Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Target Trip

So I just got back from Target and wanted to post about some great deals I found!

1 Package Huggies Slip-On Diapers $9.49
     $3 off manufacturer coupon
     $2 off Target coupon
     Total= $4.79 for 23 diapers
Cute 18m size shirt and skirt outfit $9.99
     30% off clearance
     Total= $6.98
3m size jean shorts (for whenever we have our next baby) $4.50
     Clearance for $3.15
     $2 off Target coupon
     Total= $1.15
1 Cascade Action Pacs, 4 count $0.97
     $1 off coupon
     Total= $0.03 money maker!
3 Tide Single packs $2.91
     $1.50 off 2 coupon
     $0.50 off coupon
     Total= $0.91 for 3
2 Gallons of Milk $4.98
Nivea Body Wash $3.99
     $1 off Target coupon
     $2 off Manufacturer coupon
     Total= $0.99
2 travel size Secret Deodorant $1.94
     2 $1 off coupons
     Total= $0.06 money maker!
Oral B Floss $0.97
     $0.75 off coupon
     Total= $0.22
Oral B Pro-Health For Me Floss Picks $2.49
     Clearnace for $1.74
     $1 off coupon
     Total= $0.74
Rimmel London Glam Eye Eyeshdow $2.99
     $2 off manufacturer coupon
     $1 off target coupon
     Total= $0.01 money maker!
Clairol Natural Instinct Hair Dye $6.94
     Clearance for $4.85
     $2 off coupon
     Total= $2.85
2 Johnson and Johnson To-Go First Aid Kits $1.94
     $1.50 off 2 coupon
     Total= $0.44
2 travel size Visine $3.94
     2 $2 off 1 coupons
     Total= $0.06 money maker!

Total before clearance prices and coupons = $58.04
Total AFTER clearance and coupons = $23.89
Savings = $34.15 or 59%

Definitely not my greatest shopping trip or "extreme" by any means, but for anyone who is curious about NORMAL couponing, here's what it looks like. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Katie Post!!!

Get ready for a slew of pictures in this post!
I just wanted to post some updates about our sweet little one.
Katie turned 14 months on the 11th of this month.
She loves to cuddle with her daddy when she is feeling sleepy.
 She also loves to point at things!
 Sometimes, when she is getting ready for a nap, she will lay on the floor, just like this, and watch TV. This is when I know she's getting tired.
 Sometimes, she likes to hide from me. She was being quiet, which is generally synonymous with mischievous, and I couldn't find her! I looked all over the house! Finally, I find her sitting in our little storage ottoman in the corner of the living room, just chillin'.
 She loves to smile. Always.
 She also thoroughly enjoys climbing on the couch.
 She doesn't like having to sit in the car so much, but she's usually a pretty good girl about it.
 She loves these puzzle toy things! This is at the Salt Lake City Public Library.
 Katie enjoys being silly. And her pacifier.
 Sometimes, she just loves to be glamorous.
 See? Smiles!
 She loves to show me her beautiful eyes, and then proceed to beg me for something, such as a drink from my water bottle, a snack, or some book reading time.
Speaking of books. . . Guess what? She loves them! Like mother, like daughter (I currently have NINE unread books in my nightstand drawer that I am slowly working my way through, but everytime I finish a book, i've already bought 2 new ones! Haha!)

Undocumented things-

Katie likes bananas! Did I mention that already? She did not like them for the longest time! But now she is in love.
Katie is a great dancer.
And a great swimmer.
She loves all things water. Swimming, baths, and drinking water. Oh boy, how she loves to drink water out of a water bottle.
She will laugh hysterically for minutes on end while watching the kitties play.
She does NOT like broccoli. Shame.
She likes to help with laundry, help feed the kitties, throw away her own disposable diapers, sweep the floor, wipe her own face and the table, put her toys away, and then immediately mess up all of the things I just listed.
She's great at giving kisses, but only when she wants to. She will NOT kiss on demand.
Katie can say the following words, but not consistently:
Where'd it go?

When did my baby get so big?!

Meal Plan For My Last Week!

Woo! It's the last week of the pantry challenge!
While I didn't quite make it under $100, I know that I spent SUBSTANTIALLY less on groceries this month and that makes me feel great!
Also as a result, Brad and Katie and I all have dinner, at the dinner table, together, every night, and it has been wonderful! No more slurping down our food in front of the TV! With more meals that I actually put effort into, it's so much easier to appreciate the food.
It's also been nice to open the pantry or fridge and see it emptier than normal! I know that sounds like I would be sad to see an empty fridge, but I'm not. I love knowing that we are actually using what we have and not being quite so wasteful anymore. I no longer look in the cupboard, packed full with food, and think "there's nothing to eat!" Now, I have an imagination. :)
Without further ado, the last meal plan for this month (I threw next Wednesday in there as well because it's the last day of August)-

Wednesday: Leftover pizza for lunch. Steak and Shrimp with green beans and a salad for dinner.
Thursday: Eggs and bacon for breakfast. Burritos with homemade tortillas, leftover steak, rice and beans for dinner.
Friday: Cereal for breakfast. Leftovers for lunch. Turkey sloppy joes with homemade buns and a side of chips for dinner.
Saturday: Church picnic for lunch! I'm bringing a side dish, which will probably be based on what I get in the Bountiful Basket. We might be too full for a real dinner later, so maybe just some leftovers or sandwiches.
Sunday: Homemade corn chowder in homemade bread bowls for dinner with salad. Brownies for dessert.
Monday: Mac n' cheese for Katie and I for lunch. Chili and cornbread for dinner with a fruit or veggie from the Bountiful Basket.
Tuesday: The other Digiorno for dinner with a side of BBQ chips. Cake for dessert!
Wednesday: Grillin' outside! Hot dogs with homemade buns for dinner with a side of fruit (whatever comes in the Bountiful Basket) and some strawberry jello. (Also, my mom will be in town Wed night!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pantry Challenge: Week 3

Day 1. Wednesday:
We actually spent the evening in Salt Lake at an author signing at the library, so we grabbed some fast food on the way home. We've had a $10 Dairy Queen gift card for months now and finally decided to use it on a cheeseburger, a chicken sandwich, a rootbeer, fries, and a milkshake. We also had a free piece of pie at the library. :)

Day 2. Thursday:
Here is where I FINALLY made that box of chicken lo mein! I also steamed some peas and boiled some corn on the cob. I also stirred up some lemonade from 3 little individual "water bottles packets" of powdered lemonade and made a pitcher full. Lol! Afterwards, Katie and I headed off to a RS activity where we enjoyed some pasta salads and cookies and cupcakes.

Day 3. Friday:
Since Brad and I were in a rush to clean the house and get ready to go to our ward temple night, dinner got put on the back burner. I hadn't gotten to making french bread like I was planning, so we actually ended up eating BLT sandwiches with a side of BBQ chips, while Katie had PB & J with some chips. Of course, on the way home I wanted ice cream (as always happens when we go out anywhere) so we stopped at In-N-Out for shakes, and I ended up getting a burger too. I guess I was just really hungry! Thanks again to Maria and her bf Mike for watching Katie for us!

Day 4: Saturday
I slept in, so i'm not sure what Katie and Brad had for breakfast, but I had cereal around 11:30. Around 3ish, we went down to Highland for our free buffets at Pizza Pie Cafe. It was so filling, we really haven't eaten anything else since we got home. I did give Katie some strawberry yogurt around 7, though. I'm feeling pretty awake right now, so maybe i'll go make a cake? I think, yes!

Day 5. Sunday:
Toast with freezer jam for breakfast. Katie and I had a little bit of pasta and garlic bread for lunch, and then dinner at Jenna's. Easy day. :)

Day 6. Monday:
I was going to do burritos again with homemade tortillas and a can of Chile Colorado, but I forgot that I donated that can to the food bank last week. Haha! So instead, I did fettuccine alfredo with just some oven-roasted broccoli. I also got another bountiful basket to pick up this Saturday. Thus, blowing my $100 budget for the month. Oh well. It was a steep goal! I've now changed the goal to $150, so after Bountiful Basket (I also got an add-on Mexican pack) i'll have about $20 for the next week.

Day 7. Tuesday:
I went to the store today! Poo! We really needed some milk, and of course I picked up a few clearance finds. I got 4 steaks for $3.99 on Manager's Special and two Digiorno Pizzas for $5.64 each, and then I am mailing off an $8 rebate when you buy 2 pizzas, thus making the pizzas only $1.64 each!!! What I'm getting at here, is that we had pizza for dinner. Haha! Unfortunately, after today's shopping trip, I have met my $150 limit and am comitted to not spending any more money on groceries for the month. And that is FINAL!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Meal plan and shopping trip

I am DETERMINED to not do any shopping for these next 7 days! D E T E R M I N E D!!!!!
Apart from some more cat food. Lol.
Unless something is completely free, and even then, I will NOT buy anything else on impulse! I only have $2 left in my budget! Where did I go wrong?! Lol.

Anyway, here's the plan for this next week.
Wednesday: Brad had a leftover waffle for breakfast. Chicken Lo Mein with a side of peas and maybe corn on the cob for dinner. Hopefully i'll make that chocolate cake tonight. :D
Thursday: Cantaloupe for breakfast. I have a RS activity this night, so dinner will be a free-for-all easy food and leftovers kind of thing. I plan on making some fresh bread during the day though.
Friday: Cereal for breakfast. Grilled cheese for Katie and me for lunch. Rotini w/ meat sauce, garlic bread, and a side of green beans for dinner.
Saturday: Toaster Strudel for breakfast. . Mac 'n cheese for lunch. Then Pizza Pie Cafe for dinner. (We have a receipt for a free buffet, as well as a full punch card for a free buffet, so dinner is free!)
Sunday: Spam 'n eggs for breakfast. Then we are heading down to Jenna's after church with Brad's mom. We might grab something to eat before we head out (sandwiches) and then dinner is at Jenna's.
Monday: Chile Colorado with homemade tortillas and mango salsa for dinner.
Tuesday: Fettucini Alfredo with a side of steamed veggies for dinner and maybe some canned peaches?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pantry Challenge: Week 2

Day 1-2. Wednesday and Thursday:
Because I didn't meal plan until Friday, these days are lumped together. We had BBQ chicken sandwiches for dinner on Wednesday. Then Thursday, we had soup, pasta and broccoli. I had previously opened a can of Chicken and Wild Rice soup a few days earlier (the day we ended up ordering pizza instead) and when I had it on the stove, I had a pot right next to it getting ready to make a side of fettuccine alfredo, and when I went to pour milk in the pot for the pasta, I poured it into the soup! Argh! So I had to dump that and made a can of steak and potato soup instead. Dinner ended up being pretty yummy, despite the soup from a can and pasta form a bag and not-quite-steamed-all-the-way-through broccoli. I made sugar cookies later and they were super yummy. (I don't normally like sugar cookies either!)

Day 3. Friday:
Mmm. I am typing this on Saturday and last nights dinner is still running through my mind. I don't know what Brad thought, but I thought it was SO YUMMY! I heated up a big can of "Chile Verde" which turned out better than I thought it would, then heated up some leftover Mexican rice from last week, heated up some refried beans, and made homemade tortillas! I served it all with cheese and sour cream and scarfed down two giant fatty yummy burritos. I then proceeded to eat 3 giant sugar cookies from the night before. Am I a fatty or what?! Mmmm!

Day 4. Saturday:
Today was a yummy day! I picked up my BB this morning (see earlier post) and used the bread to have FOUR slices of toast with butter and homemade freezer jam for breakfast. Brad and Katie had toast as well. Lunch was at Seven Peaks Waterpark in Provo, hamburgers and chips. Dinner wasn't anything too special though. Fried shrimp with a side salad and some of the seedless black grapes from the BB this morning. I ate SO many grapes. Yum-O! Katie and Brad weren't big fans of the grapes (Brad thought they didn't have enough flavor, but he likes green grapes, which I don't really, and Katie has a slight aversion to fruit) but I thought they were great and will probably sneak some to church tomorrow to snack on during the meetings.

Day 5. Sunday:
No breakfast this morning. We were running late to church, again, so I had to feed Katie her oatmeal in the car. Brad ad a choclate pudding while I starved. Lol! Lunch was a burrito with leftover Chile Verde for me while Brad had a PB&J. I had to open my last jar of Strawberry freezer jam for it, so I definitely need to make my way down to Walmart tomorrow to get those free packs of pectin. Then I can make some more with the strawberries from BB. Now dinner. . . here's where we really stuffed ourselves. Mushroom chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry stuffing and corn on the cob. Mmm mmm mmm. I was hoping to make rolls as well, but my 3 hour nap after church kind of prevented that from happening. :)

Day 6. Monday:
Today was my errand-running day. After Kohls, Walmart, JC Penney, Seagull Book, Target, and Smith's, I was exhausted! Luckily, I didn't spend very much when it came to food. I spent about $1 at Walmart for 2 Dreyer's Shakes, 4 Activia Selects, and 1 packet of instant fruit pectin (which I used to make 2 jars of strawberry freezer jam when I got home). I also got two huge bags of flour, one all-purpose and one whole wheat, but I won't count those because I decided to get the big bags that cost more so that it will last me a while. At target, I spent about $8 on 2 gallons of milk and two bags of Mexican-style rice that were on clearance and a box of snacks for Katie. Smith's, my last stop of the day, ran me about $8. Oops! But I did get quite a bit: 6 limes, cilantro, 1 red onion, 1 green bell pepper, 1 jalepeno, 1 butternut squash, 3 heads of broccoli, a bag of BBQ Lays (for free with Q), a bag of Oreo's (for free with Q), and an impulse bag of Red Vines. So, only about $2 left for the month. I think I set the bar too high for my first try at this. Haha! Definitely won't be under budget, but I have done SO much better this month than any other month, ever, so I am proud of myself for that.
Now, onto yesterday's dinner! I was going to make Chicken Lo Mein (Which was actually a box of Asian Helper, an off shoot of Hamburger Helper) but decided to do a stir-fry instead. I used the green bell pepper, the broccoli, and red bell pepper (from my BB), and sliced up 2 chicken breasts. I had a packet of General Tso stir fry sauce stuff that I had gotten for free with a Q months and months ago and it was pretty yummy with this! I didn't have any whote rice, though, so we had Uncle Ben's Creamy Chicken rice. Haha! Still a good dinner though. And I love using my Wok!
Rather than making dessert as I had planned, we went and saw the community play, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (which was SO good by the way. Good job Herriman!), and while there we had sour patch, popcorn, and sprite. Good enugh for dessert for me. :)

Day 7. Tuesday:
Today was pretty dern easy. Cereal for breakfast. Leftovers for lunch. Breakfast for dinner. Lol. I made waffles and french toast and sliced up a cantaloupe, with milk to drink. Mmm! A nice easy end to this last week.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bountiful Basket

 I am loving this weeks basket!!! The bananas actually look good for once! Here is the haul:
1 bunch of Bananas
1 Cantaloupe that smells amazing
1 Buttercup Squash (Never used one of these before. Ideas anyone?)
5 Roma Tomatoes, but one was moldy. Yuck! So technically, 4 tomatoes
5 Red Plums that feel super juicy
4 ears of Corn
I head of Romaine Lettuce
2 Mangoes
2 Red Bell Peppers
1 box of Strawberries
and 1 bag of seedless Black Grapes
 I may just pick up a red onion and some cilantro at the store to make some mango salsa with those mangoes and the tomatoes. Excited to have banana slices in my cereal, grapes to snack on, and corn for a side dish, maybe with some kind of herb butter. Little bags of fruit pectin are free at Walmart, so I might stop by there to get some and then make some more strawberry freezer jam. I also smell plum cobbler i the near future. Mmm! The squash may just turn into baby food. Cantaloupe for a side dish, lettuce for side salads. . . the only thing I'm not sure about are the bell peppers. I love them, but Brad doesn't. I may just end up slicing them up to add to my salads or something. We'll see.

I also bought 5 loaves of the yummiest bread ever from Bountiful Baskets for $10. That's $2/loaf and it's SO GOOD! Brad and I can eat an entire loaf in one day, just eating it plain. I already busted into one, having toast and jam for breakfast, but the other 4 are safely tucked away in the freezer for later consumption. :D

I always highly recommend Bountiful Baskets. It was $15 for all that produce I just posted about, and $10 for all that bread! (The bread is optional with the basket)
It's such a good deal and because you don't know what will be in the basket each week, it forces you to try new fruits and vegetables that you might have never picked up at the store on your own.
Here is their website to find a site near you.
I will briefly explain how it works, since a lot of people get confused:
BB (Bountiful baskets) is volunteer-run. You, as the consumer, place and order for a basket between the hours of Noon on Monday (10 a.m. for Utah) and 10 pm on Tuesday. Try to get on as early as you possibly can because when you order a basket, you choose a pick-up location and time, always on the coming Saturday. Locations only get a limited amount of baskets and in some areas, the locations fill up FAST! Like for mine here in Riverton, UT, the spots fill up in a matter of minutes after the site opens up at 10 on Monday.
After you order your basket, and any extras you might want like the 9-grain bread I usually get, you will get an email with your confirmation number. On Saturday, print out the email with your confirmation number (or pull up the email on your smartphone of iPod touch like I do) and take it with you to the pick-up location at the correct time. You can arrive no more than 20 minutes late. If you show up later than 20 minutes, your basket gets donated. Sorry. This is because the people there are only volunteers and to be fair, they can't wait around forever. You CAN ask someone else to pick up your BB for you if you can't make it. They just need your confirmation number. Take either reusable bags or a laundry basket with you to put all your produce in. They will have 2 little baskets for you, one with fruit and one with veggies. Transfer them from the little baskets into your own. You sign in when you get there, and sign out after you get your stuff. And voila! You're done! You can choose to do BB whenever you want, it is NOT a weekly commitment. You can do it every 2 weeks, every month, every 2 months, whenever you want, or never again if you weren't satisfied.
They currently have locations in:
New Mexico
South Carolina
South Dakota
and of course Utah

If your state is not offered, you can find info on the website and on their facebook page for starting up your own location! Also, you should try to volunteer at your local site every once in a while. To volunteer, you simply show up one hour earlier than the pick-up time and sometimes, you get any produce that is left over! Woo!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pantry Challenge: Week 2

I don't plan on doing a grocery shopping trip for this next week. I'm picking up a bountiful basket tomorrow, and we still have milk in the fridge, so we should be good. However, I may go to the store just to pick up a few free things. I don't plan on spending anything, apart from tax. Smith's sent out some coupons in the mail and one is for a free bag of Oreo's and another for a free bag of Lay's or Ruffle's, so i'll be picking those up. I also got another one of those $2 off Poise products catalinas, so I will see if they still have at least one package left on clearance for $1.79. Activia also has a promotion going on to print out a coupon for a free cup of their new yogurt, and I have 4 of those coupons, so I will see if Smiths has them, or Walmart. Then, I have two coupons for $1 off Dreyer's shakes, those little ice cream cup things, and they are $0.97 at Walmart, so I will try and pick a couple of those up as well.

Here's the Meal plan from this last Wednesday until next Tuesday:
(These will probably change depending on what is in my Bountiful Basket tomorrow)
Wednesday: Leftover pizza for lunch. BBQ chicken sandwiches and a side salad for dinner.
Thursday: Toaster Strudel for Breakfast. Soup and pasta for dinner with a side of broccoli. Sugar cookies for dessert.
Friday: Leftover pasta and broccoli for lunch.  Chili Verde with rice and beans for dinner. Leftover sugar cookies for dessert.
Saturday: Toast and jam for breakfast. Lunch for free at Seven Peaks Waterpark. Fried shrimp with a side salad for dinner.
Sunday: Cereal for breakfast. Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup for lunch. Mushroom Chicken with mashed potatoes and stuffing for dinner.
Monday: Chicken Lo Mein with a side of peas for dinner. Chocolate cake for dessert.
Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner, waffles, eggs, hash browns, fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Pantry Challenge: Week 1

Day 1. Wednesday:
Today was my shopping trip. I went about $15 over what I expected, but I had to unexpectedly buy cat food and a new hairbrush (cat food and hairbrushes are expensive, man!), and then I picked up some rice-a-roni, sour cream, cinnamon rolls that were on special, and some eggs along with everything else I had planned on buying.
Total Spent = $41.98
Almost half my budget gone and it's only August 3rd! Ahh! But, i'm not too worried. It's only because I was out of town for almost the entire last two weeks, so our food supply was pretty lacking.
At the check-out, I also received two Catalinas for Poise products. (You know, the pads for pee leakage. Lol.) One is for an entirely FREE Poise product (up to $6.00) and the other is for $2 off a Poise Petite pack (which are on clearance at Smith's for $1.79, making these also FREE!)
I skimped on breakfast this morning because I just could not get out of bed, but I think Brad made himself some toast.
Lunch was egg salad sandwiches.
Dinner we had quesadillas, Mexican style rice-a-roni, with a side salad and lemonade to drink. Then, after putting Katie to bed, Brad and I whipped up some M&M cookies with the M&M's I bought today for $0.13 a bag. They are cooling on wire racks as I type this. Mmm!
So far, so good!

Day 2. Thursday:
Today was a bit of a bust menu planning wise. Because of dentist appointments for both Brad and myself, our meals were a little sporadic. Cereal for breakfast, snacking on M&M cookies throughout the day, egg salad sandwiches for a late lunch early dinner, and then I just ate a cinnamon roll. Haha! I'll have to make chicken pot pies either tomorrow or Saturday. My whole chicken wasn't thawed enough, so it wasn't done in the crock pot until after 8, and by that time I really didn't want to have to make a pie crust and bake that sucker. Oh well. I still did get the chicken cooked up though. From one whole chicken, which was $3.47 on manager's special, I cooked it up, shredded it, put half in the freezer for a future casserole (probably the one for Sunday), 1/4 of the chicken in a ziplock in the fridge for pot pies tomorrow/saturday, and the other 1/4 I put in a ziplock with some barbeque sauce and popped in the freezer. That way, when I take it out to thaw, it willl get nice and marinated, and I can just heat it up and have BBQ chicken sandwiches. Mmm! Were you keeping count? 3 separate meals for only $3.47! (Plus the cost of general things I have on hand to make the meals.) Awesome!
Just a little note: If I break down the cost, the BBQ chicken cost less than a dollar, with my cheap chicken and a bottle of BBQ sauce I got for free with coupon. We will put it on hambuger buns, which I have in the freezer and purchased for $1. Since there are 8 buns in a package,and we would only use 2 of them, it's about $0.25. So we can have BBQ chicken sandwiches for $1.25!!! Yeah! Pair them with Salt and Vinegar chips I got for free with a coupon and some Organic lemonade that was $1.12 with coupon, we've got a full meal for two for less than $3. I love math. Hehe. :)

Day 3. Friday:
I ended up making the Chicken Pot Pies today instead, pushing the pasta and french bread to Sunday, replacing the soup from a can I was going to heat up. Lol! We did still have cereal for breakfast and ice cream for dessert as planned, though. The pot pies actually turned out a little bit dry, sadly, so I am going to tell everyone looking for a pot pie recipe, don't use Rachel Ray's! Oh well. I still thought it was good, although Brad didn't enjoy the over-abundance of peas (my fave). Katie enjoyed them too though, so it's all good. Oh! Brad also took himself an egg salad sandwich to work and the rest of the M&M cookies. Yay for bringing lunch to work to save a few bucks!

Day 4. Saturday:
Both Brad and I had Toaster Strudel for breakfast and I made Katie some oatmeal. I don't think we even ate any lunch. Haha! We actually went over to Brad's sisters house for dinner, where we had homemade versions of Cafe Rio/Costa Vida sweet pork salads. Then, Brad and I actually ended up going to Pizza Pie Cafe at 9 at night. They had a special where you can bring in your receipt from today next time you go in and get a free meal. Going out to eat wasn't really in our budget, but oh well. You know I can't pass up a good deal. Which brings me to my shopping trip for today. . .
I ended up going to Smith's this morning. Yikes! It was Customer Appreciation day, so I went to try and win some free stuff! I also wanted to use those coupons I got for free Poise products. Of course, while I was there I noticed some awesome new stuff on the clearance shelf, (fruit snacks, cat food, organic apple juice, spaghettios), so I had to pick some stuff up. I consider these things food storage/stockpile items however, so I am not including them in my $100 to spend this month. Back to the free stuff they were giving away- They were handing out raffle tickets and doing giveaways every 15 minutes. When I first got into the store I got a raffle ticket, and didn't win. Then after about 12 minutes, I realized that I probably needed to go grab a new raffle ticket since they probably don't keep all of them in the pot for the entire day (no one is going to be in the store for that long.) So I went over to the raffle desk and asked for a new ticket, then the guy told me that since my baby was so cute, he would just let me win. Lol. He took a ticket off for me, then called the other winners over the intercom, along with "my" ticket number. I spun the wheel they had set up and won an apple pie worth $3.99. Woop! Too bad we don't really like pie. I ended up taking it to Jenna's house later so hopefully her family can enjoy it more than we would have.

Day 5. Sunday:
Who was I kidding when I decided to make french toast for breakfast? Haha! I almost never get up early enough to make breakfast on a Sunday. We were 10 minutes late to church as it was, and we didn't even have time to eat any kind of breakfast! Oh well. After church, we snacked on some things, but mostly cleaned the house because my visiting teachers (women from church who visit each other once a month to make sure everyone is doing ok and to help with anything. I still need to do my own visiting teaching this month. One of my women I visit has a baby due in a couple weeks!) were coming over at 3:15. Because I was planning on making a loaf of french bread, which takes about 3 hours to make, I figured it would be alright to start making it after my VT's had left, probably around 4. But nope. We ended up taking until after 5! I guess that's what happens when women get together, right? Scrounging for ideas for dinner, I decided to still make pasta and did an internet search for 30-minute rolls. I cooked up some whole wheat spaghetti, browned some ground beef and mixed it with some homemade sauce i've had in the fridge for a while. Then I chopped and steamed some broccoli, all while working on these "30 minute" rolls. They ended up taking longer than that because I tried to use my kitchenaid for them and it just wasn't working, so after 10 minutes in the machine, I pulled the dough out and mixed and kneaded by hand instead. After only 10 minutes of rising, it went into the oven for 10 minutes, and came out fairly yummy! I rubbed some cold butter over the tops and then ate 4 with dinner. Haha! I'm actally typing this Monday morning and just devoured off the last 3 rolls from last night.
No dessert for us last night, though. I had cleaned the whole kitchen earlier and dinner made enough of a mess. I really didn't want even one more dish to clean. We did eat a handful of sour skittles though. :)

Day 6. Monday:
Brad had cereal for breakfast, Katie had cheerios, and I had 3 leftover rolls form last night's dinner. Haha!. The surprising thing was that Brad made dinner! I was originally just going to heat up a can of soup, but was feeling kind of lazy and Brad offered, so I accepted! He made up some hamburgers and tater tots while Katie had leftover spaghetti  from the night before. Pretty yum! Thanks hon! I also purchased a Bountiful Basket yesterday along with the 5 pack of bread they offer, which brings my "grocery" total to $68.48. Yikes! This $100 limit is hard! Maybe I should have Brad take away my debit card for the rest of the month? But, we have a good amount of everything we need to make meals for the next couple of weeks, so I think I can make it. With the fruits and veggies and 5 loaves of bread this weekend with the Bountiful Basket, I will make this pantry challenge work! We will probably be having a lot of pasta and cereal in the next couple of weeks, since those are my two biggest stockpiles, but i've also started exercising again, to balance out those extra carbs. We'll see! Tomorrow is the last day of week one. And then it's on to meal planning for week two, as well as checking out the upcoming week's sales ads for Smith's.

Day 7. Tuesday:
So, we bummed out today and ordered pizza. We got a Pizza Hut ad in the mail and that P'Zone on the front just looked so gosh darn good! Oh well. There's an extra $12 to my stipend for the month, bringing my total to about $80. Agh! Only $20 left and still 2 1/2 weeks to go! Fortunately, this challenge has really helped me see just how much stuff we have and how much I have to work with! There will probably be a lot of pasta and soup and cereal in the coming weeks, but oh well. That's the price you pay to go on a cruise, right? Lol! We'll get plenty of yummy food on the ship. I'm thinking the only things I will really need to buy in the coming weeks are milk, flour and maybe some eggs. I will just have to really work at couponing to buy any more than that. :D

I was supposed to post this on Tuesday. Oops! I will post about this weeks meals later today hopefully, starting with a couple days ago on Wednesday. Lol.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Idaho and Califonia

 So on July 22nd, my brother graduated from BYU Idaho! It was pretty awesome because most of my family was able to attend. (I have no pictures of this trip because I forgot to put our SD card back in the camera before we left. Sad.) My parents drove up from So-Cal, as did my sister Katrina and her boyfriend Myke. They were able to stay with us before they drove up there as well, which was nice. I rarely ever get to see Katrina anymore, so I loved spending some more time with my sister and getting to know Myke as well.
Laura and her husband Ben and their three little girls also drove up from Nor-Cal. Marci was already up there since she goes to school at BYUI as well, and then Brad and I drove up with Katie. We were all able to attend the graduation ceremony and convocation and then Texts Roadhouse for dinner. Yum!
That night, Brad stayed with Paul and Katie and I stayed with Marci. We had planned on camping Friday night and Saturday night, but after the graduation and dinner, it was way too late and dark to set up our campsite. Saturday, Brad, Katie, and I went to the new aquatic center in Rexburg, Rexburg Rapids! It was pretty fun, though it got SUPER crowded. I'm glad to know it's doing so well though! One of my best friends, Daryn, is the manager of it all, so it's great for her.
After the waterpark, we set up our campsite and stayed for the rest of the day and night. My friend Lauren was able to come out and give us a TON of dead tree branches to burn which was awesome! Thanks Lauren! We had hotdogs over the fire for dinner, with chips and water and random snacks. Daryn came out later that night and chatted with us for a bit. Then we slept. It was a little chilly, and difficult to sleep wit the most squirmy baby in the world wedged between the hubs and myself, but not too bad. Sunday, Daryn let us shower and get cleaned up at her apartment and then we headed back down to Utah.
My sister Laura and her girls stopped in Utah for a few days as well, so we spent Sunday night having dinner with them at my aunt Kathryn's house. Monday was a little uneventful, but then Tuesday morning, Laura picked up Katie and myself to road trip it down to my parent's house in Cali. Katie and I didn't do much while we were down there, but we did go with Laura, the girls, my mom, and Katrina to Oak Glen to do some berry picking. We got a pretty good haul and snacked on strawberries throughout, and then got home and make raspberry tarts and raspberry sauce to top a cheesecake my parents had in the fridge.
Katie and I flew home yesterday and it's been so nice to sleep in my own bed again! Without Katie! Lol. (Katie slept with me on a twin bed at my parent's house for the whole week.)
I don't really have any cool pictures, and Katie didn't go berry-picking with us (my dad wanted us to leave her behind so he could watch her, and we also would have needed to take two separate cars if Katie had gone) so i'll just share a couple cute pics I snapped over the week. Here they are in no particular order:

I was able to spend a ton of time with one of my besties, Nicole. One night we were at WalMart looking for Nail polish and this is what the floor looked like in front of the nail polish! Crazy!
 Jordyn and Katie on the car ride down.
 Katie found some sunglasses at my paren'ts house (probably her cousin Zara's) and they were SO CUTE on her!
 Haha!!! That's my little diva.
 Of course Peyton and Avery wanted pictures with the glasses on.
 These girls are too cute! love my nieces!
 Katie discovered that she could climb into the toilet. So gross, but so funny.
 She was immediately put into the tub after this.

 Driving down to cali. This is pretty representative of how Katie and Peyton interacted the whole week. Haha!

Well, there you have it!

The next month has quite a bit in store for Brad and I, so be on the lookout for blog posts. We've got Paragliding, Seven Peaks Provo, and an Alaskan Cruise coming up!

Pantry Challenge

I have got a LOT to blog about, but since it all requires me to upload pictures, and I am super tired and just got back in town, I will get to those blogs later.
For now, I need to blog this so that I will somehow be held accountable. :)
I have started my own "pantry challenge" just for the remainder of this month. If you haven't heard of this, generally it's when you spend a VERY limited amount of money on food for the month and you are forced to use up what you already have on hand. Every little random can or box of whatever that's been lost in your pantry for months can now be found and used!
I've decided to embark on this adventure for the month of August mostly because, well, we need to. Brad and I just booked a 7-day Alaska cruise leaving the first week in September and cruises aren't so cheap. Plus, we have SO much food in this house, yet we constantly find ourselves saying "there's nothing to eat!"
Well, I am going to change that.
I will BE creative.
I will SCOUR my cupboards and freezer.
I will USE all those random cans of cream of whatever, half empty boxes of pasta, and 9 million bags of frozen veggies in the freezer.
I will SPEND no more than $100 on food this month.
CRAZY, right?!
I know it will be tough.
Yes, I am an "accomplished couponer," but sales have not been so great lately. And my new store in Utah doesn't ever double. And someone has been stealing my Sunday newspaper for the last 7 weeks, so I'm a little lacking on coupons.
I also got into a nice little spending groove for a while, since we were no longer poor college students.
But I can do this!

Ok, enough of the rant.
Here's my plan for this week and next.
(You really don't need to read this if you don't want. Seriously. I won't be offended. I won't even know!)
Tomorrow is my shopping trip. I plan on getting:
2 gallons of milk = $3.36 after coupons
4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts at $1.69/lb (An AWESOME stock-up price!!!!!!) = $6.76
1 Kashi TLC granola bars = $0.99 after coupon
1 Knudsen Organic Juice = $2.49 after coupon
2 Santa Cruz Lemonade at B1G1 Free = $2.24 for both after coupon
2 Organic Mangoes (for baby food) = $1.98
2 Bags of M&Ms = $0.25 for both after coupon
2 Boxes of Toaster Strudel = $3.08 after coupon
1 Yoplait Yogurt cup = Free after coupon
1 Box Poise Pads = Free after coupon

I will probably also get a head of lettuce, some broccoli, and strawberries or something, but I don't know the prices yet. Figuring the average prices for these three things, my total rounds out around $25.
Pretty good, I think!
I might end up picking up a few more items, depending on what I find on the clearance rack or on Manager's Special, but we'll see.

As far as the menu goes for this coming week, here it is:
(Brad takes care of his own lunch on most weekdays, and I pretty much just scrounge and feed Katie something, so I won't be including lunches in my meal plan)
Wednesday- Eggs and toast for breakfast with water. Quesadillas with Mexican rice and a side salad for dinner, using up some homemade salsa, and lemonade to drink. M&M cookies for dessert.
Thursday- Toaster Strudel for breakfast with juice. Chicken Pot Pie and water for dinner. Crepes with strawberries and cream for dessert.
Friday- Cereal and milk for breakfast. Pasta with homemade sauce and homemade french bread and green beans for dinner with juice. Ice cream sundaes for dessert.
Saturday- Free for all for breakfast. Mac n Cheese for Lunch. Hamburgers for dinner with chips and soda. (We may be with family instead. Not sure yet.)
Sunday- French toast for breakfast with milk to drink. PB&J's for lunch. Chicken and Corn casserole for dinner with a side salad and lemonade. Homemade cake for dessert.
Monday- Cereal and milk for breakfast. Canned soup for dinner with homemade rolls and broccoli. Brownies and ice cream for dessert.
Tuesday- "Easy Food" day! Ramen, Mac N Cheese, Chef Boyardee, etc. . .

Well, that's all i've got for now. I didn't include things like snacks because those are always pretty spontaneous.
I hope this all works out! I'm thinking that it will force me to do more homemade things and explore more in the kitchen.
If anyone out there has any amazing recipes from things that almost everyone has sitting in their pantry, share them please!