Monday, July 7, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: 07/07/2014


This week we are starting a Pantry challenge with Jessica of Good Cheap Eats.  She does this twice a year, January and July, and I've found that my freezers thank me when I participate both times.  I desperately need to defrost my chest freezer, so hopefully that will happen before the end of the month.  I'll still be shopping, but I'll be meal-planning to use up all of the weird bits that get lost in the freezers throughout the year.  Here's what we've got on the menu this week...

Breakfasts: Cold Cereals, Fruit, and Yogurt

Lunches: Leftovers, Chili from the freezer, misc frozen TV dinners, and PBJ Sandwiches

Dinners:
Sunday - French Toast, with Fresh Raspberries
Monday - Cheesy Baked Pork Chops, with Butter Noodles, and a Vegetable
Tuesday - Baked Fish Fillets, with French Fries
Wednesday - Orange Chicken, with Jasmine Rice
Thursday - We're taking a day trip to Tuckahoe Steam and Gas show, so we'll have sandwiches there; they have the BEST Italian Cold Cut subs! 
Friday - We'll be at Joe's Grandfather's, so we'll go out to dinner with him
Saturday - Mac and Cheese, with Kielbasa, and Broccoli

Extras: Banana Bread (from the freezer), Chocolate PB No-bake Cookies

For more AWESOME Menu Plans, visit Org Junkie!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Weekly Spending Report: 06/29-07/05/2014

After being on vacation for most of last week, we came home to a house that was out of a lot of necessities, hence the deals grabbed up at Giant and ALDI.  I was also able to stock up on batteries and diapers at CVS, things we are always using nowadays!  I worked all of this week, but since Howard had to go for his two month check-up and shots on Wednesday, I took off and we ran errands as a family that afternoon.  Overall, we had a great week, with great deals too...
  • Monday's Dollar Tree Trip (3 portable fans and a pkg of AA batteries for Howard): $4.24 oop
  • Wednesday's ALDI Trip (Granola Bars, Crackers, Chips, and Organic Milk): $9.57 oop
  • Wednesday's CVS Trip (1 Pepsi 2 lt, 3 pkgs CVS Diapers, 7 pkgs Car light bulbs on clearance, 1-10 pk CVS Batteries): $12.71 oop, Earned $16 ECB's ($3 was for my Spring Spending)
  • Wednesday's Giant (not pictured 7-3 ct boxes Magnum Ice Cream Bars): $35.09 oop (Saved $91.55!!!, 72%!!!)
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip (2 newspapers): $2.12 oop
  • Earned $5 CVS Gift Card from Swag Bucks
Total OOP: $63.73
Total Earned: $21
Total Remaining for July: $236.27

Linked to Couponaholic!

June Budget Update

This month I was finally under budget!!! We stocked up on some great deals including diapers, made some returns for items we didn't need, and earned some gift cards to use for things that we will need, like gas, and Christmas presents.  Here's how the month went down...
  • Week #1: $60.11 oop, Earned $7 ECB's, $9 Wal-mart Gift Card from a Return, and $5 Amazon Gift Card from Swag Bucks
  • Week #2: $104.34 oop, Earned $2.50 ECB's, and $15.88 Marshall's Gift Card from a Return
  • Week #3: $59.58 oop, Earned $10 ECB's, and a $5 CVS Gift Card from Swag Bucks
  • Week #4: $40.75 oop, Earned $20 Shell Gas Cards, and $3 in ECB's
Total OOP: $264.78
Total Earned: $77.38
Total Remaining: $35.22

Friday, July 4, 2014

Weekly Spending Report: 06/22-28/2014

Last week I kept my spending to a minimum since we were away on vacation for most of the week.  Here's how we ended the month of June.
  • Sunday's CVS Trip (3-24 pks bottled H2O, 3 pkgs Huggies diapers, and 2 tubes Colgate Optic White toothpaste): $20.10 oop, Earned $3 ECB's and a $10 Shell Gas Card
  • Sunday's ALDI Trip (1 box Triscuits, 1 loaf Italian Bread, 1 pkg Potato Hamburger Rolls): $4.03 oop
  • Wednesday's CVS Trip (3 more packages of Huggies): $16.62 oop, Eanred $10 Shell Gas Card
Total OOP: $40.75
Total Earned: $23
Total Remaining for June: $35.22!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Weekly Spending Report: 06/15-21/2014

This week there weren't a lot of deals to be had.  We picked up a few freebies at CVS to roll me ECB's.  We also stocked up on snack food for our vacation next week at ALDI, and picked up a few misc necessities at Giant.  Lastly, we stopped into the Dollar Tree on Saturday to use up some coupons that were about to expire and pick up my newspapers/coupons.  Other than working every day including the weekend, it was a pretty uneventful week.  I kinda like it!  Anyway, here's how the week went down...
  • Wednesday's CVS Trip: $0.16 oop, Earned $10 ECB's
  • Wednesday's ALDI Trip: $29.47 oop
  • Wednesday's Giant Trip: $17.35 oop
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip (2 Newspapers, 1 pkg Medical Tape, 4-14 ct boxes Generic Zyrtec, 1 tube Generic Benedryl Cream, 8 refill bottles Soft Soap Hand Soap - used 4 $1/2 MC): $12.60 oop
  • Earned $5 CVS Gift Card from Swagbucks
Total OOP: $59.58
Total Earned: $15.00
Total Remaining: $75.97

Linked to Couponaholic! 

Wednesday's CVS Trip

This week there wasn't a lot of deals at CVS, but I stopped in anyway to roll my ECB's on a few deals.  I also received my $5 ECB's from the Pharmacy Reward program when I scanned my card at the coupon machine!  Here's what I ended up with...

1 Colgate Toothbrush $5.49 - $2.50 Sale - $1/1 MC - $2 ECB's = FREE!
1 Peroxi Clear Contact Solution $7.29 - $2.30 - $1.50/1 MC - $3 ECB = $0.49
2 huge rolls Charmin Basic TP $1.29 ea - $3/2 CVS Coupon = FREE + $0.42 Money-maker!
+ $0.16 Tax
- $0.06 Mystery Coupon
- $5 ECB's used to pay
Total OOP: $0.16, Earned $5 ECB's

Linked to Simply CVS!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday: Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese



Mac and cheese is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.  It's also something that my husband will always eat, no matter what else we have with it, if anything.  There's just something about all that cheesy gooeyness that makes you all happy inside.  However, homemade mac and cheese can be time consuming, and the boxed stuff is full of junk.  So, I thought, why not try it in a rice cooker.  So, I did, and guess what, it's delicious, quick, simple, and easy to clean up afterwards!  That's a quadruple win folks!  Here's how you can make some for dinner, like tonight!  

1-14 oz can Chicken Broth (or 1 cup water plus a little extra with bouillon added in)
2 c Uncooked Pasta (I use Macaroni noodles from ALDI)
2 tbsp Butter
1/4-1/2 c Milk
2 c Shredded Cheese (I use Mild Cheddar from ALDI, but you could really use any kind you like)

1.) Place broth/water in rice cooker with noodles.  Make sure the noodles are covered with liquid, add a little more water if you need to.  Top with the lid, and push the cook button.  Check periodically to see if you need to add any more water.  After 15 minutes check the noodles for doneness.  If they aren't done yet, make sure there is still liquid inside, and continuing cooking and checking until the pasta is done.  (mine usually only take 15-20 minutes depending on which kind of pasta I use)
2.) Put the cooker on the warm setting.  Add the butter and milk to the pasta, and stir to combine.  
3.) Add the cheese to the pasta, stir to combine, and let sit 5 minutes to melt.  Stir to make sure everything is equally cheesy.  Serve immediately.  Refrigerate any leftovers. (P.S. You can also add broccoli or hot dogs to the steamer insert if your rice cooker has one and they will be done with your mac and cheese and can be served together!)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: 06/16/2014

It feels so good to be back in the menu planning swing!  After so many weeks of winging it after Howard's birth, it is so nice to be back to cooking real food, and meal planning again.  I work all this week and weekend, so meals around these parts are going to be simple, and the summer heat is starting to make an appearance here in MD, so the crock-pot will be my bestie this week too :)  Here's what's cookin'...

Breakfasts: Cold Cereal for me, Sweet Bread from the freezer for Joe

Lunches: Leftovers, or Grilled Cheese/PBJ Sandwiches with Veggies and Dip

Dinners:
Sunday - Texas Road House (using a coupon and a gift card for Joe's birthday and our anniversary)
Tuesday - Leftover Lasagne and Bread
Wednesday - Pizza Pockets with Veggies and Dip
Thursday - Homemade Pizza with Veggies and Dip
Saturday - Leftover Chili/Taco Salads

Extras: Confetti Cake with Homemade Vanilla Buttercream for Joe's Birthday

 Linked to Org Junkie!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

May Goals Update


Another good month with lots of progress made, and LOTS of things crossed off the list!  Some of my goals won't get crossed off until December, but that's okay, I really want to work on perfecting those.  Here's how April went down...

Household:
  1. Prepare a Nursery! - The nursery is completely done, I hope to share a post soon about it.  I do plan to paint the windows/sills this Spring/Summer, but I feel comfortable crossing this off now. 
  2. Do a Deep-Spring, and Deep-Fall Clean in March and November.  As well as keep up with my weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly cleaning chores. - One deep clean down and one to go.  I have still kept up with my weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly cleaning chores, with the help of my loving husband that is. 
Family:
  1. Give birth to baby Rogers, and be the best mom I can be! - This is something I am striving to do every day.  Joe, Howard, and I are getting into a routine with feedings, naps, and diaper changes.  We are finding a rhythm, and I am glad that being a great mom to Howard right now is so easy (feed me, change me, hold me...), because I have been warned that it gets harder.
  2. Try every day to be a loving wife.  Some days this is harder than others. :-) - Joe and I are so happy to have our little Howard, even if we are some what sleep deprived.  Seeing Joe be a father is the most amazing thing ever, and makes me love him even more.  Our relationship has also gotten into a better rhythm, and we are happier than ever!
  3. Take a trip to Maine in June with the hubby, and the baby. - Not there yet.
  4. Get together with family at least once a month.  (probably for dinner) - My family has been coming to visit with us weekly (mostly to get Howard snuggles), and we also got together for a picnic on Memorial Day.
Blogging:
  1. Have 2 Freezer/Pantry Challenges (January and July), post updates on the blog, and defrost the chest freezer - One down, one to go!
  2. Post my Menu Plan, Aldi Deals, and Weekly Spending Report every week, along with at least 1 other post per week.  This may be an update, a reveal, a recipe, a shopping trip, or a frugal find. - I did really good with this one.  I did my regular posts every week, plus I posted a Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday recipe post every week, and posted several shopping trips throughout the month. 
  3. Plan and execute a 31 days post for October. - Not there yet.
Health:
  1. Lose at least 20 lbs (I did accomplish losing 20 lbs in 2013 as well, so it seems doable) - I have already lost 22 lbs this year, mostly my pregnancy weight.  I am hoping to be able to lose at least 20 more lbs before the year is over.
  2. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy, and do exercise of some kind everyday. - I drank plenty of water, ate a LOT of veggies, and fruit.  Joe and I have also started taking a nightly stroll with the baby. 
Financial:
  1. Do at least 6 Flea Markets throughout the year, and list at least monthly on Amazon. - No flea markets again this month.  We did visit several, as well as some yard sales.  We were able to find some bigger baby clothes for Howard, as well as .  (So far we have done 2.)
  2. Earn Swagbucks everyday by completing the daily poll, toolbar log-in, and NOSO offers daily. - did this every day, plus I used the SBTV feature and the offers on the homepage to earn additional Swagbucks.  I earned 5 - $5 Amazon Gift Cards.
  3. Set a monthly budget, and coupon and deal shop as needed to stay within our budget. - I posted the monthly totals here.
  4. Pay off my credit card by June, and start putting extra onto Joe's credit card every month.  We won't have his paid off this year, but we'll be on the right track to have it paid off within the next year or two.  :) - Still working on this.
Hobby-Related:
  1. Catch up my scrapbook.  I'm only about 8 years behind, but I think once I get rolling on it, I should be able to push through and get it done by the end of the year. ;) I also want to start one for the baby, and work on it monthly. - Haven't started this one yet, and probably won't until I get into a better routine with the baby and working.  I'm hoping to be able to get started in June. 
  2. Try something new at least twice a month and blog about it.  I have a LOT of new recipes and crafts I want to try, and this is the year! - I tried several new recipes this month, and blogged about them here, here, here, and here.  
Linked to Money Saving Mom!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Weekly Spending Report: 06/08-14/2014

This week I was able to stock up on a lot of necessities, and grab a LOT of great deals.  I spent a little more than I like to in one week, but we are going away later this month, so that's one week where I won't be doing a lot of shopping.  Here's how the week went down...
  • Sunday's Baugher's Trip (Broccoli, Baby Carrots, Qt Strawberries, and a Tomato): $8.17 oop
  • Tuesday's CVS Trip: $3.98 oop, Earned $2.50 ECB's
  • Tuesday's Giant Trip (also includes 4 more bottles of laundry detergent): $30.40 oop
  • Tuesday's Dollar Tree Trip: $15.95 oop
  • Wednesday's ALDI Trip: $15.20 oop
  • Wednesday's Walgreen's Trip: $27.84 oop
  • Wednesday's Target Trip (also includes 2 gallons of water): $0.68 oop (used a gift card to pay)
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip (2 newspapers): $2.12 oop 
  • Earned $15.88 Marshall's Gift Card from a Return
Total OOP: $104.34
Total Earned: $18.38
Total Remaining: $135.55

Linked to Couponaholic!