Wednesday, July 28, 2010

::Trimming the budget

I've really been into couponing and finding deals online over the past 3 years. I usually only shop at Walmart and Sam's, and occasionally our local grocery store, VG's. But I've been trying to be more open-minded about getting deals from other stores. Well, I shouldn't say open-minded. I've always been aware of them, I just haven't made much of an effort to get them.

A couple of days ago, I was in town with my husband and I printed off a bunch of Target coupons to match up with ones I already had. I rarely shop Target. I really like Target, but it's just another trip to make.

But, the deals that I knew were out were too good to resist.

I did my first-ever Target couponing trip and got:

2 Wonka chocolate bars - free
2 cans Chef Boyardee - free
2 bottles of Sobe Life Water - free
2 10-ct packages of Bic pens - free
2 boxes of Bagel Bites - free
4 boxes of Kashi cereal bars - $0.88 each
2 bags of Snyder's pretzels - $1.29 each

And some other things I can't remember, but paid very little for.
Yes, I would NEVER buy Chef Boyardee, Bagel Bites or (pffft) Sobe Water...but, hey, it's free!! Who could resist that? And if we're ever in a super pinch, my kids can have dino noodles from a can. And I would be grateful.
I am so blessed to have the means to feed them healthy foods at every meal. Thank you, GOD for your provisions!!

I really need to start doing more of these types of shopping trips. I feel a stronger responsibility now to be smarter about the money we spend on food. Yes, health is extremely important to me, but I know I can find ways to spend less and still eat good food. With the occasional can of free Chef Boyardee thrown in there... :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

::Sweet deal on diapers

I just ordered from a big ol' box of Huggies diapers. I never buy Huggies, or Pampers, or even Luvs. I always buy the Parent's Choice brand from Walmart. Even with a coupon, the other diapers are always more expensive than the Walmart brand, and I've always been happy with them. They work fine. Plus, I don't see why you would pay so much more money for something your kid poops and pees in and you toss in the garbage several times a day.

But anyway, Amazon has a promotion going on right now on select brands and items in their baby section. If you purchase a select item with their new Subscribe and Save option, you'll get an additional 30% off and free shipping. PLUS, if you get Parents magazine, there's a coupon in there for another 20% off that you can stack with the previous deal. It ended up costing me about 13 cents a diaper. That's what I pay at Walmart. And now I don't have to go out and get more diapers, that I happen to be almost out of. :)

I'm waiting for my Swagbucks gift code to post. I think it's supposed to post tomorrow. I plan on using that money toward some coconut oil. I've heard and read lots of great things about coconut oil, and I'd like to start using that instead of butter in my granola bars. After the Swagbucks, I'll only pay around $5.00 for 30 oz. Can't get much better than that...unless I had more Swagbucks...then I'd get it for free. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

::My CrockPot got married!

When Kurt and I got married, we were registered at BedBath&Beyond. We recieved everything on our registry list. Everything. Except I think one pillow...

In addition to a full registry, we also got a ton of giftcards to this place, too. I won't say how much exactly, but people were generous. And we were very blessed.

So, now it's been almost four years and we still have yet to spend all those giftcards. Kurt dropped me off at BedBath&Beyond to get a new blender. Ours died last week.

I went in and got distracted by all their gadgets and fun fandangly things. While looking at blenders, I saw a display of slow-cookers. I started thinking how nice it would be to cook my meat in one Crockpot and my side dish in another. NO oven! NO sweltering kitchen! Eureka!

So I bought my faithful ol' Crockpot a wife.

And a got a blender, too. It sure is great having gift certificates. Thank you, God, for your many blessings!

So, tonight I'm making a chicken and rice dish in my man crock, and a green bean and garbanzo bean dish in my woman crock.

I totally made up the grean bean dish. We'll see how it turns out.

Friday, July 9, 2010

::Floating ideas

So, I'm still not sure where I'm heading with this blog. I started it just for the heck of it. But the more I think about it, I think I might try and focus the main subject on my quest for better health, for both myself and my family.

I started reading a really neat book yesterday called Nourishing Traditions. It's my mom's. She let me borrow it a few years ago and I'm finally getting around to reading it. I always remember it sitting on the end table in the living room of our old house. My mom would read some of it in the early (very early) hours of the morning before anyone got up. It always had her glasses on top of it.

Now I know why she was always reading it. It's so packed with amazing information on food, mainly what our ancestors ate, and what people ate only a few generations ago. When you really think about it, most of the health problems that are around today only became common a few decades ago when the food processing industry got started...and you probably know where I'm going with this.

But anyway, it's one of the many things that have recently inspired me to make repentance on bad habits in my and my family's health.

So, maybe I'll just start posting about little things here and there that are changing. And hopefully stay changed. It's easy to fall back into the bad my coffee habit, to name one. *sigh* That's the hardest one for me to let go of.

On a different note, yesterday Kurt brought home a treat for the girls. When I first saw the ice cream cup, I internally rolled my eyes because I flashed back to an article I just read about the toxic ingredients that are in commercial ice cream...but when I saw what was really inside the cup...

Meet "Sleeping Beauty" and "8". Faith named them.

We let them go back home this morning. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

::Three days later...times 3

So, three days before Faith's birthday we decided to have a party for her. That meant I had to scramble to get everything together, and I totally put off all blogging until it was all over. Wait, no I didn't. Cause three days after that we went to Bay City for fireworks. Now, three more days after that, I'm finally caught up on all the housework that went to pot over all the craziness. You'd think with all those days in between I'd be posting here and there. Well, I also have three kids, age three and under. Do things always happen in threes?

Karis and I made granola bars today. These last about a day or so in our house. They're really good.

Here's the recipe if you want to try them:
4 1/2 cups oatmeal (quick oats work best)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tbs flax seed meal or wheat germ (optional)
Mix these ingredients well, then add:
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup raw honey (if you add the flax meal, you'll need a bit more honey, maybe another tablespoon)
Mix all these together until everything is moistened and blended.
Then add whatever other stuff you want. I usually add around 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the following (I'm an eyeball cook so I'm just guessing on the amounts):
-Mini chocolate chips
-Sliced or slivered almonds
-Sunflower seeds
-Dried cranberries
(It's always best to use ingredients that are small or chopped, because if you add big hunks of stuff like regular chocolate chips or whole almonds, they just make the bars crumble to bits.)
Press mixture (really, really well) into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees. As soon as it comes out of the oven, press it all down again with a spatula. This helps to keep them from crumbling. (Trust me, I've made these so many stinkin' times, you can't skip this step, unless you want just granola, and not in bar form.)
After they've cooled, cut them into whatever sized bar you want, and keep em in the fridge. Or just eat them all right away.
Again, I'm really just an eyeball cook. I just dump stuff in and call it good. You might need to adjust things here and there. If they come out crumbly for you, add more honey or butter next time. Just play with it. That's what I did.