Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Catching up

Hey! I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water lately, and have barely had time to sit down and think about what I'm going to do next let alone blog! I was able to check out this book from the library, and I'm already enjoying it a lot. I'm trying to remind myself to be still and breathe every once in a while. Seems like it shouldn't be hard to do, but it is...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Weekend!

It's already that time again! This week has gone by so fast – we spent lots of time outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather. Here are a few links I've found interesting this week. Have a great weekend!

A beautiful essay about being a mom.
How much does your credit score matter?
A fun toddler project for a rainy day.
These doodles are amazing!

Image from here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fair and Square

I've been seeing the new JCPenney commercials and ads and they peaked my interest, so I decided to stop by a store and check them out. The styling in their ads and circulars looks super fresh and fun, and reminds me more of J Crew than what I've typically thought of from Penneys. (Wondering if it has anything to do with their new leadership.) If you're not familiar with their new pricing structure, here's how it works. I found the visit super pleasant: they've decreased the amount of merchandise on the walls and racks, so it feels a lot less crowded. And the addition of Sephora mini-stores in the center of the store is meant to attract a younger buyer. I picked up this coat and shirt: the coat/cape was $50, and the shirt was $11. I left very satisfied with the trip and will definitely be back!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: 2.20.2012

The weather here has been so strange, just like most of the country. Warm one day, freezing the next. Today while I was planning my menu it was very cold, so I planned a few slow cooker recipes to make us feel warm and cozy!

Slow Cooker Rotisserie Style Chicken
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
French Onion Soup with French Bread
Spaghetti with Bolognese
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Check out more delicious menu plans right here!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy weekend!

I've decided to start sharing a few links on Fridays of things I've found interesting, informative or inspiring during the week.

An easy dinner to cook for one.

No heat curl tutorial.

The comments section of this post is so interesting. How much do YOU spend on housing?

Super fun and relatively inexpensive art for your walls. There are so many ways you could make this project your own!

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Image from here

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Unextreme Couponing: Soup, Toothpaste and Razor

I made a stop at CVS to work a few of the deals I saw in Sunday's circular. I'm collecting some canned goods for a food drive in my area, so I got some soup, and I also needed to add to my stockpile of razors and toothpaste:

Transaction 1
Toothpaste, on sale for $2.75. Used MQ for .75 off.
Paid $2.00 OOP and got $2 ECB's back.

Transaction 2
Razor was $10.49, used a $2 off MQ. Soup was on sale for .59 a can, used a MQ for .40 off 4.
Used $5 in ECBs I had from previous weeks, plus $2 ECB's from Transaction 1.
Paid $3.70 OOP and got $4 ECB's back from the razor!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Crafty Things: Heart Crayon Valentines

In honor of one of my favorite holidays, I thought I'd show you the Valentines I made for a little party my daughter was invited to with her play group. I've seen these crayons all over the blog world, so I picked up the ice trays at Target for $1, and had the rest of the supplies on hand making this a super cheap project. I used the instructions here, and was really happy with the way it turned out! And with the kids in the group all being so little, I think this is better than candy! I'll post pics of the finished crayons all packaged up soon. Hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: 2.13.2012

It's going to be a busy week with Valentine's Day this week, as well as some evening commitments my husband has. So I've planned things to eat htis week, but I'm not sure if I'll be sticking to the plan! Here's what we're having:

Homemade French Bread Pizzas
Ginger Honey Chicken and Sauteed Green Beans
Tex-Mex Beef Tacos
Breakfast for Dinner

See more delicious menu plans right here!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Make This: Super Quick Pocket Apple Pies

I had a pie crust, an apple, and some spices all on hand the other night, so I made these quick apples pies. They were so delicious and so easy! Here's what you need:

1 refrigerated pie crust
1 apple (I think I had Fuji on hand, but you can use any)
1 tablespoon each of flour, sugar and vanilla extract
A few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg

For the topping
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. sugar and another dash of cinnamon

Peel, core and dice the apple, then put it in a bowl with the sugar, flour, vanilla and spices. Cut your pie crust into 4 equal pieces. Place the apple mixture on the pie crust, and fold over the crust. Crimp and seal the edges. Brush the pies with egg, then sprinkle on the sugar/cinnamon topping. Place the pies in a glass pan sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 375 degrees for around 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

These were so delicious and so easy! Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coupon Savings: January

I thought it might be an interesting experiment to start tracking my monthly coupon and store rewards card savings. Of course, I thought this at the end of the month, so February will be my first month tracking it completely, but for January, I was able to go back through all of my receipts spent at the grocery store and add those up. I also use coupons when we eat out, and other stores, so I'm going to try to track all of that as well. I'm most interested in the monetary value of my couponing versus the time I spend doing it.

So here's my coupon savings for one grocery store in January:
Store Rewards Card Savings: $78.72
Coupon Savings: $30.96
Total Savings: $109.68

I think that's totally worth it for the few hours I spend each week going through the sales circulars and clipping out coupons. Don't you?

Image from here,

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: 2.6.2012

Hello! Here's what I'm making this week. Just a warning, it's pretty chicken heavy! It will also be a busy week in the evenings, so I have two slow cooker recipes to make it a little easier. Hope you have a great week!

Grilled Chicken and Garlic Almond Broccoli
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Chicken Cutlets with Smashed Potatoes and Peas
Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Tacos
Chicken Enchiladas

Find more delicious menu plans right here!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baby Gear I Still Use

When you're expecting a baby, people give you lots of advice about must have things that made their lives easier. A pregnant friend and I were talking about baby essentials a while back, and she told me that some of her other friends had told her a wipe warmer was an absolute must-have. I almost spit out my drink. Seriously? But it made me realize that everyone has their own idea of what they need to feel comfortable taking care of their baby! Lots of things that are "essentials" are only essentials for a few short months, so I encouraged my friend to just borrow those, or spend the least amount of money she could on them (like a baby swing).

My daughter is almost 19 months old, but there are a few things we still use day in and day out around here that have been around since the very beginning. These are our true "essentials".
1. Our video monitor. There have been so many times that I would have gone in and woken up our daughter when she was really just tossing and turning if I hadn't been able to actually see her on the monitor. And waking her up when she isn't really ready to be awake is the kiss of death.
2. Burp cloths. They used to wipe up spit-up and drool, now they wipe up everything from water to lunch. We have a drawer full of them, and go through the drawer once a week.
3. This bath pad was recommended to us by a nurse during the baby care class we went to when I was pregnant. It was so cheap, but our daughter still sits on it while we dry her off after her bath. When she was little, it protected her from banging her head on the counter and now, it helps us keep a grip on her while she tries to wiggle away.
4. This drying rack used to hold bottles, but now holds sippy cups and plastic containers for snacks and her lunch.

There's so much advice out there for things you have to have for a baby, but a lot of it I only used for a few months. I consider these things the true workhorses of our baby gear!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Net Worth Update: January 2012

I can't believe it's already time for this! Find our previous net worth updates here.

Savings: +231.46 We took a little money out of our vacation savings account to put a deposit down on a beach home we're going to this spring, so savings didn't go up as much as usual.
Retirement Accounts: +5855.60 Hooray for gains in both our accounts! I'm glad 2012 is starting out this way, and hope it keeps going up up up!

Mortgage: –430.78 I learned my lesson last month and remembered to write down our balance on our mortgage, so this is the right amount.

Total Change in Net Worth +6517.84 A fantastic way to start off the year!