Friday, September 30, 2011

Tar-get's all my money!

Ok, the title isn't completely true because I found some NICE deals at Target today!
I'll start out by saying that, before sales/clearance/coupons, the total would have been$162.66.
Actually, I don't know the regular price on some of the items I got on sale, so it would have been more than that total.
Now, how much did I pay out of pocket for all of this? $56.61 and that's including $5 tax.
That's a lot for one of my normal shopping trips, but let me point out, as you'll see in the picture below, that I got an umbrella stroller, a lamp shade and lamp base, a 4x5 area rug (which normally goes for $50 alone) and a 20 lb tub of kitty litter all inside that $56.61.
Here's the rundown of what I bought:
1 Umbrella Stroller = $10.00 (On sale from $15)
1 4x5 Area Rug = $12.48 (Clearance from $49.99!)
1 Lamp Shade = $3.74 (Clearance from $14.99!)
1 Lamp Base = $7.48 (Clearance from $29.99!)
1 Tidy Cats kitty litter 20 lb = $4.99
4 Clorox 2 Stain Removers = $1.00 for all 4
1 Green Works Toilet Bowl cleaner = $1.24
1 Nivea for Men Body Wash = $1.00
2 Clorox 2 Stain Fighter pens = $0.50 for both
1 Friskies Party Mix cat treats = Free
2 Visine for Contacts = $1.28 for both
2 Rimmel London Glam Eyes Eyeshadows = $2.98 for both
2 Gerber Graduates meals = $0.88 for both
1 Colgate Optic White toothpaste = Free
2 Aquafresh Extreme Clean toothpastes = $0.94 for both
1 Caress Beauty Bar = $0.67
2 Aquafresh Training toothbrushes = $0.98 for both
2 Chapsticks (Just because my lips have been super dry) = $1.36 for both
Overall I save $106.05, making that a savings of about 65%. I call that a good day. :)

You can just barely see the stroller wheels. Sorry! If you click on the picture it will let you see the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quick Dinner Rolls

I'm not going to lie, these are not the yummiest rolls ever. They are not the best or fluffiest or the top in any category really. What they are, is really easy rolls that you can make in 45 minutes. I often turn to these rolls on a weeknight when it's already 5:30 and I'm still trying to figure out what to make for dinner. These are great because I can start them at 5:30, make something else for dinner that takes less than an hour, and have dinner and homemade rolls on the table by 6:30. Perfect!
(Will update this post with pictures next time I make a batch of these puppies)
Quick Dinner Rolls
Original Recipe 30 Minute Dinner Rolls
Adapted Recipe by Me!

1 cup and 2 Tbsp warm water (between 105 and 115 degrees)
1/3 cup Oil
1/4 cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Yeast
1 tsp Salt (I use sea salt)
1 egg, beaten
3-4 cups flour
1 cold stick of Butter

  1. Mix warm water, oil, sugar and yeast together in a warmed mixer bowl.
  2. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Start to preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Add salt and egg. Blend well.
  5. Add flour, one cup at a time until soft dough is formed. (I end up adding 3 cups)
  6. Knead on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes. (Add last cup of flour during kneading if necessary)
  7. Shape into golf-ball sized balls and place into greased 13x9 pans.
  8. Cover with a dish cloth and let rise in a warm place from 5-30 minutes, depending on how much time you have. You can even let it rise for an hour if you aren't in a rush.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes. (Check them after 8-10 minutes. If they are getting too brown, tent them with foil)
  10. Take them out, grab that cold stick of butter, and rub butter over the tops of each and every roll. 
  11. Serve warm and enjoy :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Alaskan Cruisin'

 The first week in September, Brad and I were able to go on a cruise to Alaska! My wonderful mom came up to our apartment to watch Katie for us so we could get away on our own vacation. Can I just say that until we left for the cruise, I had never been away from Katie for more than 8 hours?! And the one time I was away from her for 8 hours was when I was working on the Extreme Makeover house and she was asleep at home the whole time. Anyway, it was pretty difficult to be away from her for so long, but I knew she was in good hands. We left on Friday evening and stopped in Rigby to see Brad's good friend Bary and his new-ish baby. We spent the night with my best friend Daryn and her hubby Mat in Rexburg (where we enjoyed some Happy Birthday cupcakes for me), and then went back down to Rigby in the morning. Bary and his sweet wife Vicky took us out to breakfast and then Brad and I set out on a 12 hour drive to Portland. We stayed with my sister Karli and her boyfriend Jonathan on Saturday night, asfter playing a good round of Apples to Apples, and then they drove us up to Seattle in the morning, where we got onto our cruise ship!
Here I am in our cabin. :)
 We left Seattle around 4, had dinner and then went and played a round of free Bingo. Of course, being the youngest couple on board (Holland America is famous for being 90% old people. Lol! I made up that statistic) we got picked to go onstage during the show after Bingo. We played a little game and won a free bottle of champagne which remained in our mini-bar for the reminder of the cruise and we left it there after the cruise. We don't drink and no one we asked wanted it! Haha!
Anyway, the next day was spent at sea, heading up to Alaska.

 Monday night, we found this little guy o our bed,
 Tuesday, we were in Glacier Bay National Park. I can't remember the name of this glacier.
 Alaska sure is beautiful though, right? It was a little cold in Glacier Bay, probably in the 40's, but most of the trip was in the 60 degree range.
 A little family of seals!
 Lots of Harbor Seals.
 On Wednesday, we were in Alaska's capital city, Juneau. Quite the tourist attraction, with about 30 jewelry stores in our face the second we got off the ship. Haha. We were lucky though because about a dozen locals told us that it was the first sunny day in weeks! (Some people said 2 weeks, some people said 5 weeks.)
 The tramway that was too expensive for us to take. The illusionist on the ship actually made a joke calling it the Mt. Roberts Scamway, because it's $27 to go up, and there's nothing really to see at the top!
 We decided to shell out $32 to take a shuttle out to Mendenhall Glacier. It was 5 times the price of the city bus, bus twice as fast. It was worth it anyway. As soon as we got off the bus, we walked over to a little pathway over a river full of salmon, and look what was right below our feet!!!!
 This is Mendenhall Glacier. We decided to be awesome and go on a 3.5 mile hike up in the woods. It was a beautiful day and there was a nice look-out point at the top.
 Just off the hiking trail was this waterfall. I went right up to it. :)

 On Thursday, we were in Sitka. Here, we had to take tenders to get from the boat to the dock. It was a really rainy day unfortunately, so most of the things I wanted to do were taken off our list. I had planned on quite a bit of walking up to the forest, but there was just too much rain. Here's our ship once we got to the dock! We didn't do much in Sitka other than walk around town a little bit.
 Friday, we were in Ketchican for only a few hours. It really wasn't enough time to do anything (not that there was much to do unless you septn hundreds of dollars on shore excursions) but it was another beautiful day and we explored the town a bit, bought some souveniers, and just enjoyed the town.
 Friday night was a Dessert Extravaganza on board. Lots of cool creations made from breads and chocolate and fruits and things.

 Saturday night we arrived in Victoria, British Columbia. Beautiful town! There were two other cruise ships there at the same time.
 We took a 30 minute walk to downtown and passed by the legislative building, which was all lit-up and lovely! We walked along the waterfront and then watched some street performers and decided to take a taxi back to the pier when we were done.
Also during the cruise, we dressed up for a couple of formal dinners, got our pictures taken, did some souveneir shopping, saw an illusionist which was amazing and funny, also a ventriliquist who was funny, singers and dancers, got lots of free jewelry in the different ports of call, ate WAY too much, met some nice and funny people at dinner each night, spent a little extra to eat at the steakhouse on board one night, saw some newer movies we'd been wanting to see, and just had an overall amazing time
Sunday morning, we were back in Seattle, got off the ship, Karli picked up us at later that day, we drove the 12 hours back home to Utah and got in at 4:30 in the morning. Katie was so happy to see us and it's nice to be home. While it was sad to be away from Katie, it was so great to spend time together, just Brad and me, as a married couple. Brad loved it and was pretty bummed when the cruise was over. I'm sure there will be more in our future.

Hogle Zoo

 On the last day of August, I was able to see my good friend Tara and her adorable little girl Emma! They'd been in Utah for a few weeks and we were finally able to get together and head to the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City.
 The baby elephant was SO cute!
 Snow Leopard

 Not a great picture, but it's funny because it looks like the giraffe is eating Katie's head!

 The bird show was pretty sweet.

 Thanks for a fun day, Tara! Miss you!

Pantry Challenge: Week 4

It's my last week! So exciting!

Day 1. Wednesday:
I originally said steak and shrimp for dinner, until it was 6 o'clock and I realized the steak I bought was not a "slap some seasoning on it and toss it in a pan on the stove" kind of steak. Oops. Because I was frustrated, Bad warmed up a couple cans of Chef Boyardee for dinner instead. Not exactly steak and shrimp, but good nonetheless. Who doesn't like Chef Boyardee ravioli every once in a while?

Day 2. Thursday:
Eggs and bacon for breakfast? Yeah right! I don't know why I make plans for a more-ambitious-than-cereal breakfast. I did put the steaks (boneless chuck steak if you're wondering) in the crockpot with a TON of seasonings and let it go all day. I also made two loaves of whole wheat bread. Mmm! When the meat was done, Brad helped me make some tortillas and then we served the meat with homemade tortillas, beans, mexican rice, cheese and some lettuce. (If you're wondering about how to make your own tortillas, recipe here.)

Day 3. Friday:
Today wasn't half bad for dinner! I wanted to make homemade buns, but after yesterday's day-long trial with my bread dough (it didn't rise and I had to add more yeast again to make it rise) I really wasn't in the mood to deal with more yeast just yet. Instead we had sloppy joes on toasted wheat bread. I browned up some ground turkey and added a can of Manwich to it. I also had a bag of mixed veggies in the freezer that I steamed up and then sliced up 5 red plums to serve with everything. Yum!

Day 4. Saturday:
Hold the phone! You will NEVER guess what I did today! I made breakfast! Because i'd been up since 6:30 to pick up my bountiful basket (which I forgot to take a picture of. Sorry!) I decided to just make some food for the fam! Bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, sliced cantaloupe, green grapes, and milk to drink. For lunch, we actually went to Mimi's Cafe! My birthday is in a week and i've started getting all kinds of coupons in my email for free meals at restaurants, so we used a buy one, get one free entree at Mimi's. SO delicious. I swear, they have the best muffins in the world. For dinner, we went to our ward picnic (which I thought was lunch, but it wasn't. Lol.) Hot dogs and hamburgers and fruit and chips and salads and cookies, etc. . . It was a good eating day.

Hey everyone! I completely forgot to finish this post before we left on our cruise! I can't really remember what we had for the rest of the month, but the pantry challenge was SO fun for me! It was great to make new things from basic staples in my kitchen and to also know exactly what I was going to make for dinner each day. Brad even started asking "what's for dinner" because he knew that I already had it all planned out! Lol.
A few tips if you want to try something similar, or if you just need some help figuring out what to make for dinner:
  1. Understand that it's OKAY to not follow through with the plan. Sometimes things come up, you are extra tired, sick, have company over, etc. . . When my mom and my brother and his gf came for dinner two weeks ago, I had planned on grilling outside, but I ran out of time to prepare anything and we ended up having a station to make our own grilled cheese sandwiches and I heated up some tomato soup. 
  2. Make a list. Grab a pen and some paper and go through your pantry, food storage, freezer, fridge, and cupboards. Write down what you can make a meal out of. List entrees and sides. Mac n cheese, pasta, hamburgers, soup, frozen veggies, fresh corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, etc. . . Now when it's time to make a meal plan for the next week, you already have a list of things you can have for dinner. Just pick and choose which entree you want with which sides and choose a day. Easy peasy.
  3. When you go to the store, HAVE A LIST! Try to only buy staple items (flour, sugar, spices, produce, eggs, milk, etc. . . ) but if you have coupons and sales that make other items SUPER cheap, go for it. Just try to stick to free or less than $1 items. This will make your budget stretch much farther.
  4. I didn't do this, but I wish I had- Use cash. At the beginning of the month get your grocery budget, whatever it may be, in cash. That way, there is no way to go over budget! Darn debit cards make it WAY to easy to spend an extra $10 or so.
  5. Don't be afraid to try new recipes. If you have a ton of top ramen in your cupboard like I do and want to use them up, toss in some peas, peppers, broccoli, whatever veggies you have on hand. Don't use the seasoning packet and make your own peanut sauce or something. If you have 30 boxes of dry pasta in stock, also like I do, you don't have to make pasta and meat sauce every night! Try different pasta salads, bake it with sauce and cheese and pepperonis like a casserole, use it as a side rather than the main course. Hamburger patties but no hamburger buns? Just use them as ground beef to make tacos or something. Think outside the box!

Anyway, I had a lot of fun and hope to continue to be better at using what I have and stretching our dollars. Happy homemaking everyone!