Friday, November 16, 2012

What to Do When the World is Yours

The sad news is that Andrew, the love of my life, has gone away on a men's camping trip.  Outdoors.  In 30-ish degree weather.  And I already miss him, and so do our kids.  He won't be back for 3 days.
So, it's up to me to keep busy, to have fun with the kids while maintaining a household and preparing for Thanksgiving.  Actually, it's not much different from any other long weekend, but it just seems different because he is out "playing," and not just gone all kinds of crazy hours at work.

So here's what the kids and I will do.  If you have any other suggestions that we can squeeze in, please let me know!  I'm ready to take on the weekend!

Friday - after I get off work & get Logan off the bus, we'll probably play a game, grab a quick dinner then go to Lights Up at The Summit for some fireworks and music.  My dad invited us to go with him.  How cool is that!?

Saturday - typically Logan and I go couponing in the morning.  I'll let Savannah sleep in, and my little man and I will run out to Wal Mart, Meijer, & Kroger to get some shopping done.  We'll take a break until mid-afternoon, when we meet a friend and her daughter at Puzzle's Fun Dome where the kids can run around and exhaust themselves.  After that, we'll probably head to Mom's to strip wallpaper.  After that, I'm all about doing a little sweep of the house and winding down with the kids.  Then - ME time!  Lately I've been going absolutely nuts earning SwagBucks.  By answering surveys, watching videos, and doing simple web searches, I earn points which I have been redeeming for gift cards and PayPal cash.  This is giving me a jump start on my Christmas shopping, because I can start buying things for Andrew without even touching our bank account!  Sweet!  Anyway - I think I might do some Christmas shopping for him while he's gone.  And maybe some shopping for the kids too...

Sunday - Get up and get ready for church.  Church gets out around 10:00, then we'll go to Mom's for some coffee.  After that, it's NFL time.  I will succumb to the pull of the couch and some snacks, and watch the Bengals, Colts, and some of my other teams play.  Hopefully somewhere in the midst of my cheering, Andrew will arrive home safely, smelling of outdoors.

Any other ideas of what I can throw in there?  Go ahead, I'm ready!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What to Bring for an Un-Thanksgiving Meal?

Everything changes when you get married.  It does.  And it's good.  And it takes some getting used to.

Holidays, for instance.  No longer do you spend one Thanksgiving meal with the whole family.  Instead, Thanksgiving spans multiple meals, and even multiple days.  Fortunately, since I have gotten married, our families have worked out the details of "sharing" the kids at the holidays.

This year (as in previous years), we will host Thanksgiving at our house on Thanksgiving day.  I make the turkey, rolls, deviled eggs, stuffing, pie, snacks, tea, and such.  Family members bring the mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn pudding.  We watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  We watch football.  It's traditional.

The day after, we go to my mom's house and celebrate Thanksgiving with her.  I usually bring leftovers, about which she is delighted!  She also fixes a meal, but it's a little less traditional.  In the past, it has been a savory rosemary pork roast.  Mom is a wonderful cook and a lovely hostess.

This year she will again be making a pork roast.  However, she has asked all the kids to bring a non-traditional side dish.  What?  What am I supposed to do?  What should I bring?   Little Smokies?  Potato salad??  Birthday cake???

Help - I need a non-Thanksgiving side dish to bring to Mom's.  The day after I host 15 people at my house for Thanksgiving dinner.

. . . And thanks in advance!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cheap Bailey's (coffee creamer)

Be sure to "Like" the Bailey's Coffee Creamer Facebook page.  You'll have the opportunity to print a coupon for $1.50 off Bailey's Creamer!  (Remember to hit your "back" button a few times to print the coupon a second time.)

Take your coupons to WalMart, where the creamer is just $1.88.  After the coupon, you can score this amazing morning sensation for just 38¢. 

Hurry, before all the coupons are gone!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Steals This Week

Did you know that I'm gaga over coupons, rebates, deals & steals?  Well, I am.  So you're going to hear about these kinds of things quite a bit.  Since I'm so excited about my lunch break shopping trip, I'm going to cut to the chase.  Here's what I got:

STAPLES (They are offering quite a few 1¢ deals to get you in the doors.  So I take advantage of those!  However, you do need to spend $5 to get the 1¢ items.)

  • 6 pocket tissues @ 1¢ each
  • 10 pocket folders with prongs @ 1¢ each
  • 2 packages of colorful paperclips @ 1¢ each
  • 9 RoseArt 24 ct. crayons @ 50¢ each (doesn't sound like a good deal, but you're not done reading...)
  • 4 5-packs of Bic mechanical pencils @ 25¢ each
Total with tax = $6.02

THEN I used coupons (did you know that Staples accepts manufacturer's coupons?  I didn't know this until I called and asked!)

I used 3 - $1 off 3 RoseArt products coupons AND 2 - $1 off 2 Bic products coupons

That brought my total down to $1.02 for all 31 items!!!  You can't beat that with a stick!  (By the way, I have always been met with superior customer service at Staples.  Every person with whom I have come in contact has gone out of their way to help me, and to offer a smile with their service - even when using coupons!)

Some other steals...

  • Kroger: free Suave deodorant, Colgate toothpaste, Stayfree maxis and Carefree liners using coupons from the past couple weeks' coupon inserts.  
  • Kroger: Pop Tarts 3/$5 minus a $1 on 3 coupon = 3/$4.  PLUS, I had a coupon from a back-to-school display for $2 off milk when you buy 2 Pop Tarts.  So I got a half gallon of milk FREE.
  • Office Max is offering 5¢ protractors or compasses, 25¢ marker 8-packs, 1¢ backpacks (after MaxPerks bonus rewards) and 1¢ Duracell batteries after MaxPerks bonus rewards.

There are some other good deals lurking this week, including ones at Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS.  They involve coupons and store rewards as well, so if you're into that kind of thing - make sure you stop by this week for everything from cheap Listerine mouthwash and Pantene shampoo to free Oral B toothbrushes and Crest toothpaste!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Full Time Working Mom Schedule

I am blessed to have a job.
I am fortunate I love my job.
I am lucky to be able to leave my work at my job so I can devote time away from work to my family.

But I am busy.  Boy, oh boy, am I busy!  Here's an idea of a typical day.  From 5:45 in the morning until 11:00 at night, here's what I do:

Wake up, get showered, dressed, & ready for work.  Get Logan up, dressed, fed, and ready for preschool.
Drop Logan off at school, then go in to work.  Work until 4:30, then get Logan from school and head home.
Pick up Savannah from home, & take both kids to get their allergy shots.  Endure being pummeled by Logan for making him get shots.
Come home.  Exercise.  Shower.
Put in a load of laundry.
Fix dinner.  Clean up dinner (sometimes.  Most nights I have the kids clean up if they didn't help me cook.  It's a house rule.).
Play a game with Logan.
Finish laundry.
Get dinner ready for the next day (i.e. thaw out meat, make Jell-O, marinate meat, etc.).
Get Logan in & out of the shower.  Brush his teeth.  Read him a book (or two).  Put him to bed.
By this time it's around 9:00. 
Time for me to do some picking up around the house.  Then I do envelope stuffing and data entry jobs for my dad.  Occasionally I'll fit a blog entry into the mix.
Around 10:30 I'm wiped out.  I'll relax with a magazine and doze off around 11:00.

And you know what?  As much as I love my children and my husband and my life, I always feel like I'm not doing everything just right.  I'm not giving them the attention they deserve.

How do you do it?  How do you balance a full day at work with time with the family, yet fit in cleaning the house and fixing meals?  Please enlighten me.  I'm still working on it all!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Preschool to Kindergarten Transition

My little guy is getting ready to go to kindergarten.  He's ready.  His preschool teacher says he's ready.  The kindergarten intake teacher says he's ready.  I'm not sure I'm ready.  "He's just a baby," I keep telling people.  I know it's not true, but he's my baby!

So I enrolled him in the before-school program at his school on Tuesday.  This means:
  • He will be dropped off at school before school starts in the morning, and will ride the bus home (providing I can race home from work and beat him to the bus stop).
  • I will need to reconfigure our budget.  This is not a bad thing.  The before-school program is less than half of what we're currently paying for preschool.  Here's to paying off one more (last!) debt.
  • His last day of preschool is coming up in less than a month.  The farewells to his teachers and staff who have been there for him since he started going there at 6 weeks of age will be terribly sad.
Logan with his dad at preschool graduation

My question for you: what do you suggest giving to his teachers and staff as good-bye presents?  We were so blessed to find this day care & preschool.  They have loved my son beyond belief.  They have played with him, taught him, and shown him how to play well with others.  Their rates are very fair and the memories are fond.  So what do I do (knowing that we are still on a budget, but truly love this place) to show my appreciation to this preschool for 5 years of wonderfulness?


I just wanted to let you in on some freebies I came across.  
Hurry and get them before they're all gone!

Free Customizable Greeting Card from CardStore - have it shipped to you to make it totally free!  Use promo code CAJ2719 when you checkout to bring your total to $0.00 .

Do you - or does someone in your family wear contacts?  BioTru is giving away samples of their contact solution.  Give it a try!

Do you like Splenda?  Try Splenda Nectresse for free!

I received a free sample of Lipton Tea & Honey.  It's by my coffee maker at home.  I think I'll try it this weekend.  Get your free sample here.

Garnier Fructis is offering samples of its Fall Flight shampoo & conditioner.  Sign up for one!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Planning Our Menu - Week of July 16-20

Don't you love how I post my weekly menu in the middle of the week? Let's just pretend it's my way of giving you a half a week head start on your menu planning for NEXT week. I'm giving you time to shop this week's deals to prepare for next week's meals.  Okay?   You're welcome.

Monday: Pork chops. I had some frozen from the last sale, so I thawed them out. I also had frozen a package of Kraft Fresh Takes (you know, the bags of cheese & seasoned bread crumbs. You put individual pieces of meat in the bag, shake it around, and bake it) that I used for the pork chops.  Salad.  Garlic bread.  (I think Meijer has pork on sale for $1.79/lb.  Get some!  Have them slice it.  Then freeze it.  I typically get 3 meals out of a $10 roast.)

Tuesday: Breakfast.  I took some of the turkey bacon (that I got on sale at Walgreens with a coupon for 44¢ last week) out of the freezer and cooked that up.  Added a couple omelets (I got medium sized eggs at Kroger for 88¢ and used 5 of those.  It was just the little guy and me eating last night.) and some "homemade" biscuits made from Bisquick and milk (have you ever tried those?  The biscuits were tasty, flaky, and amazing!).

Wednesday: Grilled chicken.  I pulled a package of four chicken breasts out of the freezer last night and have them marinading today (since I've already used all my Lawry's marinade, I made my own concoction: teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, pepper, and garlic).  I'll steam a little squash with parmesan cheese (squash complements of my mom's and dad's gardens), and also have some mashed potatoes.

Thursday: Ravioli with homemade sauce (more from the freezer - that I made in a sudden I-can't-believe-I-don't-have-any-spaghetti-sauce-on-hand moment).  Salad.  King's Hawaiian Rolls (I acquired these as part of a phenomenal deal I got on Wholly Guacamole, King's Hawaiian Rolls, and ground beef.)

Friday: Sea Cuisine salmon & tilapia.  Kroger had a Buy One Get One Free deal on these a couple weeks ago and I used two printable coupons.  Got 4 filets (2 per package, already seasoned) for about $7.  It's more than I typically like to pay for a meal, but I love the flavor of these, and I feel so good after I've eaten fish.  I'll add a bit of rice to this, and also make some Jell-O.  Voila!

Remember - you can download my printable weekly meal planner here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Coupon Giveaways

I have been receiving all sorts of products to sample and spread the word about.  Along with those products, I receive coupons to share with YOU!  I'd love to mail you coupons; just fill out the form below to request yours (quantities limited).

I have been trying out Brew Over Ice K-Cups (I'm loving the sweet tea ones.  A packet of splenda, a cup of ice, and one of the Brew Over Ice K-Cups and I'm set!  It brews a big, cool cup of iced tea perfectly!  I also love the half lemonade/half sweet tea, iced hazelnut coffee, and iced coffee blends.)

I tried the Kroger frozen pizza, tortilla cupz, vitamin water & frozen fruit bars (lemonade fruit bars are to die for!) with the family on a family movie night, and they were ALL a hit.  An entire meal that EVERYONE loves, on a tight budget?  That's for me!

I've already posted about Lawry's. It's a new staple in my house.  AND I've used the Seasoned Salt for scrambled eggs, on pasta, and while grilling chicken thighs.  You can't go wrong!

My kids devoured the Motts fruit snacks I got to try out.  We went on vacation, and the fruit snacks were gone long before they even tapped into the cookies.  Another winner.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Don't Miss These Deals!

Being frugal is part of my lifestyle.  It started out as a necessity a few years ago, and from then grew to more of a passion.  I like love need to save money.  I guess that makes it more of an obsession...

Anyway, I know the week is drawing to a close, but I wanted to share some of what I found as "have to have" deals this week, at least in my neck of the woods.  

In preparing for back-to-school, I'm already scouring the sales ads on Sunday for the best prices and promotions.  Usually Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, and all the drug stores will offer incentives to get you in their stores.  This week, Staples caught my attention.  Here are some of their best deals this week:
  • Staples Glue 1¢ (limit 2 with $5 purchase)
  • Bic round stic ballpoint pens, black, 8 pk. 1¢ (limit 2 with $5 purchase)
  • Rose Art crayons, 24 pk. 1¢ (limit 2 with $5 purchase)
  • Scotch super glue gel 4 pk. $4.29 - $1.30 instant store savings - $2.99 easy rebate (can submit online!) = free (limit 1)
  • Paper Mate sharpwrite .7 mm mechanical pencils 25¢
  • Staples 8.5 x 11 multipurpose paper, 500 sheets $6.99 - $6.74 easy rebate (can submit online!) = 25¢ each (limit 2)
  • Bic great erase dry erase markers, fine tip, assorted 4 pack 50¢
  • Staples glue sticks, 4 pack $1
  • Also, in their ad is a coupon for $5 off a $30 purchase.  So I added a couple more things (a nylon pencil pouch, on my son's school supply list, along with a dry erase lined marker board for him, and a pink gel pen for me) to get up to the $30 mark, and used the coupon to bring my order down to around $26.  THEN, I also get back $9.53 in rebates, making my total for all these things around $17.  "That was easy."

Other deals:
  • Kroger has their Top Flight spiral notebooks on sale for 19¢ each (limit 10), and their Crayola crayons 24 pk. for 39¢ (limit 10)
  • Ivory soap is on sale at Walgreens for 99¢  Use the $1 coupon from the most recent Procter & Gamble coupon insert to get FREE Ivory bar soap.
  • Bayer aspirin is always a good price at WalMart.  Use the recent $3 coupon to get many varieties of Bayer aspirin (including children's) free.
  • Zest body wash is on sale at Rite Aid for $2.99.  You get a $2 +UP (Rite Aid) reward on this, and there was a $1 coupon in this week's coupon inserts, making this free.  (Limit 2)
  • Also at Rite Aid, Powerade is 97¢.  Sign up for Rite Aid Video Values, watch a video here and earn a printable coupon for $1.50 off 2 PowerAde drinks, bringing down your total to 44¢ for 2.
  • At CVS, Purex Crystals are on sale B1G1F (by the way, I love, love, love these!) use 2 $1 Internet printable coupons (from Facebook) and get these 2/$3.  Edit - these were around $7 at my store, so they ended up being 2/$5-ish.  Still a good deal for how much I love them!
Good luck with your shopping this week!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Planning Our Menu - Week of July 2-6

I plan my menus based on a combination of what I have purchased on sale in the past (and are readily available in the house), along with what's on sale this week (extra bonus if I have coupons for the items, which I usually do!).  It makes meal planning a breeze.

This week's menu is fairly simple, and created from items on sale this week (and some items on sale a couple weeks ago):

Monday: Breakfast.  (Walgreen's has eggs and Butterball turkey bacon on sale for 99¢ this week!  Plus there's a coupon for 55¢ off Butterball turkey bacon, so I scored a pack for 44¢).  On the menu: Turkey,  Bacon, egg, and cheese omelets.  Turkey bacon.  Biscuits. Total cost for the meal for everyone: $3.00, and I still have 4 eggs left in the carton!

Tuesday: Salmon (on sale at Kroger for $4.99/lb. this week).  Lima beans.  Rice.  Savannah will be having Yakisoba noodles (which I got free with a 50¢ coupon at Kroger).  She doesn't eat seafood.  Poor girl.  Total cost for the meal for everyone: $7.50.  A little pricey for my tastes, but I consider this a "fancy" meal, considering we're eating something as sophisticated as seafood.

Wednesday: Pork roast (on sale at Meijer a couple weeks ago.  I froze it until today.).   I'll be putting it in the slow cooker with some BBQ sauce for a glorious pile of shredded BBQ pork for 4th of July and loading it onto King's Hawaiian buns (used a $1 coupon to get the pack of buns for $1).  Watermelon.  Ore Ida grilling potatoes (going to pick some up with Kroger's sale + coupon tomorrow morning).  Total cost of this meal will be about $6.50 (assuming we eat 1/3 of the watermelon.  Which I think I could do on my own.)

Thursday: Spaghetti with homemade sauce.  (I wish I could say I made the sauce from scratch because it's healthier, cheaper, and more flavorful (which it kind of is - all of these things), but truth be told, I ran out of sauce last time in the middle of my making pasta, so I had to make some from scratch with what I had on hand.  It made enough to use that night + enough to freeze for a couple more meals.  Salad.  Garlic Bread. Total cost of this meal: for pasta, ingredients for sauce, lettuce & veggies for salad, and bread $5.00 is a safe estimate.

Friday: "The Truly Awesome" frozen pizza (Kroger brand).  Kroger Tortilla Cupz (great for scooping up salsa) and Kroger Frozen Fruit Bars.  (I am doing a Bzz Campaign for these for Family Night.  While hubby is working late, I'll be family-ing it up with the kids and a RedBox movie.  Anyway, Kroger brand food is typically super duper tasty but costs only a fraction of what national brand foods cost.  I'll let you know what we think about all these goodies BzzAgent sent me to try out!)  Total cost for this: FREE!  Even if I add some salsa to the mix, I got the salsa for 25¢ for the jar, so feeding my family for a quarter on Friday night & using a promo code for the RedBox movie?  You betcha!

Remember - you can download my printable weekly meal planner here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bonus Income and Opportunities + A Recipe

I have a good job.  I love what I do.  I enjoy the people with whom I work.  I also, though, enjoy getting a little extra money, gift cards, and products to try at no cost to me.

I'm not talking about surveys necessarily - though I do those too (and some of them have excellent payouts!).    With some of these programs, you get paid just by clicking on advertiser links.  With others, you get products to try in exchange for simply telling others about the product and handing out samples and/or coupons.  Easy.  I mean e-a-s-y.

Here are my links to my favorite programs that earn me the most rewards:

  • You earn Swagbucks by watching videos, redeeming printable coupons, and taking part in offers and promotions.  After you've accumulated a number of Swagbucks, trade them in for gifts or gift cards.
  • BzzAgent gives you the opportunity to try out full-sized products in exchange for "Buzzing" about these products to your anyone in your sphere of influence.
  • You can earn and trade in My Points for gift cards.
  • House Party requires that you throw a party using products they send you.  You report back with pictures and results from the party.  (My friends love when I throw a "House Party."  It usually means they go home with loads of goodies!
  • Smiley360 ships products for you to try and tell friends about.  They also send coupons and samples for your friends.
  • Kraft First Taste sends you coupons for free Kraft products when they are first rolled out.
  • With Jingit, you can earn money watching videos online, and by "checking in" at Wal-Mart.

I put together a recipe last weekend based on what I could find on sale, combined with what sounded good, fresh, and healthy.  Here's what I came up with (I did use a mixture of a few recipes I found online also...).

Berry Mint Salad

1 cup strawberries, chopped
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. honey

Gently mix all ingredients together and chill up to 4 hours.  
I served mine in parfait glasses with my daughter's birthday dinner.  It looked lovely and tasted amazing and fresh!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Preparing for a Beach Vacation

We are leaving for vacation very soon.  My whole family is excited to be on the beach, meet Mickey Mouse, and spend some time just relaxing.  However, we haven't started packing.  Life's obligations get the best of me, and, well, packing seems like such a mammoth task.

This weekend I'll start.  I will!  I found this checklist from the Disney Family Fun website, and I plan to use it to get me started packing.  It seems fairly complete, and I know we'll end up packing our other "necessities" up until road trip time.

This is our first real family vacation, and I'm afraid I'm going to forget something major.

Do you have a checklist you use when you go on a trip?  Care to share it?

Now, for my review of Lawry's Mediterranean Herb & White Wine Marinade with Lemon Juice & Garlic (described as featuring "fragrant herbs like basil and oregano, along with white wine, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and sun-dried tomato").  Wowza, it was SO good!  After marinating in the fridge for 10 hours, I grilled the pork chops and served them with mixed veggies and mashed potatoes.  The pork chops were so moist, and incredibly flavorful!  I didn't have to add any salt or pepper, nor did I dip them in any condiment.  Everyone in the family ate at least one, with my daughter having two pork chops for herself!  Yep, I'm certainly a fan of this marinade.  It was SO easy to prepare our main course with this, which also made it super simple to have a "gourmet" meal within budget AND stick to a healthy diet.

*BzzAgent sent me full-sized products to try, just so I give others' my honest opinions about them.  No sales pitch - I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What I'm Trying Today - Lawry's Marinade

I signed up for BzzAgent a couple years ago.  It seemed too good to be true.  After all, they send me full-size products to try out and coupons to give my friends, and all I have to do is give people my honest opinion of the products?  FYI - it's not too good to be true!

This summer, BzzAgent has sent me quite a few items to test out and spread the word about.  I've loved every minute of it!

My latest shipment came in the mail yesterday.  I received a box full of Lawry's products (perfect for grilling season!):

  • A bottle of Santa Fe Chili Marinade with Lime and Garlic
  • A bottle of Mediterranean Herb & White Wine Marinade with Lemon Juice & Garlic
  • A bottle of Lawry's Original Seasoned Salt
  • A red Lawry's apron (not pictured)

I thawed out some pork chops last night and added the Lawry's Mediterranean Herb & White Wine marinade to my marinading dish this morning.  I'll have Savannah (my 15-year-old) flip the container this afternoon.  I can't wait to try it!  I'll definitely let you know how it turns out.

BONUS: BzzAgent also sent me a stack of Lawry's coupons to give out.  Each page has a coupon for 75¢ off one 8 oz. variety or larger Lawry's Seasoned Salt and $1.00 off any one Lawry's Marinade.  If you're interested in receiving a coupon, please leave a comment below letting me know you want one.  (Disclaimer: I have a very limited supply of these!) 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Getting it All Done . . . Almost

I am a note taking, list making, go-go-go woman.  I feel that there is so much I need to accomplish each day, and in order to get anything at all done, I must capture and prioritize those thoughts.
I have tried making lists on my iPad, which can work for me in a pinch, but I truly like the act of writing things down and marking them as "done" as I finish tasks.
My list is ever growing and never ending.  Each day I add probably two to four new tasks.  It would seem unmanageable if I didn't have a system in place to mark off those tasks.  So here's what I do, since I am such a list maker.

  • I make a list of ALL the things I need (or want) to get done.  Period.
  • From that list, I choose three things I want to do in the evening - after I get home from work but before I go to bed.  That list usually includes two easy, fast, more enjoyable tasks (such as printing the week's grocery coupons from the Internet (yes, I have to even add this to my list!) and wrapping a present for a birthday party) and one task I feel is more daunting (such as hemming a new pair of pants).
  • I mark off each chore as I get it done, and re-write my list the next day.
  • Weekends are catch-up times.  If there are things on the list I haven't accomplished throughout the week, I use the weekend to finish my list.
I feel so good knowing I accomplished some things and shortened my list.  But I'm not overwhelmed by the list of 10 things I want to get done.  Three to-dos are much, much more manageable!

How do you organize your to-do list with a hectic schedule?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Planning Our Menu - Week of June 11-15

I make it a point on Sundays to plan my family's menu for the week.  I write it on a piece of paper like THIS, and hang it on the fridge.  This serves three purposes:

  1. I can use what food we already have in the house.  I have a stockpile of food gathered from getting amazing deals on boxed or canned food, frozen food, and meat.  We are on a super strict budget, so I use what we have on hand to make dinner.  
  2. It keeps us from eating out throughout the week because I am too lazy or inconvenienced to plan what to eat.  If the meat is already thawing in the fridge, or I already have a meal planned for the evening, I am far less likely to stray from what I have committed to.
  3. My family is prepared to eat what I have written down.  They know what is coming!  Plus, on rare occasions, my daughter might even help prep for dinner before I get home.  (I did say rare occasions.  We're still working on that.)
This week on the menu:
  • Monday: We cheated this week.  It's the kids' birthday weeks, so we used free meal coupons for them, followed by free ice cream.  Hubby and I splurged on hot wings.  
  • Tuesday: Ravioli with pasta sauce, salad, and garlic bread.  (Leftover homemade ice cream from kids' weekend birthday parties for dessert.)
  • Wednesday: Hubby works late.  I'll be cheating again by using two more "free meal" coupons for the kids' birthdays.  (Stay tuned for next week, when the menu is a little more normal.)
  • Thursday: Grilled pork, steamed veggies & cheese, mashed potatoes.  Jell-o for dessert.
  • Friday: Hubby works late again.  Pizza, popcorn & fruit.  We'll probably rent a DVD for some end-of-the-week down time.

Saturdays and Sundays are always up in the air.  We typically do things with friends and family, so I don't plan much on these days unless we have committed ourselves to a gathering that requires planning!

Meet a Full Time Working Mom

I've decided to publish a blog that caters to full time working mothers.

My assumption is that there are other women out there who work a full time job, then come home to run their households for the rest of the day.  That's what I do.

My hope is that this blog will benefit not only working mothers, but also stay-at-home moms, women and men without children, and families in general.

I have quite a bit of experience being a full time working mother, and am always learning more about what makes my family life more harmonious in the few hours each day I get to spend with them.

This pictures is from a weekend trip we took to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Cincinnati.  

Here is my family.  You will learn much, much more about them throughout this blog.