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One mom. One Mission. One dinner plate at a time.

Entertainment Book 2009

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Feelin' uber special!

Tina over at The Adventures of a Working Mom and Felicia at Go Graham Go! have bestowed upon me the:


I really enjoy both of these blogs and hope you take the time to pay each of them a visit!

And since it's good manners to share, here are the rules:
When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back.
Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design.
Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliant Weblog’.
Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional).

Since I did get this award twice, I will pass the first along to some of my favorite reads:

The Penny Pinching Parent

On the Verge

Mom's Crazy Life

Notes from the Zoo

Kids Meal Crowd

"Deal"icious Mom

And for the second, I will pass it along to some of my favorite blog boutiques!

Cutie Booty Cakes

Just Add Dots

The Charming Lamb

Redbox Promo Code Monday!

Here's todays Redbox code for a free movie rental! It's only good until midnight tonight and the movie must be returned by 9PM on Tuesday. I think hubby and I will be watching "Across the Universe" after the boy goes to bed!


At the redbox kiosk, choose the "Rent with a code" button, choose your movie, swipe your card and enjoy some free entertainment!

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Menu Plan Monday - Sept 29th

What a rough week for connecting to the internet! Our signal hasn't been reliable and I am SO far behind in postings! The good news is that we survived last week, hubby survived his first week of work at the new job, and we all ate well :) The Autumn Chicken was a HUGE hit, and unbelievably easy to make. I actually came home on a break from work to put everything in the crockpot and made it back with time to spare.

This week is a big cooking week, everyone will be home for dinner every night but Sunday - the in-laws got us tickets to dinner and a show with the Clancy Legacy for our anniversary (These are the kids of the irish musicians the Clancy Brothers and the Makems). We saw them when the boy wonder was 9 months old and he loved the music then, so Sunday should be a lot of fun! I'm working almost completely out of the pantry again - haven't done the shopping just yet but I don't expect that supplies will run me more than $20 again, the biggest expense will be diapers and wipes, which should set us back about $40 for a 6 week supply. And we inherited a HUGE pan of baked ziti, some hot dogs, and salad from my nephew's birthday party yesterday - I love free food!

The baking list this week: zucchini muffins, a batch of cornbread, and buns/rolls (half a batch of rolls, half a batch of breadsticks) to use as breakfast, side dishes and snacks.

Here's what we're eating, don't forget to visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more ideas!

monday - Chickpea Stew with rice ($3.44)

tuesday - Homemade cheese pizza with this crust, leftover (free) salad from the party ($2.14)

wednesday - Breaded drumsticks, green beans, cornbread ($3.00)

thursday - Baked Ziti and salad leftover from the party, breadsticks ($0.30)

friday - Herb Crusted Pork chops, dinner rolls, mixed veggies ($2.87)

saturday - Chicken Quesadillas using this mexican chicken, avocado slices ($6.00)

sunday - Early anniversary present - dinner and a show from my in-laws!

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Bricklaying - and a little sibling fun

I think my brother is moonlighting.

Here he is at my wedding with his lovely wife:


And here is DWTS "Derek Hough"..or so he says :)


I have my suspicions...


A little more on-topic...I am going to start a short weekly series that I'm titling "Bricklaying". Each week I will post a "brick" - what I have incorporated as foundational ideas toward improving and managing my grocery budget. I've had a lot of people both online and in person ask me how I do what I do every week that makes my budget goal possible - it forced me to really organize my thought process, and I hope that it might help others achieve what I'm aiming for! It's easy to talk about coupon clipping and sale-hunting, but there is a whole mentality shift that has to happen for everything to come together. Call it the method to my madness, I call it building a solid wall to hide my goodies behind :)

Tune in next week for the first installment - and if you have anything particular you'd like to see included, leave me a comment!

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Ode to Entrecard Spammers

O Entrecard, my Entrecard, why do you torment me so?

My relationship with Entrecard has definitely become a love/hate thing. I love that it has introduced me to some AMAZING blogs that I never would have found otherwise. I love that it has brought people to my humble blog that wouldn't have known it was there. I love the opportunity to connect, advertise, share, expand....

But I loathe...hate....would rather gouge my eyes out with a rabid porcupine than read yet ANOTHER...card drop that turns out to be nothing more than a Pay-Per-Post extravaganza. Don't get me wrong, I am aware that some have found great success in using this sort of program to monetize their blog, and I have seen plenty of people work those postings in with flair and good writing. I've seen people be selective in what they will post. Even I have done a few Mom Central blog tours, and I get a little chuckle when I find other postings on the latest tour, I feel like I'm in "da club". But I get so discouraged when I get a drop from a blogger that appears legit, only to find that most of what's posted on their blog (herein I dub you SPLOG!) is advertising.

Here are my peeves:
- Blogs where more than half the "content" is clearly advertising or Pay Per Post. Two sentences about what your dog ate for breakfast doesn't count as "content".

- Blog postings that were copied verbatim from the suggested text that the advertisers sent out. Hate to break it to you, but if you live in California I KNOW that you don't give a rat's bum about a bankruptcy lawyer in New Jersey.

- Blog postings that start out "And of course you know...". No, I don't know. And just for assuming (we all know what momma said about THAT) I'm NOT going to click thru.

I wish there was a way to block those people from dropping on me...frankly, I don't want them earning credits off of me and I don't want to have to weed through them to find the gems when I'm going through my inbox! Since I can't do that, I'm just not returning drops to blogs that aren't really blogs. Bad ju-ju on you, splogs!

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100 Books

Believe it or not, I actually read something other than sales flyers and coupon inserts...occasionally :) I thought it would be fun to post this meme that I found over at Red Sox Mommy...read it and pass along!

The Big Read is a National Endowment for the Arts program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six.

Here’s what you are supposed to do:
*Look at the list and bold those we have read.
*Italicize those we intend to read.
*Underline the books we LOVE .
Share this list in your blog, too, if you like.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (A good portion, anyway!)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Stephen King was notably absent from this list...pity...

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Menu Plan Monday - Sept 22nd

There are so many things I have grown to love about Menu Plans Mondays! I have been introduced to some wonderful blogs (and the wonderful ladies behind them!), found a storehouse of great recipe and menu ideas, and linked in with a means to motivate me every weekend! If you have been afraid to try it for yourself, don't be....I never planned a week before I started this, and now I wonder how I did without it. THIS WEEK is Family Favorites week - everyone will be posting their own personal "Standby" dishes, so I will definitely be filling the recipe binder :)

This week is definitely a pantry-raiding week. Hubby got a new job (hooray!) but he starts on Monday with a pretty rigorous schedule, and I had already picked up a few shifts at work so we're going to be baby-swapping and running around like headless chickens for the week. The upside is that there are 3 nights when we will be either dining at a relatives house or working (which means leftovers in the lunchbox!), the downside that we won't see much of each other until Sunday. Our car insurance had to be renewed too, and since DH has been out of work for a few weeks we didn't really have the cushion to make that deposit any less painful.

The good news - weekly shopping this week came to a grand total of $22, I got 4 pounds of bananas, 4 pounds of zukes, 3 pounds of apples, bread, milk ,eggs, flour, diet soda, cheese and frozen veggies. I plan on shredding and freezing half of the zucchini for future use in bread and muffins and I made a huge pot of veggie soup for the freezer. We should be pretty well set for at least 2 weeks if I play things right!

Here's what I came up with for this week, and don't forget to check out I'm an Organizing Junkie and see what everyone else is having for dinner!

monday: Hubby and I are both working the night shift, so we'll be having leftovers and the boy wonder will be dining at his Grammie's.

tuesday: Lloyds BBQ pork on homemade buns, corn, Cheesy zucchini strips ($3.85)

wednesday: Bee Rocks from the freezer, Vegetable soup ($3.03 for three servings) **Family favorite!
thursday: Baked Macaroni and Cheese **Another Family Favorite!
friday: dinner at the in-law's, they're keeping the boy overnight and hubby's comedy group is having a grand opening of their performance space! Woo!

saturday: Autumn Chicken, leftover rolls from Tuesday, and mixed veggies ($4.11)
sunday: Heading to the Cape for my nephew's birthday party (more free dinner, more cake!)


Circus days

When I was a kid, there were a couple of things I looked forward to every year. The last day of school...the annual trip to the mountains for family camping...and the circus. Back then (waaay back then!) Ringling Brothers was the only game in town, and they are still the only circus that hits my heart and brings me back to some amazing childhood memories. I brought the little man to his first circus this year, and watching him get caught up in the sights and sounds made me understand why my folks would be as excited as me when the Ringling trucks would start rolling in.

I can't pass up an opportunity for a good discount on something like this, and Mom Central has teamed up with Ringling Brothers to offer a discount on select tickets! The only thing better than awesome family memories is awesome memories that fit my budget :)

For the 20% discount, just visit http://www.ringling.com/ , pick a show date, and use the following code: MCC

The code is valid for the circus shows in the following cities:

  • Indianapolis, IN - Sept. 4-7, 2008

  • Kansas City, MO - Sept. 10-14, 2008

  • Grand Rapids, MI - Sept. 18-21, 2008

  • Denver, CO - Oct. 2-13, 2008

  • Boston, MA – Oct. 8-13, 2008

  • Cleveland, OH - Oct. 24 - Nov. 2

  • Chicago, IL - Nov. 6 - 30, 2008

  • St. Louis, MO - Nov. 6-9, 2008

  • Auburn Hills, MI - Nov. 12 - 16, 2008

  • Highland Heights, KY - Feb 27 - Mar. 1, 2009

  • Cincinnati, OH - Mar. 4 - 8, 2008

“*Please note that the code is valid for buying tickets with the following ticket price brackets: $24, $19, and $13

If there's not a show in your area, come visit me...we have plenty of room :)

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So I've been dabbling in the whole CVS game thing for the last few weeks, I did pretty well but never had anything enormous to report...until now!

Last week, I had taken advantage of 3 particular deals that involved ECB's, and walked out of the store with $9.99 in ECBs.

Today, I was after laundry soap:

Purex liquid laundry soap, $2.99 each - with $2 ECBs when you buy 2
used two $1 off 2 coupons from the 8/10 smart source insert
Total: $12, minus $2 in coupons, minus $9.99 ECBs = FREE - plus $4 in ECBs

So CVS just paid me $4 to buy enough laundry detergent to last me 4 months. SWEET!

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FREE Redbox code

Just went to the Redbox at the Shaws near my house and tried this one out...one free movie rental for tonight! We will be snacking on popcorn and watching Beowulf :)


Expiration: unsure...as of this afternoon it was still working

If that one doesn't work, the Redbox freebie code for today only is: 2THS48
Expires at midnight tonight

In either case, movie must be returned by 9pm on Tuesday. Happy movie watching!

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Menu Plan Monday - Sept 15th

Wow - another Monday already? Time seems to fly by faster all the time. We actually did pretty well last week - I had to shuffle some things around because the chicken didn't find it's way to the refrigerator to thaw in time for Wednesday's dinner, so that got pushed to Friday. I ended up doing a homemade pizza instead, and we never quite got around to the Chicken Stew...so that has made a repeat appearance on this week's menu.

The Mimi's Sticky chicken was a HUGE hit! We ended up having a couple of surprise guests on Friday so I whipped up some instant mashed potatoes and there was plenty to go around. I also made some chicken stock from what *little* was left of the carcass, and the seasonings from the chicken made it quite yummy. Though I have decided that carrots hate me. It doesn't matter what I do - steam, bake, roast...in the pan with the chicken...for FIVE HOURS...they always stay too raw and never soft and yummy like my mom used to do. Someday I will solve the carrot mystery..for now I will keep subjecting them to my culinary experiments.

So here's this week's menu - mostly easy with a few leftovers, I plan on making some Banana muffins to add to breakfast, and I will be making another batch of Bee Rocks for the freezer as well!

Check out the ever-growing list of MPM participants at I'm an Organizing Junkie for inspiration and motivation! It worked for me :)

monday: Grandma's Chicken Stew using leftover roast chicken, leftover veggies, and homemade chicken broth ($0.50)

tuesday Apple, cheddar and Turkey meatballs, veggies and rice ($5.00 with leftovers)

wednesday Veggie Lo Mein ($3.24)

thursday Pulled pork sandwiches, using leftover pork from last week, BBQ sauce and homemade buns, broccoli ($1.39)

friday Spinach Lasagna ($8.85, or $1.10 per serving)

saturday I'm working the evening shift, so the boys get leftovers. Free meal!

sunday Dinner at the in-law's, celebrating hubby's birthday! Nothing's better than a free meal AND cake :)

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Getting back on track

After work today the hubby and DS came by to pick me up and we did the weekly shopping - I was greeted from the back seat with a hearty "ah wee wah!", Wonderboy-ese for "I love you!", so my night started off quite well :)

I have pulled back a bit on the coupon shopping - the sales on things we actually use haven't been great, and I'm realizing that I really need to start keeping a price book.... Couponmom is helpful in guiding me towards the better deals, but the prices in my area tend to run a bit higher than what she posts for my supermarkets and I need to be the expert for my area. I have to figure out whether it will be better to do an Excel spreadsheet or pencil-and-paper, but at least I have all of my receipts for the last 3 months.

It wasn't a banner week like last week, but the overall cost was $75.98 and a big chunk of that was meat for the freezer and spices and stuff for the pantry. Here's the overall breakdown:

Price Rite: pasta, salsa, frozen spinach, chili powder, curry, fajita seasoning, green apple, cheese (2 pounds), water chestnuts - TOTAL: $18.07

Stop & Shop: paprika, parsley, crushed and diced tomatoes ($1 each), Ziploc bags, 2 packages drumsticks (on sale $0.99/lb) - TOTAL: $21.56 ($8.94 store savings, $1 coupon)

Shaws: Bananas (on sale $0.39/lb), sugar (on sale $1.99/5 lbs), chicken dogs ($1 pkg), Tin foil, plastic wrap, pork tenderloin (on sale $1.88/lb) - TOTAL $36.35 ($31.67 store savings)

The pork tenderloin was a big expense, but well worth it - this was a whole 10.50lb tenderloin. I rung up the store butcher and had him slice it into 1-inch chops...which didn't cost me anything extra! Pre-cut boneless chops go for between $2.50 and $5.50 a pound and are only a half inch thick at most. Mine are thicker, it's a better cut of meat, and I can either sliced the chops down to half an inch, or butterfly and stuff them. All for less than $2 a pound and the willingness to think outside the meat package. My lesson learned? Make friends with the supermarket meat guy :)

I took stock of my freezer, and realized that I have enough meat down there (including today's purchases) to cover me for over 30 dinners. More, considering that I am trying to include at least one pasta and one vegetarian dish each week to help cut costs. I might hop on board if there's a crazy meat sale in the next few weeks, otherwise I need to focus on eating out of the freezer and the pantry, and keep making stuff from scratch instead of buying the convenience version. Who knows...I might actually get daring and try my hand at a loaf of bread :) Not too bad for a former city girl...

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Moooore for your money

The price of milk has been making me crazy. I get that rising gas prices means that the basic necessities will also end up costing more because of increased production and transportation costs, but JEEZ! Milk is one of those things my household can't cut back on...the boy doesn't drink any juice so it's either milk or water. And hubby keeps milk in his diet to make sure he's getting a good intake of protein and non-starchy carbs for diabetes management.

When milk went up to $3.29 (at it's cheapest - the brand name stuff at the grocery stores was almost 4 bucks a gallon), I had to do something. I did NOT want to touch powdered milk, everything I heard about drinking reconstituted milk was BAAAAAD. So what was a frugal mommy to do?

I can't remember where I first read about it, but I found several sites that recommended buying whole milk and cutting it with water. I usually buy 2% anyway, so the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. My local Price Rite sells whole and 2% milk at the same price (I know some grocery stores mark up the whole milk), so it wasn't going to cost me any more to give it a try.

It's been a month now, and I have to say I've been pleasantly surprised! I didn't even tell the hubby about it at first, just to see if he'd comment on the taste. I tried it myself, and if anything the watered-down whole milk is just a teensy bit creamier than regular 2% but I couldn't detect anything unusual! The best part is, when I buy a gallon of whole milk and water it down at home, I end up with a gallon and a half for the price of a gallon. Half a gallon of free milk a week makes a big difference in the long run.

Here's the math and method behind the milk multiplication :)

You will need:
1 gallon whole milk
1 clean container (either a washed empty milk gallon or other plastic container - I just clean out the most recent one that's been emptied)
Measuring cup

1. Remove 5 and 1/3 cups of milk from the whole milk gallon, pour into empty container.
2. Add 5 and 1/3 cups cold water to the whole milk gallon and refrigerate.
3. Add 2 and 2/3 cups cold water to the extra container.

I've baked with it, had it straight, used it in cereal....and haven't had a single issue. Give it a try and see if it works for you!

Got a tip to share? Post it in the comments!

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Hodge Podge

I had one of those uber-proud mommy moments this morning..you know, the ones where you think that *maybe* you're doing something right? I was in the kitchen getting breakfast ready, and the boy was playing in the living room. I suddenly hear him talking to himself...so I peek in to see what's going on. He was READING. Ok...so he wasn't reciting Shakespeare, but he had his train book, he was turning the pages, and aside from baby garble, he would pop out the correct words for certain pictures on the page! Maybe it's just because we read the same book 25 times in a row whenever it strikes his fancy...but a mom can live with her delusions, can't she?




First, Walgreens has a $10 couponwhen you spend $40 that is only good for Friday and Saturday 9/12 and 9/13. Visit Walgreens, here to print the coupon.

Also, did you happen to catch that Cover Girl deal at CVS last week? You know, the one where you bought a lip product for $5.99 and got $5.99 ECB's...well THIS week, they are selling the L'Oreal Age Perfect, RevitaLift or Skin Genesis products for $5.99, AND you get $5.99 in ECB's back! I love it when they pay me to shop. :)


And finally - check out this great blog post, Moms, Children, Food and Guilt at Moms Need to Know. I get so tired of the suggestions that if I'm not a food purist, if I use coupons, if I allow myself a wee bit of convenience, that I'm hurting my kids. No more guilt! Or as Mindi would say, deleted!

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Menu Plan Monday - Sept 8th

Ever have one of those weeks where you look back and wonder where the days (and the dollars) disappeared to? That's where I found myself yesterday when I sat down to do the shopping list and the menu plan. I haven't been as diligent with the budget since we got back from vacation, and we had a couple of surprise expenses pop up...so pursestrings are ti-iight!

I took stock of the pantry, and we're actually in quite good shape - so as much as there were LOTS of yummy recipes I wanted to try this week, I committed to eat out of the pantry this week. That means my shopping trip yesterday was nothing but milk, bread, eggs, fruit and veggies - for a grand total of $15! It makes me feel a WEE bit better :)

Last week the recipes were all very successful, and I have PLENTY of leftovers to get me through the week - the Bee Rocks actually made a batch of 12 pockets....so having them again this week will be F-R-E-E! We ended up using a gift certificate from Christmas to go out for dinner on Saturday (hubby's birthday is this Wednesday!) and DS had an overnight with his Auntie...the grownup face time was long overdue and much appreciated :)

Here's this week's lineup - don't forget to check out the 300-plus other menus at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

monday: Italian Chicken Skillet over rice ($4.35)

tuesday: Frittatta, using leftovers from Sunday's 7 Layer Casserole for filling and some cheddar cheese ($1.29)

wednesday: Mimi's Sticky Chicken, Easy cheese biscuits, carrots ($5.75)

thursday: Chicken drumsticks with BBQ sauce, Homesteader cornbread, green beans ($3.62)

friday: Grandma's Chicken Stew ($1.75)

saturday: Leftover Bee Rocks ($0.00! Nothing! Nada!)

sunday: dinner at the in-laws! Freebies rock!

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Couponizer giveaway at Moms Need to Know!

I'm not one to post contests, for now that's not the direction my blog is going and I'm trying to keep on topic while I figure out the whole blogging thing :o)

But this one was just TOO perfect to keep to myself. Mindi over at Moms Need to Know is giving away not ONE, but TWO Couponizers!


The Couponizer isn't your momma's accordion file. It's a complete coupon organization system that includes:

The Couponizer- a heavy duty spiral bound notebook with a pocket for each category
Your Guide to Smart Savings - giving you the basics on how to use this great system to maximize your savings
CoupStacker - presorting mat - this thing is great! You can use it to sort your coupons as you clip them, or if you are using the Couponizer in addition to a larger system, this can really help you plan your shopping trips!
Shopping List - no flipping through your coupons as you visit each aisle! Just write out your shopping list and mark the space if you have a coupon for that item!
CoupTracker - record monthly savings - this can be one of the biggest motivator to continuing the use of coupons. When you see how much money you are saving with every trip, you will see that your efforts are worth it
Scissors - You can never have too many pairs! And having a “special pair” devoted to coupons? Bonus!
Carrying Bag - clear plastic protective bag - anyone who has ever dropped their coupons in the store, car or house will appreciate how wonderful it is to have everything contained!

So head on over to Moms Need to Know and enter to win! Contest closes on 9/11/08 at 8>30pm EST.

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I hate it when the cell phone bill comes. Mostly because I am notorious for "misplacing" (i.e. running through the wash, losing in the trash, leaving completely behind) any important phone numbers or addresses for places we need to go or errands we need to run. So I am the one to blame for all of the 411 calls that show up on the bill. And at $1.75 or more, those add up FAST.

Enter the information mavens themselves, Google.

Did you KNOW they have their own information line? Apparently they have stretched their Googly arms to reach out and touch all of us perpetual phone number misplacers. The best news? It is COMPLETELY FREE. No crazy surcharges, just whatever your regular phone company would have charged if you dialed direct.

I've been using it exclusively the last month, and I haven't had a single issue. What I really like is that they give you the top options for your request....have you ever tried to get 411 to help you find a business when you're not entirely sure which town it's in? Yeah, that's like pulling teeth...sometimes the live operators are worse than the automated system. But with GOOG-411 the automated system gives you as many listings as you're willing to listen to.

Perfect example - a few weeks back we needed to cash one of my husband's checks but we were driving to a Doc's appointment that was 30 miles from home. It's a chain bank so I called up GOOG-411 to see if they could help. We were on the highway, so I gave the town listed on the nearest exit sign, and the bank name. Duh....moving car....means we weren't in that town's area for long. But Google to the rescue, the system started rattling off locations, and eventually I heard one for the town listed on the NEXT exit sign. They connected me, I got specific directions, and we were good to go.

Just another way to whittle down those nasty little charges that end up turning into big green-eating monsters!

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