Sunday, May 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 6/1/09

This week's menu involves using items that I have on hand. I have a budget of $50 to spend for the week, but I anticipate only spending about $20. I need to use up what I have in stock because I am visiting my sister's farm in Dublin, GA. over the weekend and I am sure I will come home with lots of fresh eggs and fresh produce. I need to make room for it all! So, here is what we will be having this week:

Chicken Stew
Frozen veggie

Sesame Beef


Steak Stir-Fry

Hamburger Quiche



I'm an Organizing Junkie has lots of other great menu ideas at Menu Plan Monday. Be sure to visit!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Free Stuff Walmart and CVS

These items were all FREE!

I stopped at Wal-mart this morning with my daughter so that she could pick up a birthday gift for a friend. I had coupons that were about to expire for Kotex pads (4/5 SS exp 5/30) and for Axe shower gel. The store had been out of the Axe travel size gel every time I have been, but today they were well stocked. I had $1 coupons for all the Kotex and Axe gel. Plus, me and my daughter got to enjoy FREE Ben and Jerry's ice cream while we shopped. You can, too, if you hurry there today before 4 p.m.

On the way home I stopped at CVS and got the Hefty bags I had seen earlier in the week. I didn't have my Hefty coupons then, but I was ready today. CVS had these Hefty bags for $1 each and I had 4 $1 coupons. Two of the coupons came from a recent insert (5/17 SS?) and two came from a blinkie (@ Publix, I think). Sweet!

Head over to see other great deals at Friday Finals over at Southern Savers.

Also visit Money Saving Mom and look at how others did at Super Saving Saturday.

Garden Update 5/30/09

I just wanted to give an update on the progress of my Square Foot Garden. If you read my previous post, you can see that I have added more plants and everything has grown quite a bit. We have had a lot of rain, so I think that has helped. We have been dry for about 5 days now, and the temperatures are climbing. Suddenly, everything is taking off.

This first bed (above) doesn't have much in it right now. I need to get more pepper plants. I am also going to sow more green bean seeds in a couple of these squares. I have planted green beans every two weeks so that we have a continuous harvest.

In this bed, There are lots of tomatoes and some green beans. I think that I also planted some cucumbers that are coming up. I put the trellises in to let the cukes climb.

This bed is full. I have tomatoes, a squash plant, green beans, peppers and a marigold.

The squash plants are loaded! I think I will be harvesting the first squashes this weekend!

Here is the first of the two original boxes. We made them 4 x 10. In this one I have squash, tomatoes, peppers, and green beans. I tried some cilantro (I harvested once) and other herbs, but they didn't do great.
This box has more of the same: squash, green beans, peppers and tomatoes. I have about 40 little green tomatoes of different varieties. Yay! I am hoping to can tomatoes and salsa. Also, we like to make green tomato relish. We usually wait until the first frost and then pick all of the green tomatoes and make the relish.

If someone out there can tell me please--why are some of my tomato plants' lower leaves turning yellow?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 5/25/09

Busy week ahead and I have done all the shopping I can for a while. Time to use up some stuff. What a challenge since we are all trying to follow a weight loss plan. Well, here goes:

Hamburgers on grill
baked beans

Fettuccine alfredo




carrot sticks
Fresh Pineapple

Mashed potatoes
Steamed broccoli

Have a great week!

Check out other great menu ideas over at I'm an Organizing Junkie and her Menu Plan Monday.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wal-mart 5/22/09 and My Coupon Rant

I really only needed a few grocery items and produce this week, but I wanted to make a run to Walmart to grab some of the free and great deals listed on Money Saving Mom's Walmart post. I ended up doing really good, but, once again, had to deal with the "coupon Nazis" at the check-out. Recently at Walmart it has been getting harder to go through the lines without having to wait 10 minutes for the cashier to find someone else to help her decide if my coupons are legitimate.

I wish I could say I waited without complaint, but I did not. I assured the cashier that none of my coupons were fraudulent. I explained that I work very hard to find the deals and coupons to match. While she waited on someone else to take my coupons to an undisclosed location, she showed me "the book" with copies of fraudulent coupons. I said, "Yes, but none of those are the coupons I have."

I explained that I have written to the home office and complained, and that one of the Assistant Managers from her store has called to personally apologize for my unpleasant experiences at her store. I also informed her that I would be writing again, so get ready be called into her manager's office.

The Assistant Manager told me it was a training and education issue. He explained that fraudulent coupons are easy to spot if the cashier is properly trained. I am sure that there is high turnover of cashiers and that by the time some are adequately trained, they quit or get fired. Still, it is very inconvenient and frustrating for the customer.

Anyhoo! I did get to use my coupons. Two more knowledgeable cashiers came over to explain to my cashier how to look and see that my coupons were valid.

So my total before coupons was $46.15. After coupons $24.25! Yay!

One of the neatest things I got was the travel first aid kit for $0.97 and I had $1 off coupons. So, I got two for free plus $0.03 overage. These will be great to fit in my purse. I never seem to have band-aids when I am out or at an event. And, since I am a nurse, everyone thinks I, of all people should have those supplies!

Thanks for listening to my "coupon rant"!

To see how other folks did this week, be sure to visit:

Money Saving Mom and read about Super Savings Saturday

Southern Savers and check out Friday Finals

Friday, May 22, 2009

Book Recommendation

Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shepard

Run, don't walk, to your local library or bookstore and get this book. It is a very inspirational non-fiction book about the American Dream. I got the book for my college-age son. He read it in about 2 days.

I am reading it now and it really is a quick read. This is just the kind of story that many people need to read during these tumultuous times. We still live in the greatest country in the world, and you can accomplish anything through hard work and goal-setting.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

8th Grade Dance

My daughter went to the 8th grade semi-formal dance last night. She had a great time and danced "a lot". Mostly with one special boy.

Doesn't she look beautiful!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Garage Sale Find

I just recently have put in a vegetable garden. I am also planning to add ornamental plantings and lots of flowers. I have a plan in my mind that would include a bend and I thought a birdbath would be a nice addition. I recently looked at high-quality birdbaths at a local nursery that were over $200. There was no way I could spend that much, but the cheaper versions at the local big box home improvement stores are so light-weight that they would probably fall over with a strong wind.

Last weekend I went to a neighborhood yard sale that is held twice a year in a nice neighborhood. A lady was moving and had four birdbaths in her back yard. I happened to walk up just as she was mentioning the birdbaths. She had already sold one and was keeping one. I ask and she sent me to her back yard to look at the two she had left. They were in great shape except for the moss growing in them. And, a STEAL at $15 each. I bought one, but I should have gotten both.

I brought it home and cleaned it up. It looks like new!

What a blessing! A little patience and being at the right place at the right time.

My Garden

I am currently participating in an online book club over at Simple Mom. We have been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. The book is very well written and has inspired me to seek out local sources of food. I want to support local farmers. If you have read my blog in the past, you know that last summer we bought a whole hog from a local source and in the fall we bought 1/2 a cow.

Initially, I sought the local sources because I wanted a meat supply that was a less expensive and healthier choice. The idea of supporting the local farmer really didn't cross my mind. If you have a chance to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, you will understand that there is a greater impact of buying food from big suppliers than just price. We settle for inferior tasting food just to get a lower price. Really, the tomatoes in winter are tasteless.

We decided to try a garden again this year. When I moved into this house I was really excited because I knew I finally had enough room for a HUGH garden. My first attempts were dismal. The ground here is hard, red Georgia clay. I suspect that most of the topsoil was scraped away to grade the land for building houses.

So, this year I knew I wanted to try raised beds. These are the first two that my husband built for me. I decided on these designs by just looking up raised bed gardening on the Internet.

After building these beds, I happen to be looking on YouTube for raised bed gardening videos, and I found a great series of videos called Donna's Square Food Garden. I watched all her videos and went out and bought the book Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.
My husband build four 4 x4 beds. One of them I gave to a friend who is also reading Barbara Kingslover's book. So far the results have been impressive. I already have two baby tomatoes growing on two different plants! I have a total of about 28 tomato plants. I many more that I stared from seed that I will be giving away. I also have squash, green beans, cilantro, spinach (not sure its going to make it--too hot already), cucumbers, and peppers. I still will be adding more squash, green beans and peppers. Here are pictures of the new beds. I still have lots of plants to add.

We have had great weather this spring. We seem to be finally coming out of the drought of the last few years. My blueberries are doing well. And--I have tons of apples on my apple tree this year. In the past I have only had 2-5 apples each year and I have never gotten to eat any. This year there are so many apples I can't count! I think the rains have really made the difference.

So, why not try growing a little of your own food this summer. If you can't grow then try to support your local farmer. Go pick strawberries, blueberries, peaches or look for a Community Supported Agriculture group where you can buy local, in season, produce. It will taste better and be better for you!

Here is the first video in the series on YouTube by Donna:

Be sure to watch all the videos as you have time. It is very instructional and inspiring. Good Luck!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday Shopping--"Do you think we bought enough cereal?!" edition.

I have been so busy with work and school activities with my daughter that I haven't had much time for blogging or shopping for deals. Today, my hubby and I went shopping for the first time in a few weeks. I wanted to get the free items from Walmart and the great cereal deals at CVS and Kroger.

Our first stop was CVS. I got the three boxes for a net cost of $0.67/box after coupons and ECBs. The Dawn was on sale for $0.99 and I had a $0.50 coupon. Net cost $0.49.

Our second stop was Wal-mart so I could get the free items and a few cleaning supplies. The toothpaste, Kotex, toothbrushes, and lint rollers were all FREE!. Total out of pocket was about $17.
We then stopped at Kroger to get more Kellogg's cereal. These were on sale for $1.88 ea and I had $1/1 coupons for all. Kroger was also having a three day sale and I got the sugar for $0.99 ea. I spent a total of $21.74 and save 64%.

This picture is of our Kroger trip tonight. I got coupons in the mail today from Kroger. There were coupons for free Private Selection ice cream and Nature Valley granola bars. I also printed some more Kellogg's coupons and got more cereal for $0.88/box. I also had a printable B1G1 Sierra Mist coupon. It was nice to buy some chicken since we haven't had any for at least a month. Chicken breasts were $1.99/lb. I had missed getting them on the last couple of sales, and I won't buy them unless they are $1.99/lb or less. I spent a total of $35.46 and saved 55% on the bill.

So, our total for the day of shopping was approximately $74.oo. We ended up with 22 boxes of cereal. We won't have to buy any of that for a long while! Getting cereal for less than a dollar a box can't be beat.

To see more deals check out Money Saving Mom-- Super Savings Saturday.

Also, visit Southern Savers to see Friday Finals.

The Centisible Sawyer has CVS Superstars, so head over and see how everyone did this week.

Share your deals by linking your post over at My Money-Saving Mission.