Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip 9/30/09

I'm pretty tickled with my CVS purchases this week. I walked in with $8 ECB's, left with $10 and spent $8 in the middle :)(Prices are the shelf price)
Transaction #1:
Listerine Total Care - $4.49
Vaseline Lotion - $7.99
- $2.00 Listerine coupon
- $1.50 Vaseline coupon
- $8.00 ECB's
Spent $.88 OOP
Saved $12.00
Earned $8.00 ECB's

Transaction #2:
(3) Tide 2xUltra 32load - $8.99
(3) Dawn Dish soap - $1.99
Bounce Dryer Bar - $5.49
-(2) $.25 Dawn coupons
-(3) $1.00 Tide coupons
- $1.00 Bounce coupon
- $8.00 ECB's
- $4/$20 coupon
Spent $9.55
Saved $29.93
Earned $10.00 ECB's

Total Shelf: $52.36
Total OOP: $10.43
Saved: $41.93 / 80%
Earned $10 ECB's

So I could look at it that I only spent $.43 on the whole lot since I earned $10 back to use another time :)

And from Kroger: (2) 24can Dr. Pepper - $5.00/ea
(2) Ziploc Freezer - $1.99/ea
Salt - $.59
Hot Chili Oil - $2.89
Rice Vinegar - $2.29
Chips - $1.88
8ct. Tortillas - $1.39
1/2 gal. Milk - $1.89
(4) Chickens - $.49/lb (!!)
(2) 18ct. Eggs - $1.50/ea
Cream of Onion Soup - $1.32
lb. Carrots - $1.09
5 Organic Oranges - $.40/ea (sooooo good!!)
9 Gala Apples - $3.49 ($1/lb)
Celery Hearts - $2.49
(4) 2.5oz. Tuna - $.19/ea

Shelf - $64.56
Spent - $49.20
Saved - $15.36 / 24%

Dr. Pepper hasn't been on sale in ages. I was afraid Daniel was going to start going through withdrawal, so when it was on sale this week for $.20/can, I stocked up. Also, I was planning to get a pack of either beef or chicken this week off the markdowns, but instead noticed they had whole chickens on sale for $.49/lb! That was a TOTALLY unadvertised sale, I think it might have been in-store only, so I grabbed 4 (the limit)... I figured for 8 ea. of boneless/skinless breasts, thighs and wings, the price couldn't be beat. They got cut up and frozen this afternoon :) I was charged the wrong price for the oranges ($.75/ea when they were $.50/ea) so following their policy, they gave me one free plus the overage from the other 4, making them even cheaper. These organic oranges (they don't have "reg" ones right now) taste like they were just picked off the tree, much different than un-organic ones. I am really enjoying having fresh fruit to eat on every day. I have plenty of canned peaches and pears, but since I usually enjoy fruit twice a day (a luxury I decided was worth the money since we can afford it!) I like to have some fresh in the mix, too.

I could've made a trip to WalMart and gotten a couple things for a little cheaper, but the time and travel wasn't worth the gas money to me. I'm glad the overall total is down from the past 2 weeks', and I know I won't need to buy Dr. Pepper for a long time!!!

So Far, So Good

I am really tickled with how well I am staying on top of things this week. It's not like I didn't think it was possible, it's just been awhile since I've really applied myself to really do beyond the bare necessities for survival. I think both Monday and yesterday (Tuesday) there are 1 or 2 things that I didn't get crossed of my list, but they were small items. In the overall picture, things are going great! I even squeezed in a quick trip to CVS yesterday and can't wait to show you what I got :P

Last night while we watched NCIS I made myself get the laptop and this week's menu plan and figure out my grocery list for today. This morning I just have to clip coupons and I'm ready to go! I'm a little relieved that this week there aren't any major, huge deals going on... means less coupons to clip and a smaller grocery bill :P

All that said, I'd best go start the washing machine, get dressed, and get started on today so it can be successful :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 9/28/09

I did it! I actually came up with a menu plan for this week. It was nice that last week's menu yielded way more leftovers than I'd planned and I didn't get all the meals made last week. So I already have the stuff for 2 meals this week :)

Monday - leftovers
Tuesday - Beef Stroganoff, Green Beans
Wednesday - Bacon Cheddar Egg Bake, Fruit
Thursday - Shrimp Lo Mien, Broccoli
(trying this recipe for the noodles)
Friday - Baked Chicken & Bacon, Mashed Potatoes, Peas
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Sandwiches or Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Shrimp Lo Mien is one of my favorites at our little hole-in-the-wall Chinese place in town. Pioneer Woman just posted a recipe for Simple Sesame Noodles on her website, and they look so good I would eat the screen if I thought the flavor would come through! I have some shrimp secreted away in the freezer for a special occasion, and I think finding this recipe calls for celebrating. I have no idea if the noodles will taste good, but everything Ree posts to her site always looks good!! Now she just needs to post a recipe for General Tso's Chicken... that's one recipe that I've been looking and looking for but haven't found one that looks "right" yet.

Plans for This Week

It's MONDAY!! That means a whole new week. 2 new, clean pages in my datebook. Another day for the dog to bark at squirrels. I just finished filling out the to-do lists for each day of this week. Except for Saturday - Saturday is my "day of rest" from to-do lists and I do pretty much whatever needs done or I want to do.

I don't have a full menu plan for this week yet, but I'm working on it. It's on my list for today to get one in place! Last week we had a lot more leftovers than I'd thought about, so we didn't make nearly all of last week's menu. It will be nice to be able to carry some of those meals over to this week. It was very nice to have a menu plan, though!!

I am getting a late start on the day, having slept in this morning. The past several nights have been pretty short for one reason or the other. However, it's a most bee-u-tee-ful, breezy day here, and I expect to get everything done on my list today :)

Two of my goals for this week that aren't in the usual plans are to get a better storage/organized system for my weekly coupon inserts, and to get the desk cleaned off. The latter will be cause for celebration as the surface area of the desk hasn't seen the light of day in a very looong time.

My third and most important, gonna happen ASAP, goal is to kill the big green fly that keeps ZZZZZZZZZ-ZZZZZZZ-ZZZZZZing around here. The kind that clunks and thunks around the windows and lights and just ANNNNOOOOOYYYYYYYS the beejabbers out of me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Grocery Shopping with Daniel 9/23/09

It's a few days later than usual, but nothing has been normal this week until yesterday... and I spent yesterday doing general housework and getting the groceries put away :) By the time I remembered I wanted to blog, it was getting towards my bedtime and I opted to let it wait.

There were quite a few good deals on Wednesday. I didn't get to Kroger in the afternoon, so Daniel and I went after church. It is a rare thing for Daniel to go grocery shopping. Period. He would almost rather cut off all his toes in slow motion than to go grocery shopping. I've learned, however, that he enjoys it a little more if he has something to do - like pushing the cart. Otherwise he's totally bored out of his mind. So he pushed the cart and we both enjoyed our "date" in Kroger! And since he was along, the things on the list that were solely for him, I let him pick the flavors, kinds, etc. (like Gatorade and lunchmeat).

This is from a couple different stores: (4) 12pk. Pepsi - $3/ea, earned $3 ECB's @ CVS
(2) Cheerios - $.99/ea.
(10) Gatorade - $1.10/ea. (whew! pricey!)
(7) Barilla Pasta - $.39/ea.
1/2 gal. milk - $1.50
*(14) large boxes Jell-O - $.41/ea. (should've been $.27/ea.)
*(2) Mac'n'Cheese - $.59/ea. (should've been $.50/ea.)
(4) Campbell's Cream Soup - $.39/ea.
Log Cabin Syrup - $2.99 (it had a $.55q hangtag on it that I forgot to use!!!!!!)
3lb. Onions - $1.55
Head Lettuce - $1.45
*(3) Nestle Choc. Chips - $1.82/ea. (should've been $1.32/ea.)
*Nestle Cookie Dough - $1.49 (should've been $.99)
(2) 18ct. Eggs - $1.50/ea.
Pkg. of 5 Chicken Thighs - $.55/lb! (Manager's Special!!)
lb. Strawberries - $2.20
(2) lb. Lunchmeat - $2.99/ea. (Wow, great sale price!)
(2) lb. Bacon - $2.49/ea.
(8) Crystal Light To-Go - FREE + MoneyMaker
Apples, Oranges, Nectarines - $10.12/all
Fresh Mozzarella - $1.69 (Manager's Special - something I've wanted to try for a long time)
Kroger Salsa - $1.85
16oz. Sour Cream - $1.20
8ct. Tortillas - $1.39
Kroger Chips - $1.88 (not pictured)

Shelf Price - $148.56
Spent - $85.75
Saved - $62.81 / 42%

*Gaahhh! As I was going over the receipts, I realized that I should've gotten another $5 off my Kroger order, for buying 20 of the "buy 10, get $5 off" items. I went back over my stuff with a fine tooth comb and realized that the 2 boxes of Mac'n'cheese I was going to get for $.50/ea as "filler items" (to make it 20 items)... I grabbed the Kroger brand instead of Kraft brand. So alot of my really great deals didn't turn out as great as I thought!! Yeah, it's still less than full price, but still. That mistake cost me $5.18 :( Oh well, we live and we learn.

The whole total is up quite a bit, too, because Daniel was out of Gatorade and just about out of Pepsi, so we had to restock. The Pepsi was on a decent sale, the Gatorade - whew, when it's not on summer sale, it's not so cheap! We also got a bag of chips because the last credit card bill showed that it's a whoooole lot cheaper for me to buy a big bag of chips to send with him instead of him buying snacks here and there while he's working :P

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Debating Laundry Soap

Many of you probably know that I have been using homemade laundry soap for... probably most of this year now.

While I have loved the savings (it is mega, super, duper, amazingly inexpensive to make!!), I'm having second thoughts about how well it's getting things clean. When I first started using it, I gave the clean clothes "the sniff test" to see if they smelled clean. They didn't smell like anything, so that meant it took the dirty stink out of them. I was satisfied.

Previous to making my own, I was using the cheapest laundry detergent I could find that seemed to get the job done. It wasn't the cheapest, because those left the clothes smelling like dirty, wet clothes. In our married life I've never bought high-end laundry soap because of the money factor.

Lately I've started to pay more attention to how his clothes are looking and smelling after I wash and dry them. I don't know if I'm happy with the homemade stuff. But at the same time, I don't know if the high-end stuff will do better at removing grease spots, fuel-stains, so on and so forth.
The somewhat deciding factor was Monday. I had washed a load of his jeans and hung them out - they didn't camp out in the washing machine for hours or days before I got around to that - and when I got them in that evening, I noticed that some of them still smelled like stinky, sweaty jeans. With the extreme humidity we've been having lately, he's come home pretty gross smelling some days. And that's what the jeans still smelled like.

This morning I noticed the jeans he'd just put on still looked dingy-dirty. I noticed some spots that I hadn't paid attention to before, and I wonder if store-bought, high-dollar detergent would get them out, or at least any new ones. His work shirts get the run-around. It seems like I can't keep them clean looking... without spending hours on them with a scrub brush and stain remover, which I don't plan to start doing.

So yesterday I decided to give Tide a try. It was on sale plus I had some coupons, so while I still shelled out about eight times the money for the same amount of loads if I were to use homemade, I want to see if it makes a difference. I haven't used it yet, but I'm going to start with a load of towels and washcloths today. I've noticed for some time that the washcloths seem to maintain a gray-looking patch in the middle of them... and it's not dirt or stains from bathing. I think it's body-wash residue not getting washed out all the way. In fact, I'm 100% sure of this. Unless the pink Oil of Olay has a stainer in it, I used a white washcloth yesterday that very obviously had pink tinges in the middle... and I try and rinse them out good before I hang them up to dry after a shower.

I will be eager to see if there's a difference, and I will be happy to report back whatever I find!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weekly Menu Plan 9/20 - 9/26

Whoa. It has been so long since I've done a weekly menu plan, I'm surprising myself! But, I was determined to get. it. done. I even planned a few breakfasts with the hope that Daniel might be willing/interested in eating breakfast together a time or two this week before he leaves for work (usually he gets an egg sandwich and orange juice to-go).

Cinnamon Rolls and Fruit
Scrambled Eggs, Toast and Fruit

Lunch Options (mostly for me so I don't forget the ton of leftovers that I just need to eat)
Pizza (Sunday's lunch)
Marinaded Beef Roast, Broccoli, Roll
Beef Stew, Roll
Hamburger, Salad

Monday - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad
Tuesday - Showalter's Chicken Casserole, Green Beans
Wednesday - Bacon Cheddar Egg Bake, Salad
Thursday - Beef Stroganoff, 7-Layer Salad
Friday - Chicken Quesadillas
Saturday - Leftovers

Just Randomness

I finally feel like I'm getting back into things after this past week. I think it helped that yesterday was a wonderful, sun-shiny day... and I put supper in the crockpot first thing in the morning!! Yesterday morning was my 16 week checkup at the Dr. so the option of crawling back in bed after Daniel left was out. Instead, I took a shower and shaved my hairy legs (I will never doubt again - not that I doubted in the first place - that pregnancy makes your hair grow faster. Instead of being able to sneak by for 2 weeks every now and then, I feel like a gorilla after just a few days! At least I have the benefit of blond hair :P ) , fed the cats and dog, put supper in the crockpot, and away I went.

On the way to the appointment my MIL called to see if I still wanted to get together for lunch, something she had mentioned earlier in the week. So after the appointment I met her and we went to Ruby Tuesday's. We had both expected them to have a lunch menu (I was thinking a lunch menu would be good food for a lesser price), but alas, they only have one menu. The food was still good!! After that we went by Goodwill and I found 2 maternity tops to add to my meager collection. I have a couple shirts that will be great for a couple months from now, but my supply of things that fit right now and don't look so super-baggy is kinda skimpy. I'm tickled to have some maternity shirts to wear now :)

This afternoon I've been brainstorming for next week's menu. I seriously need to do a menu plan because all I've been coming up with are blanks lately. Last night it was beef stew, tonight it was hamburgers, brown buttered potatoes and green beans. I'm in the mood for "different" or "new" lately. Maybe I'm just being too lazy to make do with what I have on hand! I really, really must go through the meat freezer and see exactly what I have in there. I know it's not much.

I have a couple idea's for next week, and I've written them down so I don't forget them. If you're Menu Plan Monday posts get lots of hits here soon, you'll know it's me looking for ideas :)

Last night I very much on a whim mixed up a cheesecake. But instead of a cheesecake I had to make it in 2 pie pans because I realized my springform pan got packed up a couple weeks ago. We had some with our lunch today, but I think I will freeze the 2nd pie so we don't get sick and tired of it, or pig out on it and gain 100 pounds. This afternoon I spent some time cleaning up the kitchen from the cake making, put a batch of French Bread on the dough cycle in the bread machine, and made supper.

After supper I baked the French Bread in 2 loaf pans and cleaned up the kitchen *gasp!* again. It will be so nice to not have dirty dishes staring at me Monday morning! I've often thought that it would be nice to get into a routine of unloading a clean dishwasher in the mornings, then filling it up throughout the day and ending the day with a clean kitchen, instead of cleaning up the kitchen in the morning and going to bed with it dirty.

And if you see words that are totally misspelled or don't make sense, I don't know what is going on, but there seems to be some miscommunication between my brain and fingers this evening! I keep spelling things totally wrong!

Daniel and I talked this evening some about possibly decorating the 2nd bedroom as a nursery, and just tossed around some ideas. We both agree that we don't want to do anything "permanent" that 3 years from now would take a paint job to re-do. In the midst of that conversation somehow tub toys came up (I think I was looking at the Target Baby Registry magazine), and we had the opportunity to discuss playing in the tub at bathtime. LOL, it wasn't anything I ever wondered about, so it was interesting that he wondered "is bathtime a time to play?" Don't think that he's weird and stern and strict, it was just something that he wondered. It sounds like tub toys weren't a big thing for him when he was little, where we had boats and ducks and cups and bottles when I was little :) We did agree that our tub didn't need to be full of every toy that was pictured on the magazine page! Shew, we'd need a whole separate bathtub to hold all of those!

I need to get on with looking for menu ideas for next week, so till next time!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Magic Wand... what I'm in need of. I don't know if it's because the sun hasn't been shining the past 2 days or what, but I'm ready to crawl in a hole (well stocked with yummy, pre-made food, of course) and do nothing.

In the meantime, the dirty dishes are piling high. Last night I put away the chocolate chips I bought this week... and guess what's still piled on the counter? Yup, the empty bags. Now, it's not like it would take a ton of effort to grab them and walk the 8 steps to the trash can and put them in - our trash can doesn't have a lid, so I wouldn't even have to open it. But they still sit there. I have 2 loads of clean laundry that need folded, 1 that needs hung out, and still another load or two that I need to wash yet today... which would mean another load to dry, fold and put away.

And I don't want to lift one finger. I guess I am not in the nesting mode yet, that's for sure! Oh, I think about all the wonderful things I think would be great, wonderful and fun to do... like cleaning off the desk so that I can rearrange it in what will be the baby's room, clean out the closet in that room, finish packing up the clothes I won't wear again until next summer/fall, and so on and so forth. Shucks, I even have 2 pairs of maternity pants that I need to hem. I wonder if they'll still need hemmed come March?

So, since y'all are such wonderful bloggy friends, and I know I can totally keep it real here, I'm going to make you keep me accountable through the rest of today. Naps are not needed - I dozed/read in bed for a major part of the morning (I was reading a book on pregnancy/delivery, so that makes it ok. Right??)

Here's what I NEED to do today:

Empty the dishwasher and reload it
Hang out a load of laundry and start the next load
(I cheated and decided to use the dryer)
Wash the dishes that don't fit in the dishwasher
Clean off the counters (trash, bread machine, etc.)
Get chicken out of the freezer for supper and remembered to get up another jug of OJ to thaw
Make Chicken Pot Pie so it's ready by 6 (because I know I'll be hungry by then but not so hungry I eat too much and then feel yucky)
Eat a snack to hold me over till supper (I'm thinkin' Strawberries?)
Hang out/dry 2nd load of wash
Fold and put away laundry
Clean off table

And if I get all that done and still have time to twiddle my thumbs, I may add to the list. We shall see.

Ok, I'm off. My first stop will be to eat some food because my stomach is starting to ask for it.
Check back often for updates!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Soy Sauce eScapade

I had an experience this week with Soy Sauce that I would not care to repeat. And I want to post about it just to get the word out there so maybe you won't have to go through the same thing.

No, Soy Sauce did not explode all over my kitchen and burn the house down. It didn't grow into a giant monster and sue us out of house and home. It was much more sedate than that, but still a big deal to me.

Two weeks ago I realized we were out of Soy Sauce. I had used up the last of the previous Great Value brand bottle. So I bought another bottle of Great Value Soy Sauce. I've gotten GV Soy Sauce for as long as I can remember. This was the first time with the "new" Great Value label (which I don't like, by the way). I don't know if the new label is an indicator that they've changed up their recipes or has anything to do with it, I'll probably never know.

On Friday I wanted to marinade a roast for Saturday's dinner (company was coming), so I mixed up the marinade and marinaded away. Friday was the day my head was all stuffed up, so when the marinade smelled "funny" I chalked it up to not being able to smell right anyway. It still smelled good, but just not quite like I remembered it from before (only the 2nd time I've used the recipe). It also had lots of other ingredients in it, so I couldn't pinpoint that it was one specific thing that smelled "off".

Saturday's dinner was delicious. The roast tasted great, the marinade juices tasted great, everyone raved over it. Monday I had a piece of the leftover roast for lunch and thought "you know, this just doesn't taste quite like it's supposed to." But I thought maybe I wasn't remembering right. It still tasted good.

Monday night I was very much in the mood for some stir-fry. The week before I'd gotten some thin steaks on markdown that were perfect for making beef stir-fry and I couldn't wait! I cut one of the precious steaks up into strips, pulled out the Soy Sauce and made the marinade. The more it sat there for 15 minutes, the more I just knew it smelled wrong. And since Soy Sauce is pretty much THE ingredient in that marinade, I got to wondering. But hunger was overpowering my wondering, so I started cooking the steak strips. When I poured the marinade into the skillet, the longer it cooked the worse it smelled. Almost to the point of stinking.

I called Daniel out to the kitchen and asked him to smell the skillet. He agreed that it smelled strange. He got the bottle of soy sauce out of the frige, smelled it and said "No wonder! This smells like alcohol!" (Not like wine or beer alcohol, it just smelled fermented/rotten.) We cooked the stir-fry a bit longer, but I just couldn't bring myself to eat it. Knowing how precious the steak was to me, Daniel tasted a tiny bite, and gave me a tiny piece, too. It just tasted gross. I wanted to sit down and bawl. Not only was I not able to eat right away (I was HUNGRY by then), but my precious meat was ruined!!! We opted to get carry-out from the Chinese place just up the road. It was very good, but a poor consolation prize for my wasted steak :( And not what I'd had my mind set on all day.

Yesterday I returned the 1/2 empty bottle of Soy Sauce to Walmart. I don't know if they'll check it out or not (I told them that it was bad, wasn't dated to expire until 2011, etc.). I didn't have the receipt anymore, so I could only exchange it. I did NOT exchange it with another bottle of Great Value Soy Sauce! No sirree, I got a bottle of Kikkoman!

When I was doing my other shopping yesterday at WalMart, there were some things I just couldn't bring myself to buy as Great Value anymore... even though I've gotten them many times. One was mushrooms. With the new label, I just don't know if I trust that brand anymore - for some things. I still got Great Value butter (butter is butter is butter... I hope), but I passed up the $.54 can of GV mushrooms for the next cheapest brand.

Some facts about that bottle of Soy Sauce:
All the seals were sealed.
It was dated for August 2011.
Out of the bottle it's color was really weak and watered down brown - not rich and black.
It smelled funny.
It didn't taste like soy sauce at all.

I don't want to scare anyone off from using Great Value brand if you like it and are getting along great with it. But I did want to put this out there for informational purposes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip 9/15/09

What a week! Just take a look... (8) Philadelphia Cream Cheese - $.49/ea.
(12) Barilla Pasta - $.39/ea.
(3) 8oz. Bar Cheese - $.49/ea.
(3) 8oz. Shredded Mozz. Cheese - $.49/ea.
(2) lb. butter - $1.68 (!!!)
(6) 16ct. 2% Cheese Singles - $.49/ea.
4oz. Organic Mushrooms - $1.09
16oz. Sour Cream - $1.20
(5) 12oz. Chocolate Chips - $1.19/ea.
(5) Choc. Chip Cookie Dough - $.99/ea. (can't make 'em cheaper!)
lb. Turkey Breast - $3.73
lb. Strawberries - $2.10
4 Apples - $3.96 ($1.99/lb)
3 Peaches - $1.55 ($1.24/lb)
3 Nectarines - $2.38 ($1.65/lb)
3.11lb Boneless Bottom Round Roast - $6.19 ($1.99/lb!!!!!)
(3) 1.5 - 2.5lb. London Broil Roasts - $11.68 ($1.99/lb!!!!!)
18ct. Eggs - $1.73

Shelf Price - $173.81
Spent - $66.49
Saved - $107.32 / 62%

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Things That Do Not Mix

At the top of my list right now are:

Pregnancy and Head Colds

Yesterday morning I woke up with a sore throat and plugged up head. It was also the first meeting for a women's Bible study that I'm going to this fall, so I mustered up the gumph, took a hot shower, found some clothes to wear and went. I took along my waterbottle and chugged it like a starving baby.

By the time I got home I was feeling even more gross. I looked and looked and looked for "the list" of ok meds to take while you're pregnant that the Dr. gave me at our first prenatal visit, but for the life of me I could not find it. I still don't have a clue where it is. Or that whole packet that they gave us. We took it on vacation so I could read the info, and I haven't seen it since.

So I called the Dr.'s office. But they closed at noon and this was 1:30. Lovely. The answering machine said "If you're experiencing a medical emergency, dial ........" Well, I'm not having an emergency, guess that's not me.

I decided to head to CVS and pick the brain of whoever was standing behind the pharmacy counter. I did that, and she was about as much help as ... I don't know what. Not much. My question to her was "I have a head cold and lots of sinus pressure. I usually take Advil Cold & Sinus. I see you have Tylenol Cold and then Tylenol Sinus, can I take one of those and if so, which one would work better for my situation?" Her recommendation was "don't take more than 1 kind of medicine because you don't want to mix kinds". Um, duh!!

I called my sister who is an RN and she cautioned me to not take anything that I haven't cleared with MY Dr's office, and strongly urged me to go ahead and call the "emergency" number. I did and the on call doc called me back while I was buying a roast at Food Lion. I guess me being miserable didn't help me get my questions clear or something. I tried to ask what would be best for my HEAD COLD with SINUS PAIN. She said "You can take Tylenol, Sudafed or Chlor-trimeton". "Is that limited to PLAIN Tylenol, or can I take Tylenol Cold or Sinus??" "Take 2 regular Tylenol every 4-6 hours as needed." Pretty much the end of the conversation. So I loaded up on regular Tylenol and Puffs Plus Lotion tissues and headed home.

Long story short, the Tylenol did diddly-squat. It took the edge off, but just barely and I was still miserable. Thankfully I have a friend - who is not sick and is able to think clearly - who gave me a thorough, but brief description of what each of those 3 meds would do for me. Turns out, Sudafed looked like a much more likely option for easing my balloon-feeling head pain. But it was 10:30 last night when I found this out. Guess what?

I put on my cute, sick-puppy-dog-face and asked Daniel if he would please go get me some Sudafed. And then crawled in bed. He returned a bit later a knight in shining armour, Sudafed in hand. I popped one of those babies, rolled over, blew my nose a couple times, and tried to go to sleep (after I said "thank you"). About an hour later I had to get up, and was actually feeling BETTER! After another hour (of actually sleeping!!!) I had to get up again - drinking water, water and more water will do that - and felt kinda, sorta normal!! I slept pretty much straight through the rest of the night until about 6 this morning (earlier than I usually get up) when I woke up with a dry mouth and throat.

Knowing that I couldn't really get started on drinking water for the day until I put some substantial food in my stomach, I got up at 6:30 (still earlier than usual...) and ate a few pancakes. I just took another Sudafed, and I'm looking forwards to it kicking in and getting me feeling better again.

I had no idea that being sick while pregnant would be such a pain. I knew the drug options were pretty limited, but I didn't realize how miserable it would feel to be sick and it look like I would just have to "ride it out". It maybe wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have 101 things going on this weekend that I can't really get out of. If I could, I'd crawl in bed, surround myself with Puffs Plus tissues, have Daniel waiting on me with water and chicken broth, take Sudafed every 4 hours, and wait it out. I might even request a curly-straw.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

15 Weeks (and pictures)

Early morning of our first Dr's appointment, July 16 :)
7 weeks, 1 day (not showing yet)
Sunday night, September 6 (my birthday!!)
14 weeks, 4 days
It's late and I want to be in bed in about 10 minutes and I still need to get the sheets off the line and onto the bed... hopefully it didn't dew yet!

Things I am very thankful for:
~ Good food to eat!!
~ Very comfy maternity shorts that my sister gave me for my birthday a couple weeks ago. They have been a life-saver! No more rolling down the elastic waist-band of my regular shorts.
~ Feeling pretty good overall. I am tired and hungry much more often, but I feel lots better than I did when I was going through morning sickness.
~ Finished with the First Trimester! Yay!!!
~ Getting to hear the baby's heartbeat at the last appointment. Very sweet. Amazing. Mind boggling. God is so good.

Things I'm not enjoying:
~ Not being able to sleep/lay on my back starting pretty much now :( I'm not a hard-core back sleeper, but I do enjoy it.
~ Getting up in the night because I have to pee soooo bad, and when I go it hardly seems like it was worth waking up and getting out of bed for... and I know it will only get worse!

Things I can't wait for:
~ The next ultrasound, just to see our baby again :)
~ The next Dr. appointment (on the 18th) when I'll hear the heartbeat again :)
~ Feeling the baby move. Hopefully this should happen in another couple weeks!!!

Baby is about 4 inches long from crown to rump and weighs about 1 3/4 - 2 1/2 ounces (2 different sources, 2 different weight suggestions). His legs are growing longer than his arms now and he can move all of his joints. He's also moving amniotic fluid through his nose and upper respiratory tract, developing the air sacs in his lungs. (I'm using the masculine term here even though we don't know if it's a boy or girl.) His tastebuds are forming and he can sense light, even though his eyelids are still fused shut.

Grocery Report 09/09/09

Ok, did anybody other than me notice that today is 9-9-9? I realized it about 10 o'clock this morning and thought it was pretty neat :)

I did this deal at CVS on Sunday: (3) Dove Dark Chocolates - $3.50 ea.
Crest Toothpaste - $3.49
Schick ST3 Sensitive Razor 8ct - $6.99

Total Shelf - $20.98

(3) Dove coupons $1.00 each
Crest coupon $.50
Schick coupon $3.00
Store coupon $4/$20 purchase
ECBs $5.00

OOP - $5.93
Saved - $13.50 / 64%
Earned $11.50 in ECBs

From Kroger & WalMart:
1/2 Gal Milk - $1.89
Toothpicks - $.52
(8) Barilla Whole Grain Pasta - $.39 ea.
5lb. All Purpose Flour - $1.74
Lettuce - $1.49
lb. Strawberries - $2.48
lb. Wheat Germ - $2.51
3 Sirloin Tip Steaks - $5.43 (Markdown)
10ct. Tortillas - $1.39 (Cheaper to make my own!!!)
5 Nectarines @ $1.25/lb - $1.74
4 Apples @ $1.47/lb - $2.97
4 Oranges - $2.00

Shelf - $38.44
OOP - $28.86
Saved - $10.40 / 27%

There weren't any screaming deals that I wanted to get at Kroger this week (other than the Pasta), so I got most of the stuff from WalMart. The only coupons I used were for the Pasta, but I don't think my overall total is too bad!

The Dove chocolate will get put to use in making Chocolate Chip Cookies :) I've been out of chocolate chips for quite some time, and it's probably going to be another month or so before the baking ingredients go on sale, so I figured it was a great time to roll my ECBs AND get some high-quality chocolate for cookies!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rollin' With It

The weekend was considerably different than I thought it would be when I wrote this post. As a result, I did not get a menu plan for this week figured out. However, I did take a good look in the "meat freezer" yesterday and have a decent idea of what my options are: chicken, 3 pork roasts, 1 ham, and a little ground beef. I was hoping for some porkchops, but I guess I've used them all up.

I did get a decent start on getting back into the daily to-do lists. I knew, but didn't really remember, that Monday was Labor Day. I got about 1/2 of my Monday list done, the high parts :) Since it was a cool, cloudy, drizzly day, Daniel thoroughly enjoyed it as a day OFF and did nothing. I don't blame him. He had a long days all last week, and ended up working on Sunday afternoon, too, since he was on call. Since he was enjoying a lazy day, it was easy for me to enjoy it, too.

Today I'm both tired and hungry. I didn't get to bed quite as early as my new bed-time last night, but not too much later. This morning I was still quite tired and ended up crawling back in bed. Now this afternoon I'm tired and HUNGRY. I think baby must be going through a growth spurt today or he (she?) ran a marathon last night while we weren't looking and burnt up all mommy's calories and energy. I had a good breakfast, a good lunch, and multiple good/healthy snacks in between, and I still feel like I could chow down on a good steak dinner any time.

Last night we had Liver & Onions, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes & Rolls for supper. Tonight I'm thinking about a Taco Casserole, but need to dig up a recipe. Some sites are taking to load, I don't know what the deal is. I want to check out $5 Dinners and see if Erin has a Taco Casserole recipe. I'm thinking something with Taco Meat, Pasta, Tomatoes, Cheese and Sour Cream... all things I have on hand :) Sometime this week I think I'll make one of the pork roasts in the crockpot.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A New Favorite

I recently stumbled over a wonderful blog that I've been enjoying very much! Too much, if that's possible. When I find a new blog that I love I like to go back in the archives and start "from the beginning". Needless to say, I love to read, and it's very easy to lose track of time reading through a month - or two - of posts from 2 years ago.

It is Life as MOM. It's great!!! This girl is an amazing woman and MOM to 6 kids. She budgets, uses coupons, makes her own meals, has her own set of frustrations, dirty dishes and laundry to do.

Since discovering the world of blogs, I've been intrigued by "mom" blogs. Blogs by real moms, who have real kids, real lives, real situations... and they post about them. I soak those kind of things up! Having always wanted to be a mom, and now that I will be bringing a child into this world and our home early March (Lord willing), I read blogs like this one and try to learn as much as I can about how to be a good mom in all situations and circumstances. Are we ever "perfect" moms? Never. But I can look at (read about) other moms and learn about what works for them, 'cause maybe it'll work for me. And they keep me reminded that life as a mom is tough. It's not all cutesy-wootsy powder puffs and roses, but it's doable. and if you have the right heart and attitude there's plenty of good times...that can far outweigh the bad.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things

Now that morning sickness is over (thank goodness!!) and I'm feeling more myself again - or at least the "new" myself, naps included - I have no excuse for not getting back on track with everything.

Everything from menu-planning, daily to-do lists, keeping up with the laundry, getting our grocery budget back down to where it belongs, and all that goes along with.

Now that I feel like cooking and eating again, I am really feeling the pain from not having a menu plan. As the day goes on I wonder what should I make for supper? Then late afternoon arrives and I realize I really do need to decide and get it started. So I decide on one thing and end up not having everything I need, or the dish will take too long to prepare, etc. Flying by the seat of my pants is wearing them thin. Not to mention the times that "going out instead would be easier" has crossed my mind. That's a true indication that I just need to DO IT. Menu plan, not go out to eat. We do enjoy going out to eat, and even though we don't pick the high-end restaurants (our fav. place - at least mine - to frequent is a little hole-in-the-wall Chinese place where we can both eat for about $15), it's not something that we can do often without breaking the bank.

The daily t0-do lists, you all know I love them. I really do. The sense of accomplishment and satisfaction I have at the end of the day when I know and can see that I've gotten everything done and crossed off is wonderful. I'm also the kind of person that if my day doesn't get started off well, the whole thing goes down the drain. Well, it doesn't have to, but it ends up that way. So, my goal these past couple nights has been to be IN BED by 10:30, no later than 11 o'clock. That's a whole hour, hour and a half earlier than we will so easily stay up if we aren't careful. And since I have a little person drawing energy from myself, if I do stay up till midnight, I end up feeling like a drowned cat in the morning and crawl back in bed for a while. Yeah, that really helps the morning get off to a good start. Not.

So... what am I gonna do? This weekend I am going to menu plan next week's meals. By Sunday night I will have the menu planned out, and in my planner I will have filled out the to-do list for each day. My new bed-time will be 10:30 (or earlier!) so that I'm well rested when I wake up, and my nap will happen in the afternoon... not the morning and afternoon. As Mom used to say, "No if's, and's or but's about it."

And to get a jump-start on it all, I'm going to make a list for today of what all I need to get done today, so that next week will get off to a good start.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dump Cookin'

This summer I canned tomato sauce. Plain-O Jane-O sauce. I did it 'cause I wanted to be able to flavor and spice it up however I wanted it right then. Not want it one way and only have it canned another.

*dreamy smile*

This evening I'm making spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs are from an el'cheapo sale back in the spring (as is the garlic bread that we'll have), and the spaghetti sauce is from my tomato sauce! The texture is perfect. Not too thick, not too runny. I must remember to plant more and can more next year... if Junior doesn't take too much of my time. I have a feeling that my sauce will be long-gone before winter's over.

Here's how I make spaghetti sauce:

Heat some Olive Oil in a pan till it's hot.
Add in a diced onion and some crushed garlic (oh, about 2 med. cloves worth).
Let the onions and garlic saute a bit; breath deeply to inhale the luscious fragrance!
Sprinkle in some Oregano and Basil (dried, unless you have fresh) until it looks "right"; let it toast a bit, and continue to soak up the deliciousness!!
Remember that the original recipe calls for Italian Style tomatoes, so shoogie in a good Tbsp. or so of Italian Seasoning.
Add a bit more Olive Oil if you want.
*insert wiggly eyebrows* Pour in about 1/2 cup red wine (NOT Port. Port wine is waaay too sweet for this kind of stuff. It ruins it. Trust me, I know.). Stir it around and let it cook till it's mostly absorbed (and the alcohol cooks off, promise!).
Add about 1 1/2 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper.
Pour in 1 quart of tomato sauce.

Let it simmer for a bit and then do a taste-test to see if you need to add more of something :) I always let it cook a bit after adding something before I taste-test, that way the flavor has a chance to "bloom" and really get into the sauce. It provides a truer (more true?) representation of the full results.

Once you get the sauce pretty much perfected, you can add your meatballs. Or, if you're starting out with the raw deal, you would put it in after toasting the onions, garlic and spices and let it brown most of the way.

Let is slow-cook over low heat until your honey comes home, then dish him up a nice plate o' Spaghetti :) You might even have a drippy candle on the table ;)

And for some lessons on how to really dice and mince onions and garlics*, check out Pioneer Woman. Saves me a ton of time!!
*Link is to one of her recipes that includes both, she doesn't have a tutorial for garlics)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gatherin' the Groceries 9/2

From a multitude of places...FOOD:
1.5 doz. Med. Eggs - $1.50 (Manager's Special)
1/2 Gal Milk - $1.89
Bread Flour - $2.14
(2) Pasta - $.98 each
lb. Butter - $1.92
(2) Shamrock Farms Mmmilk - FREE
Soy Sauce - $1.72
Oyster Sauce - $1.78
3lb. Onions - $1.50
Romaine Lettuce - $1.49
Chickpeas - $.68
Iceburg Lettuce - $1.00
Mushrooms -$1.88
(3) Neufchatel Cheese - $1.00 each
28oz. Brown Rice - $1.09
2lb. Carrots - $1.66
1lb. LOF Ham - $2.45
(2) Kraft Singles - $1.00 each
Atlantic Salmon - $4.76 (Manager's Special)
lb. Strawberries - $2.20
(2) Kraft Cheddar - $1.00 each
(6) Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - FREE

Shelf Price - $58.15
OOP - $38.20
Saved - $19.95 / 34%

(4) Chinet Plates - FREE
(3) Schick Quattro Razors - $.33 each

Shelf Price - $36.53
OOP - $1.82
Saved - $34.71 / 95%