Not that we used a lot of paper napkins before, but now we won't have to buy any at all. And, it feels more "special" using the cloth napkins.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Meal Planner Monday: Three Bean Salad

This is a classic summer picnic salad...and a rather healthy one...and it's easy to make which makes it one of my favorites to take to a reunion or summer picnic/potluck...
1 can green beans
1 can yellow wax beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans (optional)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup salad oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Drain beans. Stir all ingredients together. Let set at least overnight to mix flavors.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Frugal Friday: Free Paper, Bath & Body Works, IHOP Kids' Meals, Bowling

Staples: (2) Free reams of any computer paper after Staples Rewards through this Saturday (look for coupons on shelf good toward certain paper for possible "money maker") Bath & Body Works: Last weekend I got a free hand sanitizer and now there is an offer for a Free travel size product with any purchase...see here for details IHOP: Free Kids' Meals during the month of August...see more information here Possibly Free Bowling this Saturday...see details here

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Meal Planner Monday: Sweet and Sour Chicken

Do you have lots of garden veggies (peppers, onions, brocolli, yellow squash)? I am actually making this from the leftover veggie tray that we had at our lunch meeting at work (frugal, huh?). You could make stirfry now or freeze them for later use in this recipe. Sometimes, I just cook the meat and veggies plain, add cashews, pineapple, pineapple juice and a little soy sauce when I want to have the stirfry but not the sauce, but this is the recipe for stirfry that I usually use. It is Mom's recipe and Mike likes it too.
Large can pineapple chunks with juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
Stirfry chicken (or pork) and veggies of choice (peppers and onions are a must but other veggies such as brocolli, yellow squash, cauliflower, snap peas, those mini corn cobs, water chestnuts etc are good too). Add above to stirfry and stir over heat until the sauce thickens. Serve over rice.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Softball and Other Stuff

Mike was very excited to be able to play church softball again this year. He hasn't played since we lived in Pittsburgh. He is doing great...the best player on the team if you ask me. It has kept us busy but will soon be over with play offs next weekend. Last game, they were short players so I actually played. I didn't do too bad considering that I hadn't even attempted softball since high school. Mike said that qualifies me for the play offs, so who knows...maybe I'll even sign up for the team next year. Also, Mike has had magic shows on 3 Saturdays this past month (July). Last weekend, we had a graduation party for his niece, and this coming weekend we have a family wedding to attend. Things have been busy...but, good.

Frugal Friday: What a Stash!

I can't help but bragging a little bit over these deals I've found over the last couple weeks...the net total on all of this after tax was $4.03 !!! Here's how I did it...
KMart = $6.63 for school supplies (colored pencils $1, gluesticks $.25, crayons $.25, erasers $.50)
Staples = $4.11 after rebates (pens $.01, highlighters $.25, gel pens Free after rebate, (2) reams of paper $.01 after rebate, backpack Free after rebate)
CVS = $1 profit (2 packs of M & Ms for free, Kotex $1 profit after coupon and ECB)...they also have 6 x 8 photo books for Free after ECBs this week, but I haven't decided on what I want to do with that yet...they are nice to have on the coffee table or to give as a thoughtful yet inexpensive gift.
Kraft flavored mayo packets free by mail
Rite Aid = $5.71 profit (Dulcolax, Motrin PM & Zegerid $4.71 profit after coupons & rebates, Colgate toothpaste $1 profit after coupon and +UP reward, Reach toothbrush Free after rebate)
...AND, it appears that Rite Aid's new +UP program has no limit so you could potentially get unlimited Free Colgate toothpaste this week with a raincheck! (Even the clerk told me there was no limit on the raincheck!)
We will use most of it, and what we won't use can be passed on to bless others. Several of these items are great for the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes..

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fourth of July Family Fun

I'm finally getting to posting these pictures. We had a wonderful time with my family at Heritage days and celebrating the 4th of July... On Saturday, we went to the Heritage Days in the park. There were lots of activities and demonstrations...spinning wool, grinding corn, heritage wooden toys, panning for gold, alpacas, wood craver, weaving, and a native American teaching the kids games and making bead necklaces. Then as part of Heritage Days we rode on a school bus to visit the train (which the kids enjoyed since they had never been on one). What a full day of fun activites (all for free)! On Sunday afternoon, we had a picnic and the kids played in the sprinkler - of course, our family always dresses in red, white, blue attire which I think makes it more fun. Later in the week, on the way home my sister and her family stopped at our house. We spent an afternoon at the beach, which at one point we had to ourselves because it had started to rain. We do enjoy having the beach walking distance from our house. It was a fun time...even playing in the rain!