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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Weekly Spending

So, I've tried various ways to track my spending and announce it to the world without much success. Then I came across this site called Give Me Back My Five Bucks and really liked the way she does her weekly tallies. So guess what? I'm hopping on board.

*I just realized, this morning, that this was still sitting in my draft box!!! Sorry for the delay!
$70.32 Publix.

$ No Spend Day

$400.00 (surprise bonus!)
$ No Spend Day – amazing as I walked around Winn Dixie looking for some great dairy/meat/produce deals and walked out empty handed!

$ No Spend Day

$ No Spend Day. We were hosting a 6 month old, 17 year old and 24 year old for the night. Which of course, led to more 17 year olds, my girlfriend, Princess and her friends. Thank God for well stocked freezers and pantry!
$140.38 weekly pay

$30.00 even at Boo Rileys (hubby and I went for a drink and dinner, late)

$59.71 – Target

$540.38 in
$160.03 out

Notes/comments: I’m rather proud of myself … I would have went grocery shopping on Friday after work but I knew everyone would be there and waiting. I had a bottle of champagne that I received at work and chose to drink that for the night. Luckily I had another of the same exact kind from a month or so that I had gotten so I could share. Sunday was THIS close to be a no spend day until Sonny boy freaked at 7pm that he needed a few more things for school, so gave him and Princess my debit card and instructions to get only what was needed…and well, he didn’t look at the price of the boxers ($12 for 2 pairs??) and shampoo and conditioner. Oh well, live and learn.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - 8/29 to 9/4

Seeing how I sort of blew my budget last month, it’s a new month starting (holiday weekend ahead too!) and my new budget that I’ve set up to try and get myself in to the real groove of things, I need to plan and STICK to it!

Sunday – Salisbury steak & egg noodles, dinner rolls and salad with my favorite honey mustard dressing, courtesy of Hubby (of course, he ended up running out to pick up a few things because he is not one to just make do with what you have!) We now have leftovers to last us all week long for lunches

Monday – grilled chicken and rice pilaf (providing the weather is ok) - Rice pilaf recipe to be posted soon!

Tuesday – baked tater bar

Wednesday – Sandwiches and soup

Thursday - tacos

Friday – pizzas

Saturday – big bbq for the kids and their friends (and a few adults!) … burgers, dogs, brats, pasta salad, oriental salad, brownies, chips and dip, bean dip, etc.

Recipes? Oh yeah, here you go:

French Onion Soup ... the simple version:
1/2 stick butter
3 cups onions, sliced thin
4 cups beef broth
1 sprig of fresh thyme (or use dried if that's all you have!)
Parsley (same as above, use dried if that's what you have)
1 bay leaf (and I don't have any idea WHERE mine went)
1/2 cup white wine or sherry
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
black pepper to taste
4 slice french bread, toasted
1 1/2 cups shredded white cheese, such as Swiss, Gruyere or Jarlsberg (I had mozz so thats what I used)

Melt butter in large pot. Add onions, stir. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Take off lid, stir and turn up heat a "little" and cook til onions are golden.
Dump in wine (step back from fumes!), scrape bottom to get all that good stuff off! Pour in broth, and herbs. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Allow to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
When ready to serve, turn on broiler and top the bread with cheese. Broil til cheese is bubbly and melted. Pour soup into bowl and float the bread with cheese on top. Serve and enjoy!

Honey Mustard Dressing
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt (I just eyeball it and I'm sure its way less)
dash of pepper
2 tbs water
3 tbs white vinegar

Mix all in jar with tight lid. This will last for a few days (5 or so) in the fridge if you don't use it all in one sitting!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Uh, yes, I DID go to Costco this week. It's been 2 weeks, so I think it was ok to do so :)

Here's the plan: I had $225 cash in my wallet.  Took out the debit card and left it at home. Also stashed the AE in the purse, just in CASE.  Made a detailed list and a rough breakdown of what I thought the cost was. Grabbed the little coupons from the booklet (which FYI, not necessary as they see your coupon and they scan a barcode on register automatically AND I asked if I could keep in case I wanted to come back for some more stuff). Total estimated $167. Total spent? $162.74. Not so bad !!

4 pack tropicana (64 oz each) $9.99
Downey (costco size!) $12.49
Clif Bars $19.89
2 pk apple juice $6.45
2 lb sliced cheddar cheese $6.79 x 2
large tomatoes (5 lbs) $5.49
mini peppers $4.29 (hmmm...I think these went up)
Parm shredded cheese $13.45
honey roasted turkey $7.47
romaine lettuce $4.29 (again, I think this went up)
3 pk cucumbers $3.29
2% milk $2.39 x 2
2 pk nutella $8.89
skim mlk $2.29 x 2
half & half $1.59 x 3
black forest ham $7.10
chicken tenders 5 lb (breaded) $12.59 x 2
crumbled bacon bits $8.99 (gosh, I remember when this was like under $5 a bag!)
2 pk of crunchy Jif peanut butter (because more moms prefer Jif!) $7.69
large bag of kettle cheddar cheese chips (30 oz which equals 1 7/8 lbs) $4.99
3 dozen xlarge eggs $3.99 (again, I think the price went up, which I do believe they will be with the major recall...)

So...the coupons I got to use?
$2.25 off the tropicana
$2.00 off the downey
$4.00 each off the chicken (seriously, breaded chicken tenders for $8.59 for 5 lbs!!?)
$1.75 off each of the cheese
$2.00 off the jiffy peanut butter

I am happy. There wasn't too much spontaneous. The Nutella, but I had made Sonny boy a sandwich the other morning and saw we were almost out, the orange juice, but really, been wanting to buy some but it's not been on sale at a good price. Sale price is normally $3 and since I got it for less than $2 each, that's pretty decent in my opinion.

I was looking for burger buns and sandwich (hoagie type) bread but the selection was poor. Lots to choose from, just not very fresh. That's ok, went to the bread store the next day and got ww burger buns for 79 cents, squishy too :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It’s back to school Monday.
Hubby is traveling Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
Princess is working something like 50 hours this week AND starting her first class of semester on Thursday.
And I will continue being busy at work. Ahhh…I think it’s time for a menu plan! (Recipes follow below)

Sunday – baked spaghetti with garlic bread and garden salad
Monday – Chicken and black bean quesidiallas
Tuesday – hehe…frozen pizzas and garden salad (hey, I’m utilizing what I have in the freezer)
Wednesday – pressed sandwiches and salad or soup
Thursday – Hubby comes in late late, like plane lands at 11pm…thinking of burgers and chicken on the grill with some leftovers
Friday – pork chops (I really need to do something with this pork tenderloin!)

I need to do a costco run for a few things this week, but will try to hold out til like Thursday so I can stock up on milk, salad stuff and energy/protein bars for the Teens.

Baked Spaghetti
There are lots of different ways to do this but heres how I did it:
1 box spaghetti, cooked al dente (10 minutes most)
2 tbs butter
1 cup mozzarella (all I had was fresh sliced stuff)
½ cup grated parmesean
A splash of milk since I didn't have any ricotta or cottage cheese to add
Mix these together in a large bowl.
Then heat a jar of spaghetti sauce, doctor it up to make it special…
Place spaghetti mix in a well sprayed dish (I use 9x13)
Pour the sauce evenly over the top
Then, IF you have them: top with either precooked chicken patties or nuggets (hey, we have chicken parmesean!)
Top the sauce (and chicken) with more mozzarella.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 15 to 20 minutes til warmed through and bubbly.

Chicken and Black Bean Quesidillas
I use this salad all the time (and actually freaked out a few weeks ago because I couldn’t locate my recipe) and discovered it makes a great filling for quesadillas…
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can corn, no salt if possible, drained
4scallions, thinly sliced, about ½ cup
1 red/yellow or orange pepper, diced
1 can of chicken, drained (or ¾ lb / 3 cups cooked chicken), cut into bite size pieces
Juice of 2 limes (3 tbs)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbs ground cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
Diced tomatoes (optional, but highly recommended)
Tortilla shells (flour or corn, your choice)
Cheese of choice
In large bowl, mix all except tortilla shell and cheese (although I suppose you could mix the cheese in, I might try that now). To make the queidillas, carefully spoon mixture over half of large shell, top with a little cheese o f choice. Fold in half and cook til lightly brown on one side, carefully flip to brown other side. Serve with a side of salsa and sour cream.

So what are you having on YOUR menu this week? Stuck for ideas? Go over to the Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday site and find 100's of other ideas!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cats, Kitty and Kitten

We have a cat, his name is Kitty. He sort of came about as I thought he was Kiki (see side bar on right for his “Have you seen Me?” picture) and I ended up going back 3 days later and adopting him. Funny, his temperament was “sweet”. Yeah right. Uh huh. Nice ploy there, Kitty …

Anyways, it’s been over a year. He’s adapted quite well and we’ve all become one big happy family …

Then, a girlfriend of mine, whom I have not really associated with since the holidays (Christmas) due to circumstances and things that I wanted nothing to do with, well, she calls me the other day. I know things are tough for her at the moment, and wasn't so sure I was ready to hear the latest story. But, as a friend, I did return her call.

Long story short, I know have her Cat, G (who is 13 years old!!) temporarily, until she finds him a new home. Hubby said 6 months and I just looked at him and said no, 6 days. Uggg. G is adapting well, although he seems to be quite the nibbler of food and is freaking Kitty out still. Kitty is an only child, and well, he much prefers it that way. G has discovered all of Kitty’s toys and slobbered them all up (literally). G apparently spits in the food bowl when he eats as Kitty will NOT eat out of the same bowl.

Then last night, I let them both out together, thinking heck, maybe they will romp around together. Hmm. Nope, opposite directions.

Finally decide I better find G and get him back in for the night. Run into FatCat, F from across the street, who has taken a liking to our boat trailer (and US) these past few weeks and he’s quite the talker, so he and I chatted and petted a few minutes and I walked him back home across the street (he’s old and well, I’m afraid he’s going to get hit by a car). Oh. What do you know? Mommy baby cat is over there with her 6 babies. And aren’t the babies just the cutest?? Of course, F doesn’t particularly like the one kitten that keeps jumping on him so he hisses and spits, and the baby kitten cowers. I scoop him up and chat to the teen girls who take care of the mommy and babies who are trying to convince me to take him home. I do, but only for a visit.

Awww. The CUTEST little thing ever! And hungry. I had to take away the food bowl from him and then he was just a squeekin away!

Took him back after about 20 minutes of fun … the girl say they were born in April but there is no way … they are maybe 2 months old at the very most.

So, I get rid of G I can adopt the Kitten. Wonder if Kitty will like THAT any better?

Weekly Spending

So, I've tried various ways to track my spending and announce it to the world without much success. Then I came across this site called Give Me Back My Five Bucks and really liked the way she does her weekly tallies. So guess what? I'm hopping on board.

*Yeah, I know, it's a little late this week, things have been happening!*

$10.53 Publix

$28.36 Sweet Tomatoes

$No Spend Day

$220.74 Costco
$22.43 Publix
$22.02 Mobile Gas

$140.38 weekly pay
$1081.76 bi weekly pay
$109.80 refund from insurance company
$29.38 Winn Dixie

Saturday (Back to School Shopping with the Animals)
$58.00 JCPenney
$51.00 JCPenney
$49.00 JCPenney
$54.00 JCPenney
$40.00 JCPenney

$No Spend Day

Total for week:
$585.46 Spent
$1331.94 Income

Notes/Comments:  The JCPenney day...there were some great sales going on and then $10 and $15 off of $50 and $75 which is why you see the numerous transactions.  Still spent more than I wanted and this was just on clothes for the 2 kids ... and a few shirts for hubby, and a new swim suit for me and 2 pairs of sandals. Hey, I couldn't pass it up!  Costco? Well, that was to have been milk and basic stuff but got sidetracked. I had a list. I had cash. I still did a spontaneous shop!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Potatoes and Onions

We made this recipe from Tammys Recipes a few weeks back, and well, I guess I didn't follow the directions 100% and the taters were burnt and just not all that.

Plus, the potatoes in the fridge were old. As in, seriously, on their last leg. If you've never had OLD potatoes (no, I don't mean the ones that are soft, smelly and fuzzy!), don't worry, they aren't that great!

Anyways, its scalloped potatoes on the grill. Wrapped in TWO foil packets, not one, so you can seal it well and flip. Oh. Ok. I see what the problem may have been.

So I decide to try it again with the chicken thighs. And wow! They were awesome! Definitely recommend fresh potatoes too (20 lb bag from Costco last week and each one of the spuds is the size of my hand if not larger!)

3 cups of thin sliced potatoes (I used one Coscto size spud and used the mandolin to slice it thin)
1 cup of thin sliced onions (again, Costco sized sweet onion, sliced on the mandolin)
3/4 cup of mayo or sour cream (I used 1/4 mayo and 1/2 cup sour cream)
1/4 cup of Parmesan
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 tsp parsley
salt and pepper
dash of Cayenne pepper flakes
clove of garlic, finely minced

Mix the mayo/sour cream, cheese and spices together in large bowl. Dump in the onions and taters, mix well till all coated.
Tear 2 sheets of foil to about 15-20 inches long. Spray with Pam (well) and divide taters between 2 sheets. Fold up and seal well (you know, fold over and over and repeat)

Grill on medium high heat, turning over half way through for about 20 minutes til taters are done. They smell awesome and you will hear them sizzling!

When done, allow to sit a few minutes and very carefully, open foil up and serve. Yummmmm

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Late Summertime Fun

Sonny boy goes back to school in, oh, 10 days? Princess starts her next semester in oh, 2 weeks?

And Hubby? Well, he decided to F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. put the Seadoo in the water and let it sit on the lift at the dock.

Oh gee. We are all thrilled to be able to have 5 full days left to play (best to play in the intracostal waterways Monday through Thursday when boat traffic is minimal).

Sonny Boy, the G/F and Hubby put the Doo in the water last night and Sonny Boy and G/F brought it back home. They actually beat Hubby home which means they were flying. Sonny Boy said oh, about 59 mph peaked. Uhhh...Dude. G/F never been on anything like this before soooooooo.....

They asked if they could go play some more and of course we said absolutely, off with you! Good to see them having some fun besides sitting around watching tv, playing games and talking/texting on the phones. Well, they do float in the pool, go to the beach, cook, eat, clean. Ok never mind. Good to see them doing something NEW!

Searching - because I am NOT organized

For days now, (well, since Sunday!) I've been searching for a favorite recipe of ours that uses canned chicken, black beans and corn with cilantro, lime juice and cayenne pepper.

See? I know exactly whats in it. I just can't find the recipe that I KNOW I've posted on line somewhere, at sometime, in my life!

Uggg. Now I am afraid that I'm going to have to go through my STACK of recipes...something that looks like a recycle pile of paper. Seriously.  I so need to get refocused on being organized.

Anyways, when I find it, I will definitely be posting it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekly Spending

So, I've tried various ways to track my spending and announce it to the world without much success. Then I came across this site called Give Me Back My Five Bucks and really liked the way she does her weekly tallies. So guess what? I'm hopping on board!

I have to tell you, I am tooting my horn!

$No Spend Day

$No Spend Day

$No Spend Day

$No Spend Day

$No Spend Day
$140.38 weekly pay

$11.62 at the Produce Store
$18.02 Thrift Store (hey, got 5 dresses, one leather jacket, a pair of jeans and a 2 cup glass Fire King measuring cup!

$No Spend Day

Total for the week:
$140.38 to checking
$29.64 spent

Comments/Remarks of Note: I feel empowered knowing that I did 6 of the 7 as No Spend Days! Woohoo. Of course this week coming up will be a big fork out of money for the car insurance. Ahhh, life interferes!  It's good to be eating out of hte freezers and pantry too as I really need to clean out the stuff and start new (fresh).  Funny, I really really need to go to Target and have all my coupons for the stuff lined up, but it was rainy and dreary on Sunday, so instead, we swapped out the washer & dryer AND I made pizza dough again in the breadmaker ... beats ordering out and the new recipe from Life As Mom is GREAT!

Also, I need to pay for Princess 5 classes by Friday which is going to be about $500.00 AND scohol clothes for Sonny Boy AND school supplies for both. Thankfully, it's not like the old days where every single item is new for the first day of school, and I'm trying to remind them that first, we shop at home :) Good luck, huh?

So how about it, how did you do this week?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Motivational Monday

Here it is, the beginning of a new month.

I love new months.

It's a chance to re-evaluate. To start anew.




And so on.

Over here, I shared my motivation for this morning, and I stuck with it and brought it home.

Yes. I worked out. H.A.R.D.

And I feel good. I feel so good. Both physically and most importantly, mentally.  That I said I was going to do it and I did it.

Now if I could just continue the week ahead.

And thru the rest of the month ...

Crystal over at Money Saving Mom has apparently been doing the P90X stuff too. She's only posted a little about it but I'm anxious to hear how it's going in more detail.  I've had the program for over a year and have started and dropped it 3 times so far. Hopefully the 4th time will be it.  I am still working on getting Hubby to start with me ... I keep saying if only I had a partner... By the way, you can buy the program from Ebay and Amazon or even Craigslist. BUT make sure you get the 2 booklets that come with it. Really. It's well worth it. The nutritional thing can get me obsessed and I just need to read it and put it away and go back to it later :) The other book is the program workouts and the moves. Really really helpful!

As for the budget stuff. $400.00 cash for the month. To cover gas, food, and misc. stuff. Of course, it is back to school month (go figure, I picked August to do this) ... but my hope is that maybe, just maybe, I will avoid all the junk food that eats up the budget. I know, I don't spend THAT much on junk, but hopefully it will make me rethink those so called deals that are such a good deal for my butt :)

So how about it, what is your Motivational Monday story?

Weekly Spending

So, I've tried various ways to track my spending and announce it to the world without much success. Then I came across this site called Give Me Back My Five Bucks and really liked the way she does her weekly tallies. So guess what? I'm hopping on board!

$ No Spend Day

$24.47 Publix. I really didn't intend to spend this much. 2 stouffers frozen family meals, 2 garlic bread, 4 pks soda, 2 bags chips.

$12.01 Publix (this was a great stop: 7 protein bars, 2 1/2 gallons milk, 4 bags donuts, 2 lbs peanuts) I also got a rain check on the Pizzas to use my excellent coupons on :)

$4.18 Publix, banans and coffee cream for office

$140.38 weekly pay
$1488.31 which includes my monthly bonus which really needs to go into my no touch savings account, but I've got a large payment to put towards car insurance so I don't know.
$136.29 Publix. I'm starting to think I should buy stock in them. Oh wait. They are privately owned. This was a lot of good deals with coupons expiring soon. I saved $178.79 if that matters (I know, it doesnt!)
$17.95 Skyline Chili for Hubby and I

$No Spend Day (on the boat all day long!)

$136.56 Costco.

Total for the week:

Comments/Remarks of Note: Can I tell you how glad I am it's a new month again? I like the beginning of the month, only because it gives me a chance to renew my monthly budget goals ...

I need to get back to being motivated on the menu planning, sticking to the PLAN and just DO IT. Yeah, that's my goal for August.

So how about it ... how did YOU do this week on your spending and saving?