Monday, January 31, 2011


I was just getting groceries. Once per trip, I splurge on a treat. This time it was cherries.

The shelf sign listed the cherries at $3.99 per pound. I weighed exactly one pound out to buy. When the cashier rang them up, they came to $5.47! Say what? I asked her to please check the price. Sure enough, they rang up incorrectly.

Store policy says that if an item rings up incorrectly, you get the item free. cherries!

Lesson for the day: watch that scanner!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm keeping my eye on you, Walmart!

Out of ink, and it's too far to the nearest ink refill store. {one is opening closer to me!} So, I went to Walmart to fetch some ink cartridges. I found these:

You can buy one black cartridge for $9.97 and one color cartridge for $17.97. Okay, so the total is $27.94.

Next to this display, you will find the combo pack of 1 color and 1 black cartridge. "special buy combo pack!" I'm always one for a bargain, so I put the individual boxes back on the rack. Wait a minute. Get out my calculator...for $27.97 I can get a combo pack, but for $27.94 I can buy each individually? Walmart, you sly fox! You tried to pull a fast one on me! You want me to spend $0.03 more to get your "special combo pack"? Really? That's not a savings AT ALL!

That's why I always carry a calculator.

Sorry Walmart, I do pay attention! {and I want to keep my three cents, thankyouverymuch!} he he

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

best darn taco mix....ever!

Want to stretch your taco mix a little further? Or maybe just want to add some healthier ingredients? Then this is the mix for you! I grew tired of boring taco meat with a taco powder stirred in. I also wanted to stretch the meal without adding more meat. This is the result.

Taco Mix

1 pound ground meat, or TVP

1 can corn or small bag frozen

1 can black beans, or homemade

1-2 cups salsa, to taste

1 small can diced green chilies

1 cup shredded cheese

taco shells, tortillas etc

taco seasoning, I use a homemade mix, recipe to follow

Brown meat and drain. Add all ingredients and heat through. Yes, it's just that easy!

Taco Seasoning

6 tsp chili powder
4 1/2 tsp cumin
5 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
3 tsp onion powder
2 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to taste
Mix all and store in an air tight container. One teaspoon of homemade equals 2 teaspoons store bought.

Monday, January 24, 2011

garden planning

January is the perfect time to plan your garden. Catalogs come by the "bushel". Once the fall holidays are over, and it's cold and dreary outside, I look forward to Spring. I spend months planning Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it makes perfect sense to spend months planning Spring!

My veggie garden always includes: tomatoes, peas, zucchini, cucumbers, raspberries{perennial bush}, yellow squash, pumpkins and carrots. I try a few different plantings each year. Some work, some don't. Last year I had trouble with corn and potatoes. Neither grew very big.

This year I plan to add: sweet banana peppers, broccoli and asparagus.

In my herb garden I grow: lavender, cilantro, peppermint, basil, chives, and lemon balm. This year I plan to add: spearmint, rosemary and dill.

I have a spiral notebook for gardening. Each Spring, I draw my garden plans. You have to rotate most plants. By keeping a garden journal, I can be sure that I have done the rotation. I can also keep track of what grows and what doesn't.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

an inexpensive date night

Hubby and I went "out" last night. Not a fancy restaurant. Not a night club. No galleries.

We went to the bookstore. Yes, again.

I had a gift card for the coffee shop. So, we got our drinks, found some reading material and then settled in. We don't have the same taste in books, so we each find what we are looking for and then meet back up. We have been doing this for about 15 years. Still never gets old. Sometimes we find something to buy {usually gifts} and sometimes we just buy a drink.

I wasn't surprised to see the amount of people there doing the exact same thing. Guys on their laptops, a couple playing cards and many people in the over stuffed chairs reading. I love this bookstore for allowing this to happen. God bless the bookstore owners. They are awesome!

Friday, January 21, 2011

free photo greeting card

This would make a great Valentine's card for your sweetie! You just pay $0.99 for shipping.

Hurry! Valentine's Day is coming!

And after you check out this link, spend some time at! I know that I will!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

to simplify the wardrobe....

As I was getting dressed recently, I discovered that I literally had nothing to wear. Well, nothing that would match, anyway. {laundry day} It occurred to me that I have too many tops that are multi colored. If I had more neutral, solid colored blouses, then I could easily mix and match.

My solution? Go through my closet and donate anything that can't easily be paired with at least 2 or more bottoms. {read: slacks, sweats, skirts, capris etc} I am left with solid colored blouses, solid colored pants and multi colored skirts.

I think the multi colored skirts will keep me from boredom. I also think it will be easier to get dressed if I have more matching items. I can get a coupon, for donating 2 bags of clothing, to the thrift store. If needed, I can go and get a couple more tops to balance this wardrobe out.

This change should also cut down on laundry, since I will have less articles of clothing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My coupons and the show "Extreme Couponing"

I didn't have a lot to buy this week, but did get a few things not on the list. The reason? They would be free, or close to free.

At Walgreens:
1 Thermacare $2.50
minus $1 coupon
= $1.50
minus $2.50 Register Rewards
= $1 profit! =)

2 Nescafe 7 pack Taster's Choice coffee packets 2 for $2
minus 2 $1 off of 1 coupons
= 2 packs for free!

at Walmart:
2 Yakisoba noodle bowls $0.54 each
minus 2 $0.50 off coupons
= $0.08 for 2!

3 Green Giant boxed veggies $1 each
minus 3 $0.50 off of 1 coupons
=$1.50 for 3

Not an "Extreme Couponing" day as per TLC's program, but I think that I did okay, considering that I only need eggs, cottage cheese and fruit.

I didn't watch the entire show, but saw snippets of it on TLC"s website. I was pretty shocked at one particular guy. He had over $30,000 of a stockpile in his garage. {I think that was the amount} He had enough deodorant to last many men for many lifetimes! I think that is bordering on a hoarding disorder! Seriously! I once bought 5 sticks of deodorant, because they were free after coupons. I kept 2 and donated 3 to the food bank. {They need these kinds of things!}

There's just a limit to what I put in my pantry stockpile. It has to be something that we will need or use. If I can get it for free, but won't use it, it gets donated. I don't have a cat, but will get the free cans of cat food, just to donate.

There was another couple on the show that first went to the store, wrote down all of the sales, and then went back to shop. They had 9 carts in the end. What did I see in the carts? 100 candy bars and a cart full of Gatorade. I just don't want 100 candy bars in my house. Not even if they are free!

Another woman did a great job with her shopping, she had one cart and spent about $6.00. {$230.00 before coupons} That is the kind of shopping that I do. I do not want so much stuff that I need to put it in my garage. I want to put my car into my garage!

I really think that some of these people should next be on the show "Hoarders"!

Monday, January 17, 2011

why do I garden???

I was recently asked "why do you garden? Isn't it easier to just buy things from the store?"
Well I guess it would be easier. And cost more.

As I sit here on this fine Colorado January morning, I am looking through the garden catalogs that have been recently delivered. For breakfast, I will have yogurt with berries from my freezer. For lunch, I will have a salad that will include shredded beets and zucchini from the freezer. I will also have leftover soup made with veggies from the freezer. For a snack, I will have muffins made with fruit from the freezer. Dinner will include a spaghetti sauce made with veggies and herbs from the freezer. I guess all of the "hard, back breaking work" that I did last summer isnt so bad. My freezer is full of fruit from my trees and herbs and veggies from the garden. Do I need to go buy them? No. So I guess right now, it's "easier" for me to get produce right from the freezer. {and cheaper}

Why do I garden? I just love to.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

what to do with chicken...

I found chicken on sale for $0.99 per pound. I was pretty excited and bought a family size pack. After simmering on the stove all afternoon, I removed the bones and shredded the chicken. So far the cooked chicken has become Chicken Enchilada Casserole and Barbecue Chicken Burritos. Both recipes are so easy and yummy! The broth was saved to cook rice for my dogs' homemade food. They love the rice cooked in broth!

I forgot to take pictures of the dishes, so instead I give you this:

photo credit

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
2-3 pounds chicken, cooked and shredded
1 cup cream of mushroom soup per each pound of chicken
1/3 can water per can of soup
1- 4 ounce can diced green chilies
1 pound shredded cheese
6 inch corn tortillas
Mix soup, chicken, water and chilies in a bowl. Line bottom of casserole dish with tortillas. Layer half of chicken/soup mixture on top followed by half of cheese. Repeat layers starting with tortillas. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted. Serves 6-8.
This recipe can get pretty expensive if you aren't careful. I buy my tortillas at Sam's Club and divide them before freezing. I also buy the soup and chilies on sale.
Barbecue Chicken Burritos
1/2 pound cooked shredded chicken
1 1/2 cups julienned green peppers
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
4- 10 inch flour tortillas
Mix all ingredients in bowl. Sprinkle cheese down the middle of each tortilla and top with chicken mixture. Fold up ends and roll up. In skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of oil. Fry on each side until browned. Yum!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My first blogger award!!!

I received an award from Lisa at Easy Frugal Living . How exciting. Thank you!!! I recently stumbled upon her blog, and have really been enjoying her posts! Take a moment and check it out!

I love this type of award because it spotlights some of your newest blog finds that you are loving! This is the chance to share some of my new finds with you all!

There are 4 requirements in accepting this award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

7 Things About Myself:

1. I am a scrapbooking addict.
2. I am a Christian.
3. I almost always have my nose in a book!{yep, a bookworm}
4. I am a gardener.
5. I love black teas and vanilla lattes.
6. I enjoy "treasure hunting" {thrift store shopping}
7. I love to save money via coupons, sales, clearance aisles....

I don't have 15 blogs that I read. I sent the award to blogs that I read and enjoy everyday. Some I recently found, and some I have been reading for a while. I hope that you enjoy them as well!

1.My Frugal Fun Life
2.Blessed Simplicity
3.Homemaking On The Homestead"
4.Premeditated Leftovers
5.Cozy Seaside Homestead"
6.Girl Savors Life
7.The Big Red Barn
8.My Freezer Is Full
9.The Frugal Girl
10.The Thrifty Chicks
11.Dirt Under My Nails

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I messed up...

I went to get some groceries today and to run errands. Well, next to one of the stores is a Mardel Christian store. I went in "just to browse". That "browsing" made my checkbook $42.00 lighter! Dang. Stupid 90% off Christmas sales!

What did I get?
For 90% off:
1 Veggie Tales Christmas DVD- $0.99
6 books- $1.00 each {actually more than 90% off. Some were $16.99 and higher}
3 Christmas statues/decor- $2.22, $0.99, $1.99
for 50% off:
1 t-shirt- $9.99
1 mens's t-shirt $12.99
The shirts will be gifts as well as 2 Christmas statues. The books, DVD, and light up Nativity were for us. In all, I saved $117, if I paid retail for the items. {which I never would have, but it makes me feel better to note that}
I will stay away from after Christmas sales.....I will stay away from after Christmas sales....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

shopping after Christmas sales

I was in Borders yesterday and found some great deals. They have their boxed gift sets for about 75% off. I bought 6- $20 gift sets for less than $5 each! I'm super excited about these, as they will make great gifts. I plan to use some in Easter baskets as well as for friends' birthdays.

I don't go out looking for sales after the holidays, but if I stumble upon a sale, and there are items I can use, then I just go for it. Since I'm trying to simplify and declutter, I really think about each purchase. Do I have a recipient in mind, or will it just sit in the closet just in case? In the past, I bought stuff like crazy, but I just ended up with too many gifts and not enough people to give them to.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"refried" beans

Blacked eyed peas give you luck? Really? I've never eaten one, so I've never had them on New Year's Day. I was going to get some, just to try it out, but forgot. Sigh. I guess I don't get any luck this year. =)

What I did make was "refried" beans. They are super easy and very cheap! A 15 ounce can of refrieds can range from $0.89 to $1 or more. I bought a pound of dried pintos for $0.50, and made the equivalent of about 4-5 cans of beans. NICE!

Refried Beans

1 pound of dried pinto beans
4 cups water
1/4 cup bacon grease {optional}
1 T garlic powder
2 T chicken bouillon
2 T chili powder
2 T butter

Place beans and water in a large stock pot. Soak overnight. Drain beans in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Add 2 cups fresh water to pot, stir in grease and next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally. Beans are done when soft. Mash with potato masher or fork and serve.

At this point, you can add more seasoning or salsa, if desired. Yummy!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I pray that you have a very happy 2011, and that all of your hopes wishes and dreams come true!

I send you God's blessings

2011 wrap up

This blog has done wonders to help me stay accountable to my goals. Seeing my thoughts and hopes right here, on this page, have a way of keeping things real. I may not have achieved every goal, but I had fun. It was a good year. There were ups and downs. Good times and bad. Happiness and sadness. Same as most years.

I had a lot of fun with this blog. I learned so much. I'm hoping to blog more, and keep up with not only annual goals, but monthly ones as well.

Although we didn't reach our set debt reduction goals, we did pretty well. We are starting the new year with about $2000 in debt that we had hoped would've been eliminated. Our new goal? Tighten the budget and stick to it. Live well beneath our means. We can do this.

I failed in my quest to become healthier. I'm not extremely overweight, but I do want to be more fit. I would like to lose 5 pounds and be able to ride my bike for longer periods. I'd like to run up the stairs and not be winded! I'd like to increase my strength. I currently lack the discipline. I will work on this.

Discussing my sidebar goals:
2011 personal goals:

Pay extra on mortgage: $667.36 {goal- $1200} no excuse, we didn't make it
Pay student loans $13,204 {goal- $15,805} again, poor planning
Pay extra into savings $2330 {goal- $1200} made this!
Pay extra into IRA $440 {goal- $600} another failure

20 minute workout every day I will step this up, for certain!
eat out only once per month we did cut our eating out budget from the previous year!
expand veggie garden this was a success
preserve more foods from garden although I did lose my garden, in a summer storm, I was able to regrow and preserve some veggies!
spend more time with friends a success!
new grocery budget...$525.00 per month! this is still a challenge, but better than the $400 that I started the year with!
20 minute devos daily: this is still challenging. I admit that I don't take time for myself everyday. I need to prioritize. I have a new daily devotional that I will start today!
read the Bible in a year: a success! I finished with about an hour left in the year! ha ha