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, December 15, 2011

Shout Out to Purex

Purex was nice enough to send me a free sample of their new Triple Action laundry detergent recently.  It came at a great time because we just happened to have our first real snow that day.  The boys spent all morning playing in the snow and building fortresses to hide behind during their snow ball fights.  If you live nearby you know that the snow only lasted until around noon so we soon had a wet, muddy mess outside!  This, of course, did not slow the boys down.  They had a great time outside until most of the snow was gone.

I had them come in through the garage and deposit all wet clothes straight into the laundry room.  You can image my horror when I found my son's brand new jeans covered in mud and grass stains!  I was not a happy Mama!  This is when I remembered the Purex that I had just received.  I went ahead and tried it on the jeans and they came out perfect!  Not a spot!  And...because it was "Free and Clear"  I did not have to worry about Blake having a allergic reaction it.

Purex is the only detergent I use but this is just another great reason to stay with them.

If you want to try it...keep an eye out.  I might just have a give-away soon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

No Stress December

I have decided to have a NO STRESS December!  Want to join me?

I have pretty much all of my Christmas shopping complete.  I have not worried and stressed over gifts this year.  I have tried to get the little things that my family has asked for but refuse to give in to the idea that we all need everything that is on our list!  I don't believe bigger is better and I don't believe that the more money I spend on someone the happier they will be! 

I have received many invitations to Christmas parties.  I have committed to only 1 of them.  I may go to more but I do not feel pressured to do so and will not be pressured into it.

I am not planning how many cookies or candies I need to make or what our Christmas meal should be.

Before you think I am a Scrooge please let me explain.  I love my family and friends!  That love is not based on presents given or received, meals cooked or not, or parties every night.  I don't want to fly through this Christmas season and never appreciate my family and friends because I am too busy with "things".  I want to take it all in and truly appreciate this season.  The best gifts will come and go but family lasts a lifetime.  Shouldn't they be treasured?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Going Sugar Free

Today is the first day of our Sugar Free lives.  We are taking this sugar free journey for several reasons but the main one is to try to weed out the cause of complications in Blake's life.  We are starting with sugar and then moving on to wheat.  Hopefully one of these will be our culprit and we can move forward.

We started our day off with homemade whole wheat pancakes.  I used a mixture of homemade applesauce and persimmon as the liquid to add sweetness to it.  I will put the recipe below.  We added a 1/2 cup of milk and coffee with sugar free creamer to finish out our meal.  If you want to keep up with the calories, the pancakes have 100 calories per pancake, coffee creamer 20 calories/Tablespoon, and 1/2 cup of milk is 75 calories.  Not a bad breakfast and it should be very filling.

Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes

1 c. Soft White Wheat Flour
2 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Cinnamon
1/4 t. Salt
1 Egg
1 c. Milk
1 T. Oil
1/2 c. Applesauce or 1/4 c. apple sauce and 1/4 c. persimmon pulp

Mix together all dry ingredients.  Add liquid ingredients.  The batter will be thick!  I used 1/4 c. batter per pancake and then used a knife to spread the dough on the griddle.  Cook about 1 minute per side.

I just came up with this recipe so I may still do some more tweaking to it.  If you come up with some good changes let me know. 

I still have lots of the applesauce and persimmon pulp so I'm planning on making muffins today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Daily Bread

It's Monday and we are out of bread! 

This morning I got the boys started on their school work and I headed off to the kitchen to whip up some bread.  My grain of choice is Spelt but today I decided to use Hard Red.  It turned out great!  Here is the recipe:

6 c. whole wheat flour
2 T. yeast
2 c. warm water
2 T. oil
2 T. honey
2 eggs
2 t. salt

Mix 3 cups of flour and yeast in mixer bowl equipped with kneading hook.  Add hot water and mix 1 minute.  Cover bowl and let dough sponge for 10 minutes.  Add oil, honey, eggs and salt.  Turn on mixer.  Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough cleans the side of the bowl.  Knead 5-6 minutes in mixer.  Lightly grease hands and divide dough in half.  Form into loaf and place in loaf pans.  Allow to rise until doubled in size.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from pans immediately and allow to cool matter how good it smells!

This is the basic recipe.  I do things a little different but it's too hard to write it all will just have to come to one of my bread classes to learn more!  :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Little Things...

It's the little things in life that make me happy!  I got so excited this afternoon as I was making dinner because I got to use some of my dried herbs for the first time.  I had the boys bring down a jar of tomato sauce that I canned this summer using the instructions given to me by my new Italian friend.  I threw the sauce in the pot and added some of my dried basil.  Nothing else was needed.  It was great!

I made Eggplant Meatballs to go along with our pasta.  I guess it would be meat-less though.  They turned out much better that I expected.  My husband was a little concerned because we ended up with a vegetarian meal but I assured him that meat would be back on the table tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow... Tomorrow is the big game.  Alabama vs LSU!  I can't wait.  It should be a great game!  The whole family is getting together to watch it.  My brother, who ended up a great cook, is making Bang Bang Shrimp. Mom is making seafood gumbo.   I bought a gallon of oysters that were picked up at the gulf yesterday.  A great game calls for great food, right?! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fresh Veggies

Want to know my secret for buying great, fresh produce?  KROGER! 

They have a good selection of regular and organic produce.  I scored some great deals at my local Kroger yesterday (check out the picture).  I bought bok choy, 4 red peppers, 4 orange peppers, 2 eggplants, 3 lbs of mushrooms, and 3 lbs of turnips for $7! 

Our dinner tonight was homemade Cream of Mushroom soup, sauteed bok choy and peppers, and a slice of wheat bread.  The creamy soup was perfect for this cold weather that has moved in. 

I took a little time this afternoon to julienne the remaining peppers and threw them in the freezer.  I love being able to reach in and grab a few peppers at a time to add to a recipe.  The eggplant has been diced and is resting in the fridge.  The turnips...well, they are headed to my Mom's house!

One thing I always do as I'm peeling, chopping, or coring veggies is keep a bag of scraps in the freezer.  Every time I peel an onion, the skin and ends go into the bag.  I do the same thing with carrots, celery, and peppers.  I use these to make my chicken stock.  After I cook a chicken, I add the carcass and veggie scraps to a pot of water and simmer it for several hours.  After it cools, skim everything out of it and you have a great stock!  You can freeze it or can it for later use.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 1 + Bread Recipe

Today did not go as planned.  I had all of these grand plans to create menus, organize pantry, and cook some good, wholesome food.  NONE of that happened.  I woke up with a terrible sinus headache.  The kind where everything in your face hurts and when you sneeze you almost pass out.  Yeah, fun stuff! healthy food for the day:  Sweet tea for breakfast, no lunch, and Chick-fil-a for dinner on the way to church.  Great start to our new, healthier lifestyle!!  Well, sometimes life happens and you just have to do what you've got to do.  I was in such pain I really didn't care about eating at all, much less eating healthy!

The good news is I made it to church AND I am now feeling much better.  I still have a little pressure but nothing like earlier today.

I did need to make bread today and I didn't feel like messing with it so I decided to try a recipe I found online and throw everything in the bread maker.  This way we still have healthy bread without all of the preservatives and I didn't have to mix, knead, rise and bake.  It turned out really good so I thought I would pass along the recipe.

1/2 c. warm milk
1/2 c. warm water
1 egg
3 T. honey (if you need a local honey source shoot me an email)
2 T. butter, softened
1.5 t. salt
1.5 c. bread flour
1.5 c. wheat flour (I used Spelt)
2 t. yeast

Add ingredients as directed by your bread machine.  Cook on NORMAL cycle (not wheat).

I don't have the directions for doing this recipe by hand (or mixer, that is) but this is how I would do it:  Mix bread flour and yeast.  Add water and milk.  Mix and cover.  Let dough sponge for 10 minutes.  Add remaining wet ingredients then quickly add remaining flour.  Knead 5-6 minutes. Cover bowl and let the bread rise until double.  Punch down and form dough into a loaf.  Place dough in greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hello Blog

Wow, time flies when you stop blogging! I can quite honestly say that 2011 has been a year of ups and downs.  So much has happened that I just sit and shake my head as I think back on it. The conclusion though is God is faithful in all things and we press on.

My real reason for dusting off the old blog is because I like to blog as I start something new.  It keeps me focused on the goal.  What's the goal this time you ask?  Nothing completely new.  I just want to renew my quest for a healthier way of life for me and my family.

Those of you that know me already know that I love to garden.  We raise chickens so we have fresh eggs.  Some of you may not know that I grind my own grain to make our breads and pasta.  I buy milk from an old German farmer.  I make our yogurt from the milk and sometimes butter.  I buy fresh, in season produce from food co-ops whenever possible.

We are trying to eat "real" food as much as possible.  I want to cut down on trips to the grocery store and eliminate eating out.  This is difficult because, even though we homeschool, we lead a busy life and it's hard to always plan ahead.  So, here I am, confessing my shortcomings to whomever decides to read this blog and pledge to once again try harder.

Hopefully, I will be back tomorrow to tell you about the first steps in our quest!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


It is that time of year again...GARDENING!  I will be a little limited in what I can and can't do because of my rotator cuff surgery but I still have the fever to get out and play in the dirt.  What can I say~ I love it! 

Last year I planted at the beginning of April to make sure I got the garden in before the rains came.  This year has been crazy!!  It was too cold to plant early and now the rain has certainly set in!  We have had major storms (with tornado warnings) every 7-8 days for the past 3 weeks.  This means the ground is saturated and I cannot get into the garden.  I checked the forecast this morning and there is at least a 30% chance of rain every day for the next week. 

I'm sure the seeds that I planted have washed away by now.  We will probably have a nice crop growing down at the bottom of the hill.  The tomato plants that I started from seed were destroyed by the 70 mph wind that came through. 

My conclusion~~ soon it will be hot and dry and I can start all over again.  There is still plenty of time so no need to worry about the things we have no control over.  Life goes on.

COUPONING>>> I am a little behind in updating my savings/spending spreadsheet so I will work on that today.  I have had some great shopping trips to Walgreens and CVS lately so I will try to update you soon.

In the meantime, check out  This is where I find out about all of the great deals going on.  Right now you can print out $2/2 Reach Toothbrushes and get them free at Target and CVS.  Also be sure to print out the Dove Deodorant coupon.  It will be free next week!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For My Gardening Friends~~ Free Organic Seeds

I am a big fan of Seeds of Change and I have ordered a lot of my organic seeds from them.  Right now, they are giving away 100 million seeds.  You only pay $4.99 shipping for 25 packets of seeds.  You will receive vegetable, herb and flower seeds.

Check it out here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Free Easter Candy

Go here to print a coupon for $2 off any 2 Easter Candies.  It's off things like Snickers, M&Ms, Twix, etc.  You should be able to get these free at CVS, Walmart, Target and Walgreens this week.

Remember to hit the back button on your browser 3 times so you can print this twice!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Francine Rivers

Francine Rivers was my first favorite author.  I read a couple of her books and was quickly hooked.  Right now there is a big give away including a free download of her book Leota's Garden.  Just go here!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Best Kroger Day Ever!!

I am so excited about all of my deals that I got today at Kroger today!  I believe this couponing business is a little addictive!  You can see in the picture what I got on the first trip.  My second trip consisted of 16 cans of Red Gold tomatoes.  Go here for a coupon.  I paid $3.00 for all 16 cans.  I could have gotten them all free but I messed up on my happens...

Go here and print out 3 coupons for Ronzoni.  For you guys that are new to printing coupons, once you print your coupons, hit the back button on your browser 3 times and usually you will be able to print the coupons a second time.  If you have more than one computer in your house, you can do this at each computer and print multiple coupons.  I printed my coupons and then some nice person left some coupons on the shelf of pasta so I used theirs too.  I also had some regular coupons for Ronzoni.  ANYWAY...Kroger has a special right now...if you buy 10 items on the March Madness Sale you get $5 off.  This makes the Ronzoni $.49 each.  When used with the coupons they are FREE!!

You can also get Wheat Thins for $.99 by using this coupon plus the March Madness Sale.  And Triscuits for $.99 by going here.

I always check the clearance section of my Kroger before I leave the store.  Today they had Cinnamon Chex marked down to $1.09 and I had a coupon for $1.00 off.  They also had Old Spice Body Wash marked down to $1.29 and I had $1.00 off.  The milk in the picture is organic and marked down to $3.39, regularly $6.79.

Like I said earlier...I messed up a couple of times on my coupons today.  The special price is only good for sets of 10 items and I didn't realize it until after I left the store.  So I could have saved another couple of dollars but it's ok.  I'm still learning too!

So, here is the bottom line:

1st shopping trip Shelf Cost:  $159.78  .... I paid  $25.80

2nd shopping trip Shelf Cost:  $19.09...   I paid $4.49

That's $178.87 in groceries for $30.29!  83% Savings!  Yeah, I'm happy!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Money Maker Day

I MADE $2 profit on my shopping trip to Walgreen's today!  I love days like this!!  Here are a couple of things I did:
I had a coupon for Free Purex Crystals - I waited for this sale and got it free PLUS $2 register reward
Purex Detergent is on sale for $2.99 - I had a coupon for $3 off
I had a Buy One Get One Free coupon for Gillette Deodorant - It's on sale BOGO free so BOTH were free!
Irish Spring Deodorant is on sale 2/$6 and get a $4 register reward.  I had 2 coupons for $1 off - so they were free.
I had a BOGO free for Gatorade and it's on sale for $.69 each.  The coupon made these $.34 each

I also had a great shopping trip to Kroger this morning.  I saved $75.54 (47%).  Ideally, I would like to have a higher percentage saved but this trip included a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables and meat so there are not as many coupons available.  I bought $49.10 worth of meat and $25.26 if fresh fruit and veggies!  That makes everything else that I bought basically free!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Another Way to Save $$$

I hope all of these little tidbits are helping someone!  These are little ways that you can save money and they all ad up!

I think I have told you about this before but I want to tell you again about EBATES.  I just got $56 deposited directly into my paypal account from ebates.  All you do is sign up, check to see if the store you are purchasing from has an ebates discount, click the link, and then place the order as usual!  It is really simple.

You can receive cash back on purchased from almost anywhere....even EBAY.  So why not get a couple of dollars back on your purchases?

If you need glasses, check out Coastal Contacts via Ebates.  I ordered by glasses through this and got a BOGO free deal through Coastal Contacts and then 16% cash back through EBATES.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Like Tea?? Try these FREE

Here is a nice way to sample something new:  Go to and select 2 sample teas that are priced at $3.15 each.  Add them to your cart and use the code TRYME to get them free.  Shipping is Free and you can select "free sample" and you do not have to enter any payment information.

I am trying the Tropical Green Tea and Chocolate Mint Rooibos Herbal Tea.  Can't wait to get them in!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Have you tried Groupon yet?  It's a great way to save money on local deals.  The most recent Groupon I purchased was 3 Redbox rentals for $1.  I had a $1 credit on my account so I got them FREE.  The deals vary every day so check them out.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Purex Complete Crystal Softener

In the last blog I told you about a new product that I was trying out and I would be sending you more information soon.  Well, it is Purex Complete Crystal Softener!

I stopped using fabric softener years ago when my Mom told me how they ruin towels.  I did not really think about the science of it but this is what I have found out:

You see, almost all liquid fabric softeners are oil-based and they coat your fabrics in oil.  This will interfere with the absorbency of your towels.

Did you know that they can also make your children's sleepwear less safe?? Sleepwear for children must meet certain flame-retardant standards.  When the fabric is coated with these oils over and over it can impair the effectiveness of this treatment.

This is why I am so excited about Purex Complete Crystal Softener!  They are 92% natural and NOT oil-based! Instead of coating fabrics with oil, they work by penetrating the fabric and infusing the fibers with freshness that lasts for weeks...not days.  So, no worrying about towels or your children's sleepwear!

Would you like a coupon to try it for yourself?  It will make a believer out of you!  To be entered into the drawing for an e-coupon, "Follow" this blog and send a message saying that you are now following.  Be sure to include your email address in your message so I can reach you. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting Better

It has been 3 weeks since my surgery.  My physical therapist is thrilled with my progress and is shocked every time I come in because of the range of motion that I have already gained back.  All I can say is ~ God answers prayer!  I was so scared to have surgery because of all of the horror stories that I had heard about it but it has not been bad at all. I can already say that I am in less pain now than I was before the surgery so I am really looking forward to being 100%!

I wanted to give a quick review on the freezer meals that I prepared pre-surgery.  First, they were a lifesaver!!  I don't know what we would have done without them!  We prepared one every night except the night my thoughtful neighbor brought us dinner.  Second, we really liked all of them except one.

The muffins were a great success.  They were really good heated up in the morning with a hot cup of coffee.  The enchiladas, chicken spaghetti and baked ziti turned out really well.  The only thing that we didn't care for was Ham and Swiss Pastry Bake.  It was good but really heavy and gooey.  I would not make it again.  The other life saver was Paula Deen's Boston Butt recipe.  If you get a 5 lb. boston butt you can divide it up after cooking and freeze for several meals.  It's always a hit!

After this experience I think I will start preparing more freezer meals.  It is so nice to know that you can just grab something from the freezer and have a meal that tastes good.  I will start posting recipes to the meals that we enjoyed and I'll let you know about the new ones I try.

Tomorrow I have a new product to tell you about.  I got a sample in the mail today and I'm anxious to try it and tell you about it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Emergency Freezer Meals

Some of you already know that I will have surgery Thursday (Feb. 3) for a torn rotator cuff.  I can't tell you how much I am dreading it.  You know, the internet is a good thing but sometimes you can get too much information!  Anyway, I found out this past Thursday about the surgery and I have been in a panic ever since.  There is so much to do and so little time.

My first thoughts went to meals for Doug and the boys.  What can I cook now that they can eat later?  I started searching online for good freezer meals and came back with several that we will eat.  I thought I would pass some of them along.  Now, I have only begun the process so I can't tell you what they taste like.  I can follow up later and let you know how we liked them.  Oh, and some are healthy and some...not so much!

For breakfast I decided they can always eat cereal.  I made my own so that is easy to do in advance.  I'm also making some pancakes or waffles for the freezer.  And our first recipe~ muffins!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat)
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c. brown sugar
6 T. melted butter, cooled
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 c. milk
3/4 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.  Set Aside
Whisk together butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth.  Add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Divide equally into muffin tin...filling to the top.  Bake 17-20 minutes.

Sorry, I'm going to have to cut this blog short so here are the other things I made yesterday:  chicken enchiladas, chicken rice wraps, and baked ziti. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Deal of the New Year

Does it seem to you like this year is already flying by??  Things have been so busy here that I can't seem to get myself together. 

I did sit down last night and work on coupons while watching Auburn win the National Championship...sure wish it would have been Alabama again!!  Anyway, I got a couple of great deals today that I want to tell you about.

All of my shopping was at Walgreen's.  So, here we go:

I printed five (5) BOGO free Special K cereal coupons.  Walgreen's has them on sale 2/$5 plus you get a $2 register reward.  I ended up getting the cereal for $.25 per box!  I usually make all of our cereal from scratch but this was too good to pass up.

Lysol products are BOGO free.  I used a coupon for $1/2 so I paid $1.50 each for these.

Secret Flawless~ ok They are on sale BOGO 1/2 off.  I had a coupon Buy 2 Get 1 free.  I had another coupon for $2 off.  So because I actually bought 3 I could use both coupons.  My total ~ 3 for $5.50 (regularly $4.99 each).

2 Stayfree was $6.79 each.  I had a BOGO free coupon Plus scan the coupon in this week's salepaper for $3 off each.  My total~ $.40 each

The bottom line for my shopping trip today ---- $93.97 in products --- I paid $27.17 PLUS I rec'd $8 in register rewards.  My savings for the day 79.6%