Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happiness is...

*playing with Mr. Potato Head and Monkeyface while Blueberry Banana Bread bakes in the oven
*pool parties with the little one and a few good friends
*planning my packing list to travel with Monkeyface for the first time
*painting and coloring with Monkeyface
*Popping giant bubbles outside

**This post has been brought to you by the letter "P"

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I had someone email me about how I CVS after I posted a link on The Grocery Cart Challenge's Recipe Swap. This is the email I used to reply. I'm actually quite glad she asked b/c I've been meaning to post this for quite some time.

I love lists so I'm going to break it down as easily as I can.

1)Get the Sunday paper, join to print coupons, and sign up for free samples b/c a lot of them come with coupons.

2)I read a couple of different blogs that help me decide what the good deals are and which coupons to use.
Money Saving Mom
Making CVS work for you
CVS 101
Be Centsable (people post their deals)

3)My sister in law sums it up nicely here.

4)Get a CVS Extra Care Bucks card and a weekly sales paper and figure out how you can combine it with the coupons you have on hand.

5)The first time I went I bought a Soliel razor and a pack of 4 blades for $6.99 each. I had a $4 off coupon for each product so I paid $2.99 each. CVS gave me $5 ECB that I could use like cash the next time I purchased something. The next thing I did was buy 2 sunscreen products. I bought the least expensive item I could find (2 face sticks at $4.97 each) and I got $10ECB back. Now I had $15 that I could spend at CVS that was basically free money. The way that I got the deals on my original post are as follows:

CVS sent me a sheet of coupons for $5 off any $15 purchase, free 2 liter Pepsi product, and $3 off any CVS pharmacy product. Gain was on sell for $2.99 and you got back $2ECB. Excedrin had a deal where you would get back $10ECB if you spent $20. I stacked my coupons.
First I had them total everything and it was right around $30. Then I gave them the $5 off $15 coupon (we're down to $25), then I had $6 worth of Excedrin coupons($19), then the $3 coupon for the antacids ($16), free Pepsi coupon ($15), and then I used my $15 in ECB to pay for the rest. The only thing I paid out of pocket was the tax of $.47 give or take a little. After my transaction I still had $12 in ECB to use the next time I shopped at CVS. It's a great thing and once you get the ball rolling, you aren't going to be able to stop.
This totally kills my need to shop bug and I get so excited by what I can actually get basically for free.

The next thing I did was use Rite-Aid's rebate program.

The shampoo you saw was on sale, buy one get one free, and I also had 2 BOGO free coupons so all that shampoo was free. The toothpaste was on sale for $2.49 and I got $2.49 in rebates plus I had a $.50 coupon. The Electrasol was $2.99 with $2 in rebates and I had 2 $2.25 coupons. Even though I had to pay approximately $4.75 out of pocket at the time, I just submitted for my rebate check last night and I'm getting back $4.49 in the form of a check which I will deposit in the bank.

So there you have it...hopefully this is not too confusing. The main thing is to clip coupons and sign up for blogs that will tell you which coupons to use and what the sales are. I work full time so there is no way that I could do this w/o the blogs. If you don't have Google Reader, I suggest you learn how to use it. I just go there and read the blogs I've subscribed to instead of having to remember to go to each individual blog each day. My best friend, Google Reader

Friday, July 25, 2008

Food Friday-Chicken Divine

I normally have all of these ingredients on hand as regularly rotated staples.
You can use as much chicken or as much broccoli as you like. I happen to like broccoli a little too much. I also use reduced fat soup and 2% cheese

Chicken Divine


2-3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 32 oz bag frozen broccoli or 2-3 boxes of frozen chopped broccoli
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise (Duke's is my preference here in the South)
1/2 tsp of lemon juice
curry to taste (or not)


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
3.Place broccoli in the bottom of baking dish.
4.Layer cooked, cubed chicken over broccoli.
5.In a med bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, mayo and cheddar cheese.
6.Spread over chicken mixture.
7.Sprinkle with more Parmesan, paprika, salt and pepper.
8.Bake for 30 mins, or until hot and bubbly.

Sometimes I just stir everything together and throw it in the casserole dish if I'm in a hurry. Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or nothing at all.

Friday, July 18, 2008


This is one of my favorite, easy go to meals b/c I almost always keep frozen chopped ham or smoked sausage in the freezer. I do use low sodium/low fat soup as well as 2%milk cheese and it tastes great.


2 lbs. Southern style frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. melted butter
16 oz. sour cream
2 c. cubed ham
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 c. butter, melted

Combine all casserole ingredients and mix well. Place in casserole dish. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle on casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


So I've jumped on the bandwagon and think that I've finally gotten a handle on how to buy things at CVS. Tonight I went to Rite-Aid and CVS and scored all of these products for only $.64. Without coupons, rebates, and Extra Care Bucks, I should have paid $55.15.

Ultra Gain 32 load laundry detergent
2 liter Diet Mountain Dew
2 20 packet boxes of Electrasol
2 24 count Excedrin PM
100 count Excedrin migraine (not pictured b/c I already gave it away)
2 L'oreal Hydra Vive shampoos
2 L'oreal Hydra Vive conditioners
1 tube Crest toothpaste
1 bottle CVS antacids

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Medicine

Snoop Dogg has gone country on me and I'm loving it. I can't stop singing this song. I had trouble falling asleep last night because I was tapping my toes to it. Get out of my head Snoop D-O double G!

Food Friday: Bacon Cheese Chicken

I borrowed this idea from here. It was a great way to use left over bacon because we never finish it all and was really yummy with mashed potatoes.

They have pretty pictures on their website if you want to bookmark the link. However you choose to read the recipe, I reccommend that you cook this now. As in today, not tomorrow.

Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, split
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 lb bacon (or bacon bits)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large skillet, heat oil & butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and saute 4 to 5 minutes each side, until lightly browned. Place browned chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover with teriyaki sauce and dressing. Sprinkle with cheese and top with bacon bits. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

God Bless Pandora

There's just something about listening to Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr, and Willie Nelson that draws out the country girl inside of me.
I'm totally flashing back to childhood road trips, chopping wood with my dad, and pretending to drive the tractor.
I miss living in the country every single day. I miss my wide open spaces. I miss not hearing my neighbors argue, party, and slur curses at one another. I miss star gazing b/c I could actually see the stars at night. I miss the migrant worker's festive music blasting on the weekends over the open fields. I miss my favorite spot by the horse pond where I would sleep and dream.
I think having a kid has brought out things in me that I tried to run away from so long ago. I am so sentimental and hate that Monkeyface is not growing up the way I did. I have to remind myself constantly that this is his childhood, not mine.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Operation Smile: Help Children Around the World Through a Simple Click - From Money Saving Mom:

Oral-B will donate one foot of dental floss to Operation Smile for every visitor that clicks through this link on their web site. No strings attached, no personal information required. It takes less than 5 seconds. Operation Smile is an organization that helps repair facial deformities in children throughout the world.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Opt out of phone books

So I've opted out of junk mail, catalogs, credit card applications, and unsolicited telemarketers. NOW I can opt out of phone books! Sign me up.

Friday, July 4, 2008

What's Up

I feel like I haven't done an actual update in quite some time. I've been busy piddling around with Google Reader and reading what other people have to say.

The plan today was to go to the pool with the Hubby and Monkeyface but the little one woke up with a fever again. He acts fine despite a 101.5 degree temperature. However, I'm going to have him take it easy. The pool will be there the entire summer so I know we'll be using it another day. I just really wanted the Hubby to go with us since he works on the weekends. Soon enough though we'll be in Costa Rica enjoying the ocean and the pools for a week.

So with my life...I've been working as usual, reading a lot of blogs on my Google Reader, and shopping with coupons. I love to shop but I also want to pay off our debt so I'm using CVS to get what we need for free and I'm using coupons to get as much as I can for free. I've almost become really good at planning a menu each week and sticking to it which helped us to only spend $35 at the grocery store this week for our family of 3. This included all breakfasts and a few lunches for me as well. Another way I've cut costs is to limit the amount of take out I buy. I allocated myself $100 for the last 2 weeks to use for lunches, incidentals, Friday nights (I don't cook on Fridays), and the occasional bout of laziness. Normally I would spend over $200 on this and I kept it at $112 (Hubby wanted ice cream last night). I'm so impressed that I could do it. Hubby also quit smoking so I'm thinking that will be another $200-250 per month that we'll have towards debt. It's amazing how much we were spending on food. Now I just need to battle the Target bug that infects me every time I walk in there. It is so hard to come out with only what you need.

I helped K move into her new place last weekend and it has come together nicely. Her screened in back porch has 2 cozy chairs and plants all over. I visited the other night and couldn't stop smiling the entire time I was sitting out there. The entire place is peaceful and I love it. I know that she loves having a home of her own again.

Other than that, I'm just reading a good book here and there, doing the normal things that a mom, full time employee, and wife do to keep the house running, and taking Monkeyface out on a new adventure each weekend. Life is pretty sweet.

Food Friday-Chicken Spaghetti

This Food Friday is brought to you by Pioneer Woman. The hubby and I made this Chicken Spaghetti exactly like she said and it was delicious. I will definitely be making it again but I think I might use a little less chicken and add either some ham or bacon. I will definitely put this one in our rotation. You can also make it ahead a few days and it will keep in the freezer. Did I mention that it was cheap to make? My kind of recipe.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Modern Guilt

Dear Beck,

When your new album comes out next Tuesday, do you think you could tour North Carolina this time? We miss you.

Kind Regards,
Mama Feelgood