Saturday, September 27, 2008

Just Take it with You

This past weekend my family took a mini vacation to a zoo and train show. Fun, fun. I decided to pack our lunches for the zoo because the kids can be picky when they are on the go, plus I wanted to be able to get up and move and enjoy the rest of the zoo without the heaviness of corndogs, burgers or spaghetti in me. We took a couple of sleeves of Ritz crackers, some colby jack cheese I had already cut up (can't take a paring knife in the zoo), and some deli turkey (again, cut it up beforehand). At lunchtime, all we had to do was sit and eat our homemade lunchables without wondering whether or not the food would come back to haunt us later. Plus we did not have to worry about a sloppy mess.

Cost of the homemade lunchables to feed the family: about $5
Cost of one box of premade lunchables (for one person - a child at that): about $2.50
Cost of one 20oz coke from a vending machine at the zoo: $2.75 (not kidding, that's how much it really was - I was stunned!!!)

Just take it with you, it cheaper, healthier and easier - only takes about 20min max to prepare.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Aqua Globes

Have you seen the Aqua-Globes advertised on TV? The point of them is to keep your plants watered for a couple of weeks without you having to worry about it. Okay, not a bad idea. Here's alternatives for free:

  • empty soda bottles
  • empty water bottles
  • pretty much any empty bottle with a longer neck and smaller opening

Try them out and let me know.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Leftover Magic for $3.20

We had hamburgers a few days ago and there were several leftover. Well, we did not want to have reheated hamburgers (let's face it, they are just not as good the second time around), and I didn't have any hamburger buns anyway, so I had to think of something to do with them or throw them out. I hate to throw out food that still has potential. It just seems wasteful to me and I think it's not being a good steward of our family's money. Anyway, I had an idea - spaghetti. I had a couple of 8oz boxes of spaghetti that I had gotten for .29 each, plus a half of a jar of leftover sauce that I had gotten 3/$5, so I just chopped up 4 hamburger patties ($2.08/lb.) with my food chopper and added it to the sauce and let it heat thoroughly. My husband made a comment that the spaghetti was better than usual, and told him what I had done. We figured that the difference had to be the leftover hamburgers because we seasoned those with a little bit of steak seasoning prior to cooking so they had a slight steak-y flavor that complimented the spaghetti sauce.

Cost of the spaghetti meal for the entire family of 4 - $3.20 (plus we have leftovers for lunch today)

If you have good leftover stories or ideas, please, please, please post them!!!! I am always looking for more!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Free Movie Rentals

The Public Library in our town carries movies of all types. We have rented Veggie Tales, Saturday Night Fever (didn't like it BTW) and We Own the Night (got disgusted with the content after about 30 seconds), and there are many more on my 'to watch' list. We rent these movies for free and the rental is 3 weeks long. Our library is also part of a regional library system which means I can go online and search the library catalog for the entire system (about 6 branches) and have whatever book or movie that I want shipped to my home library (for free) and they even call me and let me know it's there. There's also no limit on how many movies I can have out at once - as long as I dont' abuse my videos while they are in my possession.

Free is better than cheap (like the netflix and blockbuster mail in systems), especially since no one wants to pay for movies they didn't like.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Walgreens and Rite Aid

I can't believe I have forsaken those stores for so long. Today, I looked them up on the internet and they both offer printable coupons. The one for Walgreens was $10 off any purchase of $40 or more in store. Okay, so walgreen also had their brand of diapers on sale for 2/$11.98. My son wears a size 5 which is 30 in a pack, so at the sale price they were about .19 each, if you get enough to get over $40 and use the $10 coupon, they become .15 each. Awesome. So if you have those stores in your neighborhoods, by all means, shop the website and see what deals are in store for you, and if you can, combine their sale items with printable coupons to really increase your savings and get the maximum bang for your buck!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Chicken Creole turned out great, hubby loved it and he doesn't even like veggies (which this wall full of - there is hope after all).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Slow Cooker Heaven

I am a fan of the slow cooker. I think that it is a mom's best friend - whether you are a working mom or a SAHM. I have found a new recipe site solely dedicated to the slow cooker This site is for ONLY slow cooker recipes, and I am adding it to my recipe links list.

The benefits of a slow cooker are many including 'hands off' cooking which is good if you work outside of the home. When I worked during the day, I loved the thought of coming home and not having to worry about my dinner - because it was waiting for me, all I had to do was a side dish, usually a salad that takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and I was done.

The library has a ton of cookbooks (especially if you search the regional system and have it shipped to your local branch), so you don't have to purchase one, you can just borrow it as often as you wish and as many different ones as you wish.

Other slow cooking benefits:
1) reduces need for take out
2) maintains nutrients even if your picky eaters 'pick out' the veggies (since they are cooked together)
3) uses much less energy than the oven and stove
4) no pre-cooking required
5) one pot to clean
6) slow cooker meals are usually less expensive
7) food stays hot for serving after you turn it off so you don't have to nuke your dinner

Today is rainy and windy (thanks Hanna), so I am cooking a slow cooker chicken creole.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Work, Give, Save, Spend

I was watching Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Meyer this morning and she was speaking about finances. I enjoy these type lectures because I am always looking for a way to save a buck or two. She had 4 topics: work, give, save, spend.

Work: earn your living or assist your spouse in their earning.
Give: tithes, gifts, missions, give with a gracious and loving heart
Save: put away some for emergencies, make it like a regular bill for instance $100 is due in the Money Market account on the 15th of every month
Spend: spend your leftovers, but be wise.

Her thought for debt: list each one by name and amount (i.e. - face the truth), then take the one with the lowest balance and pay it off first (being able to mark one off the list is a positive reinforcer), take what your payment was on the first you marked off and apply it to the next lowest one in addition to your regular payment (budget the same, apply differently), when it is paid off, mark it off and go to #3 and apply the amounts of your regular payment, #2's payment and #1's payment until it is paid off too. Use the same technique through your debt list until they are gone - even if it's 3-5 years.

The problem many people have is they feel the need to reward themselves with a 'thing' each time they reach a goal. Why do we need more stuff? I already need to have another yard sale, the last thing I need to do is buy more junk.