There are  great deals at Walgreens this week.  For the basics, you can start with MoneySavingMom.  Now, if you really want to get busy shopping, here are a few scenario deals you could do...

From the Walgreens Forum of Hot Coupon World.  Go here to see all the deals and links for printable coupons!

"I'm not sure if you have any RRs to begin with, so I'll go on thinking you're starting from scratch. It's best to do smaller transactions to bring your total OOP down. Any RR you get should be rounded to closest $ so Vitamin Water wll be 2.00 and the Blink would be 8.00. Since Wags considers RRs to be MQs you may need fillers.
Scenerio 1:
9.98 x 2 Advil PM
5.98 + tax OOP get $5 RR

Scenerio 2:
7.99 x 1 Blink
1.99 x 1 Vitamin Water Lip
-1.50 Blink Q
-5.00 RR from Advil
3.48 + tax OOP get an $8 and a $2

Scenerio 3:
20.00 x 2 Joint Juice
.50 x 2 Small fillers, but can be lower and just using for rounding out
-10.00 BOGO IP on Joint Juice
- 2.00 RR from Vitamin Water
- 8.00 RR from Blink
.50 + tax OOP (or around there) get $10 RR

Scenrio 4:
20.00 Pepsi deal without Qs
-10.00 RR from Joint Juice
10.00 plus tax get $10 RR

Scenerio 5:
7.99 x 1 Blink
5.99 x 1 Scalpacin
1.99 x 1 Vitamin Water Lip
-1.50 for Blink
-1.00 for Scalpacin
10.00 Pepsi (or Joint Juice) RR
3.47 OOP + tax get back $8, $6, $2"

Be sure and watch for Physician's Formula on clearance, and don't forget about all the rebates I listed in this post.


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I haven't found the "rich people's" Goodwill yet, but I do like to shop my local thrift stores for great finds, just like Jen who is hosting a Frugal Fashionista Fashion Show and I'm linking up!  I could probably find ten outfits in my closet from Goodwill, but I'll stick with one of my most recent and very favorite purchases, my "muppet coat."

It is a beautiful winter white Talbots size XL in like new condition.  I probably wouldn't have looked twice at this jacket, but I've been following Jen's posts on fashion, and unique details are one of the things she says to watch for, so I tried it on, and loved it.

I paired it with a soft white tee, my daughter's scarf and a pin from my jewelry cabinet, dark jeans and brown shoes. 

Then I found the headband (I show in the pocket), and the colors reminded me of this...

I love the rosette headband! 

The fine net detail was perfect for the event to which I wore this outfit, a wedding rehearsal which I coordinated!  Of course I couldn't wear this to the wedding, since I coordinated that as well, and didn't want to risk getting something on my $5.49 jacket!

And remember my post about Ann Kroeker and her excellent book, Not So Fast?  Well, I was excited to find her book, The Contemplative Mom, at the Goodwill last week for $1!  Talk about doing the happy dance.  I was thrilled, and saved myself $8.99 over the retail price.

I also picked up:

  1. The Other Side of Love by Gary Chapman, still has the $12.95 sticker on back!
  2. Avoiding Deception by Sharon Daugherty
  3. and Hidden Keys of a Loving Lasting Marriage by Gary Smalley
Each of them were $1 at Goodwill, except the Chapman book, which was just $0.50 at the library!  I frequent both places looking for books to use, and to resell.  I've spent $0.50 on a paperback library book before, and sold it for $15 at a homeschool bookfair!

Some people flip houses, but I prefer much smaller investments because they fit my lifestyle at the moment!


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Yesterday, I found some  "buy 2 bags tostitos, get a free dip" tearpad q's at Walmart in Coweta.  I took several to Walgreens and did the following deal:

Tostitos chips and dip

TOTAL: $5 for 6 chips & 3 dips

SALE: $2.50 ea

MQ: buy 2 Tostitos chips get a free Tostitos dip (not salsa, see db for more details)

Register Reward: 16, buy $20 in PepsiCo, get $10 RR

MATH: 6 chips ($15) + 3 dips ($7.50) - 3 mq (-$7.50) - $10 RR = $5

If you don't use Walgreens Register Rewards program, you need to learn.  I had Register Rewards from another purchase, so I used those to purchase my chips for $4.xx and got back a $10 Register Reward (Catalina coupon that prints at the end of the transaction) to use on my next purchase!


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CountryMart has Crest Baking Soda & Peroxide Whitening, 4.6 oz. on sale for $1.50 unil mid-February.  Use the $0.50/1 coupon from the latest Proctor & Gamble coupon insert.  Double coupons make this $0.50 a tube plus tax!


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Check the display by the Meat Department for:
JetPuff Mini Marshmallows $0.79 each
Tearpad on display has $0.50/2 coupon which doubles!
Final Price is $0.29 each wyb 2!

Coupons up to $0.50 will double at CountryMart, so keep that in mind when looking for deals. Coupon or rebate in red.

Peter Pan Peanut Butter  2/$3
-B2G1F All You Magazine, January 2010 in-store version
-ConAgra Rebate (see link for details)
-Peter Pan Peanut Butter, Any Jars - 01-10-10 SS $0.50/2

Campbells Chunks Soup or Chunky to Go, 2/$3
-$1.50/3 printable plus many insert coupons from 1-3 and 1-24 SS

Ragu Spaghetti Sauce, 2/$3
-$1/2 Healthy Lifestyles flyer found at CountryMart on display

Colgate Toothpaste, select varieties, $1.89
-$1/1 Colgate Total Enamel Strength, Adv Whitening, Adv Clean, Or Adv Fresh, Any 4.0 Oz. + - 01-17-10 SS 

Sure Original and Invisible Deodorant, 2/$4 (If Sure For Men is included)
-$1.50/1 Sure for Men Anti-perspirant & Deodorant - 01-24-10 SS $1.50/1

Healthy Choice Soups, 3/$4.00
"Pick it Up in the Pasta Aisle" Mail in offer, rebate offer, form required, check here

Solo Places, Bowls Cups, 2/$4
-$1/1 Solo Cups, Plates or Bowls, Any - 12-06-09 SS $1.00/1

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, 2/$4
multiple coupons and possible Catalina deal, B6G$3 OYNO

Earth Grains Whole Grain Pan Breads, 2/$5
EarthGrains 100% Natural Thin Buns or 100% Natural or Double Fiber Bread, buy any save $1 on Produce

Pringles Select Varieties, 2/$3
-$1/4 SuperStack cans, 1-31 RP (came in Coweta's mail today)


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McDonalds in Coweta is offering Buy One Get One (BOGO) FREE Quarter Pounders at it's location every Friday from 10:30-11:00.  Please check with the location before placing an order to confirm the deal!


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Wagoner Walmart is closing their fabric department and you know what that means!  Great deals on fabric including fleece, upholstery materials, and sewing implements which are all 50% off.  Hurry over for the best selections.  I hear they are very busy!  Thanks, Sister.Faith!


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My friend Lisa gave me this recipe for restaurant style Chicken Tortilla Soup.  It's become one of our most favorite recipes.  Since it takes cilantro and Poblano peppers it can get expensive, but watch for sales and stock up on those fresh items when you can.

Cilantro leaves can be cut from stems and frozen whole until ready to use.  It's also super easy, although rather invasive, to grow but is mostly a cool weather crop so keep that in mind.

Poblano peppers are also very easy to grow.  We ended up with only one plant last year thanks to some hungry gophers, but we still had as many peppers as we could eat fresh, and freeze, with only one plant! 

Lisa's Favorite Tortilla Soup
1 cup chopped onion
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 Poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp. cumin seed
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
Cook above ingredients in hot oil about 5 minutes, or until tender, stirring constantly.

Add the following:
1 1/2 cups (about 3 ears) fresh cut corn kernals
     (Use a package of frozen corn in winter)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 14oz. cans chicken broth (about 3 1/2 cups.  I use bone broth!)
1 1/2 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken
2 bunches snipped fresh cilantro

Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, covered until tomatoes are tender.  Serve with:
tortilla chips
shredded cheese
sour cream


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Just found this Kotex Money Back Guarantee (exp 3/20), thanks to Couponing to Disney!  Pair this with a Walgreens sale and coupons, and it would be a great money maker!

If you like Physicians Formula products, there are several rebates available for 2010.  Print them now, and then match up with a sale for some great free cosmetics.  There are also several different peelies to watch for, including a $2/1 Shimmer Strips and $3/1 Organic Wear!

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Make-up Removers Rebate x 12/31/10 pdf

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Mascara Duo Rebate x 12/31/10  pdf

Physicians Formula Bamboo Wear™ Compact, Mirror & Brush Rebate x 12/31/10 pdf


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Week 4 finished  far OVER BUDGET, which surprised me because I thought I would be able to save more this week.  Instead, I made several trips to the store because I needed fresh ingredients to make soup with Poblano peppers which I had in the freezer and was tempted by fresh blackberries which were marked down to $0.99 a pint!  Affordable fresh berries are so rare in the winter, that I splurged and ended up $10.59 over my $30 budget.  Fail!

I was able to make almost all our meals from the freezer and pantry with a few exceptions, and I must admit the homemade waffles with fresh berries and cream were pretty much worth breaking the budget to have!  Plus, I shared them with my daughter on a cozy winter morning, which made them even more delectable.

And, speaking of delectable, we had the most wonderful Phyllo Chicken Pot Pie this week, with ingredients I had on hand.  Mine was not quite as photogenic as the one below, but probably more delicious since it was made with love and bone broth.

One tip for keeping the budget low while still enjoying fresh foods is to make friends with the produce manager of your local store, and frequent the store when markdowns are being done.  Each store has their own schedule, but my store usually has their markdows ready after 2 pm daily except Sundays.

I was able to stockpile three packages of chicken sausages which were $0.99 with coupon. The $0.99 tomatoes were included in the Chicken Tortilla Soup we had tonight (first photo), AND Brushetta which is on the menu for tomorrow, AND a quart of diced fresh tomatoes which are now in the freezer.  All that for less than the price of one can of tomatoes.  I'll post the Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe tomorrow!

We are down to a few oranges and a pint of blackberries in the fridge, but I have some frozen berries in the freezer, and hope to pick up cheap apples tomorrow.  That should get us through to the end of the month with fruits, and we have enough milk and eggs carried over from Week 3.

Total grocery spending for Week 4:  $40.59. 

This post is linked to:
MoneySavingMom's SuperSaving Saturday
BeautyAndBedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Ann Kroeker's Food on Fridays


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I received this question from one of my friends: Would you share your favorite children's books?

I know this will sound funny to some, but we loved the Get Fuzzy Comics by Darby Conley. I believe at one time we owned every book he ever published!

They are bite sized, so a kinistetic child can move through them at their own pace. Comics use words and pictures to tell a story, but they are not all created equal.  We chose black and white comics, to not overstimulate the reader, and chose to purchase the books so they could be read and reread at our leisure.
We also loved anything to do with whatever interest we had at the moment: Royal Dairies, American Girl books, and Hank the Cowdog, which can be found through most local libraries or ILL. My readers were connection driven, and wanted a story, so fiction books were the better choice for the majority of our reading in the early years.  We did choose some historical fiction, especially as the reader matured.

The important thing for us was to be interested in what we were reading, not to read from a list compiled by someone who knew nothing about us. Some people call that type of reading "cake" but I say, let them eat cake.  There will be plenty of time for booklists.

Lots of amimal books, and lots of reading in short spirts throughout the day were also key to developing the love of reading.  I personally never imposed grade level limits on reading (above or below), and limited the number of books checked out from the library to 50.  Yes.  I said 50.  She could go though that many in a week, looking for something that held her interest until the next library visit.

Did it work? My daughter now reads an average of 130 books a year and has two book blogs. She publishes book reviews for Thomas Nelson, Bethany House, LitFuze, Revel, and Tyndale and is friends with many Christian authors from around the US. She recently moved her clothes out of a drawer in her dresser to make way for her growing personal library!

I'm not bragging; I'm making a point. Don't be concerned about following traditional methods. Pray, and then do what works for your family!


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MoneySavingMom and a host of other terrific bloggers have come together to create a new forum for blogger education!  I'm excited to be participating in their TwitterParty tonight.  Here's the info from MSM:

We're hosting a Savvy Blogging Twitter Party on Thursday evening (January 21, 2010) from 9-11 p.m. EST and you are invited to come.
I've got a cake in the oven, and cup of Chai tea, so I'm ready to go.  Hop on over and participate in the fun! Look for me on the TweetGrid.  My name is @goodplans, of course!  See you there.


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Head to Coweta CountryMart and pick up some of the Healthy Lifestyles coupon flyers near the registers to do this deal. 

Reasor's has a $2.00 OYNO (on your next order) Catalina coupon printing WYB (when you buy) 3 or more Ragu sauces. You can use the in~ad Reasor's coupon plus the $1.00 off coupon from the Healthy Lifestyles flyer for cheap Ragu sauces!    Deal is dead.  Ended on January 21!

Thanks, Kristi!


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New logotype and style for Anthony Yacomine one of London's top salons. Website on its way too.


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On Kenosha has their Millstone Holiday Coffee blends on sale for $4.99 a 12 oz. bag, and there are $1/1 peelie coupons on the bag as well.  They had several flavors including Holiday Peppermint, Gingerbread Cinnamon, and others.

 If you need coffee, this is probably a decent price.  Not a stockpile price, but not full price either, since they are flavored coffees and usually sell for around $8.00 a bag.


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It would be nice if I actually had a plan!  I've been battling a little health issue, which has interfered with my life, including planning the meals for this week.  But I'm not giving up!

Today, we had cereal with milk and hash browns for breakfast.  Lunch was baked potato and quiche with salsa, a weird combo, but my dd17 loves baked potatoes and since they have more bio-available potassium than a banana, I let her have them as often as she wishes.  She also weighs 98 pounds...  I on the other hand, stick with the quiche.

This evening we had a yummy green salad with baked chicken, cottage cheese, and a black eyed pea salad with fresh cilantro.  I didn't like it as much as I had anticipated, but my dh likes cilantro, so he'll have the rest with lunches, or crackers for a snack later in the week.  I also took a loaf of Panera Asiago Cheese bread from the freezer, and toasted it in the oven to have warm with the rest of a cheese ball. 

The Pantry Challenge plan for the rest of  Week 4 looks something like this:

Quiche cups with phyllo dough, fresh orange juice
Homemade waffles with peanut butter and bananas, milk (using my waffle maker!!!)
Bagels with cream cheese, milk or cocoa
Shredded Wheat with milk
Cinnamon rolls with milk, stewed apples
Repeats x2

Chili with beans, onions, cheese and fritos, Apple Sticky Bun Bread Pudding (new!)
Spaghetti/Ravoili with tomato meat sauce, parmesan, green salad
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Homemade Chicken Pot Pie
Cabbage Sausage Stew, bread
Beef and Noodles with English peas, (my new recipe for the week) with Cinnamon Pumpkin Cake

Bean & Cheese Quesadillas, carrot sticks with ranch
Green salad with baked chicken, orange slices
Grilled Cheese sammies,
Creamy Mac & Cheese or Creamy Fettuccine (another new recipe!)
Pigs in Blankets (to have with leftover chili)
Leftovers from dinners

I'm going to try my Any Meal Cheese Pie recipe, and make Quiche Cups using  phyllo dough I have frozen. I've gotten to the "creative stage" in the Pantry Challenge!  I'm out of my comfort zone, and am having to put together things we don't normally eat, but I know I can do this!

Ann asked if I would post my recipe for homemade biscuits, but I have to admit that it is not my original recipe.  It came from a Southern Living magazine article written by Deborah Lowery, circa 1987,  and the recipe was created by Mrs. Ken Altizer, from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Cloud Biscuits
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients, then cut in shortening.  Combine egg and milk, beat slightly, then add to flour mixture, stirring until just moistened.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead 3 or 4 times.  Roll or pat out dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with biscuit cutter.  Bake at 450* for 10-12 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and brush with melted butter, if desired.

I hope you like them as much as we do!


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Some illustration for a change, nice to get back to the drawing board. There will be more…


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Here's a link from my friend, Shannon, who has a blog called All Things Health.  She shares great recipes and thoughts on food and nutrition.  Her bone broth description should help you get started with making this wonderfully nutritious food.  Enjoy!


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My Big Give results for the week were pretty exciting!  I was able to clean out a little of the pantry, and decided to bless another family with some of my abundance.  I also cleared out several clothing items from our closets, and a few odd dishes that really were not necessary.  So since the new year, I've given 23 items away! 

Sadly, I also broke an antique lamp because my giveaway box had become lodged under the bookshelf where the lamp was sitting.  So, my house is actually 24 items lighter, but I'm not counting the lamp in my total since I could only throw it away after the disaster! Needless to say, I was not a happy camper after that little incident, and the 30 minutes it took to clean up the glass from my concrete floors.

As far as the Pantry Challenge, I've done really well this week.  We finished off the last of the fresh strawberries from the wedding, but still have plenty of other fruits.  One night we had Crockpot Swiss Steak, and I saved half the package of steak to marinate and grill.  We also had a turkey soup made with the frozen carcass from Christmas. It stretched into lunches for two days for the whole family!  I'll include the recipe below.

We had the steaks I set aside on Friday night with baked potatoes, and steamed cauliflower, and watched a bit of Little Dorrit.  If you like costume dramas, keep reading as I have links and news for the latest BBC/PBS films now airing.

My overall spending for the week was $26.34 but the breakdown reveals I actually did quite well.  I purchased lunch for myself, my dd17 and a friend we picked up after car trouble for a cost of $8.65.  I also purchased 2 gallons of raw milk ($7.50), because my friend was going to the dairy (about 45 minutes away.)  I also was given another gallon of milk the same day, so I have enough now for two weeks!  Overall, that puts my spending in the $10 range for Week 3!  It's my best total yet!

If you're interested in free entertainment, I have great news! In case you haven't heard, Return to Cranford is playing now on Masterpiece, Sunday nights on PBS. If you missed the first episode, you can watch it online here. The second episode will air tomorrow evening.  Check your local listings for times!

When it concludes, I believe the new Emma with Romola Garai will begin the following week.  We have seen it once already online, and it was excellent.  This is another great BBC/PBS movie we will own! 

Here's the recipe for Gramps' Chicken Basil Soup and then directions on how I modified it.

Gramp's Chicken Basil Soup
In crockpot, assemble the following:
1 chicken leg/thigh portion or 2 thighs
2 carrots, peeled or scrubbed, and diced
3 cloves garlic
3 chicken bullion cubes
lots of basil, dried or fresh.  We like fresh best, leaves only, chopped fine. *
sea salt
cayenne to taste (about 1/2 tsp. is my preference)
water to cover everything plus two to three cups

Reserve the following:
1/2 cup cooked barley**
2/3 cup cooked rice***

Add ingredients except rice and barley to crockpot.  Cook all day on low.  Stir in barley and rice about 30 minutes before serving.  Can also be cooked on stove.

Now here are my notes and modifications:
*basil ~ I prefer to use fresh from the garden, and because of the bulk of fresh leaves, the measurement is probably about 1 to 1/2 loose cups of leaves.  If using dry, use at least 1 Tbsp. crushed, (meaning crush it in your palm before adding to soup!).  Let it cook all day, then add more to taste at end, if needed.

**barley ~ I don't prefer barley, but will use it occassionally.  Don't add uncooked barley, as the starch will make the soup slimey and thick, like pudding.  Not a good texture for soup, trust me.

**rice ~ If cooking on the stove, you can add uncooked rice, and let simmer until the rice is tender.  Just make sure you have enough liquids to keep the soup from getting too thick, as rice absorbs 1 1/2 cups or so of liquids for every 1 cup of dry rice.  You may also use frozen rice, or leftover rice from another dish and add to crockpot during last hour or so of cooking time.

This is a very "forgiving" recipe and a family favorite here, when served with a crusty bread and green salad.

I used the carcass of my Christmas turkey to make the broth for this soup, by using the Bone Broth recipe that includes a little bit of vinegar to draw the nourishment from the bones.  The one I use is actually from Nourishing Traditions, but the one listed above looks about the same.  If you haven't made this recipe, you really should try it.  It's especially great if you've had any type of illness because the nutrients are bio~available.  I make my bone broth in the crockpot for 18 hours, or on the stove for about 6 hours.


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I just watched this unbelievable video on the levels on plastic versus plankton in the Pacific Ocean. My biggest question is how come I can't see it when I take a bucket of water from the ocean to dump on my sandcastle? Granted there's always debris on the coast and washing up in huge chunks but it seems like I would be able to see more of it in my cup of sea water. Perhaps I've just never worn my glasses to the beach. Perhaps they're too small to see without a microscope. Regardless, I think I need to start making more plastic jewelry from my bottle caps and bottles!

Watch the video here

This is my first plastic bottle necklace:


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I received the following in an email this week:
     "We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me happy, and a piece of chocolate with my friends..

With time, we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies.

So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy.

Beginning today, when I look at my self in the mirror I will think, 'Good grief, look how smart I am!'"


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There are a few deals worth mentioning this week at CountryMart.  Here's the link for the weekly ad.

Campbell's Healthy Request Soups, 10.5-10.75 Oz. Select Varieties. 10 FOR $10
 $.40/1 and $.50/1 1/03/10 SmartSource insert

Quaker Grits, Old Fashioned or Quick, 24 Oz. 99¢

**Deal Idea:  Buy 5 Quaker Grits @ 99¢ each, total of $4.95
Use in ad coupon for Quaker Products,
Save $3.00 When You Purchase any 5 Participating Quaker Products.
 Total will be $1.95 for 5 boxes!

Amish Classics Mini Cheese Horns, Colby Jack or Cheddar. $3.99 Lb.
$.50/1 on 8 oz. from a tearpad

Birds Eye Vegetables, 10-16 Oz. Select Varieties. 10 FOR $10

$1.00/2  from the 12-06-09 SmartSource expires 1/17/2010

 McCormick Mexican Seasonings, 1-1.62 Oz. Select Varieties. 2 FOR $1

Rice A Roni or Pasta Roni, 4.3-7.2 Oz. Select Varieties. 10 FOR $10
 on any 3 - 01-03-10 RedPlum insert $1.00/3 expires4/30/2010

Pilgrims Pride USDA Grade A Drumsticks & Thighs, VALUE Pack! 99¢ Lb.
  $0.55/1  internet printable here print after registration

Cutie Clementines, 3 Lb. Bag. $4.99 Ea.

Fresh Cherries, $3.98 Lb.

Fresh Cilantro, 3 For $1
This is a great deal, and you can freeze cilantro leaves when removed from the stems.

Fresh Cucumbers, 2 For $1

Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, 69¢

Fresh Lemons, Extra Large. 2 For $1

Fresh Yellow Onions, 39¢

Green Bell Peppers, Extra Large. 2 For $1

Green Giant Whole Carrots, 1 Lb. Bag. 79¢ Ea.

Rio Star Texas Red Grapefruit, 2 FOR 79¢

Washington Red Delicious Apples, 99¢ Lb.


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One of the the things I love best about home educating is that we set our own schedule for school, and if we are wise, we recognize limits, observe our own boundaries, and take time to do what is important, rather than what is seems urgent. 

Being involved in co-operative classes with other homeschoolers meant that, this year, our semester started on January 4, much earlier than we have EVER started back to school after Christmas break.  With the wedding at the end of that first week, there was no way we were going to be able to do school well, so I made the administrative decision to add two weeks margin to our calendar.

The verse God has given me for 2010 is a clear guide and I'm listening.  Proverbs 31: 16 says:
16 She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.
With that in mind, and the fact that I had a migraine for two days after the wedding, I've taken some down~time to think about my goals for the upcoming semester, and year. Here are a few things I will be implementing:

1.  Simplify!  ~ This is an ongoing challenge for me, and one I'm working on in all areas of my life.

2.  Give! ~ I'm going to do my own "Big Give" in 2010, as part of the Declutter Challenge hosted by AmysFinerThings.  I don't have a garage, or time for a garage sale, so my goal is to give away 730 things from my home during 2010.  I know I can do this and I'm excited about the idea.  I've added a widget in the right hand column with a counter to track the progress of my giving.

3.  Read! ~ With a Lion/Beaver personality, and a love language to others of Acts of Service, I have a hard time justifying taking time to sit and read, other than studying my Bible.  I know that this is an area I need to improve, so I am committing to read one book a month from my personal reading list, (all school materials are excluded!).

4.  Say NO! ~ My husband was not pleased with my physical condition after devoting so much time and energy to a recent project, and has asked that I take some time away from say "no" when I am asked to help with projects in the future.  I don't know how long this sabbatical will last, and he didn't know about the Proverbs 31 verse, so it was just a confirmation that I need to be at home more.

Sabbatical:  from Hebrew shabbat, i.e., Sabbath, literally a "ceasing") is a rest from work

What changes are you making this year?


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We were quite busy last week preparing for the wedding, but still managed to do well with the Challenge.  My goal was $30 a week, and I'm happy to say that I finished under the budget, mainly because I was able to stretch what I had cooked to cover several meals. 

I must confess that we ate dinner Wednesday at the Bachelorette party, and Sunday's meals were all eaten at the facility, since we were there all day for prep and cleanup before and after the event.  School was cancelled Thursday and Friday because of the extreme cold, so we ate leftovers and potato soup with salad, which also lasted several days.

Overall, I spent $20.58 for the week on groceries and a little stockpiling, and $8.77 at ChickFilA for a missions fundraiser in which we participated.  I'm very pleased that we were able to stay under the budget!

Tonight, I took frozen turkey bones from Thanksgiving and made a simple turkey and rice soup with basil, the rest of the cheap shredded carrots and an onion.  It was filling enough to have with just a few crackers.

For lunch we had green salad with chicken breast I had fixed yesterday.  There were a few fresh strawberries left from the wedding, and we had those for dessert after our salad lunch, dipped in a small amount of chocolate.  What a treat!  We also brought home a little fresh pineapple and a cheese ball from the wedding, and have had that for snacks for the last few days.


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Sunday was the big day for my friends Kevin & Chrystal. 

We arrived at the empty facility at 8 AM, and with a handful of teenagers and two adults, we transformed the space into this by noon.

My friend Jacquie made this magical winter wedding cake with fondant, truffles and snowflakes. 

It was amazing (and exhausting) to be part of such a wonderful event! 
I'll be back tomorrow with more pictures and updates on my Pantry Challenge progress.


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I can't believe I'm raising a child here. Athsma and other breathing problems are ridiculously higher here and more than twice a week there are air quality alerts where driving is strongly discouraged. I have never had to see cardiologists before I moved here and now I'm going to live the rest of my life with muscular valve prolapse. A condition where your heart valve doesn't close properly and causes  terrible pain. I saw this post in the local paper and couldn't believe that we are now worse than Los Angeles and New York with a population less than 1/4 of the size.

Here is the news article.


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I'll be busy helping out with final preparations for our friend's wedding, so this will be my last post until Monday, and I have several things to share!  First, congratulations to Kevin & Chrystal!

Here's the happy couple freezing outside the BOK the other night when we went ice skating outdoors.  Funny to think that next week they'll be lying on the beach in the Caribbean while I'm still here amidst the ice and snow!

 But alas, I regress.  On to the sales.

We hit Woodland Hills Mall today and there were bargains to be had just about everywhere! 

Bath & Body's Semi-Annual sale is going on.  Look online because there are probably coupons to combine with the sale prices (up to 75% off...).  This could make for some fantastic deals.  Of course, there is no more Twisted Peppermint, so I'm not too happy. 

JCPenney's has MANY racks of dresses marked down 70% off original prices.  I purchase a $90 dress for just over $20 today.  It's what I'll be wearing to the wedding, and I was happy I waited until the last minute to look.  They had a very good selection in most sizes.  Penney's also had lots of shoes on clearance, including boots, so if you need those, go early for the best selection.

One more store we shopped was New York & Company.  They had lots of 40% and 60% off, plus BOGO.5 sales.  We purchased some cute teen stuff here, which is top secret until after the wedding. Sshhh!

In other exciting news, I've been told by Princess Amy from 918CouponQueen's site, that CountryMart is now doubling coupons up to, but not including $1.00.  So, if you have a $0.75 coupon, I'm told it doubles.  I haven't tried it for myself, and probably won't be albe to until next week, so if anyone confirms this is true in Coweta, please let me know and I will post it here.

Since I'm so busy, I'm not doing the coupon match-ups this week for CountryMart, but here's the link for 918's match-up page. 

And finally, Coweta Walmart has marked down their Christmas to 75% off or more, and I found some really great deals for things like bells to use on the wedding reception tables.  HobbyLobby is also doing their Bridal Event this week, with 50% off on all their Bridal/Wedding supplies.  This includes the pillow mints that we all use for wedding or baby showers, so if you are planning any type of an event that uses these, now is probably the time to buy them!

Happy Shopping!


Filed Under: says making your own natural cleaning products is not only healthy and safer but you can save money too. Here are some recipes for easy to make cleaning products. Remember, you can reuse old glass jars and reuse spray bottles (make sure you rinse them out very well) to help cut down on the amount of trash you produce!

All Purpose Scrub

Equal parts distilled white vinegar and salt

Store in tupperware or glass jar.

Natural Glass Cleaner

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1 TB Cornstarch

1 QT Warm Water

Pour into spray bottle.

Gentle Cleanser

(okay for wood)

1-2TB Dr. Bronner's Pour into warm bottle with warm water.

Shake and spray.

Anti-Mold Spray

2 drops of Tea Tree Oil

1 cup of water

**Pregnant women should consult a physician before using tea tree oil**

Strong Glass Cleaner

1 cup of isopropyl alcohol

1 cup water

1 TB clear & non-sudsing ammonia

Shake and spray.

Strong All-Purpose Cleaner

1 T clear & non-sudsing ammonia

1T clear laundry detergent

2 cups water

Shake and spray.

Furniture Polish

1 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice

Shake well and apply a small amount to a flannel cleaning rag or cleaning cloth. Spread evenly over furniture surface. Turn cloth to a dry side and polish dry.

Microwave Cleaner

1 cup water

1 QT warn water

1/2 cup backing soda

To loosen dried-on food, put 1 cup water in a microwavable cup and heat in the microwave until it boils; turn off the microwave and let the water sit for 1 minute. Dissolve baking soda in 1 quart warm water and, using a sponge or cloth, wash the interior of the microwave with this solution to clean and deodorize it.

Appliance Cleaner

2 TB non-sudsy ammonia

1 t liquid dish soap

1 pint rubbing alcohol

1 gallon water

Store in a spray bottle.

Refrigerator Cleaner

2 T baking soda

1 quart warm water

Scrub stubborn spots with baking soda on a sponge.

Baking soda

Natural deodorizing & abrasive properties that make is a great replacement for scouring powders. Just sprinkle a little baking soda on the bath tub or in the kitchen sink, let stand for 10 minutes and scrub away any dirt, deposits or soap scum. Baking soda can also be used to help alleviate slowing running drains. Just pout 1/2 to 3/4 cup of baking soda into a drain and leave hot water dribbling to wash the solution down. 2 hours to overnight later just flush with hot water and your drain is not only working but it smells nicer too!

Rubbing Alcohol

You can use a bit of rubbing alcohol to help shine up chrome fixtures, windows, mirrors, ceramic tile or other shiny surface. Be sure to spot check first though!


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From my friend, Jaime:

"Hey, saw something I have never seen before tonight. Wal-Mart in Coweta has cards on sale. I got those music/talking cards that are generally $5 for $2. Also, several of their other nice cards are $1 and they had any occasion you would ever need. Just FYI."
Thanks, Jaime!


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We're having temps in the teens, and with tomorrow's high expected to be 11 degrees, I'm glad for opportunities to run the oven to keep the house feeling toasty warm.  Tonight's Pantry Challenge dinner was Any Meal Cheese Pie, Garden Salad, and grape juice. 

I was in a hurry to get the pie made, so I decided to skip the crust.  I'm glad I did!  It turned out great, and I really needed the shortcut, as I'm washing and packing all my serving dishes to use at a wedding we are attending this weekend.

I've done much better this week with my $30 budget, and was even able to stockpile a few items.

The Mrs. Renfro Peach Salsa was clearanced at $0.50 a jar, the carrots $0.49 and the peppers were free after coupons.  If your store has clearance items that are marked lower than the value of a coupon, and they are leery to give overage, ask if they will adjust the price to the coupon value.  I do that with the manager at my local store, which makes him happy and I still get to pay for the item with my coupon.  My total for everything above was $1.77. It's a win~win.

Since one person in our family doesn't eat quiche, I also made Pigs in Blankets with homemade biscuits, which will be great reheated tomorrow for lunch.  Served with salad and cottage cheese, we have a great high protein meal from what we have on hand. (Use only high quality beef franks.  We prefer Kosher.)

Here's the recipe for the pie:
Any Meal Cheese Pie (makes two, but see note at bottom!)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced and browned
1/2 pound ground meat, browned and drained (I used leftover turkey sausage)
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp sage
2 pie crusts, unbaked (or use a stoneware pan sprayed with cooking oil)
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, (DO NOT SKIP THIS!  It really makes a difference.)
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded cheese, any flavor
3 eggs, slightly beaten (I used 5 because I skipped the crust & needed a thicker pie)
1 cup milk, any (I used slightly soured milk, too blinky for cereal, but just right for baking!)
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos (I used Braggs)

Saute the onions and meat.  Let cool.  Add other ingredients in batter bowl.  Spray pan and pour (if going crustless) or pour into pie shell.  Bake at 375 degrees until set and golden on top.  Serve with salad and fresh orange juice, if you can! 

This is supposed to make two bottom crust pies, but to me they are a little thin, so you can add two extra eggs if you want a little thicker pies!


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One of the
best things about blogging is finding great mentors and inspiration for homekeeping.  I just love the fact that any time of the day or night, I can access the wisdom of women who are doing some fantastic things at home! 

One of my recent finds, which I consider a treasure, is Jessica at Good(&Cheap)Eats.  This blog is filled with delicious recipes, tempting pictures, and sound homekeeping advice, especially for those of us who struggle to serve a varied menu.  Be sure to check out this blog in my new Bargain Blogroll list to the right.

I've also added Jessica's FishMama blog, which features great deals similar to MoneySavingMom, who has a great deal on Ivory posted right now .  (Nevermind, it sure seems like is doing a bait and switch on their products)! 

And, Erin over at JANE4girls has added new blog content to include bargains outside the grocery store, so be sure and keep up with her new content as well.  It's going to be a fabulous money saving year!


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My goals for the Challenge are:
1. To spend a maximum of $30 per week on groceries for the family. (I spent $31.24 total for Week 1.)
2. To try at least one new recipe each week.   (I made Cranberry Orange Muffins last week.)
3. To use the small appliances I have. (I used my juicer.)
4. To save all the rebates I receive during the month. (Received 2 last week; deposited into savings.)
5. To send off atleast $50 in rebates during the month. (Sent for $16.00 so far.)

This will be a busy week because we're helping friends with a wedding, and school starts again tomorrow.  (Yes, I'm trying to be excited about that one!)  The menu I planned is pretty detailed, and I hope I can pull if off.  Here's the breakdown:

Eggs & bagels with fresh juice (two meals)
Cereal & milk (three meals)
Muffins (two meals)

We always eat cereal on mornings when we have classes away from home.  It's easy and we love our Shredded Wheat!   Plus with the Kellogg's Calendar Rebate going on right now, eating cereal is free.  I may change the muffins to waffles and use my waffle maker.  It depends how busy I get later in the week. 

Grilled sammies with veggies and ranch  (have canned soups to add if needed)
Any Meal Cheese Pie with salad and fresh juice
Swiss Steak with rice
Potato soup with carrots and cheese
Wendy's (on co-op day we have an hour to travel to our next class across town, and this is easy)
Leftovers (from any of the above meals)

Spaghetti with green salad and bread
ChickFilA (for a missions fundraiser we are working)
hamburger rice with carrots
Pigs in a Blanket, steamed cauliflour and carrots, stewed apples or fruit crisp
leftovers on Wednesday (this is Clean~Out~The~Fridge night)
King Ranch Chicken and green salad
Wedding food (which I will not be cooking!)

Several of my recipes are crockpot meals, and I will be cooking ahead when I can.  We also have navel oranges, and frozen berries that I will incorporate where I can.


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(picture by goodplans, downtown Tulsa)

I'm glad Week One is over!  I proved to myself that we can have nutritious meals from our stockpile and a few fresh items we have on hand.  Overall I did pretty well, but I did spend over my $30 goal for the week.  Here's the breakdown of my spending, and rebates:

$00.00   3 salsa for free with coupons
$  6.24   8 Starbucks Christmas blend 10 oz. bags/2 Kashi Go Lean Crunch
$  0.68   1 Cranberry Juice (paid with RR from Walgreens and will get a rebate)
$  2.66   2 Jello No-Bake desserts/ 1 box crackers (which will be part of a rebate)
$  3.25   1 Gallon milk
$  2.56   1 20 oz. Tortilla chips/2 Fuze beverage
$  0.00   Taco Bell item free Fresco Taco with printable coupon
$  1.40   Wendys snack while out shopping
$10.40   Bottled water (have some to carry into Week 2)/ ground turkey/ bullion for stew
$ 7.09    1 huge bottle Ranch dressing

$34.24  Total spending for Week 1

(picture by goodplans, Outdoor Ice Skating @ the BOK)

The 8 bags of Starbucks were, by far, the best deal I got this week.  They are normally $7.99 per bag, but were on clearance at Target for $1.99 (look for the RED bags!).  I had $1.50/1 MQs, which made them $0.49 a bag!  Can't pass them up at that price.

The Hidden Valley Ranch was my budget buster, but it's the only dressing dd17 really likes, and it will last a month or more, so it is worth it.  I need to find a cheaper way to buy that, or learn to make one that tastes just like the HVR.  If you have a great recipe, feel free to forward it to me!

I was able to send for $16 in rebates this week.  These included:
$ 3.00   True North TMF, from a purchase earlier in the month
$10.00  Kellogg's Calendar Rebate (this is my 3rd one to send off.  There is a limit of 8 per household.)
$ 3.00   GingerAle Rebate NWPN rebate from Hot Coupon World

The cranberry juice I purchased will generate a $3.00 rebate, so I could take that off my total, which would drop my OOP to $31.24, so all in all I think I did really well.  I'm going to do my best to stay UNDER $30 for next week, though, for bragging rights and all!

(picture by goodplans)

We even went to the Outdoor Ice Rink at the BOK downtown, and took our own hot cocoa and snack so we didn't spend anything on food while we were out.  It only takes a little planning ahead to keep from spending while out enjoying time with family and friends.  (That's my good friend, Fay, with me.)

PS:  My dd17 knitted my blue hat & scarf for my Christmas gifts.  Aren't they cute?  Thanks, sweetie!


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