Friday, December 19, 2008

Fixing a Split Toilet Seat with Duct Tape

Well, our toilet seat split many months ago and we never got around to replacing it. Then, some little children (who shall remain nameless) would rip the vinyl every time they used the bathroom. Needless to say it was not very comfortable to sit on. LOL

So, what is a frugal mama to do?

Get out the Duct Tape(UNV20048G), of course!

Now my toilet looks oh so lovely, but at least nobody's bottom will be at peril whilst using the comode. I only wish I had fancy colored Duct Tape on hand! I could have created a designer bathroom.

Looking for more Frugal Friday inspiration? Head over to Biblical Womanhood.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Making Glow-in-the-Dark Star Ornaments

On Saturday we made glow-in-the-dark star ornaments made from Sculpey. It was the first time I have ever used Sculpey, but it won't be the last.
Sculpey is a polymer clay that is pretty easy to work with. Just like most clay you have to work a little before it become malable. It was very difficult for the 4 year olds, but much easier for my 11 year old.
The hardest part was rolling it out by hand. It took a lot of effort and I would like to get a Pasta Machine for use with Polymer Clay for next time. That will cut the time and make it much more enjoyable!
After rolling out the Sculpey we used a star cookie cutter
to make stars.
All our projects were done on manila file folders. Once we had them roled, shaped and ready for the oven we just cut the manila folder to fit in my Pampered Chef jelly roll pan.
Then we just followed the directions for baking. A few of the stars did get baked too long, but they still look cute and glow-in-the-dark.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Glass Etching on Pyrex

My friend and I had a craft day yesterday. It was a lot of fun, but my house did suffer for it!

One of the projects I did was etch some of my Pyrex and other glass dishes. It was very fun and easy. I tried doing it at an activity back in October but it didn't work. So I was determined to get it right.

I bought Armour Glass Etching Cream-22 Ounces and my friend bought me some Rub-on Designs for my birthday. I think the big bottle is going to last a long time. I got it to share with my firends. :)

The bottle and rub-ons say that they do not work on (all) Pyrex. Bummer! However, it did work on mine. I wiped it down with white vinegar first to take off any detergent residue. That is the key.
Next I chose and cut out the design I wanted. The easiest way to apply these rub-ons is to tape all around it before rubbing with the popcicle stick. If they shift at all the design can get messed up.
After the entire design transfers to the glass, remove the tape and paper. Then tape back around the design to protect the glass around it.
I used a sponge brush or cheap paint brush to brush the etching cream on. With the rub-ons it only take 60 seconds to work!!! I was a little skeptical, but they were right.

It was so fun to see the finished product that I went around my kitchen looking for more things to etch. LOL I still have several pieces to do, but I think I want some different designs. I think polka dots for my drinking glasses would be fun!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cardboard Play Kitchen

Eric made this adorable cardboard kitchen for Kelsey's 4th birthday! He used instructions I bought on here on Etsy.

I regret that we didn't make it three ply like the instructions called for. Other than that-it is cute, functional and cost less than $10 ($8 was the instructions).
I don't think we had to purchase anything from the store! I had all the stuff sitting around the house.

For more wonderful Frugal Friday inspiration head to Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Menu Plan 12/8-12/14

Well, it is already well into the week, but here is my menu plan. LOL

Monday-Taco Night
Tuesday-Chicken Noodle Soup and crackers
Wednesday-Barley Vegetable Soup
Thursday-Baked Ziti
Friday-Church Christmas Party
Saturday-Lentil Soup

Weekly Grocery Trip-King Soopers $52

I had a goal of spending about $50 at the grocery store this week. I redid my list a couple times until I figured I was about right.
We didn't shop last week because I spent $85 right before Thanksgiving-going over November budget by almost $100. So, I am tricky and counted the $85 towards December. LOL

Anyway, we did great! We ended up at $52.08 after tax! We saved over 60%. Woohoo!

No picture, but here is what we got.

3 boxes ice cream treats
2 Lipsticks (for my stocking)
2 bags mini marshmellows
1 bag lettuce
2 Tyson entrees
4 boxes Townhouse crackers
1 bag tortillas
3 boxes Kleenex
1 bag dried cherries
2 lbs organic gala apples
1 bag russet potatoes
2 boxes Candy Canes
2 toothbrushes
1 loaf organic bread
3 dozen organic eggs (CLEARANCE $1.50 each!!!)
3 jugs vegetable oil

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sewing Cloth Diapers

I am not a very experienced sewer and I am able to sew really cute, functional diapers. I don't even own a sewing machine! I go use my moms. If I can do this, so can you.

There are tons of great patterns out there on the Internet. Some are free, others are for purchase.
Being my frugal self, I use the free patterns!

The first diapers I made were from Rita's Rump Pocket pattern. I love this pattern because it is for a one size diaper. A one size diaper should fit most babies from 8lbs to potty learning. I was also easily able to make this into a regular fitted rather than a pocket style fitted.

How much did each diaper cost me? About $1.50!

I used old cut-up chinese prefolds for the internal soaker (4 layers). I had old flannel sheets to use for the body of the diapers. I did buy cute flannel fabric at Jo-Ann's for the outside of the diapers (about $2 a yard). I bought Lastin at Kayla's Cloth Kits. I used thread my mom had on hand.

The hardest part for me was the Lastin in the leg openings. I did find a great tutorial online, but can't find it again. There are several out there so just check around.

The best part of making your own diapers is that you are in control over how thick or thin they are! You can adapt them to your child for the perfect fit and absorbancy.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

I Love Making Jelly!!!

If you have never made jam or jelly you really need to try it. It is so fun and satisfying. I'm going to admit right up front that my favorite part is listening to the jar seal (ping).
We have made tons of jam and jelly this year! We have been blessed with a great deal on pectin-I ended up getting it free after coupon at King Soopers! Plus free grapes and peaches from friends.

We've made grape jelly, strawberry jam, peach jam, vanilla pear jelly and a couple batches of jelly from organic juice I bought. I have dozens of jars in my food stockpile! I even made homemade jellied cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving this year. It was great! I made a couple batches and so I have 3 jars of it left. We have a favorite recipe that uses cranberry sauce so it will get used up pretty quickly.

I'm especially happy because the pectin we got was low/no sugar. I used about 1 cup of sugar where traditional recipes call for 4 cups!!! My family cannot tell any difference. It is sweet and delicious. I will never go back to full sugar. The cranberry sauce didn't even need pectin!

How did I get the pectin for free??? It is Ball brand. They put coupons inside the box. I bought 2 boxes on clearance at King Soopers for $0.90 each. They had $0.50 coupons that double at my store. So we just went back several times until we got about 20 free boxes! Even regular price I only pay about $0.79 after the double coupon.

Friday, December 05, 2008

How is the Family Room Coming Along?

Well, we have been making sloooooooooow progress on the family room. We did the first mud & tape. Over the holiday weekend the whole family did the sanding. That was nice and messy, but fun!

Now we need to wipe down the walls and mud and sand and wipe down again.

Oh, Eric has put up the tile around the fireplace. It looks so nice!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Replacing Aluminum Windows with Vinyl Windows

I am so happy with our new vinyl window! We put it in all by ourselves and that saved a bundle. The windows in the house are the beautiful aluminum ones from the early 1970's. The best part is that the aluminum was painted with the wall paint.


I want to explain how to do this, but I am not the one who actually did the work. LOL
Taking out the window was pretty easy. We purchased a little tool for the siding, but ended up not needing it! Yay! That means we didn't even have to mess up the siding. We did get a Sawzall to cut the window out of the casing. We also removed the lovely faux marble sill and installed a wood sill.

The window came out lickety split with that Sawzall tool!

Now installing the window was a little more complicated but we were able to do it without any additional help (Eric and my brother did it). The window was made for new homes OR remodels. In order to use it for a remodel we had to cut off the outer edge of the window (white part). The people at Home Depot explained how to do this. Lift it into the casing and screw it in.

Then we sprayed expandable insulation foam into it. That is about it for the window. The finish work is done when the mud & tape is done. We plan to redo all the windows in the house ourselves!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Dave Ramsey Show

I have been a follower of Dave Ramsey for a couple years now. He is a great financial "guru" in my opinion.
Anyway, I just figured out how to listen to his show a little over a week ago. I really wish I had figured it out sooner! It is really motivating and helpful.
Every once in awhile a caller will have issues similar to us and I am able to take a few tips from Dave. Yay!

So now I am able to listen to the three hour show every morning while taking care of the little ones or doing housework.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Christmas Spending

Well, we are having a low budget Christmas this year. I have spent $46 CASH so far on the 3 kids. I plan to spend about $20 more on a main gift for Jordan. Then I am done.
Usually we spend around $300 on everything. So I am "saving" over $200 this year. That is good since I don't have $200! LOL
We will be making handmade treats and trinkets for teachers and friends and parents.

The hardest part for me was missing Black Friday. Man, there were some great deals at Walmart. Pajamas for $4, jeans for $8! But, I know I would have spent over $200 on all the "great deals." So I am proud of myself. Discipline is HARD!

It actually is kinda nice to focus on the true meaning of the season-Our Savior.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I'm Back

Well, it has been over 2 months since I last posted. Why? Why, you ask?
Because I have computer issues. And time issues. Mostly, my computer needs more memory and the Internet likes to chut down every once in awhile. Very frustrating.
Oh, and I couldn't download my pictures for awhile. That was also annoying. What is a blog without pictures?!?
But, even with all my issues I am back. I have written lots of great posts in my head. Too bad I don't remember any of them!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Alternative to the $700 Billion Bailout

I am beyond angry about all the bailouts on Wall Street right now. Suffice it to say I do not believe I should be extending money to companies that have poor business practices.
I have read an alternative plan on the Dave Ramsey website that I really like. It could work and save the taxpayers BILLIONS of dollars! The plan he proposes would cost about 5% of the $700 billion.
You can read the plan here on his site.
Here is the catch: You can't just read it and say "oh, that is nice." You must contact your congressmen and your senators! Tell them that you know there is an alternative and that is how you want them to vote. If enough of us do this they will have to listen!

Friday, September 12, 2008


That is all.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Target Kelloggs Deal

Okay, I can't believe I actually did this deal. Poptarts are EVIL! But I got paid to take them home, so I did. It will make me feel better to say that I am sending Poptarts to school and Krispie treats to Scouts for Jordan's birthday on Tuesday. :)

Target had a deal on some Kellogg's items this week. Buy 4/$9 get a $5 Target GC for free! There were a bunch of Kellogg's coupons to match with the deal, plus the $10 mail in rebate.

Here is what we got:

10 boxes 12 count Poptarts
2 boxes 8 count Rice Krispie Treats
3 All Small & Mighty trial size
2 ice cube trays

10 $0.50/1 Poptarts Target coupons
$1/2 Poptarts MFC
$1/2 Rice Krispie Treats MFC
3 $1/1 All Small & Mighty MFC

TOTAL: $24.06
We got back three $5 GC's and I will get back a $10 rebate
I could have done better if they had the new Milkshake Poptarts-would have saved $2 more.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Scraping Off the Popcorn Ceiling

Yay! It is gone!

It took a bit over an hour to scrape the ceiling. Of course now we have to do knock-down and paint it.

You'll need to seal off the room and ducts with plastic. You will need good eye protection and dust masks. We got the masks that are approved for asbestos since we are 99% sure we have it. We are disposing of the junk as if it contains asbestos.

Here is what we did. Spray the ceiling with water using spray bottle and super soaker water guns. LOL Then, we scraped it off using metal flat scrapers.

Time: over an hour
Cost: $80 for two masks (bought by my mommy) :)
So this project was free for us. Thank you landlord!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Removing a Brick Fireplace

Well, I was going to take step by step pictures, but it didn't happen. You'll just have to use your imagination.

The first step to taking out a brick fireplace-the big obnoxious type-is to seal off the room and get dust masks. Eye protection is good too! To seal off the room we just taped a large sheet of plastic (think drop cloth) across the opening to the room. It worked well until people started using it as a door. Other things we found helpful were trash bags or boxes and a wheelbarrow.

Next you will need a chisel and hammer. We did not need anything heavier duty than that.
We took our mantel off first since it blocked access to the brick. It was a beautiful custom made mantel that Eric made when we moved in. The old one was UGLY.

We have a gas fireplace, so we took down the Wall O' Bricks with some care. This is a 13 foot wall.
Starting at the top, begin to chisel between the bricks. Our home was constructed around 1971, for comparison. It was very, very easy to chip away and loosen the bricks. My 10 year old helped A LOT. He found it to be great fun!
After getting a few rows off the top we were able to pull a huge section away from the wall. Of course, my brother let it fall and break into a hundred pieces. But still, there were some larger chunks which aren't as tedious as the one by one approach. Be careful if you are working with brick above your head! We are lucky that ours only went halfway up the wall.

The hearth that juts out was the harder part. Mostly because it was filled with a bunch of junk. Inside the brick we found sand, rocks, broken bricks and cinder blocks. This is where we started using the wheelbarrow.

Our fireplace was a two day project. We did one row on Friday, lots on Saturday and finished up Monday evening. The project was primarily worked on by my 10 yr old son and 17 yr old brother. If you had a one whole day to dedicate to this project it could easily be completed.

Time: One weekend
Cost: $14 for plastic and chisel, we already had everything else

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

D Day

We spent a good part of the weekend destructing the TV/Play room. It is amazing how quickly things can get torn apart. Too bad construction takes so much more time and effort!
You can see the "before" is the picture with all the furniture and clutter. LOL Too bad I didn't have a before picture with the room clean.
The during picture is the one with all the people in it. We ripped up the carpet-you can see the original "brick" linoleum! I had already pulled down some of the paneling, but it isn't really in the picture.
The last picture is a panoramic shot that Eric took. He thought it would be funny to have my brother in it twice. Oooookay. We pulled down the brick fireplace that took up an entire wall. It was really pretty easy. The worst part is cleaning up the mess. Inside the hearth was sand, rocks, bricks and cement blocks. We dumped it all in the back to deal with another day. How fun!
We also took out trim and wood baseboard randomness that ran along the perimeter of the room.
Next up: Remove popcorn ceiling!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sunflower Market-My new favorite store!

My friends and I have a new favorite store. It is Sunflower Market! It is a new natural grocery store. They have now opened 16 stores and if you're lucky you'll get one soon.

They have unbeatable prices on produce. And it is GOOD produce. Just watch that you use it within the week because it is ripe! We have been loading up on grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, green beans, cucumbers, squash and bananas just to name a few.

They have a great bulk department. The regular prices are not as low as Whole Foods, but the sales make up for it. This week dry apple slices are on sale for $1.99 lb!!! They also had granola for $1.99 lb that my friends were going "gaga" over.

The first week they were open they had organic applesauce for $1.50 each. Big jars. I went nuts and bought, like, 30 jars. LOL I have been making fruit leather with it. There were about 5 different flavors, too!

I had recently started making my own organic refried beans from scratch, but I couldn't turn down the cans of organic refried beans for $0.79 a can. I stocked up and need to stop now...they are still on sale.

Oh, and they have great sales and regular prices on meat, too! I got salmon for $3.97 lb. And natural boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.69 lb. Organic whole chickens are regular priced at $1.99 lb (same as Costco).

I was able to buy Monterey Jack and Meunster cheese from the deli for $2.99 lb. They had Brie for $3.99 lb and my friend was happy about that. I don't eat fancy cheese, so it wasn't as exiting for me. LOL

The best part about shopping at Sunflower Market is that if you go on Wednesday you get to shop TWO sale flyers! The sales overlap! It is a zoo on Wednesday, but totally worth it for the savings.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Family Reunion in Fruita, Colorado

In August we had a great Anderson family gathering in Fruita. We had a blast!
We all stayed at a RV park where there were campsites, cabins and RV sites. We camped while everyone else stayed in cabins or an RV.
We got to see Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa National Forest (or whatever it is).
We took plenty of pictures and it was hilarious how obsessed the Anderson clan is with "the perfect picture."
The cousins had a great time getting to know each other better and exploring the area.
My favorite part was the last day when we went to Grand Mesa and had a campfire and lunch together.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cherries are Yummy!

Salem had his first taste of cherry today. He loved them and really chowed down.
Here he is hamming it up for the camera.
Cherries were on sale for $2.49 lb. That is the cheapest I've seen this year so we bought a bag.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Back to School Deals

We went to Office Depot and Office Max today for the penny deals. I spent around $11 for all this. I would have gotten 3 Office Depot glue bottles but they were out (a penny each).
Accordion File
5 Crayola colored pencils
5 composition notebooks
3 blunt scissors
3 rulers
3 boxes of crayons
3 mini Sharpie highliters

Kelsey was wearing the backpack when we checked out and I didn't realize it until we were out the door! So we had to go back in and pay for the backpack. Luckily I noticed before we even got to the car. I would have been mortified if we'd made it home with a "hot" backpack.

Target Clearance is Rockin' this Week!

I had to go to Target today to get some stuff for the kids. I ended up spending a long time looking through all their clearance items! I had to control myself or I would have spent a lot more. I actually kinda freaked when my total was so high, but a lot of this we needed or I am saving for next summer.

I spent under $100 for all this!

Boys Hanes socks (10 pk)
Girls Hanes socks (6 pk)
Boys dress socks (2 pk)
Baby socks (10 pk)-clearance $3
toddler socks (2 pk)-clearance $1.74
Princess Underwear (7 pk)
4 pair shorts for Kelsey (3 are long and modest!!!)-clearance 50-75% off
2 pair sleeping shorts for Jordan-clearance $1.98 each
Boys White t-shirt-clearance $1.48
6 pk Elmers Glue-Sale $1
5 pk of spiral notebooks-Sale $0.50
Black backpack-$19.99
Crayola foam sidewalk chalk refill-clearance $4.18
Transformer toy-clearance $1.74 (stocking stuffer)
Wooden Macaroni & Cheese Playset-clearance $6.94 (Christmas gift)
Boys Elastic waistband cargo type pants-clearance $4.48 (they are huge so I might return)

I am seriously tempted to go to a different Target and see if they have a better selection. I got size large for Jordan which is just waaay too big. I'd love to exchange for mediums. There are tons of toys on clearance, too. Like I said, restraint was used.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our summer vacation this year took us to South Dakota. We had a great time! We got to see Mount Rushmore and some of the attractions in the area.
This was our first family vacation since starting our Total Money Make Over using Dave Ramsey's plan. We paid CASH and it was great (ok, the cash was in our checking account, not actual cash). We actually stayed under budget.
We planned for $700 and actually spent less than $600. We drove our own car, camped and packed our own food. We did go to dinner twice.
Even though we had some thunderstorms and rain that interrupted our sleep I would totally do the camping again.
I would totally recommend going to Old McDonald's Farm when you go. My kids had a blast! Kelsey is obsessed with horses right now and really enjoyed the pony rides. The entrance fee lasts 3 days which totally rocks. Make sure to check the free coupon book by the front door BEFORE paying! It has a coupon for the entrance fee and free pony rides. There are baby animals to see and pet, pig races, a playground and covered picnic tables.
We went over the Fourth of July weekend. We missed the fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, but saw a great one in one of the nearby towns. We were parked on the lawn where they did the display. It was so awesome. I've never done that before.
Hurray for family vacations paid in cash!!!

Boy, oh Boy!

Jordan is becoming a young man. He is cute, too! He is fun to be around and enjoys using humor to entertain people. I get comments from adults all the time about how wonderful he is. It warms my heart to hear that I'm raising a "good kid." He is a very good kid and for that I am grateful.

Those Eyes!

Kelsey has the most beautiful blue eyes. You can't really tell in this picture because she is squinting. I'll have to find a better one some time. She has recently started wearing dresses and skirts a lot more often. I guess she is becoming a "girly girl." Her features are becoming more of a child than a toddler. She is a beautiful child and it is so fun to watch her grow up.

That Face!

What's a mother to do? I just want to gobble him up! We took these pictures for Salem's first birthday. He is wearing a vintage baby outfit that I got from DH's mother. The shorts have built in plastic pants which is very convenient for cloth diapering.
This is my favorite picture from the bunch.

A Little Paint Goes a Long Way

I have gotten into a upcycle kick lately. It is so fun to turn old things into something new and exciting!

My most recent projects include a couple of wood frames that I got free from my sister. They were black and I just painted them LIME green! They turned out so cool. These will end up in the garage or basement play room. If they go in the garage we will frame real bike parts.

The other project is one I have been meaning to do for a couple years. I got an old metal cart at a garage sale for $1. I think it used to be a sewing machine cart or something like that. Anyway, I painted it aqua blue. It is so pretty. I still need to paint it with polyurethane to seal it. It will end up a plant stand on our patio. Or maybe a snack table. I can't decide. I wish I had more of these!!!
I'll have to post pictures when they are totally done.

Right now on my patio I am taking the finish of a lamp table and paint off an old ammo metal box. The wood of the lamp table is so pretty I almost don't want to paint it. Maybe I will just restain it. The ammo box is going to be blue to match the cart. I think we will keep garden and work gloves in it so they don't end up all over the yard and garage!

Great Garage Sale Success!

We had a huge garage sale over the weekend. It was a lot of work, but we did great!
It was a multi-family sale, so there was stuff from my mom, sister and a friend. Most of it was ours, though!
The total sales were over $1000!!!!!!!!!!! After paying for the newspaper ad ($60) my family made over $720. I was hoping for $600 so I am on Cloud 9.
The kicker-we still have so much stuff that we are doing it again in 2 weeks. Yikes! My sis and friend will have much more for the sale too.

It feels so good to be getting rid of this stuff. Let me tell you what kinds of things we got rid of. I quit selling on eBay so I had some merchandise leftover from that. My DH remodeled his office and the last tenant left a whole bunch of office furniture so we sold all that. Of course there was outgrown clothes from the kids and toys, games, puzzles, etc. We decided to get rid of (almost) all the VHS tapes. Boy they take up a lot of room! I also sold health and beauty items that I got free with coupons. That was fun! I also sold some Pampered Chef cookware and tools that I replaced at my Pampered Chef party in June.

What are we going to do with the money? Remodel our TV/living room. We want to redo the fireplace wall. We have wall to wall brick and want to remove it and put built-ins on either side of the fireplace. This is going to be a huge project. We are going to sell all our old TV and media equipment and get a new (to us) system. We are currently doing our research and looking for deals on CraigsList. I'll try to post pictures of the remodel (before and after).

One resource I find helpful in planning and holding a successful garage sale is this little booklet I ordered from the Internet years ago. It's called How to Have Big Money Garage Sales by Catherine R. Pedigo. It costs $9.95 and I think it is worth it, especially if you are new to the garage sale scene.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Frugal Friday: e-coupons are rocking my world

I have just recently been introduced into the wonderful world of e-coupons. These things rock!!!
I used my very first ones, with great success, on Tuesday night. Saved myself an additional $4. The coupons are loaded on to your King Soopers Soopercard (or Kroger store). When your card is scanned at checkout the coupons will be automatically applied. HINT: Look for them just under the item you bought, not at the bottom with the rest of the coupons.

The best part about e-coupons is that you can use them in conjunction with paper coupons!!! Talk about maximizing savings. I see a lot more free stuff in my future.

Here are the sites I have signed up with:

P&G eSaver
Unilever Making Life Better

With such a variety of coupons you are bound to find things you can use. I have noticed that so far there are very few food coupons. I hope the food coupons are forthcoming since I don't need all the Health & Beauty products!

For more wonderful Frugal Friday inspiration head to Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Using Whole Chickens to Save $$$-WFMW

Today is Works-For-Me Wednesday hosted by a great blog Rocks In My Dryer. You can check out what works for hundreds of other bloggers by going here.

Something that I have been doing for a long time now is buying my chicken whole. For a while I was getting conventional chickens when they went on sale for $.69 lb. Now I have upgraded to organic chickens from Costco. It is quite a bit more expensive at $1.99 lb, but worth it to me.

I boil 2 chickens at a time in my largest pot or pressure cooker. I use the recipe for Chicken Mix found in the Make-A-Mix Cookery cookbook The best part is that my DH picks all the chicken off the bone for me. I knew he was a keeper!
The broth is cooled in the fridge overnight and then I skim the fat and put it in jars the next day.

I usually end up with about 4 quarts of broth and 6 pints of chicken meat. I label it in glass canning jars and put it in the freezer. CAUTION-the broth must be in wide mouth jars and leave about 2-3 inches clearance at the top! I don't screw the bands on until after it is frozen. And, yes, I'm speaking from experience. lol

We go through about 2 chickens per month, maybe a little more some months. I like that we only have to do this once a month and have meat and broth when we need it.

Grocery Budget-We're Almost There!

I just calculated in last nights groceries and now I'm a little nervous. We only have $30 more to see us to the end of the month. Eek!
Actually, I'm sure it will be fine. This weeks ads were very disappointing. Produce prices seem very high to me. Shouldn't produce be getting cheaper as we get closer to summer?!?!

Here are my plans with the remaining $30. Oh, plus $5 OYNO at King Soopers.
Organic whole grain buns (4 pkgs) $6
Organic crackers (4 pkgs) $4
Kraft salad dressing FREE
Produce (corn on cob, baby carrots...)

Hmmm, how many more days are left in May???

A Little Construction

I am making some cosmetic changes around here. My friend Lisa showed me where I could get these adorable digi scrapbook papers and such to decorate my blog. Check them out here at Shabby Princess.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Clipping Coupons Isn't Worth It?!?!?!

I have heard this from many people. Clipping coupons isn't worth their time. Or, the things they buy don't have coupons.

Well, I just noticed that I have saved over $300 using coupons this month! And the month isn't even over. I think that is worth the hour or so a week I spend finding, gathering, printing and clipping coupons.

I buy a lot of organic and natural items. I find coupons for those items online, the Sunday ads and at the grocery store. I especially love the Mambo Sprouts coupon book. The Organic Valley website has wonderful coupons you can print each month as well.

It looks like my hourly wage for clipping coupons is over $50 an hour! Not bad for something I can do from home in my jammies.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 5/18

I really like how I posted my menu last week! It just works better for me to be a little relaxed about which night we eat a meal. Our stockpile is getting pretty huge. I think I am going to need to start slowing down on some items and really paying attention to what we have and need. Like right now I have dry pasta coming out my ears!
I'm also thinking about getting a larger freezer. We have a small one from almost 10 years ago. It is getting stuffed quite full!


Ham & Pea gravy over homemade biscuits
Spaghetti with crescent rolls
Fast Fixin's chicken nuggets and veges
Potato Cheese Soup
Date Night: Hot Hunan Shrimp from Easy Entrees


Field Day-Lunchables (at school)
Pasta Salad
Egg Salad sandwishes
Leftovers from dinner
Mac n' Cheese


Toast with PB & J
Sourdough Pancakes

To see other menu plans, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Super Savings Saturday!!! Target, Walmart, Whole Foods

I didn't find a lot of deals that were mentioned on Money Saving Mom. It amazes me how different prices and clearances are from region to region! This is why I don't go "chasing deals" anymore. I wait until I have a list of several things at a store before going. That way if a deal or two aren't available it's not a waste of time and gas.
Today I did some price comparing. I was very surprised at the results. The Gerber Graduates items are cheaper on sale at King Soopers than they are at Walmat! Earth's Best items are cheapest at Target-beats out Walmart and KS sale by FAR!
While I was at Whole Foods I asked about buying unbleached flour by the bag since we go through it so fast. I would like to get 100 lbs or so to have on hand. They will have someone call me!

Whole Foods
Organic Unbleached Flour -$.59 lb
Organic Long Grain Brown Rice -$1.59 lb
2 boxes Back to Nature organic mint sandwich cookies -sale 2/$5 -$1/1 coupons
2 boxes Back to Nature organic crackers -sale 2/$4 -$1/1 coupons
Fine Sea Salt -$1.69
2 free fruit leathers & 1 free cookie for kid club (we love kid club!)

Total $15.03

Sandals for baby -$9.99 (birthday money)
2 boxes Earth's Best organic cereal Bars -$1.77 -$.75/1 coupons

Total $12.56 ($2.06 from grocery budget)

4 trial size Old Spice body wash -$.97 -$2/2 coupons
Vanity lightbulbs 3 pk - $3.96
2 boxes LiveActive cereal - $2.98 - $3/1 coupons
2 boxes Kashi cereal -$2 - $2/1 coupons
3 boxes Kraft Bagelfuls - $1.98 -$1/1 coupons

Total $7.30

So that is $24.39 from the grocery budget. Not bad for all that boxed and organic food. I'm glad we still have some carrots, potatoes, lettuce and apples in the house.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gerber Catalina Deal thru 5/20

Okay, this is not a normal shopping trip for us. LOL We did our regular trip to King Soopers on Saturday and picked up a couple Gerber Graduates items for the youngest. He is self feeding now and desires more variety than I can come up with. A catalina (register coupon) printed out for $2 off our next purchase. I took a look at the deal and decided to stock up on some prepared foods for my little one that we can use on road trips and excursions this summer.

Here is the deal:
Spend $15 on Gerber products and get $2 off YNO
Spend $20 on Gerber products and get $3 off YNO
Spend $25 or more and get $5 off YNO
Participating products are: Gerber baby food, baby juice, Graduates, pacifiers, soothers & teethers, cups, dishes & utensils, bottle feeding and breastfeeding products.

So, I scoured the Internet for more coupons. I also had more of the snail mail coupons. I found some really great coupons at the Gerber website. I did have trouble printing a few, but the CS is very friendly and they will be snail mailing me more. Yay! There is also a great post with links to coupons on Hot Coupon World.
My King Soopers doubles up to $.50 coupons (and anything between $.50-$.99 is turned into $1).

The pictured trip cost me $20.53 oop and I got a $5 catalina! The Gerber products were $8.14 before tax with all the coupons I had. Several of the Gerber Graduates items are on sale through the 20th.

Here is a breakdown of how I worked the deal:
2 Graduates Lil' Entrees-sale $1.79 ea-$.75 coupon (2)
2 Finger Foods Puffs-sale $1.69 ea-$.75 coupon (2)
2 Graduates cookies-sale $1.69 ea-$1 coupon (2)
3 Graduates Lil' Sides-$.90 ea -$.50 coupon (3) (FREE with doubles)
4 Graduates Dices fruit-$.78 ea-$50/2 coupon (2)
2 Gerber Splashers -$1.99 ea-$1 coupon (2)
2 Graduates Mini Fruits-sale $5/2- $1/2 coupon (1)
Plus I used the $2 catalina from Saturday!
Before coupons=$25.14
After coupons=$8.14
Earned $5 OYNO

Monday, May 12, 2008

Meal Plan Monday 5/12

Well, I think I've decided to just plan my meals for the week and be flexible on which nights I actually make them. That seems to be what works best for me.
I'm trying to be good about using the food we have, especially produce and things that will spoil.
Here is what I've come up with for the week.


Chicken Pot Pie (didn't make it last week)
Barley Vegetable Soup
Taco Night
Hawaiian Haystacks (didn't make this last time, either)
MorningStar corn dogs, Cascadian Farms Spud Puppies & veges
Pork Chops, rice & veges

To see other menu plans, visit I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Cloth Diapering for Thrift and the Environment

Yes, I'm talking about cloth diapers! I'm sure many of you have images of Gerber prefolds, pins and plastic pants dancing around in your heads right now. I ask you to set aside your preconceived ideas and prejudices just long enough to read this article. I'm here to tell you cloth diapering has come a long way, baby!

There are now many options in cloth diapering; from thrifty to extravagant. You can use prefolds and covers with pins or a Snappi fastener. On the other end of the spectrum we have All-in-One (AIO) diapers that are similar to disposable because it is the diaper and cover all in one. In the middle you have fitted diapers. They are a shaped diaper that uses snaps or some other closure and you still need a cover.

Are you still with me? Great!

Much has been written on cloth diapering. There are forums and websites dedicated to the topic. Since I am limited in time and space, I'd like to share some great resources with you.
Diaper Swappers
The Pin
Fern and Faerie
Nicki's Diapers

I have cloth diapered all 3 of my children in one way or another. My oldest was in Gerber prefolds, pins and covers. It was functional, but not very fun. It was very cheap, too!
I was given some basic one size fitted diapers with my middle child. They were heaven compared to pins and prefolds. I still used the Gerber covers.
I really was committed to using cloth with my youngest. I knew there were more options out there so I entered the online world of cloth diapering. It has been so much easier to use cloth with him!

I actually use a mix of Chinese Prefolds and fitted diapers. I have even made my own! I use some PUL covers as well as some wool covers. I find myself reaching for the prefolds the most. They are so simple and easy...most of the time. If my little one is crying and squirming I go for the easiest snapping fitted to get the job done fast.

Washing them is pretty easy. I keep them in a dry pail in the bathroom until wash day. My pail is a trash can with lid from Target and a Wahmies diaper pail liner. I love my liner because I just pull it out and dump everything in the machine! I wash on Monday and Thursday each week. I like my routine because I never run out of diapers. There has been no change in our water or electric due to diaper laundry.

I hope I have given you something to think about if you are currently diapering a bum, or bums. Hundreds of dollars can be saved using cloth. But beyond that it is better for the earth.