My Blog

My blog has morphed over the years into different things. It is a place to learn about saving money, product reviews, cooking, gardening, and homesteading. It can take you to whatever has my attention at the moment and then back to the day to day. I hope you will learn something here and come back often.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Trip to Kroger

Today I took a little trip to Kroger.  There were a few things that we needed and a few coupons that needed to be used by the end of the month.  If you are looking at ways to save money on groceries it is really not hard to do.

Kroger has had leg quarters on sale for the past couple of months. For $5.90 (the cost of one value meal at McD's) you can get 10 pounds of chicken (leg quarters).  That is $.59/lb for meat!!  You are not going to find much better than that!  How many meals can you make out of 10 lbs of chicken?  I can think of lots! And here's what I do:  Cook the first meal...whether it's baking, grilling or broiling.  Next, debone the leftover and have chicken salad or use the chicken in another recipe.  Lastly, boil the bones for chicken broth.  If you don't want to can it, freeze it in 2 cup containers.  When it is just frozen, remove from containers and put them in freezer bags.  This way the broth is premeasured!  When a recipe calls for 2 cups of chicken broth, grab out one block.

Anyone need toothpaste??  Kroger has Crest on sale for $1.00.  This is the large 6.4 oz tube.  I had a couple of $.50 off coupons which they double so they were free.  I also have a whole stack of $.75 off coupons.  So for $.25 we will be in toothpaste for a while.

Deodorant?  Kroger has Speed Stick on sale for $88.  I had a couple of coupons for $.50 off, which again, they double, so it's free.  I don't really like Speed Stick (or Lady Speed Stick) but it's good for the boys.

On this trip I also got free Dove soap, Free Smart Ones meal,  2 free yellow rice and free coffee.  With very little effort I got a lot of free or almost free stuff. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

School Again

Well, it's that time of year again.  Where does the summer go?  I have spent the last couple of days cleaning out the homeschool room.  It's amazing how much stuff can accumulate in one area!  I have a whole list of things that I am selling so if you are a local homeschooler email me and I can send you the list.  I have it posted on the Oblique website and on the MHIS group.

We are trying a new approach to school this year (it seems like we try something new every year).  We are starting A World of Adventure unit study.  I have been reading through it tonight and it sounds like it is going to be really good.  There are a lot of hands-on projects that make school so much more interesting.  We are going to have an Egyptian meal the very first day.  The only downside that I can see is there is a lot of reading.  I won't have a problem with that but it will be an adjustment for the boys.  I told them that we will try the first 30 day study and then evaluate it to see if we want to go on from there.  That seems fair to me.

Oblique, our homeschool group, has some really great things going on this year.  I am excited to be a part of it and I am anxious to get my kids more involved.  Of course, my favorite part is Mom's Night Out.  I never thought I would enjoy it but it is so nice to meet other Mom's that go through the same struggles you do as a homeschooler.  I've gained priceless knowledge from all of them but I have to admit I have learned the most from Jen, our fearless leader.  She has taught me to relax and enjoy the ride...not that I have completely learned this lesson, but I am on my way.

I am very thankful to be able to homeschool my kids.  It has taken years to get to the place where I don't miss work and to feel that this is what I am supposed to be doing.  I am here now and I plan to take advantage of every minute with my boys.  God has truly blessed us and I want to be found faithful with the things that he has entrusted to me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Coupons: Evil or Good?

My opinion of coupons change every week or so.  There are some weeks when I see a huge reward and I know that all of my work is worth it.  There are other weeks (like this one) when I look at the sale papers and see that I cannot really save any money on things that we need.  On days like this I wonder why I even bother.

Like you, I have better things to do with my time than sit down and clip coupons.  I feel especially overwhelmed when I let them stack up and don't cut them out or organize them in a timely manner.  I also heap guilt on myself when I go to the store and forget my coupons.  Inevitably I will find something on sale that I know I have a coupon for and I have missed out on a great deal. 

I am trying to teach myself that this is just a way to save money.  It is not something that should drag my emotions along with it.  If I find a great deal and can add coupons to make it even better then great!  If life gets in the way and I can't do everything I need to do with coupons then we will live!  It's ok.

Do you have these same issues?  Maybe your issue is not coupons but something else.  Is it something that you NEED to have emotions attached to or is it pressure that you are putting on yourself?  Think about it and try to find an area in your life where you can give yourself a break.   

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mardi Gras Gumbo

It has been a while since I have had a chance to blog.  You know, it's hard sometimes to make time to just sit down and write.  It's not that I don't have anything to say but that I am having a hard time prioritizing my days lately.

For those of you that don't know, the boys and I just got home from a week of camp.  This was their first time going to youth camp and my first time going as a counselor.  All of us had a great time.  I had 18 girls ages 10-12 in my cabin.  I lucked out and had wonderful girls.  We had very little drama!  We are all looking forward to going back next year.

Now, the bad thing about camp was that when I got home my kitchen was covered in produce.  My husband did a great job of picking the garden while I was gone but I was a bit overwhelmed when I got home.  Instead of resting I had to jump right in and start canning, freezing and cooking.  I even took 110 cucumbers to church Sunday to give away. 

I did finally get everything put up but I am still picking the garden every day.  I've been able to sell a little of the extras that we had and I am still canning and freezing.  I used a lot of our fresh goodies on this recipe that my Mom sent me (you can use canned or frozen if you don't have fresh).  We really enjoyed it and I hope you will too!

Mardi Gras Gumbo
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1 inch chunks
28 oz. diced tomatoes
16 oz. corn
16 oz. okra, diced
28 oz. chicken broth
1 T. hot sauce
1/2 t. liquid smoke
Salt & Pepper to taste

Saute chicken in olive oil until slightly cooked.  Add all other ingredients in a large pot and place over high heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.  Simmer for about 45 minutes~ until chicken is cooked and gumbo thickens.

Now, I know some of my family and friends that know "gumbo" will say this is not a gumbo b/c there is not a roux but I didn't make up the name so don't shoot the messenger!  It's still really good and very fresh tasting.  I served it over brown rice.