Friday, February 29, 2008

A Clearance Phone Tree...What?

A friend called me yesterday and alerted me to a large clearance section in the linens area of Target. Well, if you know me, you know I love a great deal. Although FREE is my favorite price, 75% is not too shabby! So my mom & I took off this morning to see what was left.

My tip is to have a great deal phone tree. If someone in your group of deal-loving friends (this works best when they are local) finds a great clearance section each other...the ones you know will rush over as soon as they can. There are several of us in this "phone tree" and we all share the love. Make up? No ma'am. Not this morning. I didn't want to miss the DEALS!

Here are some of the cute things I got. Cute pillows - $3.74 (3), Faux silk roman shades - $7.24, Cloth napkins $.48 each (6), Beautiful red throw - $4.98, Pretty striped pillow - $4.98, Lovely brocade placemats (being used under my lamps in the living room) - $.74 (2).
Of course I had to add my enthusiastic shopping companions! - Notice the new red plaid tweed pillows and red throw!
For more fun frugal ideas, check out Frugal Fridays.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's a Spring Thing...

I decided that it was time to change the sideboard in my entry for Spring. I know it is not officially here yet, but I couldn't help it. I found these 2 items (the bunny & the wreath) on a great sale last week and I couldn't wait to display them. Too cute! Do you like my hand holding the cameral in the mirror.

Here are some other views of the whole display. Looking at these pictures makes me realize how bad I need to paint my entry a cute color. Even a cuter neutral.

Things just don't pop against it the way it is now. Hmmmm....need to find a color! :)


This was from last week. Here in VA we have more ice storms than snow. Notice the Spring leaves that are beginning to appear.

Menu Plan Monday

OK - I know that it is really Tuesday, but we had guests for dinner last night, so I spent most of yesterday cleaning and preparing for that. It was a fun evening! I have checked out the ads for this week's sales, and am ready to get it all planned out. I'm going to use some new recipes and/or try to find pictures of the ones I already just makes it funner to read, huh? And I'm just going to post dinner meals, the lunch ones are almost always the same.

We did Homemade Pizza last night. This is probably the 3rd or 4th time I've used this recipe and each time I make it I try something new and it becomes even yummier! Last night was THE BEST and I'm not changing anything else! This is definitely something we'll make every week. In case anyone wants to know, and has tried this recipe, I find that letting it rise in the oven for only about 5 minutes (while the oven is preheating) and then baking the crust for about 7 minutes BEFORE the toppings are put on, then topping and baking for about 10 minutes works the best for us. All I can say is YUUUUUUUMY!
So for the rest of the week...
Pork Chops - OK, I couldn't find a link for this one the way I make it, so I might just take a picture and add the recipe on here later....we shall see. Served with flavored mashed potatoes from a box (I think I got that for next to nothin') and cold veggies with ranch.

4 Bean + Tomato Soup - so my mom just told me about this one yesterday. And canned beans are on a great sale this week at Kroger. Perfect timing! I am in love with making homemade dough in my kitchen aid mixer. It's soooo easy. I'm going to make some homemade bread to serve with this soup.
Farmhouse Chicken -made with leftover chicken from the Crockpot chicken recipe. Served with leftover homemade bread and some kind of frozen veggies.

Spaghetti - served with Italian Cheese Bread...oh my...I can't wait to try that one out! I'll let you know how it is! :)

Tacos - served with spanish rice and cold fruit salad
Check out all the other menus posted at's Menu Planning Monday!

Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day & Family Time

Well, today is President's Day and therefore my husband and kiddos were home. We'd had a pretty chill weekend, so we decided it would be fun to go out and do something as a family. We toyed with the Children's Museum or a movie. The weather was beautiful outside, so we really wanted to do something outdoors. We decided on a park close to downtown. It is beautiful there...even this time of year when everything is pretty much dead. There are tons of animals to be seen and even some to feed!

If you pay close attention, you'll notice that Z really didn't feed the goats. M kept trying to get him to do it, but he just had no desire to let the goat's tongue touch his flesh. You just held your hand out flat with the grain on it, and they would lick it off of your hand. But nope...he wanted nothing to do with it. It's alright. He did pet them, though.
I got Z to take a picture of me & Mike. It seems like I never remember to put myself in the pictures. So here's one for posterity's sake!

The property used to belong to one family and when that family died off, they donated it to the city. The mansion is still there and sometimes open to the public for tours, but not today. Isn't it pretty?

The day started looking a little ominous and little rain drops began to fall. We didn't mind getting a tad bit wet.

We had fun spending time together today. And the only thing we spent money on was lunch at Chick-fil-A!

Menu Plan Monday

I was sick this week, so several meals did not get cooked from last weeks plan. We just "scrounged" from the pantry and freezer on those nights. So there are some repeats from last week.

Breakfasts -Cold cereal

Scrambled eggs

Grits & Toast

Oatmealetc., etc., etc....

Waffles on the weekend! :)

Lunches -Sandwiches for the kiddos

Spaghettios for the kiddos

Leftovers for mom & dad most days

Dinners -Potato, Ham & Cheese Soup, breadsticks

Pork Chops w/ cider vinegar glaze, couscous, cold veggies & ranch

Apricot Chicken, green salad

Appetizer Night (got some lil smokies on sale :))

Crockpot chicken, rice, cold veggies & ranch

Homemade Pizza


Check out for more menu plans.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What is YOUR Love Language?

Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary brings to mind something that I've known about for a while, but haven't thought about in a while. Gary Chapman has written several books on the love languages. You can see her blog on the subject here.

Here are the languages:

Quality Time: focused attention, sharing, talking, shared activities
Gift-Giving: visual symbols of love
Physical Touch and Affection: hugs, pats, hand-holding, etc.
Words of Affirmation: verbal appreciation, encouragement
Acts of Service: serving in a sacrificial way

Each one of us has our own love language, that is...the types of things that make us feel loved. Most of the time we show love to other in the way that we feel loved. For example, I have a friend who loves to give gifts. She shows her love to her family and friends by giving expensive as she can afford. she also loves to receive gifts. Her love language is definitely gift-giving. Me? I'm not so big on gifts. Quality time is my big thing. A second language for me is Acts of Service. But I love spending time with those I love! Real quality time! Take this
30 second quiz to figure out the love languages of those you love!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I am joining in with Larua at and participating in Menu Plan Monday. I'll post my weekly menu here. For a peek at other's menus, check out her blog here.

Breakfasts -
Cold cereal
Scrambled eggs
Grits & Toast
etc., etc., etc.....
Waffles on the weekend! :)

Lunches -
Sandwiches for the kiddos
Spaghettios for the kiddos
Leftovers for mom & dad most days

Dinners -
Potato, Ham & Cheese Soup, breadsticks
Pork Chops w/ cider vinegar glaze, couscous, cold veggies & ranch
Apricot Chicken, green salad
Appetizer Night (got some lil smokies on sale :))
Chicken Helper, corn muffins, peas
Freezer Pizza
Leftover Night :)

I usually pack lunch for the kids to take to school, so I usually have plenty of pack-friendly foods for them.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pizza Night Tonight!

A comment from Jamie led me to her blog and to this Frugal Friday idea. Homemade pizza! I really don't like to deal with dough. It gets everywhere and you end up all sticky, no matter how much flour you use. The thing about the recipe that Jamie linked to (actually from Crystal's blog) that caught my eye was that it didn't have to rise! I thought that I would try it out tonight since Mike & the kids have a slumber party on Saturdays (isn't that sweet? he started it when the kids were toddlers-real little- to give me a break, and it stuck) and we always eat pizza for dinner that night. The kids were so excited to help me make the pizza. We don't do many things from scratch around here, can you tell? That is beginning to change, though I hope. I decided we'd make 2 pizzas. Taylor insisted that we knead one of them by hand (I was all for using the kitchen aid mixer to do the work) so we did one her way and one my way. I had never used the kitchen aid for dough before and used the mixing attachment at first. I kept wondering why it wasn't looking right, then remembered the dough hook attachment. That worked much better. After we were done preparing both doughs, we all agreed that from now on we'll use the machine!

Too sticky!Dont'cha love that eager little face watching the pizza cook? It looked good and tasted good, too. We did a cheese pizza, very traditional, and an "experiment" pizza (what T called it). On the experiement one we used some leftover bean chip dip we had made the other day for lunch. Then we used a mexican blend cheese on the top. On half T let me put shredded chicken (canned). Talk about yummy!

Bean dip recipe (in case you want to know)

1 can refried beans (we used fat free)

1/3 an 8oz. block of cream cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup (or 1/2 the tostitos black bean and corn) salsa

Can use saucepan or frying pan - put on medium heat. Put all ingredients in and mix until blended and the cheeses are melted. With tortilla chips....yummy! PS - it helps to cut the cream cheese into a few chunks before adding it to the pan.

My Project for the Day

So in yesterday's post about using things you have around the house, I mentioned that I'd like to start doing one (can be) small thing each day that is a one-time thing, or doesn't need to be done everyday. Yesterday my thing was to hang up a cute plate that I had gotten from Goodwill last week. I went for my pre-op appointment with the ENT to a different office than I had previously seen him in. And guess what? There is a Goodwill on the corner! Talk about serindipity! After my appointment, I had to check it out. I kept it simple, and picked up the aforementioned plate. It was the perfect thing to put over the stove in my kitchen. My walls are an apple green and this plate would look great there. I was right....see? It had a TJ Maxx sticker on the back for $14.99 and I paid $1.75! Sweet!

My daughter (age 8) wanted to see my blog today, since I've started taking pictures of all kinds of stuff. I told her about my plate project. She asked what my project was for today (I hadn't done one yet). That's OK cause it will only take a few minutes. So I grabbed the seat cover and small rug that technically belong in my downstairs bathroom, but have really been "living" in my upstairs hallway waiting to be taken downstairs for weeks now. Seriously that is ridiculous admitting this to y'all. But in the spirit of before and afters which I love to see, I recorded it for blog posterity. And there you have it. It's pretty sad, cause when my son went to use the restroom, he said, "Mom! I love the decorations in here!" I really should have done that sooner. But that is what these small projects are all about. Getting that stuff done. Not putting it off for another day.

When I looked at the pictures, I realized that I should have emptied the trash can and neatly rolled up the toilet paper on the roll before taking the pictures. Oh well. And this downstairs bathroom is on my big projects list to do realllllly soon. I already have paint to use and everything. That teal color paint and border were there when we moved in 2 years ago and we started tearing pieces of the border off to encourage us to just do this project. It hardly even counts as a big project, really. Only compared to my small everyday "projects".

Annnnnnd - I want to finish telling you what I found at the Goodwill that day. I didn't take a picture of it (maybe I'll edit this post with a picture later), but a BRAND NEW Kitchen Aid attachment - in the box and all the pieces inside were wrapped in light brown paper. Seriously never used. And gues what???? Only $4. 25. Can you believe it? I can't. If I didn't have a Kitchen Aid mixer I would have bought it and resold it for a profit. A tip I learned from Merideth's blog is that whenever she goes to thrift stores or yard sales, she picks up something that will be resold for a profit that will cover the cost of her purchases that day. BRILLIANT!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Pretty Flowers

My friend Michelle brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers yesterday and watched my kids for a few hours (including feeding them dinner) to give me a break. I seperated the bouquet into 2 pitchers (one ironstone and the other green depression glass) and now I can enjoy twice the arrangement! I thought I'd show you how pretty they are! They make me smile! :) Thanks Michelle!

Frugal Friday - Use What You Have

I have decided that it would be fun to participate in a weekly event at BiblicalWomanhood called Frugal Fridays. On Fridays I will try to post a frual idea and also include a link to the hosting site so you can check out even more ideas!

So here goes...since I've been spending a lot of time online while I've been recovering from my sinus surgery, I have really been inspired to use what I have. There are so many times that I feel like my house needs a change, so I want to go out and purchase something new to get that "new feeling" in a part of my home. Even when I go to the Goodwill or yard sales I am spending money that I usually don't need to spend. Currently, I have a ton of decorative and organizing stuff that I've purchased on previous outings that need to be "done". I have paint for walls and furniture that I"ve picked up from the oops section, I have frames from yard and estate sales that need to filled with lovely pictures and hung on walls, I have organizers from sales and/or leftover from previous projects that can be put to a new use in organizing a space in my home, I have fabric that is just begging me to make something beautiful out of it, and many more things in my garage and decorating closet.

Use what you have! Repurpose, repaint, reuse, recycle, or just get to the projects you have bought the materials for and JUST DO IT! You'll be so glad you did! Some of you may not have this problem like I do, but I know that there are some of you who are like me in this respect. I have a new goal of doing one thing in my home that I don't have to do tomorrow. Dishes, laundry, picking up, straigtening, bathrooms, floors, etc. have to be done everyday. But each day I want to do a project (it can be fairly small) that will make me happy. Hanging something up, organizing a drawer, etc. I'll keep you guys posted on my projects too!

CVS Deals Feb. 8

OK - I know in the last post I said that I was getting into coupons and grocery deals and such. But y'all probably had no idea how good these deals were. Not unless you already do the CVS deals. If you are new at this and want some tutorials (I have read a ton on this stuff in the last week), you can check out this website for some help. Then check out the entire CVS thread on those forums to learn exactly what deals are going on right now. You can also look here and here. You'll learn so much you might want to take notes! :)

So after reading all of these helps and many, many, many more...etc., I headed out to my local CVS up the road. I had read all kinds of stories about having helpful CVS employees, but lots of people wrote about bad experiences where the cashier really gave them a hard time. So I really didn't know what to expect. I started out being really friendly to everybody, which I am most of the time anyway. I saw the manager in one of the aisles and she asked me if there was anything she could help me with. I told her that I was excited because I just discovered all the deals I could get with the Extra Care Bucks (ECB). She was so friendly and made sure that I knew that I could use manufacturer's coupons there also. AND she told me that the store will also take other store coupons - the ones like this - transfer a new perscription and get a $xx gift card. Sooooooo I definitely need to keep that in mind. I see those coupons a lot! And if I get gift cards from CVS, imagine all of the ECB that I can get then!!!!!!

The picture above is of the things I bought today in 3 transactions...

And here's a list of the items:
(1)18 oz. Irish Spring body wash - Retail $3.99
(1)12 oz. Softsoap body wash - Retail $3.99
(1) 11 oz. Palmolive Dish Soap - Retaill $.99
(1) 2.7 oz. Speed Stick 24/7 Deoderant - Retail $2.99
(1) 24 ct. Theraflu Cold - Retail $6.59
(1) 4 oz. Triaminic Nighttime - Retail $6.99
(1) 100 ct. Exedrin Xtra Strength - Retail $6.99
(1) 100 ct. Exedrin PM - Retail $6.99
(2) .34 oz. Lumene body smoother lotion - Retail $1.99 each=$3.98
(2) Maybelline Eye Shadow - Retail $5.49 each=$10.98
I went in with $10 in ECB from last week and only paid $11.42 (including tax) out of pocket (OOP). The retail price for all of my purchases was $54.48 before tax. Yeah! AND I have $15 in ECB for next week! Since I'm just starting with this endeavor, I am spending more out of pocket now and each week if I'm smart, my OOP total will go down so that I'm only spending less than $5 (many times less than that) and having a bunch of ECB for the next week. It's all about rolling them from transaction to transaction and week to week.
So......what do you think about my deals this week? I'd love to hear how y'all save money. I'm all about being frugal. Leave a comment if you have an idea! :)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Bitten By the Coupon Bug!

I have once again been bitten by the coupon/cheap/free food bug! There was once upon a time a few years ago when my Kroger would occasionally have triple coupon weeks. In those glory days, I had quite a stash of coupons and would stock up on multiples of those items. I was building my stockpile! I had friends and family saving me their newspaper coupon inserts, and would even dig in the public recycle bin to score some more of those precious coupons.

Well, when my Kroger stopped having those triple coupon weeks, I thought that the whole couponing wagon had become useless. I had also become quite burnt out. I didn't start small like many coupon experts suggest, but jumped in 100% right away. I had so many coupons that I started off using a big binder right away. I've taken a break and recovered from that burn out and I'M BACK!

I have found some great websites detailing finds that you will not believe. First, I got lost reading Crystal's blog. I was so excited and started to look at my local cvs and other store ads. I decided to subscribe to the paper again. Then later that night, I found Hot Coupon World. Oh my goodness!!!!!! I hit the motherlode!

Now it is Sunday and I have my first newspaper, thus the ever-important coupons! I have several CVS deals worked out and seperated by transaction in seperate evelopes. I also have made a grocery list and menu according to the weekly specials found here and here. Keep in mind y'all, I just found Crystal's blog on Friday. Yes....I mean like two days ago! Good thing I have a lot of time on my hands right now or I might be neglecting important stuff.

Tomorrow I will post my frugal menu (all food according to sales and coupons) and when I go shopping I will enlighten y'all with the juicy details of my deals...and pictures if you wish! :)

I'm a Company Girl!

Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary has a wonderful section on her blog everyday called Sanctuary is in the small things. In this daily post, she challenges all of her company girls to contribute one thing toward making their home a sanctuary that day. What a wonderful idea! I have joined in and am looking forward to taking these small steps to make my home a place that my family and all who enter can enjoy.

Just so you know, a company girl is her family's nickname for a buddy or a companion. Check out her site to read the history of the's pretty cute!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Organizing - time on my hands

I am recooperating from my sinus surgery which went well yesterday. It is giving me a lot of time to play on the internet and I have discovered some INCREDIBLY inspiring blogs. For now, I have to plan to work on these projects for when I'm feeling better, but I want to share Lara's blog with you. She is the Organizing Junkie and I have gotten some great ideas from her site. She details the PROCESS of organizing here. I can't wait to orgainze my entire house! There are only a few places in my home that are already the way I want them, so I have plenty left to do!

I also think that I'll start adding my menu to my blog as I've seen on some others like this. So look out for those menus on Mondays!

As I have fun exploring blogs on the laptop while in bed, I will share some links that really inspire me!