Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Introducing: Website Wednesday

Can you tell I like silly names? I was driving today and got to thinking, how many thrifty websites are out there? Well, probably quite a few. Then I thought, how many are actually worth their salt? I have no idea so I thought I would look into it and see what I could find! I can't say for sure how long this will run, I suppose until I run out of websites to share! This will include blogs, websites, whatever I can find! And if you have a blog about thrifty living that you would like featured, let me know and I'll check it out. I can't promise that I will feature it or if I do, when it will be but I will check out everyone who posts! And if you have a blog about thrifty living that you would like featured, let me know and I'll check it out. I can't promise that I will feature it or if I do, when it will be but I will check out everyone who posts!

Also, you may have noticed that I didn't post anything for Thrifty Tuesday. Well, I decided that not only does the title Thrifty Thursday sound loads better, but Tuesdays are just a day that do not work well for me to get on here every week so stay tuned for a new thrifty recipe and tip of the week on Thursdays!!

To start off my Website Wednesday I have to share the forum that introduced me to thrifty living because it's the reason I'm here today, at home, on a budget and having paid off thousands of dollars of credit card bills. Okay, maybe not the EXACT reason but it gave me the little kick in the butt that I needed to get to where we are today!! I found this website when I started my daughter out in cloth diapers. I couldn't afford brand new ones at $18 or more a pop so I was on the hunt for good used ones. I came across Diaper Swappers and was in hog heaven. Er, diaper heaven? ha-ha Around the same time, my work said to me "We understand that you want a work and family balance but unfortunately there is nothing we can do for you" and I told my husband that I was quitting my job so we had better figure something out (yup, they actually said those words to me).

Anyways, I joined Diaper Swappers and was perusing through the site when I saw a forum called "Thrifty Families". I went in and starting reading some of the posts and was immediately hooked. These women are absolute geniuses!! Almost all of them were mamas (or mamas to be or trying to be mamas) who were trying to live thriftily. I had already made a budget but when I looked at some of the budgets posted there, I was able to dramatically change mine which lead to our plan for me to be able to stay home! I started a great budget, meal plans, a super tight food budget, learned great recipes and made some amazing friendships through this particular forum. I can't say enough about the women who post on the Thrifty Families forum and I HIGHLY recommend checking it out to find some real women who are living day to day thrifty lives!!

Stay tuned every week for Website Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thrifty Tuesday!

I'm back after some unplanned time off. Next time, I'll try to give some advanced warning.

Anyways, it's Thrifty Tuesday and I have a super yummy recipe to share and a fun tip!

Thrifty Recipe of the Week

Broccoli and Noodles Supreme

  • 3 cups uncooked medium egg noodles (or whatever pasta you prefer) $0.99
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli flowerets $0.75
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup $0.89
  • 1/2 cup sour cream $0.50
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese $0.75
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Add broccoli for last 5 minutes of cooking time. Drain.
  2. Mix soup, sour cream, cheese, pepper and noodle mixture in saucepan. Heat through.

Thrifty Tip of the Week

 With summer and spring here, I started to think about pest control and I realized that all of the products out there to help with that are not only EXPENSIVE but also extremely dangerous. Going along with the theme of my blog about being thrifty AND green (I love it when I get to incorporate both!!) I did some research and found a really great site about living frugally and found some wonderful tips for frugal and natural pest control. I will DEFINITELY be trying these instead of getting ant catchers or spray to kill any bugs! 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thrifty Tuesday!

It's that time of the week again!!

Thrifty Tip of the Week
When you're taking a trip or leaving the house, bring a reusable bottle with a drink and a snack. Do not buy soda or snacks at the gas station. Believe me, I know how tempting it is. In fact, I just did it yesterday on my way to the doctor. The markup on gas station food is 30-40% above grocery store prices. On this note, don't buy those bottles of soda, the 12 ounce ones. They cost almost $2 these days. You can go to the grocery store and buy two 2-liters of soda for that price if you catch a good sale or buy the store brand. Once my husband and I stopped doing this, I kid you not we saved well over $100 a month!

Thrifty Recipe of the Week

Chicken Fried Rice

4 cups cooked whole grain rice, should be cooked the day before $0.50
2 chopped chicken breasts, fried $1.50
3 teaspoons soy sauce (pennies)
frozen or fresh veggies as desired $1-2
2 eggs $0.25
Total= $3.25-4.25

1. Make sure to cook the rice the day before. It works with freshly cooked rice but tastes oh, so much better with day old, refrigerated rice.
2. Mix together the vegetables and rice in a skillet, cooking on medium.
3. In a separate skillet, scramble the 2 eggs.
4. Mix together the eggs with the rice/veggies. Add the soy sauce and fry until the soy sauce is mixed in.

***The beauty of fried rice is that it's essentially Chinese casserole. You can use any leftover meat and veggies you have or whatever veggies you have laying around. Last time we made it, it had carrots, green beans, onion and peas.

Monday, May 3, 2010

What to do with all those bread crusts

One of the breaks I've given myself in the first trimester is to buy bread from the store instead of making it. I can get a loaf of whole grain bread from Roundy's for $1.94. Not the best price ever and I think I'm going to check out the bread store but a much needed expense while I'm dealing with nausea and exhaustion constantly. Prior to my thrifty lifestyle, I always bought bread and we always threw the bread crusts away because none of us ate them. The other day, I got to the end of my loaf of bread and as I was about to throw it away I thought, wait, there has to be something I can do with this! I put it up in the cupboard and decided to try to find a way to use the bread crusts. 
I did a bit of research and found some things that I could do with them. Admittedly, some of the ideas are not things I would generally do in my everyday life but I'm certainly willing to try it, especially bread pudding. Yum!! 

-Make bread pudding
-Make homemade croutons
-Make homemade stuffing
-Make into bread crumbs and use it for toppings in casseroles and other dishes. 
-Crumble and use it to make meatloaf or meatballs. 
-Make into bread crumbs, season and use to coat cuts of meat as a healthier alternative to frying. 
-Use as a topping for French Onion Soup. 

Non-Food ideas to use up your bread crusts
- In a blender add about two cups of torn up old bread crusts, two cups of water, and a table spoon of plant food. Puree the mixture then poor it around the base of all your plants. It will act like a compost and will inprove your soil and nurture your plants.
-Make play clay. Use fresh bread crusts. Put the crusts in a bowl, make sure the crust is in very small pieces. Mix with a fork, slowly adding SMALL amounts of water. When it becomes too globby to mix use your hands and knead the crusts until it turns into a strong dough. You can add salt if you like to preserve it more. Let it set next to the window for a few days to dry and harden. This is a non toxic clay mixture, great for even the smallest children who may try to eat it! 
-Feed the birds! 

What do YOU do with your leftover bread crusts? I'd love to hear more ideas! 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How lost I am without my weekly menu!

For the last few weeks, I have not been making out a weekly menu. I tried the week we got back from our mini vacation but definitely didn't follow it. If it's not a food aversion, I don't have the energy to cook something. I actually broke down last week and bought bread. I was too exhausted to cook. It's so pathetic, what did women do 100 years ago? They baked their gol-darn bread at 5 AM. What am I doing? Laying around bemoaning my every-minute-of-the-day-but-morning sickness and complete exhaustion. And here I am, I was planning on writing about how lost I was without my menu and what do I do? I whine.
Whining OVER! On to the real topic. Since I started on my thrifty journey, I have made a menu. When I was working full time, I made a 2 week long menu and when I started staying home and had the illusion of more time, I made a weekly menu. It helps me stay on track, I never have to worry about what we're going to have for dinner except picking something from the list I made up and I know what to buy at the grocery store. Nowadays, I try to make a plan but by 5, I'm so darn tired I don't have the energy to do more then cut up a banana and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Not exactly a healthy, well balanced dinner. My menu has always kept me on track and now I'm completely off track. What's funny is that prior my newfound thrifty ways, I NEVER planned ahead of time what I was going to make. I would usually call my husband from work and ask him to take something out of the freezer and then I would peruse recipe sites at work looking for something for dinner. I feel like I"m back to doing that and I feel very out of control. At a time like this, when nausea and exhaustion can completely control my day, I don't want to feel out of control about what we're going to eat. It was easy when I was pregnant with Olivia because I lived on toast and cereal (which sounds great!) and my husband brought frozen dinners to work. Well, in an attempt to be healthy, green and thrifty that doesn't exactly work!
What I think I'm going to do is to try and mesh together a sort-of-meal plan until the first trimester is over. I'm thinking of having a long list of meals that are easy-ish to make that I know don't make me nauseas, extremely easy lunches and rely on leftovers and my crockpot. I need to learn to be prepared for dinner by early afternoon because I know that the worst time for me is in the evenings.

I believe it was last week that my Thrifty Tip of the Week was regarding a meal plan. And that is no joke. I have gone over my grocery budget without having a meal plan and by walking into Costco with my debit card and a pregnant, hungry belly. BIG mistake. I cannot stress enough the importance of having a meal plan when you're trying to be thrifty. Meal plans can mean different things to different people. Some people plan what they will have every day of the week, for every meal. Some people, like me, like to have a list of meals to choose from. There are many different ways to meal plan and you may not even know what works best for you. Try a few different ways on but I'm telling you, meal plans are KEY in being thrifty!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thrifty Tuesday!

Good evening everyone. I haven't put anything up in almost a week! Very unlike me and I apologize. I've been so sick and on top of babysitting, being utterly exhausted and constantly's just been pushed to the side. I feel like I'm making a lot of excuses, sorry!! I'm finally over my sinus infection and the cold so I really am going to make an effort to post more often, as I usually do!

But, I had to make sure I put up my Thrifty Tip and Recipe of the week!

Thrifty Tip of the Week

Replace your light bulbs with CFL bulbs. I know, you've heard this a million times but it really does make a huge difference. CFL bulbs take about a quarter of the electricity AND you don't have to replace them nearly as often. I still have some CFL light bulbs from 4 years ago that I bring with us when we move! They are on sale constantly. I even got 2 for free a few weeks ago because I had a double coupon and they were on sale!

Thrifty Recipe of the Week

1.5 lbs ground beef $3.00
3/4 cup rolled oats $0.25
2 eggs $0.35
Ketchup as desired

1. Mix together ground beef, eggs and rolled oats. If you know a way better then using your hands, let me know!
2. Put in a loaf pan and top with ketchup as desired.
3. Bake at 375 for 1 hour.

*This is a lower carb option to regular meatloaf with crackers. When I was pregnant with my first, I had gestational diabetes and this had lower carbs because of the rolled oats.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Being thrifty while pregnant

Oh yes, not only is this my blog post for today but it's also my clever way of letting all my fabulous readers that I AM PREGNANT!!!! :) I'm 7 weeks along and due in December. So excited but also very nervous about being a mama to TWO!

Now that that's said and done, on to the real topic. How do you be thrifty and frugal while pregnant?

Seriously? Anyone know? Because I don't!!!

I crave junk food and fast food. It's terrible. I've spent the majority of my blow money (the money my husband and I get each month to spend however we want) on McDonalds. Isn't that just awful? All I want are McDonalds McChickens. Thank goodness they are on the $1 menu but it's not exactly thrifty and it's DEFINITELY not healthy! So here I am, 7 week pregnant and I'm too tired to cook or clean or do anything but stare blankly at the TV after I've put my never-stops-moving 1.5 year old rambunctious little daughter to bed.

So, here are a few things that I've come up with:

*HAVE blow money that you can spend on the junk you crave. Seriously, if you know you're going to spend it, you need to budget for it.
*Either add a little extra to your grocery budget if you can or be willing to give something up to make room for all of the ice cream you are craving.
*Keep snack and easy to make and/or grab food items in the house to prevent you from making unneeded trips to buy something. I just started watching a sweet little 3 month old baby boy along with my daughter during the day and he's a fussy sleeper. I get SO hungry with those two and today I had nothing I could just grab and eat except, thank God, a banana.

So far, I haven't done very good though. Thank goodness I had some blow money leftover from last month and extra grocery money so I stocked up on ice cream and I've been giving into my cravings. I've also been trying to find ways to fit my cravings into healthy foods. For instance, this baby loooovvveeesss chicken. For dinner tonight, I made a big leafy green salad with chicken. Very yummy. I also had a bag of rolls I got for free for purchasing something else so we had a big chicken salad with rolls.

I haven't made a menu for this week because I haven't quite gotten into the groove of how to cook with a 3 month old on my chest all the time and a 1.5 year old hanging on my legs while being completed exhausted. I guess I'd better figure that out really fast though right? :)

So what are your tips thrifty mamas?! How did you stay within budget while you were pregnant? Or, how are you staying within budget? OR how do you THINK you could stay within budget? I know, this blog is about being thrifty but I don't know it all! So I'm reaching out to you! What do you do when, in the middle of the night, your baby is craving apple juice and pepsi mixed together? (Which by the way, doesn't actually taste as bad as it sounds!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thrifty Tuesday!

Hey everyone. It's Thrifty Tuesday and I have a fun tip and recipe to share with you today.

Thrifty Recipe of the Week

Cheeseburger Casserole
3/4 pound hamburger $1.50
1 box macaroni and cheese $0.69**
1 can tomato sauce $0.49
1/2 red onion, diced $0.25
1/4 cup pickles, cut up $0.25
Ketchup as desired (optional)

1. Saute the hamburger and red onion until the hamburger is cooked through.
2. While the hamburger is cooking, make macaroni and cheese as directed.
3. Mix the pickles and tomato sauce in with the hamburger.
4. Mix the macaroni and cheese with the hamburger.
5. Mix in the ketchup and warm.

**I also make my own mac and cheese for this recipe which works just as well and tastes just as good!

Thrifty Tip of the Week
Unplug and shut it off! Look around your house. What is plugged in? Everything? What lights are turned on? As I write this I'm guilty of my kitchen light being on and my cell phone charger being plugged in and my phone is not being charged. Shut off the lights when you leave the room. Unplug stuff that sucks electricity when you're not using it. You could even unplug your's constantly sucking electricity to tell you the time (or in our case, show us a blinking light). This could save you quite a bit each month and over the year on your electricity bill. It seems oversimplified, but truly DOES make a huge difference!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

But, I love cable, I NEED cable!

(Or you can insert Satellite there too)

Do you *really* need it though? I don't doubt you love it. Heck, I still love it even though we've been cable free for several months now! Do I miss it? Not especially. Sometimes, when we visit my husbands grandmas house and I can watch as much TLC or HgTV as I want...oh yes, I miss it then. For the most part however, I really don't miss it! Here's the real shocker, even my husband, the "I-won't-live-without-cable guy"admitted to me a few months ago that he didn't really miss cable. Prior to canceling our cable, my husband was a die hard cable guy. We had to have wasn't going no where. No way, no how. I finally convinced him that we just simply couldn't afford it anymore. With our cable and internet, our bill was over $120 a month. And we didn't even have the super fancy cable! We didn't have HBO or Starz or any of that fancy stuff.

I did a little bit of research into this and found out that since 1996, cable prices have risen...are you ready for this?...77%. I found that stat, along with this quote, in a New York Times article:
        "Cable customers, who typically pay at least $60 a month, watch only a fraction of what they pay for — on average, a mere 13 percent of the 118 channels available to them. And the number of subscribers keeps growing."

My question is why? Why are we so willing to pay these prices? How many times have you flipped through the channels and said, exasperated, "There is nothing on television!"? I remember doing it on a daily basis when I was at home on bedrest while I was pregnant with my daughter. I ended up watching DVDs. I got through most of the TV show Charmed on dvd actually. 

In this day and age, there are so many more options to paying $60+ a month for cable. Many networks are putting their shows online so you an watch them directly on their websites. NBC, ABC, even Lifetime has shows on TV! And then there is HULU a completely free website that offers many popular TV shows for you to watch from your computer. My husband stays caught up on his favorite TV shows thanks to HULU. We even hook up our laptop directly to our TV so we can watch them on our TV instead of on the computer. 

There is also Netflix and Blockbuster. Both of them offer mailorder DVD rentals. I looked into both of them and for our family, Netflix is the better deal because they have FREE movies and TV shows you can instantly watch now. Blockbuster however, has a deal where you can rent a certain amount of movies each month from their retail locations. It all depends on what you're looking for as to what is the best fit for you. Both places start at about $8.99 a month for one movie at a time. You can get as many movies as you want and the time between mailing out a moving and getting a new one is generally about 3 days, in my experience. 

So, let's do some calculations here. We used to pay around $125-$130ish each month for cable and internet. Since we moved, we were able to get internet through a different provider so we now pay $30 a month. 

Old monthly bill=$125
New monthly bills: $30 (internet)
                                $9 (Netflix)

Total savings=$86 a MONTH
                        $1,032 a YEAR

What could you do with $86 a month? I'll tell you what I did. I quit my job to be a stay at home mama. Now, obviously, I had to do more then cut out cable but my point is that it's these little things you can cut out to help you save every month. Those things you think you can't live without? Well, maybe there are other options. Certainly, there are things that you will label as must haves. For us, that is cell phones. Do I realize what a rip off they are? Yup, without a doubt. But with my husbands work schedule, along with a few other factors that I'll share with you all eventually ;-) they are must haves for us. But cable? Nah, that got knocked off the "must have" list for us. It just doesn't make sense with all of the options there are. We still get the basic channels. We have up through channel 23 which most of the good TV shows are on anyways! You can watch your Idol, or your Vampire Diaries or your Dancing with the Stars. You still have those channels! Anything else, you can probably find it on Hulu! 

So let me know, what is your feelings on cable or satellite? Have it? Love it? Hate it? 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Welcome Friday Followers!!

Yay! I ((HEART)) Friday Follow!!

Friday Follow

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday deals

Okay, first I should say that I bumped my monthly grocery budget up to $260 ($65/week). The reason I did that was because my groceries now include health and beauty items and cleaning (TP, deodorant etc etc). I spent well over $65 this week but I had money leftover from the last two weeks since we were out of town visiting family. I thought about putting that in my snowball, but decided to keep it in my grocery money for stockpiling. There were some good sales this week, but not great couponing on my part. I still saved really good too. I also went to three stores this week instead of two. Well, that's not true. I sent my husband to Cub Foods with a list so technically, I only went to two! :)

I just went to get my receipts and cannot find what happened to the Cub Foods or Aldi one. That's frustrating, usually I'm more organized then that!
Purple indicates instore sales or deals. 
Orange indicates my coupons. 

Well at Cub Foods, I remember most of what we bought.
3 lbs of Organic Braeburn Apples
*On sale for $2.xx
2 lbs of No Name bacon
*In store BOGO coupon
24 pack of Charmin toilet paper
*$5 in store coupon brought it to $7.xx
3 2-liters of soda
2 lbs of Jennie O ground turkey
*In store BOGO coupon

At Aldi, I spent about $22 but that included buying several items for a family member who is currently unemployed. I did take that out of my grocery budget though because I didn't want to mess up the rest of our budget.

Rainbow Foods
2 2-liter Pepsi
*In store coupon made them $0.87 each.
2 bottles of Jack Daniels B-B-Q sauce
*In store coupon made them $1.28 each
Sun Chips
*Free with Facebook coupon from several weeks ago
Kens Buttermilk Ranch
*On sale for $2.00
2 Campbells soups
Barilla Whole Grain Shells- FREE (I didn't see this until I got home!!)
*On sale for $0.67
*Coupon for $0.55 doubled to $1.10
Barilla Whole Grain Spagetti
*Coupon for $0.55 doubled to $1.10 making these $0.25
Edy's Ice Cream
*In store sale BOGO
~3 lbs bananas
Driscolls Strawberries
*In store sale for $1.88
Romaine Lettuce
*In store sale for $1.29
Boneless Chuck Roast
*In store meal deal. Purchase this and get:
-Free 5 lbs of potatoes
-Free 1 lb of carrots
-Free 24 Egg Dinner Rolls
1 gallon whole milk
*Free with cereal coupon from 2 weeks ago

Total Saved: $29.81

So, all in all this week I spent a little more then $80. Quite a bit more then I would usually spend but I got some deals I might usually pass up because I had that extra money leftover. One of these months, I'm going to do a pantry challenge. That will be a fun month to blog about!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thrifty Tuesday

Hello everyone! It's been a crazy weekend and week at the Mama Christa household. We're all sick and my daughter has a bacterial infection in both of her eyes. Luckily we're on the last day of antibiotic eye drops. Have you ever tried giving a 17 month old eye drops? I don't think I have ever been more frustrated in my entire life. It's a work out though, I'll tell you that!

It's Thrifty Tuesday...even if it is Tuesday evening! I would generally like to get this in the mornings but I was at the doctors this morning and then I took a nap and then my three year old niece was over and her and my daughter have a love-hate relationship right now...needless to say, it's just been a crazy day!

The thrifty recipe of the week is:
Honey Mustard Chicken
3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut in half the long way $3.00*
1/4 cup dijon mustard $0.75*
4 tablespoons honey $0.50
*Items are from a larger unit and prices are approximations.

1. Mix the dijon mustard and honey together.
2. Coat the chicken with the mustard and honey.
3. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

It's so simple and wonderful! It works great by itself or on salads. Yum!

The thrifty tip of the week is:
Make a grocery list and meal plan based off of sales and stick to it. You can make a grocery list, no problem. In fact, I'm sure that the majority of people do. Where it gets tricky? Sticking to the list while you're shopping. Same thing with your meal plan. Very easy to make it, trickier to stick to it. Get your Sunday paper and read the ads. Make your meal plan and grocery list based on the sales that are going on. This will literally save you hundreds of dollars. I'm not exaggerating. We used to spend well over $600 a month on groceries and now we spend $260 a month on groceries and health and beauty items.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

And the winners are.........

Holly and Kady!!!

Holly requested the blue diaper and Kady requested the purple...can't get much easier then that!

How exciting! Both of you mamas gave me your email addresses so I'll be contacting you. I will be sending the diapers out early next week.

I will have other fun giveaways in the future and as always will continue with Thrifty Tuesday recipes and tips, my menu and grocery lists and just the life of a stay at home mama tryin' to keep it thrifty and green and not lose my mind one day at a time!!

Note: I used to choose the winners which is a totally random generator. I put in the number of comments and had it choose two numbers which were based on the comments. Had it landed on one of my comments, I would have rechosen. These names were chosen completely randomly. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Speaking of giveaways

I don't always blog about giveaways and I don't enter every single giveaway I come across but this one is just too cool for school. Mommy of 2 Girls is doing a giveaway for, are you ready?, THIRTEEN K'next sets! They are kind of like legos but honestly, they look WAY cooler! My daughter is just about at the age where building stuff is pretty awesome. By Christmas, these will be way too cool for her so I just had to enter! Check it out! It's a pretty fabulous giveaway!

Friday Follow!!! :)

Welcome Friday Followers! I love Friday Follow. I always get to follow some new, neat blogs!

Today is the last day for the TWO pocket cloth diaper giveaway. It ends at midnight tonight and I will announce the winnerS tomorrow. Oh yes, that's right, you have TWO chances to win...except you actually have MORE because there are FOUR ways you can enter! Can you even believe it? :) So go ahead and check it out. Then, when you're done, feel free to peruse my thrifty recipes, tips and the life of a stay at home mama learning how to be thrifty, green and not lose her mind One Day at a Time!!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, April 5, 2010

New thrifty recipe and tip of the week

Don't forget, the giveaway for the cloth diapers ends THIS Friday at midnight!!
As usual, I posted the recipe and tip of the week for Monday. However, next week, you'll see a change in the day I post it. I'm going to start posting them on Tuesdays and call it (are you ready for my cleverness?) Thrifty Tuesday. Oh yes, I know, you're blown away by the title! :) I will also make a blog post with them on Tuesdays, which I wasn't doing before, so that you know there is a new tip and recipe!

I'm so glad to hear feedback from you guys about how you like the recipes and tips!! You have no idea how excited I am when I see your feedback! Thanks!!

The tip is:
Plan ahead. When you are going to be out all day or going on a long road (or plane) trip, bring a meal with you. Pack a cooler with sandwiches, fruit, chips...whatever floats your boat. It's amazing how expensive it can be to run to fast food and not at all healthy! It sounds so simple and basic, but if you plan a few minutes to bring a meal, or even a snack, it can save you a ton of money!

The recipe is:
Chicken Nuggets
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts $2.00
1 cup Italian bread crumbs $0.33
1 tablespoon garlic salt (pennies)
1/4 cup butter, melted $0.25
1/4 cup skim milk $0.10

Total= $2.68

(Makes about 20-24 chicken nuggets)

1. Cut the chicken breasts into 1-1.5 inch pieces. I find the easiest way is to cut it in half and then cut it about 4 times, depending on the size of the chicken breast.
2. Mix the Italian bread crumbs and garlic salt in a bowl.
3. Mix melted butter and skim milk in a separate bowl.
4. Dip the chicken into the butter and skim milk mixture.
5. Roll the chicken in the Italian bread crumb mixture until completely covered. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all chicken is done.
6. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees then broil for about 5 minutes for a bit of crisp.

**This is a healthier alternative to most chicken nugget recipes that I found and ohhh sooo good! We all loved it!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!!

Happy Easter everyone! I hope it's a lovely, safe and tasty Easter for you all!

God bless!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Just when I thought I was a good thrifty mama

You can be thrifty in most aspects of your life but sometimes you have that one aspect that throws you for a loop. That aspect for me? Without a doubt, my kiddo. I have no problems buying her good used clothes...let's face it, she grows SO fast and if they are in really good condition, it doesn't matter. But holidays? I might as well just give retailers access to my  bank account. I don't necessarily spoil her, I'm not nearly as crazy about it as some parents I know, but I have to admit, it's my downfall.

For Easter this year, I didn't have a budget for my daughters Easter basket and I went in with my debit card. M-I-S-T-A-K-E! I knew I was going to get her a baby doll and a sand pail with the goodies. Yup, I got those two items. And bathtub crayons, and bubbles, and juice boxes (we're just starting to introduce juice), and two little onsies for her baby doll, and some crackers and jelly beans and a little chocolate (oh yes, I let my 1.5 year old eat very limited candy). Oh, and don't forget the adorable little summer outfit and 3 pairs of socks. Oops.

It's hard being a thrifty mama sometimes. We judge ourselves for every little extra penny that doesn't need to be spent. The guilt at buying a new outfit as opposed to an old outfit, or some ridiculous chip dip that was set up as a sample at the grocery store (I swear, this didn't happen...NOT), or an unplanned restaurant trip can completely overwhelm us frugal mamas and we feel bad. But who are we feeling bad to? Just ourselves. Are our friends judging us? Usually not because few of our friends are as frugal as us. And even if they are, they know, deep down, they have those weak spots too.

You know what else is funny to me? That a lot of us frugal, thrifty mamas have the same weakness--our babies. Isn't that funny? Of course, some of us mamas have other weaknesses. It may be our hair cut is at that fancy salon instead of Cost Cutters, or maybe we just have to get that manicure every month. I guess I'm here to say that it's okay! It's okay to have a weakness where you spend the extra money. Just don't break yourself or let it get out of control. Most of us frugal mamas are on a tight budget so work that into your budget. If you know you're going to spend the extra money, work it in. Make it work. You need to allow yourself something. For me, I like to get nice things for my kiddo so I think I need to work in an "Olivia's Stuff" part to my budget so that when I see that oh-so-adorable outfit at Kohls, I know that I can buy it without the guilt.

So, tomorrow when my beautiful baby girl opens up her Easter basket and she kisses her doll and giggles over the bubbles, I'm going to tell myself, 'that's okay'.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I [HEART] Friday Follow!

I've joined some fabulous blogs and gotten some fabulous followers from FF!

If you're interested in my giveaway, check the post below here to see the rules and how to join the fun!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Drumroll please....It's GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!

This giveaway is currently closed. Stay tuned for the next giveaway at One Day at a Time!

How to enter:
1. You must be a follower of One Day at a Time.
Leave a comment on this giveaway post. Tell me which diaper you would prefer (I will do my very best to get you the one you prefer) and tell me why you started using cloth diapers or why you plan to/want to use cloth diapers or if you hope to win the diaper for a third party, who it's for and why.  (1 entry)

You may have up to three additional entries by:
1. Sharing this giveaway on your facebook page (share the link with me!). (1 additional entry)
2. Getting someone else to follow the blog (tell me who!). (1 additional entry)
3. Blogging about this giveaway on your blog (share the link with me!). (1 additional entry)

You must have a new comment for each additional entry that you do.

1. Two people will actually win. I will use to choose the winners. If, by chance, the same person is chosen in both, I will choose again.
2. The winners must be within the United States and be at least 18 years of age.
3. This giveaway will end at midnight on Friday April 9, 2010. Winners will be announced on Saturday April 10, 2010. I will announce the winners on here and you will have exactly four days to contact me with your information. If you do not contact me within that 4 days, I will redraw a new winner.

Please keep in mind that all comments, opinions and views are strictly mine. I did not receive any compensation for any of these items. I purchased them myself. If you win the item and are displeased with it or have issues with it, I do not hold any responsibility for issues with the item aside from the shipping that I provide.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AWESOME Rainbow deals today!

For those you who don't know, Rainbow Foods does Double Days on Wednesday and Saturdays. They'll double 5 coupons, up to $1 as long as before sales and coupons your total equals $25 or more. Well since I discovered Rainbow Foods coupon deals, they are where I do my shopping (aside from Aldi). I'm a loyal customer now!!
Well, this week there were some fabulous deals!! I had to share. They were so great in fact, that I went twice!
Red indicates store sale
Purple indicates my coupon

First Trip
Kraft Miracle Whip
*On sale for 2/$6
*$1.00 coupon from Cub Foods ad (manufacturer coupon) doubled to $2.00. 
7 boxes General Mill cereal
*Buy 7 boxes, get $7 off automatically + 3 gallons of free milk
*3 $1 coupons, doubled equaled $6 off plus I had 2 $2 coupons so in total I got $8 off my cereal bill. 
2 Oscar Meyer Deli Meat
*On sale for 2/$6
*$1/2 coupon doubled to $2 
2.65 lbs of bananas
*In store coupon made them $1.88
2 pounds butter
*In store coupon made them $1.28 each
Duracell battery 9-V (husband called at last minute to ask for this)

Total= $26.10

Amount saved= $30.26

Plus, when I was leaving the store, Pioneer Press (one of our local newspapers) had a stand in the front of the store for a drawing for a $250.00 Rainbow gift card. They also had a deal on the paper for $7 and some change every month to receive Thursday-Sunday PLUS you got a $10.00 Rainbow gift card right then and there. I had been thinking of subscribing to the paper so I signed up and got $10!!

Second Trip (that $10 was burning a hole in my pocket!)
5 cans diced tomatoes
*In store sale 5/$3.50
2 cans tomato sauce
*In store sale $0.75 each
6 boxes General Mills Cereal
*Buy 6 get $10 off at register
*2 $1/3 doubled to $4. The cashier also had a $2 off General Mills cereal and he scanned that so coupons savings totaled $6. 
2 boxes of Ziploc sandwich bags
*1 coupon $1/2 (made the baggies $0.89 each!!)
Oscar Meyer Bacon
*In store coupon brought the price from $5.69 to $2.88
4 bags Kraft Cheese
*2 Buy 1 Get 1 free coupons
****Plus, with the purchase of the cheese and bacon, I got a coupon for a dozen free eggs. 
Activia Yogurt
*On sale for $2.00
*$1 off (a do not double coupon)
2 1/2 gallons of Tropicana OJ
*On sale for $2.49 each. 
*$1/2 coupon, doubled to $2 off. 

Total= $22.85
-$10.00 Rainbow Giftcard

Total out of pocket=$12.85

Total Saved= $38.63

Both Rainbow trips put together totaled: $38.95

Total saved between both trips: $68.89 (Although technically it would be $78.89 because of that $10!)

Plus, technically, we truly didn't need any groceries. Thanks to stockpiling, I could shop out of my pantry for several weeks. At this point, thanks to my build up of meat (Last week I got about 10 more pounds of boneless, skinless chicken because it was $1.66 a pound!) and making all of my own flour products, at this point all we do is buy dairy, veggies, fruits and canned items. I really could have gone this week without anything though if I'd needed to.

The power of stockpiling and meal planning! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Well, I PLANNED a thrifty move...

Don't forget, One Day at a Time's very first giveaway will be coming soon! Keep your eyes peeled. I'll give you a hint. It's for something green, thrifty AND I use this every single day. :-D

But unfortunately, that's not how it happened. At last minute, I did some quick calculations and realized we just needed to get a moving truck. Some people who we thought would be helping us move fell through and they had trucks so with what we had, it would have taken many, many trips. Luckily, there was a deal at U-Haul and after taxes and mileage, it only cost about $36.00. That wasn't the unthrifty part. Friday night, all of Saturday and Sunday, we ate out. In fact, we ate out so much that today, my husband and I feel sick from eating out so much! YIKES! And, of course, we were paying for multiple people because that's what you do when people help you move! You feed them. We were so grateful to my wonderful, amazing friend who drove 2.5 hours with her boyfriend to help us move. Thank God for them! They were here all day long and stayed over because we got done so late.
I calculated that we spent WELL over $100 eating out. Which doesn't sound TOO bad, but on Saturday we got KFC for everyone for lunch and when I got it home, the gravy lids were not on properly and I ended up getting STEAMING hot gravy spilled from my shirt down to my toes (literally) and all over my hand, burning me in the process. My hand was red for a good two hours. My husband went back, got more gravy and all of our money back for the meal.
So, I suppose, in the long run around $150.00, give or take, for a move isn't *too* bad. We got all the boxes from my husbands work, tape we spent $1.00 on and then the U-Haul and food. I budgeted $100 for this move, but my husband had lots of overtime and will have lots this week too so it made up for the costs.

I have to say, I also did something really unthrifty today. I went to Target. ::hanging my head:: I knew I shouldn't have, but I was just going to get some plastic eggs (not green, I know, just shoot me now), a baby doll for my daughters Easter Basket and some fillers for the eggs. $56 later, I had a baby doll, two onsies for the baby doll, Easter candy and crackers, plastic eggs, bath crayons, a sand bucket with the goodies, and 3 lbs of bananas. Oofta. I justified it by saying that my husband had gotten OT. NOT a good justification, I know. I need to be taking that money and putting it towards my snowball. Bad Christa!!

So needless to say, I was not a very good thrifty (or green) mama this weekend! I'm just going to move on and know that there are some rockin' deals at Rainbow Foods this Wednesday!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Oh yeah, I'm going there!

NOTE: Keep your eyes out for my very first giveaway coming up within the next 7-10 days!!!

Disclaimer: If you're uncomfortable talking or reading about menstruation, this may not be the post for you. 

Your Menstrual cycle. Aunt Flow. Cousin Red. Period. Yup, that's what this is allll about. I'm going there alright! You're about to learn more about me then you probably wanted to know!

I got my period when I was 10. That means I've had this sucker for 15 long years. Well, that's not necessarily true. When I was 18, I stopped getting it regularly. I would have it 2-3 times a year for about 2 weeks at a time (and the doctor I saw about it said that was normal, right...). Last year, after having my daughter, my period came back at exactly 10 weeks postpartum and I've had it regularly every since.

 I've used several different methods of menstruation products. The most commonly used, of course, were pads and tampons. I used those for yearssssss. When I was in middle school, I had an unfortunate incident with the Instead Cup. Are you ready for this? Even more then 10 years later, this ranks in the top five most humiliating experiences of my entire life. I used it because I had an unusually heavy flow. In theory, it seemed great. Well, I was at school and I had to change it...and I couldn't. Oh yes, that's right, I couldn't get it out. I absolutely PANICKED. After what seemed forever of trying, I had to go to the school nurse and explain what happened. She called my mom and my mom had to come get me. L-O-N-G story short, I ended up going to the doctor to get it removed. I never used them again. To this day, if I see an Instead Cup, I cringe.

I have recently discovered a whole new world outside of disposable pads, tampons and ::gulp:: Instead Cups. Let me just say that the reason I discovered this world is thanks to an allergy I formed to the chemicals in tampons and disposable pads. Every month, my period was an extremely unhappy event because of this.

Different Menstruation Products
*Note: I'm not going to discuss disposable pads and tampons here because I'm assume most readers are aware of what they are. If you're not, please feel free to post a question and I'll be happy to answer.

Reusable Menstrual Pads (aka Mama Cloth): This is actually what women used until the late nineteenth century. It generally consisted of strips of folded rags to catch the menstrual blood. These days, we have many more options at our fingertips. There are companies who make reusable menstrual pads such as Glad Rags and Luna Cloth. You can also purchase them from many work at home moms who make them in their home. I personally prefer to do this. I have purchased mine through GEM Cloth Mama Cloth, who does an incredible job! She makes three different kinds, two with wings and one without wings. I personally prefer the pads with wings because they stay in your panties MUCH better then the ones without wings. Here are two pictures that I took from GEM Cloth (note: these are not my pictures):

Menstrual Cups: Menstrual cups are an alternative to tampons. These are worn internally and are bell shaped with a stem at the bottom. The opening of the cup forms a seal with your vagina wall, allowing the cup to catch your menstrual flow. There are a few different options in the world of menstrual cups. Obviously, I already discussed Instead Cups which are disposable. However, since I'm a green and thrifty mama, the ones that are even better are the reusable ones. Two popular kinds are the Moon Cup, which holds an ounce of liquid and needs to be emptied several times a day. It is silicone and looks like this:
There is also the Diva Cup. The Diva Cup comes in two different sizes, based on your age and if you've had children. It is made out of silicone and also holds one ounce. It looks like this:

There are other options for menstrual cups, those are the ones I've heard of the most. I've personally not used one because of my Instead Cup experience, I'm afraid of using it (yup, I'm a chicken) but everyone I know who uses them absolutely raves about them! As for how long they last, the manufacturers say a year, but other sources say they can last up to 10 years.

Sea Sponge Tampons: Sea Sponge tampons are a completely natural alternative to tampons. They come in three different sizes based on your flow type. They should be removed at least every 3-4 hours and rinsed and last approximately 8 months. They are completely sanitary and safe to use. They look like this:

I have also never used the Sea Sponge tampon because I just recently heard about them. I'm seriously considering using them though! I also hear great things about them from people I know who use them.

These are the main types of alternative menstrual products. There may be others out there, although I'm not aware of them. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I would highly recommend trying out an alternative to disposable tampons and pads. They are extremely bad for the environment and really not all that good for you either! Plus, it's a much more cost effective option to your menstrual cycle every month. I'm here to tell you as well that the first time you get to use those oh-so-pretty mama cloth is really exciting! I love putting pretty designs in my panties. Sometimes I go through them and try to decide which one I want to use this time.

One more, unresearched but still true thing about these types of products: Everyone I know who uses these has noticed a distinct difference in their menstrual cycle--it's shorter and lighter. We are not sure why, but the very first month I noticed that instead of 3 days of a really heavy flow, I only had 2 (now it's a day and a half) and my cycle was shortened by an entire day. Nice!

Sources:,,,, and

Late night Friday Follow!

It's Friday follow again and I'm up late finishing up some last minute homework!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Tonight I watched the movie "Julie and Julia" and I was so inspired! I wanted to jump into my kitchen and just start cooking. Then I realized that not only is most of my food packed, but that I wouldn't even begin to have half of the ingredients necessary to cook in this fashion. This is some serious looking stuff. Plus, I definitely don't have the know how. But as I was sitting there watching this movie, I thought to myself I'm so sick of casseroles.

Ahhh....the casserole. The thrifty mama's go-to dish. You can make anything into a casserole or hot dish. Throw a bunch of ingredients together, a can of soup, stick it in the oven and voila! you have yourself a meal that has lots of leftovers. Oh yes, I am queen of the casserole. However, isn't it possible to be a thrifty mama and eat stuff other then casseroles? It has to be! I looked up the famous Beef Bourguignon dish and I have to say, other then the beef chuck and the bacon, the ingredients aren't as scary as I thought. I bet I could get beef chuck and bacon on sale. Actually, right now I have a coupon for the good bacon and as you know, I have boneless beef roast in my freezer. Would that work, I wonder? The rest of the ingredients, I could get at a somewhat cheap price.

Now, I'm not saying I'm going to run out and make Beef Bourguignon tonight but I think I might have to try it for a special occasion! Also, my new goal is to branch out from casseroles. Don't get me wrong, you'll still see me making casseroles and soups. I love lasagna. I also like the quick, simplicity of throwing together some hamburger, a cream of mushroom soup, some corn and cheese and having it taste pretty darn good (plus, let's face it, my daughter loves that stuff). However, I'm not going to become a casserole queen. I'm going to branch out and try new things AND I'm going to stay within my budget of $60 a week darn it!

So, here is my question for you! What is your favorite non-casserole and non-crock pot recipe? I would love to see different recipes that are thrifty!

I have a confession: I love froofy coffee drinks!

We're moving in two days and the majority of my food is packed. Sure, I have meat and veggies in my freezer but you have to take the meat out ahead of time. Which I did. When I went to Rainbow Foods, I bought two of the beef roasts at $1.99 a pound and I left one out. I know that doesn't jive with my menu for the week, but when you're moving, things change at last minute! It was easier to leave the roast out then to take the ham out! I put the roast in the crockpot late today and when it was getting close to dinner time, I couldn't stick a fork in even halfway. So we had a choice. Cheese omelettes or go out to eat. ::sigh:: You know I didn't choose the thrifty route. I didn't want an omelette! I wanted to go out to eat. Which is extremely unthrifty of course. I could have gone to the store and bought tons and tons of groceries for the $31.00 I spent on myself, my mom and my daughter to go out to eat. That's not too bad for three people, plus we got free pie because we waited so long. Does that count as being thrifty? :)

Moving is such a pain in the butt. I left out enough cupboard stuff to get us through until Saturday. My meal plan is shot to heck for the week because at the end of the day, after packing, tripping over boxes, stressing about the move and dealing with this horrible cold, sometimes I just don't want something on the menu! Being thrifty in this world can be tough. Following my meal plan can be tough. Not breaking down and going out to eat can be TOUGH. Obviously, tonight, I succumbed! Which is not always a bad thing. In the world of being thrifty, you have to make sure you have money for fun. You have to have some wiggle room and sometimes you have to go to Bakers Square, have a ridiculously overpriced and unhealthy meal and not come home and feel guilty about it.

That is one major lesson I've learned in my thrifty, frugal journey. Even as a stay at home mom with no income right now, I still go out and treat myself to Starbucks sometimes. I L-O-V-E fancy coffee drinks. LOVE THEM. So that is what I spend at least half of my blow money on. And you know what? That's okay. It's okay even when you're being super thrifty to splurge on some things. Should you let it get out of control or overspend? Definitely not! It's a good idea to set aside a certain amount of money for you to spend on yourself each month. My husband gets $40 a month and I get $30. THEN, for every 8 hours of overtime he works, we each get an extra $10. He likes to get junky stuff at the gas station. I like froofy coffee drinks. I'm thinking I'm going to start saving $5 or $10 a month because I want a Cricut really bad. It will take me a really long time to save up for it, and I would definitely buy it on craigslist but could you imagine buying something, even something small, after saving for like 10 months? How much would you just love that item?!? Quite a bit, I imagine. In this world of instant gratification, that is a feeling that people feel less and less these days! 

So, while I love staying home and I love being thrifty (really, I do!) and saving money, sometimes, I am going to go out to eat and get an overpriced turkey and avocado sandwich. Sometimes, I'm going to buy a ridiculously froofy coffee drink, and you know what else? I'm going to enjoy it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Updates and Randomness!

Oh boy, it's been a week since I blogged! I couldn't take it anymore, I am taking the splint off for a few minutes so I can play catch up! Thankfully, the cortizone shot is doing me a lot of good and the splint helps as well so right now, I'm not in any pain.

We're just a few short days from moving and I feel like we still have SO much left to do! We're trying to do this move as thriftily as possible. We're not renting a Uhaul and we haven't bought any packing supplies other then tape. My husband has been able to get boxes from his job and we've used the newspapers I buy for coupons and clothing to pad our things. I decided that this time around, I'm going to pack up my dishes, glasses, pots and pans and other kitchen items that I use on a daily basis on the very last day. Because of my thumb, I'm really not able to help with moving the boxes so I'll be doing the cleaning as my husband, his friend and my brother move us. I'm going to put our dishes and stuff into bags and boxes to be moved in the front seat so that I can have access to them right away in the new place. If all goes as planned, the only day that I won't be cooking is that day that we move. We'll order pizza for everyone. Although, I am seriously considering making up a couple of pizzas the night before. It's SO easy to make the dough and sauce and probably tastes better then take out! But I don't know if I'm that ambitious. Moving day, we'll use paper plates that we have leftovers from our daughters baptism and first birthday.

I know, this is the most exciting post you've read on this blog so far right?! :) Sorry about that everyone. I hope you're all still checking in even though I haven't updated in a few days. I DID put up a new thrifty tip and recipe for Monday (which I'm striving to do on Mondays btw!) and I updated my menu for the week. If you've paid really close attention, you may have noticed that my menu has been going up on different days. That's because I'm still working out what day to start my menu on. I was doing my grocery shopping on Wednesdays because of Rainbows double days but now I'm doing my Aldi's shopping trip on Tuesdays, which may change once I start child care but I can't say that for sure.

I have a pretty small grocery list for this week. I was pretty lucky about 1.5 weeks ago, my mom got us about 5.5 lbs of hamburger and I was stocked up on ham and chicken already so my freezer is packed full of meat. Rainbow Foods DOES have beef roast on sale for $1.99 a lb this week so I'll definitely be getting some of that! I have a rule not to pay more then $1.99 a lb for meat  unless I get free items with it, so there are meats that we don't often eat. Beef roast, steak etc. So my husband is pretty darn excited about the beef roast we'll be getting on Wednesday. I don't have it on the menu for this week though. He'll have to wait 2 weeks for it. Next week, we'll be going up north to his grandmas house for about a week so there won't be a menu for that week.

This was just a brief update. Now that my thumb is feeling a million times better, I'll get back into it! I have some more followers from Friday follow which is super exciting!! I'm checking out their blogs and I'm sure I'll be following them back! Just four more followers away and I'll be hosting a giveaway! Keep your eyes out for that!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Joining the Friday Follow!!

I found a lot of neat blogs last time and a few people found mine so I thought I'd do this again!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Severe Tendonitis :(

Hello to my fabulous readers. I have severe tendonitis in my left thumb and wrist and am currently wearing a splint. I am still going to blog, but as you can see, I haven't been able to get to it everyday. It takes me a lot longer to type and after a while gets painful if I'm typing with both hands so you might not see as many posts over the next few weeks. Please stick with me though! I'll still blog pretty often, maybe not everyday and once I'm all better, I'll be back in full swing! 


<3 Christa

Monday, March 15, 2010

Toddler (and adult!) Snack using ripe bananas

Today I was getting my daughter ready for her snack. As I pondered the great question, 'What should I feed the monkey today?', I looked over at my ripe bananas and had a brilliant idea! Maybe I"m not the first one to come up with this-I'm sure I'm not, but since I've never seen a recipe for it and I came up with it in my mind, I've decided I get the rights to name this super yummy toddler (and adult!) snack! (don't mind the towel--I was making bread at the same time!)

Banana-Butter Crackers

4 Graham Cracker rectangles, broken up in 4s
Like this:


1/2 banana, mashed
1 scoop of Almond Butter (or any kind of nut butter, peanut butter would be good too)

1. Mix the Almond Butter and mashed banana in a bowl.

2. Spread on 1/4 Graham Cracker.
3. Put another Graham Cracker over that, making a sandwich.
4. Enjoy!

This is a pretty healthy, VERY yummy snack. I tried it too and have to say, it was pretty darn good! You could sub the Almond Butter with any other kind of nut butter, I just used Almond Butter because we have a bunch of it. This is a great recipe just using stuff you have around your house!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Recipe had to share!

This afternoon I had a sad site in front of me. About 2.5 pounds of perfectly lovely bananas that were right on the edge of inedible in their current shape. As I looked at those bananas I thought to myself, 'If I make enough banana bread to use up all of these bananas, we'll have banana bread coming out of our ears!' So I decide to look into other options. I posted a request on a forum I'm on for ideas and received several. One of them was banana pudding. Hmmm...pudding? As in, stuff that's NOT in the box?! ha-ha I have actually been thinking about homemade pudding the last few days and thinking that it must be possible, so I decide to give it a whirl. So I look up on my all time favorite recipe site AllRecipes for banana puddings. I find one that sounds pretty good but it requires a double boiler. Quick mental inventory-nope, I don't own one of those. So I click back and search through the other recipes. None of them look as good but none of them require a double boiler. Hmmm...I bet I could make that first recipe work with this double boiler contraption. If my ancestors could make pudding without a double boiler, darn it, so can I! So I get to work.

Here's a picture of the final product (I'm actually eating a bowl of this AS I type out this post!):

(I know, it's not the most flattering picture, especially in that super chic yellow bowl, but let me tell you. This was SOO yummy! Much better then the boxed stuff. Plus, I know what went IN this pudding!)


Banana Pudding:

2.5 cups of milk / I subbed some dry milk and used 1 cup of mixed dry milk and 1.5 cups of skim milk
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup of white sugar
2 tablespoons of corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 sliced bananas
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon (optional)
****First thing I noticed was that the recipe took 2.5 cups of milk. Wow, that's a lot of milk. Not very thrifty. Then I think ooo, I just bought that dried milk as a thickener for my next batch of yogurt and I have a WHOLE box of it! So I subbed almost half the milk with the dry milk.

1. Mix milk, sugar, beaten eggs, vanilla, corn starch and salt into a sauce pan.
2. Heat on low-medium, stirring pretty constantly until thickened.
3. Put in fridge until cold.
4. Slice bananas, put in bottom of a bowl, put a layer of pudding. Layer this way until pudding is gone, top off with a final layer of bananas and sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon (optional).

Can I just say YUM-MY!!!! It's a little different from what the original recipe called for, and I think next time I might cut down some sugar to make it a tad more healthy. I think it would still taste very good.

New Blog worth checking out! "Take my Crap 2010"

Okay, this is too fabulous! This super clever mama came up with the idea to start a blog and do giveaways of her stuff each week! She's decluttering and definitely trying to use her old stuff in the best way possible! She just started it and in her first week, I actually won this:

Fun right? She has different fun have to tell a story, or tell a joke, or something along those lines. How thrifty can you get with free stuff right?!

Check her blog out: Take My Crap 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

More layout changes?!

I know, I thought I was done playing with my layout too but when I viewed My Fun Frugal Life and saw that she had THREE columns, I experienced some extreme blogger envy. I had been wanting three columns so when she gave the link to the tutorial that described how to do it at The Cutest Blog on the Block, I knew I just HAD to make changes again. I LOVED my blog layout before--well, the background and colors, but I really wanted to be able to have the three columns so I gave up the beautiful teal and red in exchange for having three columns. I can already tell you that the columns will be changing..I just moved some over to show that there are now three columns. I really think that it will help lay out things better and make it more pleasing to the eye. What do you think?

Thanks Sara from My Fun Frugal Life for letting us other bloggers know about this!

Baking homemade bread (without a breadmaker!)

It's been a few days since I blogged! We've been super busy with getting ready for the move in 2 weeks and just getting stuff done in general! BUT, I have been baking like a maniac! I made regular white bread AND yesterday I made whole grain bread...both turned out very good! The first time I tried to make the bread though, it was a miserable embarrassment of a failure! My bread didn't rise hardly at all! I still went through and baked it because I figured it wouldn't do anything but take my time. It tasted so-so but it was SO dense! I took a picture of it, but I can't seem to find it. I think it's because there wasn't enough water in the recipe. I tried to use the recipe I posted on my first blog about homemade bread and it definitely didn't work. See below for the new one I tried. It was great! 

Right now, as I'm typing this, I'm making homemade cinnamon rolls for tomorrow morning. I am completely obsessed with dough now and want to make EVERYTHING I can out of dough! I also made homemade tortilla's today for our lunch, and they were awesome! 

This is the white bread:

And the wheat bread:

Here's my recipe. I HIGHLY recommend it! :D If you want to make the whole wheat bread, use the same recipe but pay attention to the PINK text. 

2 Packages active dry yeast (4.5 teaspoons)
3 Tablespoons sugar
2.5 cups warm water (100 degrees F)
1 tablespoon salt
6-6.5 cups of white flour / 2 cups unenriched flour and 4 to 4.5 cups of whole wheat flour

1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in water. 
2. Melt butter. Stir in butter, salt and 2 cups of flourFor whole wheat, stir in the 2 cups of unenriched flour. 
3. Stir in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, mixing/beating well with each addition. You may end up using a bit less flour (I think I only used about 6 cups) but once it's slightly sticky, but not caking on your hands, it's ready. 
This is where you'll add in the whole wheat flour for whole wheat bread. 
4. Spread some flour on the counter and put dough on the counter. Knead and beat for about 8-10 minutes. (At this step, I added some flour into the dough if I noticed it was a bit sticky, which it was). It will feel wonderful at this point. It was at this point that I knew my bread was going to be fabulous! Shape into a ball.
5. Lightly coat a bowl with Olive Oil and put the dough in the bowl, kneading it a bit and turning it around to lightly coat the dough. Cover the bowl with a handtowel for about 45-50 minutes.
6. After the dough has raised, take out and separate it into two parts. Knead each one a bit and roll it out with a rolling pin. Roll the dough into a log and tuck the sides in.
7. Put each "log" of dough into a lightly greased bread tin and cover up for another 30 minutes. (The recipe said 50 minutes but mine was more then ready in 30 minutes).
8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn oven down to 375 at that point and bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.
9. Try not to eat it all at once!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grocery Shopping and Weekly Menu

I wouldn't usually do 2 posts one right after the other, but my daughter is napping, as is my husband so I figured I'd might as well put my blog up about my grocery trip today while I have the receipts out. I DID get pictures of my Rainbow finds today as well!


9 Boxes of Quaker Instant Oatmeal-FREE
*On sale for $1.99 a box, had $1.00 coupons that were doubled which EARNED me $0.01 on each box
Organic Honey
10 lbs of flour
*On sale for $4.29
Oreos (I LURVE oreos)
*On sale for $2.49
4 8 oz blocks of cheese
*On Sale Buy1Get1 free
2- 1/2 gallons chocolate milk (we usually make our chocolate milk but for this price, I couldn't pass it up)
*On sale for 4/$5
2 jars of peanut butter
*On sale for $0.98 each
5.34 lbs of bananas
*On sale for $0.39 a pound
Bottle of Apple Juice (usually we buy frozen and make it, but again, awesome price)
Jar of yeast (I don't think this was thrifty, I think I should have gone to Costco and gotten yeast)
*On sale for $6.24
Crushed Red Pepper
*On sale for $1.19

Total: $29.10

Saved: $47.03

So, this week, I had to get a lot of items I didn't have coupons for. However, I didn't buy bread because I'm going to make my own bread. Still, I think I did okay! :)

I spent about $21 at ALDI . I seem to have misplaced that receipt somehow, but it was a lot of basics at Aldi. We have SO much meat from stockpiling last week (I went overbudget but they were good prices and will save me a lot in the long run), plus my mom got us 5 lbs of hamburger. I'm thinking I won't need to buy meat for the rest of the month, which means I'll have enough money in my budget to go to Costco and stock up on the big 5 lbs bags of frozen veggies and spices that I love from there!

My Menu for this week is:

Hot Cereal
Cold Cereal
Blueberry Pancakes

Chicken Quesidillas (I'm going to make my own tortillas for this!)
PB&J and oranges
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and veggies
Leftovers x3
Ham sandwiches, chips and veggies

Turkey, Mashed Potatoes and Corn
Chilli x2
Creamy Chicken with Rice and veggies
Santa Fe Rice and Beans
Chicken, Broccoli and Pasta in a homemade garlic cream sauce
**I'm editing in Spagetti because my first attempt at baking homemade bread failed and my bread turned out very very small and dense. My mom had the idea of making garlic bread and since it still tastes okay, we're going to have spagetti and garlic bread!