Monday, December 30, 2013

Comparing Prices, What I Learned Today

Ok I know they told me shopping with coupons would take more time but 4 hours?!  It was my first time and I wanted to see what Costco's bulk prices were first.  I had my other grocery store flyers in hand and my Price Book sheets for each store.  In Costco I wrote down the prices for the named brand and store brand of just a few things like computer ink, paper towels, toilet tissue and meats.
It would be impossible to compare everything I ever buy.  Then I went to Walmart.  The first thing that made me smile is that they do have a flyer.  It is just not mailed out.  So I'll need to pick one up on Friday's when the other ones are mailed to me.  Ok, so now I have to see if Walmart has anything on sale that I brought coupons for so I sat a table in the McDonald's and made a note of what matched.  Off to get a cart and start shopping.  Going down my grocery list I write prices on my Price Book pages.  I figure after a few weeks of this I'll have most items I buy recorded.  Compared adds, coupons and store brand prices and made my choices. I ended up buying most things at Walmart but my Tom Thumb had a much better sale price on New York strip that we are having for New Year's Eve dinner and Iams Cat food was on sale at Tom Thumb along with the coupon was a better deal.  All in all it was very enlightening.  I'm exhausted but encouraged and look forward to trying again next week.

One more thing.  I found our computer ink much lower on line at  and Costco store brand paper towels and toilet tissue was a better deal.

Menu Planning with Coupons

Ok I said today was planning day and that is what I did.  I took the grocery store flyers, and stack of coupons I clipped and went to work.  My first problem is Walmart.  They don't send out a flyer so I don't know if the grocery store sale plus the coupon is a better deal.  Also the store sale is contingent with buying 5 of the item which is ok because they are non perishable items but I'll need to find a place to store them and what if they are out of the item because the circular came out Friday and I shop on Monday.  I have resolved myself to this risk because it is my first attempt at coupon shopping.  I know it will take a few months to find a system that works for me.  Any advice would be ever helpful and totally appreciated!

Also we have quite a few left overs and an out of town event so my grocery list is very small this week. This is what I came up with:

Week of Dec 30-Jan 5

Monday: Shepherd's Pie made with left over beef roast and mash potatoes
Tuesday: New Year's Eve - grilled steaks with roasted red potatoes and green beans
Wednesday: New Year's Day - Hoppin' John (you can see how I make it HERE)
Thursday: left overs from freezer
Friday: Dine Out
Saturday: Grandson's Birthday
Sunday: left overs from freezer

I'm linking this up to Menu Plan Monday at

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Turkey Stock Recipe

One of my favorite things to make this time of year is turkey and brown rice soup.  I have made it in the summer but can never find turkey stock in the grocery store that time of year and so have to use chicken instead which really does not taste as good.

So before I can make my soup I have to make my own stock.  Its very simple but time intensive.

First break up the turkey carcass that you saved after Thanksgiving and put it in a large stock pot.

Cover with water and add onion, garlic, celery and carrots and 2 Tbs salt

After slow boiling it for 3-4 hours uncovered, strain the broth into a large bowl or second soup pot.  I first started staining mine into this glass mixing bowl but it was way too small.

finally after the stock has cooled separate it into two cup size freezer containers and freeze until needed.  It will keep up to 6 months.


Turkey Vegetable Soup with Brown Rice


1 cup brown rice

2 tsp vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 tsp minced garlic

3 cups shredded green cabbage

4 cups homemade turkey stock or 2 cans chicken broth

1 can diced tomatoes

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp thyme

1/8 tsp black pepper

1 Tbs soy sauce

1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

3 cups frozen mixed vegetables

2 cups chopped cooked turkey

1 Bring 2 ¼ cups slightly salted water to a boil in a covered 2-quart saucepan.  Add the rice, stir and reduce the heat to low. Cover  and simmer until all the water is absorbed about 45 minutes.

2 While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes.

3 Add the garlic to the pot along with the cabbage, broth, tomatoes with their juices, bay leaf, thyme, black pepper, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce,  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium.  Add vegetables and turkey to the pot and simmer until ready to serve.
4 When rice is done, place about ½ cup in each bowl , spoon the soup over rice and serve.
This recipe is from my favorite cookbook Cheap. Fast. Good! by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Evening Review

Well we didn't go to the movies so I cleaned the kitchen and completed the laundry.  I picked up a couple of money saving strategy books from the library.  I'd like to get my grocery budget under control again.  I never actually had it under control before but I have tried before.  I know the first thing is meal planning which I'm pretty good at but its the next level of using coupons I'd like to master.  I registered for three coupon sites and saved the local grocery store circulars.  Tomorrow is planning day.

Morning Musing

The first day of my new blog entries.  I woke kind of early today at 5:30. I was wide awake and when I get like that I can't stay in bed.  So I got up.  I made coffee, emptied the dishwasher, made gingerbread, completed today's Bible Study and finished writing Christmas thank you cards.  Not a bad start for a Saturday morning.  There is so much I could do today but being Saturday I might just sit on the couch with my hubby and watch football.  Actually I hope we go see a movie with one of our movie gift cards we got.  I'd like to see the new Hobbit movie that just came out.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A New Year A New Start

Ah the proverbial New Year's Resolutions.  Some love them some hate them.  I love them.  I love fresh starts and new beginnings.  I guess it's the optimist in me.  All the Christmas festivities are over and all the family has gone back home.  The house is quiet and I sit here and think next year is going to be different it's going to be better.  I'm going to start earlier,  find gifts throughout the year so I'm not running around at the last minute buying whatever I can find just to have a gift.  I'm afraid to look and see how much I actually spent this year because I did not plan or budget.  Next year is going to be different.  And I'm starting today. I found a website that really breaks down all the planning and tasks into manageable bites throughout the year. The Rudolf Club at Organized Home  I can't wait to get started!

I also found a new blog to follow called A Slob Comes Clean I love how her blog started.  She just wrote from her heart about the struggles of keeping her home clean and organized.  She now has e-books on her discoveries and bought them both!  I've had my blog for almost two years but I don't feel like it has any true direction or purpose.  I'd like to change that.  So I thought I would adopt Dana's style and see how it works for me.

I'd like to use my blog as an accountability tool to get projects started and completed and also to get my home more of a haven of peace and not such a chaotic mess.

Dana wrote two posts a day, one was her checklist and the other her reflections on the day.  I'm going to try that and see if it works for me.  She is also doing a de-clutter challenge this week which I'm going to join. You can find it here  I'd like to start with purging some of my Christmas decorations.  There were quite  few I didn't even put out because I didn't have enough room.

So here's to a fresh start and a new beginning.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Owl Graduation Card

Here are a couple cards I made this weekend.

I used the owl from Cricut cartridge Straight From the Nest and the branch is from Create a Critter. For the graduation hat I just printed it from clip art and cut it out.

and here is a birthday card I made from Create a Critter

Happy Crafting!

I am linking this up to Fantabulous Cricut Challenge #192  @ Fantabulous Cricut Blog 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Caroling in the Mall

Oh the weather outside is frightful!  Here in Dallas, TX we are having our first ice storm of the season.  It's recorded a half inch of ice is out there!  The power is still on here but many are without.  I'm staying in where it's warm working in my craft room listening to Christmas carols and decided to make this page of my best friend's youngest on a field trip caroling in the mall.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Luncheon Favors

This time of year is full of Christmas parties and luncheons and this year I am responsible for my Shakespeare Club's Christmas luncheon.  I love pinterest!  I got so many ideas and decided to go with the trendy burlap and lace theme.  These are the favors I made for each guest and the programs.

I found these cute mason jar candles at the Dollar Store and with a little lace, twine and printable round stickers they become the cutest favors.  And I just printed up the programs using fun Christmas fonts and pasted them inside the folded cardstock.

May all your Christmas events this season be Merry and Bright!