Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Laying it Aside

Well, I think it's obvious by now that we are in fact -not still here. Life has gotten incredibly busy for us, Janette went back to work full time and I started homeschooling. We tried to keep up for a while but it soon became clear that the job was bigger then we could handle at this time in our lives. Meals for Deals is our "baby" and we hope that one day we will be able to revive it. So it is with a little sadness that we lay our "baby" aside for the time being. You can still catch us on facebook and if you want to keep up with me you can catch me at the homeschool blog I recently started Schooling From Home or my personal blog Mothering with Grace

Sunday, September 27, 2009

We are still here

For two weeks my internet has been down. It's amazing that I have even survived. I didn't realize how much I would miss blogging, checking e-mail, facebooking, researching, etc. We still have very limited internet access but are hoping the problem will soon be resolved. Until then Meals for Deals is down, but we should be back in business soon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just Between Friends

I wish I had pictures to show you what you have missed out on, if you live in the DFW area and have not yet visited the Just Between Friends Sale (JBF) I have spent the last month prepping my children's things to sale and spent 5 hours last night shopping. If you are trying to save some money on children's clothing, or looking for a frugal Christmas, this is definitely the place you want to be. Maybe you don't live in the DFW area, check out their website to find one closest to you. I made a great sum of money last time selling my children's out grown things, and I hope this time will be just as profitable. My two "scores" of the night- a $2.00 pair of brand new sketchers tennis shoes, and a 5 box set of Imaginex toys for $15.00! My son is going to LOVE, me for that at Christmas.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Receipt Shock

Nothing is more frustrating then when you plan out your entire grocery store trip, with coupon and deal match ups and shop carefully -only getting the things on the list- and then getting to the check out and seeing that you spent more than you expected. I don't like to make too much of a fuss, and usually I'm in shell shock so it's not until I get to the car or even home that I realize that either my coupons didn't get taken off, or I didn't get credit for one of my purchases -Like buy 10 items get $5.00 off.
If you are a frugal shopper and you feel it's worth your time- here are a few things you can do if/when this happens to you.

If you haven't made it home, take your receipt back inside and go to customer service or ask to speak to the store manager. It always helps if you greet them with a smile. It has been my experience that nobody really wants to go out of their way for someone angry.

If you did make it home, give the store a call- all stores have their number listed on the receipt.
Explain what happened and tell them you won't be able to make it back up today (if you can't) but ask them for a store credit or refund when you come back in.

If you are using Short-cuts or other e-coupon loadable sites and you notice your e-coupon didn't come off at the time of the sale, e-mail or give the company a call. They will almost always give you credit on your card to be used for future purchases.

The important thing to remember is that they are a business that wants your business. If you talk pleasantly and you are understanding that "these things happen" most of the time they will go out of the way to keep you happy and coming back.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Quick update

Ok, some of you might have noticed that we have slacked on the website a little lately. We are just having a hard time keeping up with all the things going on in our lives lately. Janette has gone back to teaching and I have started homeschooling. I am also watching Janette's children three days a week, So Whew, you can imagine life has been busy. We are going to do our best to get things back up and running, if you have any suggestions for us, please feel free to e-mail us or leave a note here. Thanks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Couponing... the Great Debate

Couponing is a personal thing. I have had many discussions with women on both sides of the coupon camp. Those that do coupon usually find great satisfaction in the thrill of saving money with the use of coupons. Those that don't coupon usually feel that the time and effort it takes to do it isn't worth the money they save. Some even think they money they have to put into it doesn't make up for the savings. My discussion here is about the last two.

Time: For me it's worth it. There are so many services out there -ours included- that make couponing easier for the average person that I don't see why anyone wouldn't take the time to do it. I personally take the time to cut out my coupons and file them. This just makes it easier for me when I visit the grocery stores. I don't believe the argument of "not having the time" is a valid one. It's really about priorities. I think it's a valid point to say "saving money with coupons is not a priority" if it's not, it's not. And if your looking for the "time" I usually cut my coupons while watching a movie, a tv show, or even hanging out with friends talking. I'm a multi tasker and it works for me.

Effort: Like I mentioned there are many services that you can subscribe to, or even some blogs and websites that will free you from ever having to cut a coupon until you leave for the store where you will use it. Our Using Meals for Deals and Coupons 101 explains how to do this for our site. And if you have older children that can help you, they can cut the coupons and file them for you.

Cost: Ok, here is where it can get tricky. But I would like to share an unscientific situation.
You can find coupons lots of different places, but I believe the easiest and most efficient is the newspaper. You can also find many great coupons online but for now we won't count those in the cost.

Our paper in the Fort Worth area is $2.50 for the Sunday paper, if you subscribe to the weekend paper it will cost you $1.85 a week.

Possible scenerio for this week:
On sale at Kroger:

Yoplait Yogurt 4 pk 1.99 with .35 coupon tripled to $1.05 final price .94
Hamburger helper .89 each with .75/3 coupon final price for 3 .64 each
Pillsbury Grands Biscuits .99 .35 coupon tripled to $1.05 final price FREE
Totino's Pizza rolls 2.49 with .35 coupon tripled to $1.05 final price $1.44
Total savings this week : $3.84

For a $2.50 paper you saved $1.34
For a $1.85 paper you earned 1.99

Now If you subscribe to our coupon matching service for area stores it will cost you $3.00 a month or $0.75 a week and if you subscribe to others the fee of course will differ.

For a $2.50 paper you would have saved $0.59
For a $ 1.85 paper you would have saved $1.10

And that is just if you used 4 coupons!!!!

There are probably many other arguments for and against couponing but for me, I have found it to be cost saving and rewarding. Living in a one income household has forced me into better spending habits and I try to use the resources that God has given us wisely. Feel free to e-mail me or comment with questions or suggestions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Although I rarely visit McDonalds and my children don't attend a school, I think I'll make sure to stop by and pick up this great afterschool snack coupon booklet that McDonalds is offering for $1.00

The booklets contain coupons for 12 free snacks:
*3 free Baked Pies *3 free Apple Juices or Milk Jugs *3 free small cones *3 free Apple Dippers or Small Fries
These coupons do not expire until 12/31/11 so make sure you don't miss out!

Thanks Deal Seeking Mom

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday!!

I just had to share my great idea!!!!!! I came up with this the day before I made homemade pizza and I knew there would be extra stuff lefteover. When I was planning meals for the week, I was trying to think of ways to save myself some time in the kitchen and come up with some quick and easy meals for nights I just dont want to cook or Sunday after church. So Here it goes... English Muffin Mini Pizzas. I Know that it is not an original idea, but here is cool part. I PREMADE the sauce, cheese and toppings to cook straight from frozen. I used my silicone muffin pan with 6 holes and filled them with sauce toppings and cheese. I pressed the cheese and topping into the sauce. When it freezes it is all stuck together. So I will just pop a SAUCE DISK onto a FROZEN ENGLISH MUFFIN and BAKE... VOILA!


Windows Live: Make it easier for your friends to see what you're up to on Facebook. Find out more.

Tempt your Tummy Tuesday

One of my favorite desserts in Lemon Crumb Bars. They are one of my husbands "specialty" desserts. This past weekend I needed a dessert to take to a gathering and he so graciously made them for me. They are really the BEST!

1 Package of Lemon or yellow cake mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
3 egg yolks
2 cups finely crushed saltine crackers
1 (14 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated)
1/2 cup real Lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, margarine and 1 egg with mixer until crumbly. Stir in saltine crumbs, Reserving 2 cups crumb mixture. Press remaining crumbs on bottom of greased 13x9 inch baking pan

Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden

With Mixer or wire whisk, beat 3 egg yolks, condensed milk, and lemon juice. Spread over prepared crust. Top with Reserved crumbs

Bake 25 minutes longer or until set and top is golden. Cool. Refrigerate within 2 hours. Cut into Bares. Store covered in refrigerator.

For more great recipes visit Blessed with Grace

Monday, August 17, 2009

A shopping Frenzie

We'll I could have posted pictures about my 3 hour long marathon at Kroger this past Saturday... But after 3 hours of shopping I basically just tossed the groceries in the kitchen and let the family put them away- so no pics. Maybe Janette took some of hers. But I can tell you that it was truly an experience. I went with my buddy and neighbor Jessica at 6:30 in the morning- but believe me we were not the first there. We joined the cult of other avid coupon shoppers with thier binders and folders. We carefully shopped every aisle looking for the best deals. It was a lot more fun going with a friend, we could discuss whether something was actually a good deal or not. My total bill started at $77.00 and after coupons went to $34.00 I would call that a successful trip. And I was able to buy most of my groceries for the week. Very exciting.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Book Deal

If you are an avid reader, or just need an excuse to get to the book store ( I am always looking for an excuse to go) Here is a 40% off coupon for all you book lovers. It expires on August 16th, so you'll have to act fast. It applies to paperback only.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

$ 2.00 Tank Tops... Wow!

This Saturday Old Navy will have thier Rib Knit Tank tops on sale for $2.00. Although summer is coming to a close, if you live in Texas you know you can wear these for at least the next several months.

Thanks to Deal Finding Chik for sharing this great deal.

Super Savers

Wow! We have a great Super Savers Week this week. If you haven't signed up yet, your missing out! And if you shop at Kroger this Saturday you will really get to take advantage of your coupons. They are doubling coupons up to $1.00. I don't know about you, but I plan on being there Super early :)

BTW Meals for Deals is back in business this week. Our new menus will be up and running in the next two days!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We're Back

Ok, we have been gone for far too long. Both Janette and I had family in town last week so not much got done in the land of Blog. We had a great time visiting and doing home improvement projects. But we're back, and will try to keep things going here with all the great deals we have found.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Limp no longer

Alright, Here is a tip I was recently just told that I think is just fantastic. I buy celery about once a month. We don't usually eat it raw, except in salads. But I always need it for different recipes. By the end of the month my celery is usually limp. Because I don't like to throw things away I go ahead and use it anyway. But then my buddy Janette told me that if I wrap my celery in Aluminum foil it will keep crisp for a lot longer. Voila. It works. Now I'm sure there are probably other great ways to keep your celery fresher but... I don't know them.

Check out Tammy's recipes for other great tips.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Menus are Ready

The new Kroger and Albertsons menus are up at Meals for Deals. I have also e-mailed out the Super Savers list for this week. If you haven't recieved yours for some reason, shoot me an e-mail.

Fighting the Fat Friday

Ahhhhhh, if you don't know or didn't follow the last Fighting the Fat Friday post- I am doing a 90 day work out program. And if you follow my other blog, then you know- it's kicking my butt. The only thing I can actually say at this point in the game (I'm about 1/3rd the way through) is that I no longer hate the idea of actually exercising. I can actually get myself to do it without too much whining in my head. I have only lost about 2 pounds and I'm not sure if I've lost any inches yet. This part is very frustrating, but I'm trying to stay positive. I'll keep you posted :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tempt your Tummy

I hate doing food posts without the pictures but as we were making these this week, I forgot to take a picture. You'll just have to trust me :)
This recipe is for Turkey Burgers. I am trying really hard to like ground turkey. I know it's better for us and it's suppose to be a great alternative to ground beef, but there is a very distinct taste to ground turkey that I just can't get over, at least yet anyway.

We'll- I found this recipe and decided to try it, and it's the first turkey recipe that I have actually liked. So if your like me and hesitant to try turkey, this would be a good one to try.

1 Lb ground Turkey
1/4 cup sourdough bread crumbs ( I just use regular) but I want to try the sourdough
4 TBS low fat buttermilk
1 green onion, minced
1 tsp parsley
1 TBS Dijon Mustard (I used honey Dijon) I think this is what makes it good
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
Black pepper to taste

Preheat the grill or broiler (I broiled mine)
Combine all the ingredients and divide mixture into patties
Grill until cooked through 7 to 10 minutes on each side

To find other great tempt your tummy recipes visit here

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kitchen Makeover

I have been debating on painting my kitchen for a while. It's one of those things that I really wanted to do, but the work that I knew was involved was overwhelming for me, plus I wanted it a deep red and red is just one of those colors that is hard to paint. I finally mustered up the courage and just did it. And guess what? I love it! I really do. It makes me feel all warm and cozy inside everytime I look at it. ( at least when it's clean, anyway)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Expensive Hand Soap?...or is it?

Okay Here is my cheap chic mom trick of the week.  If you have ever been to my house and used the nice "GUEST BATHROOM" you can attest to my boutique hand soap in the despenser...right?! It smells like heaven in bubble form. Here is my secret. I use CHEAP SHAMPOO. I remember one day reading the labels on the hand soap and shampoo bottles and realized that aside from the fru fru organic extracts, its the same stuff.  On sale this week at ALbertsons is white rain shampoo for 69 cents, you know my soap dispensers are gonna thank me. We like the cherry scent and the volumizing scent. Try it... people will think that you spent a fortune and wonder why you put the "GOOD" soap in the guest bath.

Windows Live™ Hotmail®: Celebrate the moment with your favorite sports pics. Check it out.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Updated Super Savings

The Menu for Kroger and Albertsons is up at Meals for Deals, also if you haven't had a chance to check out our Super Savings you are missing out. But if you don't know what your missing we put up an example of it on our website -Right now you can see all the grocery coupon match ups for Kroger and Albertsons. The good news is you can use it this week for Free! It's easy to print right off.

Monday, July 20, 2009


So I was in line at Walmart tonight, doing my weekly shopping trip, and I think I might have come across someone more frugal at grocery shopping than Janette. I was the third person in a line that didn't seem to be going anywhere so I grabbed a magazine and made myself comfortable. I figured Hey, why not enjoy this time? When I finished browsing my second magazine I realized... I haven't moved yet. So I got nosy and checked out what was going on. There was a woman at the front of my line with about 8 different sales ads. She was price-matching EVERYTHING in her cart. At first I was impressed, then I became curious- does she drive to pick up all those store ads- I'm assuming she lives in the same vicinity I do and I only recieve 3 ads a week. That's when I began to question the frugality of it all. The question became... would it be worth it? Mostly because the other stores are not anywhere in our area. I didn't have to think to much about it because I "overheard" that her total was only a whopping $ 22.00 after price matching and adding coupons. She walked away with a full cart of groceries!
Now, that is amazing. I almost handed her a business card, but I didn't have any on me. Of course I would have been more impressed if I hadn't stood behind her in line for almost 30 minutes. Janette, I think I have found your match!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I promise we'll be back in the groove this week, but I wanted to let everyone know that all of the menu's are up and running at Meals for Deals

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On my mind... or in my dreams anyway.

This has been such a busy week, I have had very little time to be on the computer lately. This is VBS week for us and although it's been great, it has been exhausting!!!

But I thought I would share with you, that although I haven't been here to share any kind of meals or deals lately, frugality is never far from my mind...

A few nights ago, I went on my weekly shopping trip and got all of the usual deals. I almost always buy the store brand items unless the brand name is on sale, or I have a super coupon to use with it. This time I had two coupons for cottage cheese and as I stood in front of the dairy aisle I contemplated the savings compared with the store brand. I finally decided that if I bought the smaller size it would be worth it. I bought my things and went about my day.

Last night I woke up from a dream in the middle of the night and the first thing that came to my mind was... Oh, no! I don't know if I even used my coupons for the cottage cheese when I checked out... and do you know, it bothered me so much I had to get up and check!

I know... I'm crazy.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yummy Strawberry Muffins

Ok, these are seriously the best muffins I have ever had. I love them, I love them. I even tweeked the recipe from the original and they still turned out wonderful. My children love to bake with me, so as you can see in the pictures, they were right there in on the action. I originally tried these great muffins when I was peeking in on the once a month cooking adventure (see this post) but the original recipe came from here. In my recipe I substituted the white flour for whole wheat flour (see note on bottom of post) and I used lowfat buttermilk instead of milk, mostly because I had it on hand and I thought... why not? I actually forgot to put the topping on it and they still tasted delicious. I had intended on substituting the sugar for honey, but decided against it at the last minute- maybe next time.
Note: I grind my own flour, although I think the whole wheat flour you can buy at the store is a better substitute than the white bleached flour, I think it has a kind of bitter after taste. The wheat I grind does not. If you want to see how I do it check this post out.

For more great recipes check out Blessed with Grace

Our Tuesday Kitchen Tip

I hate wasting anything. I even save things I know I probably won't use or eat again but I hate to see anything go to waste. This can be a problem in some areas of my life (like when I have to declutter my house) But it often pays off in the kitchen. Last summer I had a little herb garden on my porch, but I didn't get around to getting it started this year. Sadly I have to buy my fresh herbs but since you have to buy in bunches I always have way more than my recipe calls for. So my tip today is to slice up your leftover herbs and place them in ice cube trays. Fill with water and freeze, when they are frozen place in plastic bags and label. Labeling is important because it's hard to determine what's parsley and what's cilantro when it's frozen.

To check out more great Kitchen tips stop over to Tammy's Recipes

Monday, July 6, 2009

Once a Month Cooking

Last month I followed two friends on their Once a Month cooking adventure. If you have ever tried to embark on the adventure, you know the kind of planning that goes into making this day a success. The work is long and sometimes hard, but the pay off is big. My gal pal Elizabeth's husband works nights so her motivation is to spend less time in the kitchen so that she can maximize her time with her husband, so the one day a month cooking method really appeals to her. Jessica, her partner in crime just wants to have quick, easy meals on hand that she can pull out of the oven or microwave and have on the table without thinking too much about it. If you are considering trying this, there is a great website that will do all the planning and lay out all the details for you http://www.onceamonthmom.com/
After checking the site out and peeking in on their cooking day, I was very impressed. For $126.00 they made 30 meals which included breakfast, lunch, dinner and a few snacks. That's about $4.00 a meal... Not bad!

Here are a few tips they discovered along the way;

You need big slow cookers to help out.

A food processor would have been helpful in making the job go faster

Chop the veggies the night before

Coupon shop ahead, for even greater deals

Use one of the meals as lunch for your cooking day

The whole day took them about 12 hours, but they assured each other and me that next time it won't take so long.

Command Central Jessica checking out the recipe Elizabeth slaving away at the stove :) They needed bigger crockpots The end result... 30 meals, ready to go!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

For all you Red Box lovers, here is a new code. This one is good until July 7th. This is not the regular once a month red box code, that should come tomorrow I'll post that then. But if you have a little time today to relax and enjoy a movie check one out. 7HE79B

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fighting the Fat Friday

I know, it's not Friday... I'm a little behind. I'll blame it on the weather... see previous post... I would hate to get distracted and start whining again.
This has been a great week on my part for fighting the fat war. I have started a work out program with my husband, that I don't necessarily recommend- but only because It's not the regular girly warm and fuzzy kind of work out that I'm used to. This one is called P90X an extreme workout- you might have seen it on one of those late night infomercials that only crazy people watch :) I have gotten up early for 6 days in a row this week, it's a 90 day program... we'll see how it goes.

My weight loss tip for the week is Drink ice water. I have tried to keep a large cup of ice water with me or sitting in the kitchen at all times. This way I always have a refreshing glass of water to drink, and when I walk by it I reach for that instead of a snack. Because sometimes when I think I'm hungry I'm really just thirsty.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Up and Ready

The Kroger and Albertsons menu and grocery list for this week has been posted on the Meals for Deals Website, we are still working on Walmart, but check back soon!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My life at the moment

I am so unmotivated and whiney when I'm hot. I know it can't be true but it really seems like this is the hottest summer yet, and it's only the 1st of July. I have not been able to motivate my self to do much of anything past 10 in the morning, I'm pretty sure a tornado has gone through my house and the sign that hangs by my door that says " Excuse the mess, my children are making memories" just isn't making me feel better about the situation. The laundry is begging my attention but my biggest problem as the time nears 5:00 is that I haven't started dinner, and even as I sit here procrastinating I'm thinking I would love to be lying in bed under a fan. Texas is just hot in the summer! and even in my air conditioned house I can't escape it. I know I can't put it off forever but I'll try for at least a little while.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kitchen Tips

So many of my recipes call for bread crumbs, and although I could make my own, I just don't ever think about it in time. I also think that bread crumbs are over priced. So what I do is buy stuffing. I either buy the off brand stuffing or I wait until I can find a coupon and buy it then. I have found stuffing to beat a lot cheaper than buying bread crumbs. The holidays are also a great time to stock up. What I like about stufffing is that it's pre-seasoned so there is no need to add a lot of extra spices to your dish.
I usually will take some of the stuffing and grind it up before I store it so that I can speed up those dishes that want you to coat the meat or vegetables in bread crumbs.

You can find more great ideas at Tammy's Recipes and Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays

Monday, June 29, 2009

For This Monday's menu stretching tip, I'll share the recipe from a great book I found at our local library.

The following recipe is from the book Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month by Deborah Taylor-Hough (Champion Press, ISBN: 1891400614).

All-Purpose Ground Meat Mix
(Makes about 12 cups)

This is a basic ground meat mix that can be used in many casseroles and recipes.

5 pounds ground meat (beef or turkey)
2 cups celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup green pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt (optional)

Brown meat in a large pot. Drain. Stir in celery, garlic, onion, green pepper, salt and pepper; cover and simmer about 10 minutes until vegetables are tender but not soft. You can use this mixture immediately during your cooking session or freeze in two-cup portions for later use.

Suggested Uses (be creative):

Add one package taco seasoning to two cups All-Purpose Ground Meat Mix (follow package directions for amount of water). Freeze. To serve: thaw and heat taco mixture; prepare tacos as you would normally.

Taco Potatoes:
Follow instructions for taco mixture (above), but serve the mixture over baked potatoes instead of tortillas or taco shells. Top with grated cheese, diced tomatoes, sour cream, sliced green onions, sliced black olives and salsa.

Easy Taco Salads:
Follow instructions for taco mixture; place a layer of corn chips or tortilla chips on plate; spoon taco mixture over chips; add layer of shredded lettuce; add diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, sliced black olives, sour cream and salsa.

Sloppy Joes:
In a large skillet, place two cups Ground Meat Mix, one (10 3/4 ounce) can tomato soup, two tablespoons brown sugar, and one teaspoon prepared mustard. Stir. Cover and simmer ten minutes. Serve ladled onto hamburger buns.

The All-Purpose Ground Meat Mix can also be used for: stuffed peppers, chili, spaghetti, and baked ziti (further recipes can be found in the Frozen Assets book).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Frugal Fridays

Ok, my frugal Friday tip might not work for all but we have done well with it. If you are looking for cheap/free entertainment, why not try winning tickets from your local radio station. In the past 3 years we have won too many things to mention from both my husbands and mine radio stations. My husband just today won concert tickets to Cutless and Toby Mac (one of our favorite perfomers) We have won Six Flag tickets, water park tickets, several concert tickets, park admission, the list goes on. We live in a large metropolitan area so competition is stiff if you live in a smaller area you might have even better luck. Here are my tips on winning.
Place your radio stations number in your speed dial on your cell phone. If you and your husband have seperate stations, have his in yours as well. Team up when it's time to call and win, have both you and your husband on the phone. Try to win at times when not a lot of people are on the road listening or call on the weekends- I have the best success on the weekends. Good Luck!

Fighting the Fat Friday!!



My thoughts this week serves double duty. I am notorious for sneaking in veggies where you least expect them. Thankfully, I have kids and a husband who will eat veggies without much of a fight. So we found something to do this summer, and found a way to connect our kids with with heathy food. Find a Pick-Your-Own fruits and vegetables farm. My daughters and I got the pleasure of meandering up and down rows of blackberries and strawberries and SQUWEEZIE ( Squash ). We found a place on the edge of town... 20 minutes away. Check out www.pickyourown.org. Near or far... pack a picnic, enjoy and connect with God's bounty.

Windows Live™: Keep your life in sync. Check it out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thrifty Thursday!

Just a word on money savers this week. I have two in diapers so this was particularly a deal for me, HUggies and Pull Ups are on sale at Kroger for 8.99/ pack. There are Shortcuts.com coupons for 2.00 off and 1.50 off plus paper couons for 3.00 and 2.00 off. SO let's do the math... 17.98 for diapers - 8.50 off makes is roughly 9.48. That's about half off. And let's face it, generic diapers just dont cut it.

Lauren found her dream laptop. Find the PC that's right for you.

Thrifty Thursday!!!!!

Okay!!! I had to share this. I dont know if you know... but coupons ROCK!
I went to Kroger tonight and my  money saving rush was this: My total was $127.58 but when I was finished with my shortcuts coupons, paper coupons , and in store card, I was down to $58.44. THAT'S A WHOPPING $69.14!!!!!!!!!! CHECK ME OUT!!! -Janette

Lauren found her dream laptop. Find the PC that's right for you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

We all have weight loss/gain stories and we are no different. We struggle like the rest of you to live a life style that honors the bodies God gave us. With our Fighting the Fat Fridays post we are going to share some of the strategies we are doing to take and keep the weight off. With it we will share helpful tips and some of the recipes we are using. We hope that you will share yours as well too. To begin this journey we want to share our stories.

Angela: I have never been what I consider a thin person- of course looking back in pictures I have to wonder why I ever thought I was "fat" -was it because I was heavier than some of my friends, at the time or just because society has allowed me to believe a lie about myself? I have always been someone whom believed exercise was important, I would way rather exercise than give up any kind of food, and through college I was pretty consistent with going to the gym. My weight struggles didn't really begin until I started having children. While pregnant with my first I put on 50 pounds while pregnant. I worked like crazy to take it off. I joined Curves, used their diet plan and lost about 25 pounds. Then with my second I didn't work so hard to take the weight off, and it took me about a year to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I joined another gym (my Curves had closed) and went regularly for about 4 months. Then I got pregnant again and never went back. That was a year and a half ago. So here I am. I'm about 30 pounds from my goal weight and have finally realized that I have to do something. My immediate goals are to start going back to the gym ( I am still paying for it after all) and to make a menu that includes at least 3 healthy low calorie meals a week, as well as snacks. I want to be intentional in all parts of this journey.

Janette: my weight loss journey is on going. As is everyone’s goal is to be healthy and be at a weight that is comfortable, I have and continue to struggle since I was a teen. I guess my breaking point is when I reached 336 pounds! I decided to have gastric bypass as a weight loss aid. I only lost about 40 pounds from that, not the typical 100, due to a botched surgery. Then, I had two back to back pregnancies and was careful with my gains but, with most pregnancies, gaining still happens. I realized that surgery was not the answer and have tried Weight Watchers and had some success, but not enough to keep me motivated. I have since joined a gym and hired a personal trainer whom I see once a week for now. I have lost a dress size and I think this was a good motivator. Also, my mother has lost over 100 pounds in just a year. It is a motivator to hear how much it has changed her life and how happy she is. My husband has jumped on the fitness bandwagon and he has lost about 80… I hate him… just kidding. I know my two beautiful girls should be my motivation, but I LOVE FOOD! I pray that God helps me to end my deadly love affair. I know there are people that say, “Well just stop eating, or eat less,” but food is my addiction, and I am an addict. Until Next time…

Janette turned me on to Hungry Girl. If you don't know who Hungry girl is, you should check out her site. I recently checked out her book from the library to get some ideas on low cal. dinners and snacks and have decided that I'm going to just have to go and buy the book. I actually bought it for Janette's birthday this past year, and she said she won't share :) I'm making this for dinner one night this week. It sounds yummy and I think it's something my family will enjoy too.
Crazy-good turkey taco meatloaf
1 pound raw extra-lean ground turkey
2 slices fat-free cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded fat free cheddar cheese
1/2 cup canned sweet corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 packet of taco seasoning mix, dry

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook peppers and onions for 3 minutes over medium heat in a pan sprayed with non stick spray. In a large bowl, combine onions and peppers with turkey, corn, and seasoning mix. Spread half of the mixture evenly into the bottom of a loaf pan sprayed with non stick spray. Later the two slices of fat free cheese on top of the mixture ( try and keep away from pans sides) Evenly top with the remaining mixture. Pour salsa over the top of the loaf. Cook in oven for 30 minutes. Top loaf with shredded cheese, return to oven for another 15 minutes

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen

My children love to help cook. Anytime they see one of us in the kitchen they drag over a chair and want to help in some way. Too many times I see this as a hindrance to whatever I'm trying to accomplish and instead of taking the time to teach them basic kitchen/cooking skills which really wouldn't take long at all, I will often disappoint them by telling them they can help "next" time. I'm working on a happy medium because sometimes it's just not feasible to let them help but sometimes I can take the time and we can all enjoy the learning process together. It was with these thoughts I came up with Kids in the Kitchen. At least once or twice a week I am going to plan a meal or a snack/dessert that can easily be helped with my my children. This way, since I'm actually planning it I will make sure there is time to get it done.

last week we started by making my famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ok, they're not famous, but they are really good. My secret recipe comes from none other than the side of the Arm and Hammer baking soda box. Trust me- They're the best. If you take them out of the oven a minute early and let them finish baking on the sheet- you will have soft, gooey cookies that no one can resist.

I am experimenting with using whole wheat flour in my basic recipes so this time they did turn out different than usual, but they were still good.

Delectable Cookie Recipe
2 1/4 cups unsifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup softened butter or margarine
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl, combine butter, sugars and vanilla. With wooden spoon beat until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add sifted dry ingredients. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

We make a lot of meals with chicken at our house. I love to buy the rotisserie chicken and see how far I can stretch it. I almost always use what's left of the chicken to make chicken stock. My issue has always been storing the broth after I make it. I'm not sure where I came up with the idea, it might have even been another kitchen tip Tuesday from long ago, but after I make the broth I let it cool a little and pour it into a muffin pan. This gives me 1/2 cup portions. I flash freeze them and then take them out and place them in a large freezer bag to use whenever a recipe calls for chicken broth.
I also use this method to freeze a lot of things. The muffin size is a perfect portion for so many foods.
you can find more great Kitchen Tips at Tammy's Recipes

Monday, June 15, 2009

Menu Stretching Monday

I love a great Pot Roast. Roast and mashed potatoes is one of those meals that takes me back to my childhood. Is there really anything that says comfort food more than roast and potatoes? We don't have it often, because it's not one of those meats that I find on sale very often, but when I can get a hold of it, we try to stretch it as far as possible. Here are a few ways to make that happen.

To save money, buy a large roast beef.

Meal 1 Roast dinner

Roast beef with mashed potatoes and a vegetable. You can prepare this in the slow cooker.

Meal 2 Sandwiches

Make hot roast beef sandwiches on wheat bread with fresh corn. You can use some of the gravy from the roast the night before to place on sandwiches.

Meal 3
BBQ Roast Beef

Chop up the remaining roast beef. Mix with sauted onions and peppers and 1 cup catsup, 2 Tbsp vinegar, 2 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 tbsp mustard to make barbecue sandwiches

Friday, June 12, 2009

Frugal Friday

One of my favorite household chores is to vacuum the carpet. I love that just vacuumed look- you know with the nice clean stripes. I really just love a clean carpet, I used to be a little bit of a clean carpet freak until the addition of pets and three children into our family, then I had to realize that LIFE HAPPENS! So my frugal Friday tip is my favorite carpet and any stain solution. In a spray bottle I place equal amounts of white vinegar, laundry soap and twice as much warm water. Spray on stain and blot up. I have seen different amounts of this same formula used but this is what works for me.
I also use Barefoot Lass's website for other great stain remover ideas.
Check out Life as a Mom for other great frugal ideas.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Face Lift

Meals for Deals is our baby. We want it to do well, and we really want it to be helpful to those who visit and use our site. We are by no means website experts so everything we have done has been trial and error, and we have had to learn a lot along the way. But we feel it's time for a face lift. We're not sure what that really means but we want our site to be inviting and easy to understand and navigate. If you get a second would you please check out the possible new home page and take our poll to tell us what you think.

Monday, June 8, 2009

This week on Menu Stretching Monday we are featuring Roasted Chicken. I believe this is one of our cheapest meals that we make. I will buy a Rotisserie chicken from Walmart for $4.99 and I can usually stretch it for 3 meals. You can really save some money if you roast your own chicken. Walmart sells raw whole chickens 2 in a pack for about the same price. Or you can buy them seperatly too.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use roasted chicken.

Meal 1 Roasted chicken

Roast a chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken. Serve chicken with a baked potato and some vegetables.

Meal 2 Chicken noodle soup

put the remaining chicken (the whole carcass) in a large pot and cover it with water just to the top of the chicken- adding a sprig of rosemary (optional), some carrots, an onion, celery- or whatever you have on hand. Cook it until the meat practically falls off the bone. Strain meat, bones and veggies. Place chicken on plate and throw out the rest. Save about 4 -5 cups of broth for future use. Place 2 cups of wide egg noodles into remaining broth with 2 cups chicken. Add vegetables of your choice I usually use onion, celery, carrots. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add thyme and any other seasonings you enjoy. Sometimes I throw in half a cup of uncooked rice.

Meal 3 Chicken potpie

In a medium mixing bowl, mix remaining chicken with 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can cream of potato soup, 1 bag mixed vegetables and salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Cover with pie crust, or make your own crust out of Bisquick. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min. Or until crust is brown.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Kroger Site

There is a new site called Bringing Hope to the Table and it is just like Cellfire , P&G esaver and Shortcuts where you can add e-coupons directly to your shopping card for Kroger. I checked it out and there are some pretty cool coupons available. Grab your Kroger card, you'll need it to get signed up.
If you are not familiar with e-coupons you can get more info on our website under Coupons 101.
All I have to say is I love them!

Thanks Delicious Mom

SONIC.... Need I Say More?

Did you know that TONIGHT Sonic Drive-ins are giving away free root beer floats to kick off summer? Stuff always tastes better when its free!
Hey Did you know that Arby's is starting a new promotion during the summer? Every Wednesday Arby's is giving away a free premium menu item. No purchase necessary. See your local store for details! Happy Eatings!

June 3rd - Free FruiTea with any sandwich purchase
June 10th - Free Roast Chicken club with any soft drink purchase
June 17th - Free Regular Sidekicker with any sandwich purchase
June 24th -Free Regular Roast Beef with any soft drink purchase

July 1st - Free Regular Beef ‘n Cheddar with any soft drink purchase
July 8th - Free Orange Cream Swirl shake with any sandwich purchase
July 15th - Free Regular Roast Beef with any soft drink purchase
July 22nd - Free Roastburger with any soft drink purchase
July 29th - Free FruiTea with any sandwich purchase

August 5th - Free Regular Roast Beef with any soft drink purchase
August 12th - Free Roast Chicken Club with any soft drink purchase
August 19th - Free FruiTea with any sandwich purchase
August 26th - Free Regular Beef ‘n Cheddar with any soft drink purchase

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

A friend clued me into this tip about a year ago.
An easy way to cook bacon is to line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, place the bacon on it and cook it in the oven at 350 degrees until crisp. This usually takes my oven about 10-15 minutes depending on the cut of the bacon. This has saved me time, because it doesn't have to be looked after too closely and I can free up my stove top for other things. Clean up is quick, and best of all I don't get splattered by any grease.

For more great kitchen Tips you can visit Tammy's Recipes

Monday, June 1, 2009

Red Box

Your Free Monday Red Box Code has arrived.  Red box is offering the free code on the first Monday of every month. It's only good until midnight tonight.

Menu Stretching Monday

We are starting a new series on our blog called Menu Stretching Mondays. Each Monday we will feature a recipe that you can stretch to two, three and sometimes four meals.
This weeks main recipe is:

Four-Bean Taco Chili

2 Pounds ground beef
3 cups tomato juice
1 jar salsa
1 can (16oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15oz) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1 can (8oz) tomato paste
1 can (4oz) chopped green chilies
1 envelope taco seasoning

In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with Cornbread.

Chili Manicotti

10 uncooked manicotti shells
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
1 carton ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg beaten
3 cups Four Bean taco chili
1 jar meatless spaghetti sauce

Cook manicotti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and egg; set aside. Combine the chili and spaghetti sauce; pour half into a greased 13"x9" baking dish. Rinse and drain manicotti shells; stuff with cheese mixture. Place over sauce. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered , at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until heated through.

Tip: If you like meat in your manicotti you can mix some of the meat mixture with the cheese before you stuff it. This recipe also freezes well.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Want to find deals in your town? Try http://www.americantowns.com/ . You put in your town and voila... you are linked to things to do in your area and at a discount price. Check it out. I found restaurant reviews and coupons to local places to try. Delicious!

Hotmail® has a new way to see what's up with your friends. Check it out.

Friday, May 29, 2009

More Free Movies

If you have a Rave Movie Theater close to you, You should really check out their summer movie offers. Every Tuesday and Wednesday through the summer they will be offering free movies in the morning.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rules for Becoming a Bargain Shopper

If you are serious about frugal living and just cutting costs in general, there are some tried and true rules to live by.

1. Nothing is a Bargain if you don't need it.
It doesn't matter how cute the item is, or how cheap the item is, or if you will one day find a use for it. You are still spending your hard earned money on something that you just don't need.

2. Creativity can save you money.
Instead of spending money on movies, check them out at the library or go to local film festivals. Save money by carpooling, or biking to work. Make your own diaper wipes or disinfectant wipes. Be creative and see what money-saving techniques you come up with.

3. Hunt down all the money saving benefits you're entitled to.
If you are a senior, military member, veteran, educator, firefighter, police officer, clergy member,EMT, government worker, student... You may be entitled to a discount at restaurants, amusement parks, theaters, museums and many other places.

4. Always ask for a deal. It can't Hurt.
I'm a big fan of Dave Ramsey and he believes first, in paying cash for all purchases, and he says that with the power of cash on your side you can almost always ask and get a better deal. I recently tried this with a medical bill. I had a large outstanding amount and called them and asked them if they would settle with me for two hundred dollars less than the bill if I paid them the rest up front. They happily obliged.
Also if you belong to any membership clubs check with them to see what kind of discounts your entitled to. If you upgrade with any security measures on your house or car, check with your insurance carrier to see if you qualify for a discount.

Bottom line, always negotiate when appropriate and a little common sense can save you time and money.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Frugal Friday

Check out this cool website that focuses on frugal living.
Living on a Dime helps you cut costs from  groceries to gas. Who doesn' t love to save money?

Check out more great tips at www.lifeasmom.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A deal on Sandwiches

If you are a Quizno's Fan. Sign up for thier Q club and get coupons and special promotions mailed to you. Hey- who doesn't like sandwiches? Click on link in sidebar to be taken to their tasty site.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If you haven't checked out the Kraft coupons, your missing out.You can get $.49 mayonnaise at Target this week! You have to purchase two jars to make this deal work.
$1.00 off of 2 Target coupon.
and $1.00 off coupon from coupons.com (you have to print it twice) Check out the coupon side bar.
(Print this coupon off twice!) After coupons and sales, your mayonnaise will be $.49 each. Mayonnaise is a great one to stalk up on.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

I truly believe that as a family living on one income, the quickest and easiest way to cut cost is at the grocery store. When I first became a stay at home mom, I had to find ways to do this. I was very blessed at the time to have many wonderful women who gave me great advice on how to manage my household. The one thing that has stuck with me is to always have a menu planned. At first I planned my menus a month in advance. This was helpful in long range planning and I only had to do it once a month, but then after being introduced to the world of coupons, CVS, Walgreens and working the grocery store ads, I realized that we could eat better and I could save more money on a weekly basis if I planned around the store ads.
So here is our menu for the week. I thought I would join up with orgjunkie for their weekly menu round up. If you use our meals for deals website then you'll recognize some of these meals from our menu last week.

*Iowa Pork Steak

Almond Green Beans

*California Chicken

Baked Potato

Garden Salad

*Hamburger Pie

Dinner Rolls

*Slow Cooked Savory Pot Roast

Dinner Rolls

*Homemade Pizza


                                         Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program
Half Price books wants to Feed Your Brain. During the months of June and July children can earn a $3 gift card each week for reading 15 minutes a day. Check out the Details Here

A Free lunch on DiGiorno!

The new DiGiorno Flatbread melts are here.
The first 100,000 people to register will get a coupon mailed to them for a free flatbread melt. Check it out here Coupons will arrive in 6-8 weeks.