Thursday, February 25, 2010

Watcha Gonna do With a Cowboy Casserole

Ok, so everyone has commented on my facebook about wanting the recipe for cowboy casserole. Here you are. It is easy PEASY.

First step, dust off your crock pot!


1 Medium Onion (peeled and diced)
7 Medium Potatoes (peeled and sliced, i usually cut the potatoe in half lengthwise and then slice them into half inch thick disks, if you cut it too thin all the potatoes will turn into mush)
2 Cloves Garlic (I use more because I like garlic)
1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 can of kidney beans drained
1 can diced tomatoes + 2 tbl flour or instead a can of tomato soup
salt and pepper


Dump everything in the crock pot and stir. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Monday, February 15, 2010

To Breath or Not to Breathe

2 Quick tips for those savvy savers out there. First of all, if you don't mind using generic over the counter meds, Walgreens has all of their store brand meds buy1 get1 free. You can stock up now and not have to buy for awhile. I saved about 25 bucks by buying 1 each of the children's Wal-Dryl, grown up Ibuprofen, baby Ibuprofen, and kids Acetemetaphin.

Also, if any of you use Advair Diskus, you can print out one $10 off coupon per month to save on whatever your insurance doesn't cover. Since for me it costs $75 bucks after insurance, every little bit helps.

Am I obsessed, maybe slightly. This is sort of like a fun game. Figuring out the cheapest way to get things done, and it pays off in the long run.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

First Big Couponing Adventure

So I think I would call my first big couponing adventure a success. I saved $19.31 at Jewel alone. Check out what I got.

First of all they had select Kellog's cereals for $1.88 per box. Luckily I had a manufacturer coupon for $1.00 off 2 boxes. Walking away with 2 boxes of cereal for $1.38 per box. For those of you who buy cereal, you know thats super duper cheap. Cereal usually runs about $3 per box.

Then they had Red Gold canned tomatoes for $10.00 for 10 cans. I had a coupon for $1.00 off 3 cans. So I got 6 cans for $4. Normally they are $1.75 a can. I got them for $.67 a can.

Danactive was on sale for $2.00 a pack, and I had a coupon for $.75 off.

Pampers wipes were on sale for $1.99 and I had a $.50 coupon. I bought 2 and used 2 MC.

Lastly I bought a package of Jewel Diapers which were $7.99 with a $4.00 coupon. $3.99 for a pack of diapers? That's right. Apparently the cashier's son did a science project testing the absorbency of different brands of diapers. Apparently, Jewel had the best absorbency. I win.

What I spent, before tax: $16.29
Savings with preferred card and coupons:$19.31

I saved more than I spent. I call that a success.

Plus I stopped at Meijer and grabbed deodorant that was on sale and used a B1G1 coupon.

I also got dogfood at Petsmart on sale for $28 dollars and they had one of those peel and stick coupons for another $3 dollars off.

This morning I used 3 bucks register rewards at Walgreens to buy 3 newspapers. I spent $1.99 on 3 sunday papers.

I'd say for my first weekend, that is not too shabby at all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A New Challenge

So, here I go being the suburban housewife/mom, but I'm going to make a new challenge for myself. I recently attended the Community Christian Church Generosity Conference, where I learned some basics on couponing, stockpiling, and just generally saving money at the store. I am going to give couponing a real shot for 6 months. If in 6 months, my savings are significant, I will carry it forward. If not, I will revert to my previous habits.

One thing I do have to say about couponing in general, is that start up is time consuming. I followed some of the tips from the conference, which was Saturday, and am still in the process of clipping and organizing. Today is Friday. I will throw out there, that I have 2 sicklings to care for, and one little boy that is extremely clingy and needy. I am still developing the best form of organization for myself, but I know that once I have it solidified, the clipping and putting away will be easier.

For those of you interested in starting, I learned some valuable tips from Laura Webber, whose blog can be found at She is also the great lady that spoke at the conference. Here are a couple of tips she gave us that never occurred to me.

1.The rules of coupons are one coupon per item. This means that if you have 5 coupons, and buy 5 items, you can use one coupon on each of these. Meaning, if there is a great sale, STOCK UP while the stuff is cheap.

2.Get one paper per person in your family on Sunday to get multiples of the coupons you will use most for your stock up items.

3.Read other couponer blogs for deals. One local to Illinois that she shared was (This one is great as it shows the good deals and coupons that are hot around here.)

4.Walgreens and CVS are GREAT places to shop. I know what you are thinking, expensive, but both of them have frequent sales and reward programs that let you earn store dollars to spend at a later date. This means you may get things for free, plus you save money using your coupons.

I'm sure I'll be posting on my adventure, once we have all been cured of the funk, as I lovingly call it, or as Jeremy calls in the scourge. I am laying in bed as I type this, home from work due to this mess that is infiltrating our immune systems. Hoping to feel better soon and to share some of my successes with this coupon adventure.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I thought I'd Never. . .

I've come to realize in recent days that my life is filled with things I never thought I'd do. Though embaressing, to keep myself accountable, I thought I'd share a few.

I thought I'd never drive a minvan. (I bought a Freestyle because its a wagon, but according to the state of IL its a van.)

I thought I would never let my kids sleep in my bed. (It doesn't happen frequently, but Miles was a bit more spoiled when I brought him home from the hospital, and I was a bit more tired chasing 2.)

I thought I would never own a dog.

I thought I would never work while my kids were small, but have come to enjoy the grownup time outside my house.

I thought I would never yell at my daughter.

I thought I would never leave my kids in the car for 30 seconds while I ran back into a building. (Only once and never again. Maggie left Link her snuggly security monster in my office and both kids were already snuggled and strapped in on a cold and rainy day.)

I thought I would never have to raise my kids without my mom around.

I thought I would never watch the movie Twilight.

I thought I would never see the day there would be an African American president. (I'm so glad I did.)

I thought I would never tire of my love of cooking. (Something about feeding picky toddlers makes it seem hopeless.)

I thought I would never smoke a cigarette. (Thank you Austin, TX.)

I thought I would never dance in front of other people in my adulthood. (Thank you martini night.)

I thought I would never do one of those side businesses that people do like Scentsy or Mary Kay, etc. I now sell Tupperware and am looking for clients willing to host parties or have a book party. (You know how to reach me.)

I thought I would never be the one with the tantruming kid in public. (Now I may end up throwing myself down on the floor along side her.)

I thought I would never be as happy and fulfilled and loved as I am now. And here I am.

Feel free to share some things you thought you would never do. Life is full of them, and rarely to they end up being the regrets we previously imagined them to be. I love my minivan. ;)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Self doubt

I am often plagued with self doubt. I try my best to fight it off, and for the most part it is very much self inflicted, and self-induced. It is hardest to deal with though, when you let something someone else said make you feel that way. I won't go into details about the situation that pushed me there this morning, but I feel completely discouraged. Why is it, that you can be so confident with so many things, but constantly and consistently question your ability as a parent? I adore my children, and feel as though they are smart,lovable and fairly well behaved kids. They are lively, for sure, but that is what a child is supposed to be, full of curiousity and excitement. But when I get one comment from some other parent, whether it be a suggestion or observation, I begin to rethink myself, and my kids. So how do you get around that? My daughter, imp that she is, is driven and passionate, and not easily wrangled, but she says please, and thank you, and is almost always sweet to her brother. When she sets her mind to something though, she can hardly be dissuaded and the end result is a giant tantrum, remedied quickly by a timeout. Once the time out is over, the fit is too. This is a success right? Isn't it? Then why do I feel like such a failure when I have to deal with these tantrums in front of peers or co-workers or worst of all friends without kids? I'm sad that people judge my parenting skills, and sadder still that I let their comments influence my thoughts on my own children. I guess that just leaves me right where I am for the moment, which is sad.