Thursday, October 30, 2008

Budget Rx

With Reed's recent breathing problems and multiple follow up appointments with our pediatrician, we suddenly found ourselves making frequent trips to the pharmacy. So we took those prescriptions to Rite Aid and received $30 gift cards for each one.

Now with gift cards in hand, I've been using these in two ways. If you are familiar with CVS and Walgreens, then you probably know about Extra Care Bucks and Register Rewards. Well, Rite Aid has a similar rewards program called Single Check Rebate (read Sue Stock's detailed explanation of the Single Check Rebate program here). If you look at Rite Aid's weekly circular, you'll notice some items are listed with the price after rebate and even FREE after rebate. Those are the SCR deals! And for additional savings, you can even use coupons on the rebate items you're purchasing. With the first gift card, I bought a few of the cold medications that were listed as free after rebate that week. So I will receive a rebate check back on those items for nothing out of pocket! And the beauty of the SCR, is that your receipt information can be entered online. Which means I can then use my actual receipt for other mail in manufacturer rebate offers!

In addition to the rebates, I've also been using the gift cards as a supplement to the grocery budget. There were a few items I needed during the past week in which I didn't have any coupons or there just weren't any real good sales to pair my coupons with. So those items I picked up with the gift card. Saving my coupons for later and helping to keep the grocery budget trim!

I've seen prescription gift cards offered at all the major drug stores in our area - CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid. And even big box and grocery stores with pharmacies like Target, K-Mart, Kroger and Harris Teeter. So the next time you find yourself with a new prescription or are in need of getting a new prescription refilled, check out what the drugstores are offering in your area!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blessed Assurance

25"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - October 27th

Seems like I've been busy, busy lately! To the point that I've almost thought about NOT doing my weekend meal prep. We had a fun and full day at the pumpkin patch and we were all just worn out when we got home this evening. And as much as I wanted to just collapse on the couch, I knew with the busy week I have ahead, getting things done now would save me a lot of stress in the days to come!

Weekend Meal Prep:

- Sliced & diced organic yellow onions

- Sliced organic carrots

- Sliced cabbage

- Steamed broccoli

- Chopped two organic celery stalks

- Made 1cup organic brown rice


- Buttered spaghetti squash with green peas & homemade wheat bread

- Had a late lunch after our trip to the pumpkin patch!

- Soup Night! I can't take credit for the soup (thanks Campbells!) but I will probably make some homemade bread to go along with it.

- Dirty Rice from fresh ingredients (using ground pork sausage) and corn bread

- Breakfast for Dinner! Waffles with homemade brown sugar syrup, scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese & bacon

For more meal ideas, visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Off to enjoy the sights, sounds and especially the FOOD at the State Fair! And to celebrate being another year older without any gray hairs in sight. Hope I didn't jinx myself :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Menu Plan (not quite Monday)

So it isn't Monday, but the menu plan still rolls on! I'm trying to get caught up at the office after being out for Reedy's unexpected admittance to the hospital. Sunday, I was just worn out and thought about not doing any prep for this week's meals. But my sweet man stepped right in and helped me out after the kids were in bed! It's always fun when we get to cook together. Of course Dave thinks I try to provide him with too much instruction when we're in the kitchen. Maybe I do! I'm working on learning how to accept help gracefully. Even if it's not done how I would do it!

Weekend Meal Prep:

- Dice & slice organic yellow onions
- Chop two stalks organic celery
- Make 1 cup organic brown rice
- Make & freeze whole wheat pizza dough
- Brown 3/4lb ground pork sausage
- Make a gallon of sweet tea


Saturday - Crockpot Tamale Pie

Sunday - My Veggie Lo Mein

Monday - Dirty Rice with fresh ingredients (used ground pork sausage), steamed corn & cornbread

Tuesday - BBQ Lentils over organic brown rice & squash (from a new to me blog $5 Dinners!)

Wednesday - Breakfast for Dinner

Thursday - My Birthday!!!

Friday - Homemade pizza (from Tammy's Recipes - Anne Jisca's recipe for easy pizza dough, used 2 cups whole wheat, 1/2 cup white flour)

Grocery Totals - Went a tiny bit over budget this week, but I squeezed in a trip to Whole Foods. Spent $104.25 out of pocket and had sales & coupon savings of $51.15. Check out my deals here!

Visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie for more meal plan ideas!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Grocery Totals

This week, Whole Foods posted a $5 off $25 or more printable coupon on the website (valid until 10/22!). I was so excited because I've been trying to incorporate trips to Whole Foods into our grocery budget. Plus there were a few things I wanted to get from there anyway. My plan was to have $20 left over after the other grocery shopping to devote to Whole Foods. I would spend $25 and use the coupon to make my purchase within budget. Didn't quite work out that way. I only had $17 to work with. So I changed my plan - spend $25, use $5 coupon and $3 in manufacturer's coupons from the Whole Deal newsletter. Once I was at Whole Foods, I asked myself, "Do I really need $25 worth of stuff?" I decided it wasn't worth it to spend extra JUST to use the coupon. Unfortunately, I still ended up $4 over budget (and $4 shy of $25). Oh well! It was a valuable lesson nonetheless :)

Grocery Totals:

Total spent: $104.25
Total savings: $51.15

Whole Foods:

1.7 lb organic bananas
1 loaf Whole Wheat organic bread
1 bag organic dried lentils 16oz
1 bag organic brown rice 32oz
1 organic chocolate soymilk
5lb bag whole wheat flour
organic celery bunch
2lb organic tangerines (sale .99/lb)

Total oop: $21.41


1 KR deli style cheddar cheese (sale 1.66)
4 KR shredded cheese (sale 1.66 ea)
1 Eggland's Best eggs (2.59 - .35/1Q doubled)
1 French's Worcestershire sauce (FREE Q)
3 Softsoap liquid hand soap (sale 1.00 - .35/1Q doubled)
1 Hefty Flex trash bags (sale 5.99 - 1/1Q)
5lb bag organic whole carrots (sale 3.50)
5 Honest Tea organic drink pouches (clearanced .99 ea)
1 KR jelly
2lb cabbage head (sale .59/lb)

Total oop: $29.05
Total savings: $20.00

Lowes Foods:

4 cans Swanson beef broth (sale .59 - .40/4Q doubled)
4 cans Swanson chicken broth (sale .59 - .40/4Q doubled)
2 Full Circle organic whole wheat spaghetti (sale 1.69)
3lb spaghetti squash (sale .89/lb)

Total oop: $9.58
Total savings: $8.58

Harris Teeter:

3 gallons HT organic milk
6 HT apple juices (sale 1.79)
3 Fleischmann's yeast strips (sale .99 - .45/1Q doubled)
1 Campbell's Select Harvest Healthy Request Chicken & Egg Noodle soup (FREE Q!)
6 Green Giant frozen boxed veggies - corn, sweet peas, sugar snap peas, broccoli spears - no sauce versions (sale 1.00 - .50/2Q doubled)
bag of organic tomatoes (quick sale 1.45)
red onion (quick sale .60)
bag of baby bella mushrooms (quick sale .75)
1 Butterball Deep Fried sliced turkey (sale 3.50 - .75/1Q doubled)
1 HT whole wheat tortillas (sale 1.50)
Smart Chicken organic chicken breasts (markdown 6.17)

Total oop: $44.21
Total savings: $22.57

Back Home

Thank you all for the prayers! Reed was able to come home from the hospital yesterday morning. He made it through Thursday night without needing any oxygen! We have breathing treatments to do at home over the next few days, but he is very much back to his old self! As soon as he and Dave got home, Reedy ran from the car over to his tricycle and started playing!

Monday morning we have a follow up appointment with our pediatrician. Since this is not the first time Reedy has experienced the wheezing and signs of respiratory distress, we'll discuss what it could mean long term. But we're so grateful he's back home and on the mend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Been Awhile...

Seems like I've been away forever! I was planning on blogging about a recent trip to Goodwill as a Frugal Friday post, but that will have to wait. This morning, Reedy was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital. Last week, he came down with a cold that seemed to have subsided. But yesterday, he started throwing up and as the day progressed, his breathing became labored. He's had a few episodes like this before. So when Dave took him to the pediatrician this morning, we expected they would send us back home to continue what we had been doing like before - Tylenol, vaporizer and fluids. But after the breathing treatments at the ped's office failed to raise Reedy's oxygen levels, they sent him straight to the hospital.

Thankfully, his chest x-ray was clear (no pneumonia). Most likely its some sort of viral infection. His oxygen levels were back up into the high 90s, but the ped said he would probably need oxygen overnight. We're being told he could possibly be released tomorrow. However, the ped wants to see him make it through a night without needing oxygen. So it could be Saturday before he's released.

Please say a prayer for my Reedy Pooh. It was good to see him getting back to his old self - smiling, laughing and talking. But I just wish he was home.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - October 13th

I had to stretch my brain a bit for this week's menu! Besides triples at Lowes Foods, the sales were just so-so. I had to rely mostly on items I already on hand. So here's our so-so, put together menu for the week. For more meal plan ideas, visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Weekend Meal Prep Items:

- Cooked 2cups organic brown rice

- Browned 1/2lb Italian sausage

- Diced organic yellow onion

- Made a gallon of sweet tea


- Organic whole wheat pasta shells with cheesy, white sauce & steamed broccoli

- BBQ Turkey Meatballs, organic brown rice & green peas

- Lentil Chili & cornbread

- Tomato & Spinach Pasta Toss with Italian sausage

- Baked Tilapia, organic brown rice & steamed veggies (didn't have this last week)

- Breakfast for Dinner!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Triples at Lowes Foods!

After what seems like almost a year, triples finally returned to Lowes Foods!!! My out of pocket amounts were a little higher than what I'm used to during Harris Teeter triples. But I think I got some pretty good deals nonetheless. My three trips combined:

4 Muir Glen Organic diced tomatoes ---> FREE!

1 Muir Glen Organic tomato sauce ---> FREE!

10 Smithfield Low Sodium bacon ---> 2.89 - .75/1Q = .64 ea

3 TN Pride frozen sausage patties ---> 2.00 - .55/1Q = .35 ea

3 TN Pride frozen sausage links ---> 2.00 - .55/1Q = .35 ea

3 Jet Dry Rinse aid ---> 2.38 - .40/1Q = 1.18 ea

4 Argo Corn Starch 16oz ---> FREE!

2 Meow Mix cat treats ---> FREE!

2 Smart Balance oil ---> 2.79 - .50/1Q = 1.29 ea

3 Arnold Natural Soft Whole Wheat bread ---> 2.19 - .55/1Q = .54 ea

4 TN Pride sausage rolls lb ---> 2.00 - .55/1Q = .35 ea

2 Lawry's Steak & Chops marinade ---> 2.00 - .50/1Q = .50 ea

3 Oral B Advantage manual toothbrushes ---> FREE!

1 Eat Smart Veggie Chips ---> 1.24

2 Eggo Buttermilk frozen waffles ---> 2.00 - .55/1Q = .35 ea


1 can Del Monte corn - sale 1.00

1 Pepsi 2 Lt - sale 1.00

5lb bag Gala apples - sale .99/lb

Total oop: $33.31
Total savings: $109.19!!!

In prepping for my first triples shop, I spotted on the Lowes on-line shopping site that Muir Glen diced tomatoes were already free with just regular doubles. So the day before triples, I got 4 cans of Muir Glen diced tomatoes and 4 cans of tomato sauce (did two transactions) for FREE!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.
~ John 14:27

As a full-time, work outside of the home mother, evenings can be quite challenging. There's so much to be done, but so little time. After being away all day, I want to scoop the boys up and give them great big hugs and listen to my Mom as she tells me about their day. I want to talk to Ashleigh about school. To hear about what she learned, the new friends she made and to help alleviate any lingering concerns she has about transitioning to big kid school. I wish I could come in, plop down on the sofa, kick my heels off and have the kids gather around me and shower me with hugs.

But the reality is quite different! Often times I come in loaded down with bags from a quick stop by the grocery store on the way home. And the invisible baggage from stress at work. Everyone is hungry and wants a snack, wants juice. The noise level instantly increases as three little ones are now reunited. But not long after playful laughter turns into, "Momma! Ashleigh/Clayton hit/touched/looked at me!" As I'm negotiating peace between the older two, Reedy is managing to comprise the gate blocking the staircase and heading upstairs. Or he's taking his diaper off, giving me a near heart attack by climbing onto the arm of the sofa and/or taking someone's juice cup/toy/pillow/bear and throwing it behind the sofa. Whew! And we still have homework, dinner and getting ready for bed.

Making dinner in the evenings is an important homecaring task for me. Dave works long 12 hour days and I want him to come home to something already made. I've recently taken on the personal challenge of preparing home made meals in an effort to reduce expenses and better our diet to include more fresh fruits and vegetables. While planning our meals ahead of time has been such a sanity saver, I still struggled trying to get dinners ready while taking care of the kids. After one VERY challenging week, I had an "aha" moment - prep the meals over the weekend!

So for the last two weekends, I've taken an hour on Saturday to prep for the coming week's meals. I dice and chop, brown meat, freeze dough, so that when I come home during the week, it's just a matter of putting things together. This small step has made such a huge difference in my evenings! There's a sense of peace about my evenings now. Things are still a bit hectic (but what house isn't with three kids!). But it's an improvement in this busy season of my life.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - October 6th

Taking time last Saturday to prep for the coming week's meals was a huge success! My evenings were alot less stressful and I was still able to deliver good, home cooked meals after work! Here's our dinner menu for this week along with my weekend meal prep. For more meal ideas, visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Weekend Meal Prep Items:

- Soaked and cooked dried organic black beans
-Browned ground turkey, diced onions & garlic
-Diced organic, yellow onions
-Boiled eggs
-Made organic, brown rice
-Made & froze whole wheat pizza dough
-Made a gallon of sweet tea (won't last long!)

Dinner Menu:

Saturday - BBQ Turkey Meatballs & fresh green beans sauteed with garlic

Sunday - Marinated London Broil, organic brown rice, organic NC sweet potatoes (with cinnamon & sugar!) and homemade wheat bread

Monday - Sunday Leftovers

Tuesday - Chicken Salad sandwiches on whole wheat

Wednesday - Baked Tilipia with organic brown rice & steamed broccoli

Thursday - Turkey Chili Mac

Friday - Homemade Pepperoni Pizza (Anne Jisca's Easy Pizza Dough from Tammy's Recipes - used 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup white flour)

Grocery Totals
- I did quite a bit of shopping in a few places this week, including Kmart for the Super Doubles and Whole Foods. So my receipts are pretty scattered about. From my budget spreadsheet, I know I spent $99.86 oop. But I have no idea on my exact savings LOL! I'll do better keeping track this week - triples is coming back to Lowes Foods!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Kmart Super Doubles

My trips to Kmart are usually marked by frustration from never being able to find anything in stock, dimly lit stores and unfriendly staff. Which is why I normally only venture there during the after Christmas clearance sales - looking for Martha Stewart Christmas decorations of course! Oh, and that one Christmas Eve many years back when I desperately wanted to take a bubble bath but had none at home. Kmart happened to be the only store open at 8 PM on Christmas Eve. Why I wanted to take a bubble bath at Christmas Eve and set out on a mad hunt to find some at 8 o'clock at night? I don't know LOL!

But the words Super Doubles bought me to Kmart once again! Never would I have thought our Kmart would do anything so cool as to double coupons up to and including $2 off, 4 like coupons with a 75 total coupon limit. But they did! I stopped in yesterday after work since it's right on the way home and surprisingly the shelves weren't cleared. I was a little taken aback by their regular prices though. I picked up the following:

2 Vaseline lotions 3.29 ea - (2)1.50/1Qs = .29 ea

2 Rimmel mascara 3.19 ea - (2)1/1Qs = 1.19 ea

2 Crest Kids toothpaste 2.99 ea - (2)1/1Qs = .99 ea

1 Dove Moisturizing shampoo 4.49 - (1)2/1Q = .49

1 Dove Moisturizing conditioner 4.49 - (1)2/1Q = .49

1 Sunsilk styler 3.00 - (1)1.50/1Q = FREE!

2 GoodLife dry cat food bags 5.69 ea (hmm, I thought the shelf said 4.69) - (2)2/1Qs = 1.69 ea

2 Whiskas multi pack cat foods 4.79 ea - (2)2/1Qs = .79 ea

Just those items before coupons totaled $55.xx! After coupons, I paid $14.03 oop.

Not bad savings and for that I'm thankful. But I just couldn't believe those few items were so expensive! I'm definitely going back for more free Sunsilk and a few other items. And maybe Sunday's coupons will yield other deals as well!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

So Far, So Good!

After struggling last week with getting dinners made in the evenings and wrangling the kids, I'm happy to report this week has been so less stressful! I've been planning my meals for a few months now but last Saturday I decided to take things one step further. I devoted one hour to meal prep for the coming week. And that one hour has made the world of difference in my evenings! I come in from work, make a light snack for the kids, get dinner started using my already prepped items and start on homework with Ashleigh & the boys. It's all the convenience of a boxed meal, but homemade! And Dave gets to come home to a wife that's in a pleasant mood and not frazzled and teetering on an emotional ledge.

Now, I just have to keep it up. I'm so notorious for NOT doing things that will make my life easier.