Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year - New Resolution!

My January starts with an extremely busy 2 weeks.  Kids go back to school, PTA meetings start up again, a friend in town for a week visiting my college daughter, basketball starting for my boys... busy times!

I have my menu ready and did the shopping today for the next 2 weeks (and I added to my prepared pantry as well) and then I did food prep!

Here are my meals:
  • Finnish Meatballs
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Tacos
  • Chicken Roll Ups
  • Lasagne
  • Tator Tot Casserole
  • Mexican Dip
  • Mandarin Chicken & Rice
  • Pot Roast
  • Beef Stew
  • Take-out Pizza
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken
  • Spaghetti
  • Leftovers
I spent the last 3 hours getting several things prepped so that I am ready to throw it in the oven on timer if I am not home or the kids can put it in.  I did the following:
  • Mixed the meatballs and froze them individually on a cookie sheet.  I will put them in a freezer bag and they will be ready to cook when I want to make them.
  • Cut up into small chunks and cooked 2 pounds of chicken breasts in olive oil and seasoned salt in a fry pan.  I then took half the chicken and shredded it for the chicken roll ups and the other half I just put in the freezer for the mandarin chicken.
  • I cooked up 1 pound ground beef and made a lasagna in a 10x14 pan.  It is in the freezer.  I will pull the pan out and cook it in the pan.  I don't need the pan this week so it is good to stay in the freezer.
  • I cooked up 2 pounds ground beef and made the tator tot casserole.  It is in the freezer.  I put aluminum foil in the bottom of the pan and prepared it on top of the foil.  As soon as it is frozen I can take it out of the 9x13 pan and use the pan for something else.  I will then put it back in the pan when I am ready to cook it.
  • Loaded and unloaded the dishwasher 3 times plus hand washed the dishes that can't go into the dishwasher.
  • Watched 3 episodes of the Next Food Network Star and dreamed that someday I can be on the show.  I have no idea what my focus would be... maybe casserole cooking?
My goal is to do this twice a month and stay on top of my shopping, coupon clipping, saving money and easy, healthy meals for my family.

Happy New Year to you! 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chex Mix Get-Together

I had fun a couple of weeks ago when we got together with friends and hosted a Chex Mix Get-Together.  We were planning on playing volleyball as couples for a date night and had Chex Mix as a snack.  I had signed up through the Pssst... Network through General Mills.  I like getting the free coupons and this party included 3 bags of Chex Mix - Traditional (my favorite),  Turtle (a second favorite) and Honey Nut. 

Geneal Wilson & Kelly Porter with Turtle Chex

Reed Wilson with Honey Nut Chex Mix

They also provided cute plates & napkins with a football theme and a Chex Mix bowl.  The only problem with the bowl is that it is magical!  When I put Chex Mix in it and walk out of the room the Chex Mix disappears!  My kids say they know nothing about it but I am not sure.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 3 and I am already failing

I have a list in my head of meals to fix but not written down so no one can help me with that.  I have a busy day tomorrow and am trying to finish the coupons so I can get some fantastic deals.  I did get the lasagne frozen and 8 pounds of ground beef cooked and frozen.  Quick dinners could be Shepherd's Pie, Hamburger Helper, or a veggie beef stew... I had a yummy corn chowder the other day with bits of beef in it... I need to find the recipe.

Monday - it was rough, nothing got complete but the list has grown.  However; we did take phenomenal photos of Brianna for her Senior Pictures.  We should have them back in a few days.  She is to beautiful and it will be great to have that put together for her.

Goal on Tuesday is to finish inventorying and get the master menu list ready to use.  Let's see if I make that goal.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rough Days Ahead

Life with teenagers sure can be interesting.  Just when I thought things would slow down just a bit because my #1 headed to college, our #2 got injured when she was square dancing in Wyoming back in July and #3 15-year old got injured after being shot on the bridge of a space ship in September (yeah, you read that right).  Let's just say life is never dull in our home.  Oh, and #4 has now decided to start playing Lacrosse so I am just holding my breath on that one.

So now we have official diagnoses (right labrael hip tear #2, right knee meniscus tear #3) which involve surgeries to fix both children.  #2's surgery is on the 28th and #3's will be scheduled at our appointment this Thursday... I am looking towards the 2nd week of November to give me just a little breathing room but hey, if one is having surgery and down, why not 2?

This means I lose a driver for 4 weeks and with my husband working 40 minutes away from home now instead of 5 minutes (yea for a job, I am NOT complaining about that one) I will be extremely busy as taxi driver for physical therapy, doctor's appointments and just the normal errands.

TIME TO GET MORE ORGANIZED!  So, I really have to plan ahead for meals and shopping and all that is going to happen.  I am going to chronicle the events as they unfold so that hopefully others can learn from this experience.  I hope no one has the exact same experience (teenagers, surgery, pain does not for a happy family make) but maybe you will have experiences that you will need to be prepared for as well.

Day 1:  Saturday
Inventory Pantry & Plan menus through end of November 
Fry 8 pounds of hamburger to use in future meals
Make & freeze a lasagne for future dinner

Day 2: Sunday
Get caught up on clipping coupons

Wish me luck on this... we'll call it an adventure.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our 5 year Anniversary!

Donna and I are celebrating Prospering Families' 5 year anniversary!  We can't believe how fast it has gone by and how many experiences have happened to us the past 5 years.  We have both experienced spouses with job loss, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Donna went from a full-time working mother to a stay-at-home mother, I have one child living on her own at college, Donna has all kids in school... the list goes on and on!

To celebrate the good we are wanting everyone to get our Feed 5 for 50 software for only $10!  We feel it has been such a valuable tool for both our families and both can personally testify that the concepts we teach have helped our families not only to survive the changes over the past 5 years, but they have thrived!

Get your copy today... Feed 5 for $50

Taught a fun class tonight!

I was privileged to teach a meal planning class tonight to wonderful ladies in Orem!  I learned from them a couple fun things:

  • You can keep celery fresh in the fridge for a month!  Wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and keep in the refrigerator.  I am going to try this one out tomorrow!
  • I am going to call my leftover night that we have about once a week an "Iron Chef" night.  The kids take whatever ingredients and make their own meals.  That is a fun new term!
I hope the information I shared was valuable to them.  We discussed grocery shopping strategies, meal preparation strategies (freezer, slow cooker, pantry cooking) and how to create their very own Master Menu List and Master Shopping List.  It was a fun way to spend an hour!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Case Lot Sales

Here's a link to KSL report of the case lot sale going on right now at Harmons.  Nice to know I am considered frugal and not cheap!

Case Lot Sales for Frugal Customers

I urge you to go to the Savvy Shopper Deals website to see what items are considered WOW and GREAT prices!   The case lot prices will be up in a few days.  Sale is from Monday, August 30th - Sunday, September 19th

I will keep you updated if I find some great deals!

Discontinued Products

So I am at the store on Saturday looking for my Scrubbing Bubbles Wipes as this tool is something my teens can handle as they clean the bathroom and they are NO WHERE to be found on the shelf.  This disappoints me greatly as I have a $.55 off COUPON for them!  As I am discussing this issue with my husband an employee walks by and says "oh, they discontinued that in August so we took them off the shelf and put them on the cart in the back of the store."  I hurried back there to find 1 container left.  I leave the store with my one container and now wonder which product I will use.

I really enjoyed this product... have you had products that you use that have been discontinued and you then had to switch to something new?  Let me know your thoughts... I am wondering if it is worthy of a call to the company to complain.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fun Presentation!

I just got back from Sun Valley, ID where I made a presentation on meal planning and creating a prepared pantry for the spouse lifestyles program at the annual conference of the Intermountain Section of the American Water Works Association (IMS AWWA). 

I had a great time meeting with these women (and Joe) and discussing how to add variety to their Master Menu lists, teaching them shopping strategies and ideas of how to create and add to their Prepared Pantry.  By the time class was over everyone had exchanged some of their favorite recipes with the rest of the group. I was thrilled that I left with some GREAT new recipes myself! I look forward to sharing some of them with you over the next few days.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Crock Pot Cooking

I really enjoy using my crock pot and so does my friend & business partner Donna.  This is what she posted on Facebook a few weeks ago:

I love my crockpot!!! I had a crazy day today and got home late.  But no worries, dinner had been cooking all day and all I had to do was serve it.  I did a huge pot roast (6 pounds) that I shredded for 3 different meals.  Tonight was Philly cheese steaks, then I'll do shredded beef tacos in a few days and french dip sandwiches a few days after that.

Donna's friend NiCole shared: I used my crockpot this week for bbq chicken drumsticks.  Put frosty drums in the pot with bbq sauce and chicken broth.   I cooked on high for 6 hours and they were good.  We also like sloppy joe mix and spaghetti sauce (with turkey sausage) that simmer all day and are ready at mealtime.

I would LOVE to hear more from those who use crock pots on a regular basis.  I found a recipe for crock pot Ziti that I am going to try this week when I am gone all day for PTA.  I'll share it with you once I know it actually turns out ok.  Lisa

Sunday, June 27, 2010

13-year-old's honesty

So we are sitting in church today and I am listening to the speaker and my son leans over to me and says "Mom, your feet make you look old, but you aren't old".  WOW!  He said that my heels are what makes my feet look old.  I must be in BAD shape if my 13-year-old son notices!

I tried a free sample of CurĂ©l® foot cream that I had been given but it only lasted a day as it was just a sample.  I don't have a lot of time to soak and scrub (though I do scrub them in the shower daily) or to get weekly pedicures (and my nails still look really cute).  Anyone got any great ideas for me to have "young" looking feet????? 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well, Duh! You need to know about this!

I forgot to share this!

Last week Treg & I were responsible for "group date night" (June 19). So we held a "House Party" I don't even remember how I found out about this site but I signed up to become a host of the "Thrill of the Grill Hot Dog House Party™". It was sponsored by Oscar Mayer. We were chosen to be the hosts and it coincided with our date night!

They said there were going to send me a gift pack and linked up to party favors and activities. I was THRILLED when I opened the box and there was napkins, plates, a large bottle of Heinz Ketchup, frisbees, soft baseballs, and WEENIE WHISTLES! There were also coupons for free hot dogs and $.75 off Heinz ketchup! For those who know me know that I was more excited about those than anything else. FREE OSCAR MAYER HOT DOGS - the ANGUS kind... it was AWESOME!

So, we invited the "gang" and decided to hold a picnic up Provo Canyon. I made potato salad (yummy recipe, I will share if you want me to), and others brought side dishes. We went to WalMart (yes, because it was the closest) and paid $.63 for 7 packs of the Angus Hot Dogs... they retail for over $3.00 per pack.

We had an awesome time... had 12 people there... and with a light breeze, the grill sizzling and frisbees flying (and we did lose one in the bushes, Scott P. is not the best catcher, apparently) I thought it was a great evening for all - here we are blowing our Weenie Whistles!

Click Here for a link to the You Tube video of the jingle played by my friends on their Weenie Whistles!

This House Party thing has many types of get together opportunities. I am considering a couple more... let me know if you want to come.

BTW, I am not getting compensated for this other than an excuse to spend time with friends (that's always good) and free stuff to share. I was able to give away all the coupons for free hot dogs (except for the 7 I used) and $.75 off Heinz Ketchup coupons as well as the frisbees, baseballs and weenie whistles. I have my Prepared Pantry FULL of ketchup and don't need any more!

Amish Time

I heard this concept at the EVO Conference yesterday and I want to implement it... it's called Amish Time. With technology coming at us (possibly the term bombardment comes to mind) taking time out to get away from technology is a good thing. The woman presenting the idea said they turn off electricity (TV, computers) including THE LIGHTS! I remember having a few dinners when my kids were little by candlelight and they liked it then.

Now that my 4 kids are teenagers and all having the ability to text, this concept may be met with some resistance but I really want us to do it. Now... to find the right day to do this... maybe from midnight to 6 a.m. Saturday - Sunday? Yeah, that one would work. Wait! We do this already!

I challenge you to try it too and let me know how it goes.... I'll follow up when I do it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Partner!

Deals to Cherry Hill, Cowbunga Bay and more!

Check this out! I just learned about CityDeals and they are offering an exclusive promotion that only last until midnight tonight! In case you don’t know, CityDeals sells local and national certificates and gift cards at up to 50% off. Reduced priced certificates allow you to visit various restaurants, entertainment events, spas, hotels, clothing stores, movie theaters, and more. City Deals has a wide array of deals available every day without the hassle of group buying!

Since learning about this site, one of the things I like best is the ease and convenience of shopping online. While they offer great deals of the moment that are usually time-sensitive, I can go on at anytime and find a killer deal to local and national brands that I love! Plus, they give me an excuse to try new places without investing a ton of money! I can also find great gifts for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and during the holiday’s for my friends and family without actually spending a ton of money, but it looks like I’m being very generous!

Hop on to their site and check out their latest deals, including discounts to Cherry Hill, Cowabunga Bay and Spare Time Family Fun Center (Roy) and a ton of other places where you can send the kids to keep them entertained this summer! The Cherry Hill deal is 50% off a combo pass. Get two tickets for only $24! Wow! Cowabunga Bay has a cool deal on the site, too: 2 day passes for only $23. 50! Even better, they have a coupon code that was only sent to their Facebook Fans. You can get an additional 15% off the ENITRE SITE, including the deals I mention. Just use promo code FACEBOOKFAN during checkout. And be sure to become a fan of the page because there will be more exclusive deals soon! Use the code today because it’s only good until midnight tonight!

Happy deal shopping!

Cherry Hill

Cowabunga Bay


More great Info!!

Right now my favorite presentation was by Lisa Leonard ( and she made these points - again, applicable to business, my PTA position and life in general:

1. Find something you love and do that
2. Be genuine
3. Be consistent
4. It is good to have new and fresh ideas – be different
5. Take time out to relax, it will help get the creative juices flowing again
6. Listen to others with their honest feedback - you might be surprised at what others can see and how that can help you become a better (business, volunteer, person)

I will keep you posted!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'm Tired but Inspired!

I am tired. Yes, I fell that I have run out of batteries! I am involved in many things in my life and have gotten ready to hit a wall. I went to Memphis, Tennessee a couple of weeks ago for a convention, 4 teenagers are running in 4 different directions every day this summer and in general, life is happening. My energy has been sapped... until tonight.

I am having a WONDERFUL opportunity to attend a conference at the Canyons Resort in Park City called EVO - The Evolution of Women in Social Media. Today's Mama is the group that has spearheaded this event. There are approximately 200 attendees who are almost all bloggers - most of them sharing mommy experiences. It is quite the "social event". Tonight's keynote speakers had some amazing stories to tell and I was inspired in different ways be the four women. Lessons I learned:

1. Don't judge others - I haven't walked in these women's shoes. One comes from extreme poverty, one is a writer, one has had some issues with eating disorders and one lost a 17-month-old child. Had I randomly bumped into these women I might not ever think that they had a remarkable story to tell. I might judge them based on looks or age, or married status. After listening to them I am more than ever determined to make one of my weaknesses, judging others, disappear from my life.

2. Showing genuine vulnerability is better than false strength - I might look like I am confident and can do anything I set my mind to, but there are times in my life that I am so unsure and scared. I am taking a big new step in my life with a new volunteer position and I am truly scared spitless. I am going to admit that I am scared and will make mistakes instead of pretending that I know it all. I am hoping that others will acknowledge that I am not pretending I am something I am not.

3. Focusing on others can take us through the darkest of times - I was completely inspired and touched by the messages of the keynote speakers and another overriding theme was to focus on others instead of myself. I do that in my life, generally, but sometimes I forget that I am the happiest when I forget about myself and my problems.

I know this blog isn't typical with what I have posted before, but it was what has affected me today. I am sure I will learn more about blogging, business, and me personally as the next two days move forward.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Emergency Preparedness Tip

Now might be the right time to stock up on some supplies your family may need for emergencies. Camping supplies are going on sale with the summer season and many of the items can be used in an emergency as well. No matter where you live you should try to store the following items:

Water (large container plus small carrying containers)
Sleeping Bags

Keep an eye out and let us know where you find good deals... Target has some great summer sales!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Salad Dressing Uses

My daughter came to me last week and said "I need to take food to a sleepover".  I offered for her to take microwave popcorn and she said "No, FOOD!"  Oh, real food... I get it.  So I gave her the quick pasta salad recipe that I listed on the Utah Mama Blog.

So, here are a few ideas for salad dressing (and we often get coupons for Ken's Salad Dressing in the Sunday paper and the dressing is then very cheap):
  • Well, obviously on top of a green salad
  • Use Coleslaw dressing for a yummy chicken/pasta/grape salad
  • Use Italian, Balsamic or Raspberry Vinaigrette for a marinade for meats and then grill meat (discard marinade after taking meat out - use fresh dressing if you want to use for a sauce)
  • Use Italian or Raspberry Vinaigrette with chicken in the crock pot
  • Use for a marinade on vegetables
  • Mix with Rice for a different flavor
Please share & post other ways you use salad dressing!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Using Your Freezer to Save $

I use my freezer a couple of different ways.
  1. I will buy in bulk and freeze part of the product for use at a later time.  I will buy bulk ground beef and portion it into 2 pound packages for quick thawing and prepping later.  I used to do 1 pound packages but with 4 teenagers I do 2 pound packages now because they eat too dang much.  I also purchase bulk shredded cheese from Costco and portion them into smaller packages for use later.
  2. I will make double meals and freeze the second portion for dinner at a later time.  I did that with chicken pot pie and with lasagna the last time I made them.  It doesn't take twice as much time to prep, it is the exact same time and then I have a meal that I don't have to do any prep for later.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sweet & Sour Chicken Recipe

Sweet & Sour Chicken - Courtesy of Judi Bulkley (my Aunt) Tweaked by ME :)

7 oz chicken or pork
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon MSG (I didn't use it)
4 carrots
2 onion, quartered
1 green pepper (didn't have on hand but it would have added something yummy!)
30 oz pineapple, chunks
1 garlic clove
1 egg
1 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pint oil, cooking
4 tablespoons catsup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup vinegar
1/2 cup water (or pineapple juice - I did water this time)

Cut chicken into 1 inch squares. Mix flour, salt, pepper, & MSG (if used).  (THE NEXT PART IS MY VERSION, I DIDN'T WANT TO MAKE TOO PUFFY OF A CRUST - OMIT EGG). Shake chicken into mixture and then deep fry (oohhh... it tasted good!).  Drain.

Boil carrots until tender, cut onions, peppers, pineapple and chop garlic.

Mix the catsup, soy sauce, vinegar, water, sugar & cornstarch. Cook until thick and boiling. Add chicken, pineapple, and vegetables. Serve with rice (or with Lo Mein).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Had the opportunity to be interviewed today on Channel 2 News at Noon by Mary Nichols.  She is quite tall and strikingly beautiful.  She took off her shoes so she wouldn't be so tall next to me.  We talked briefly, fastest 2 1/2 minutes of my life!

I have been in business with Donna for 3 1/2 years.  We started teaching classes about how to create a Prepared Pantry and realized many people are not as organized as we have been so we created the Preparedness for Life Series software.  This is where you input your family's favorite recipes, print your master shopping list and learn a lot about other tools available to shop smarter.  Go here to purchase the software, we are offering a SUPER deal on it right now! Prospering Families Preparedness for Life Software on Amazon.

Let us help your family get on the road to being more prepared, whether for those busy nights when everyone has to go a different direction or the time that you might find your family in a financial bind and don't have money for groceries.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Prepared Pantry Ingredients

Almost 3 months to the day and my husband starts work again on Monday!  I am so thankful I had the tools available to survive including coupon and social networking skills.  Our family of 6 (4 kids age 12, 15, 17, 18) did very well.  I learned a lot and because I have been preparing for this with the way I have shopped the last 3 years, we had a Prepared Pantry.

Because of our Prepared Pantry, we did not have to purchase the following items during the three months:
* toilet paper
* paper towels
* laundry detergent
* toothpaste
* soups
* salsa
* cake mixes/brownies
* breakfast cereal

I will post more updates on things I wish we had done differently later. Happy Day!  We have a job!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Prospering Families Update

Well, we are starting to Prosper!   Donna's family has had some changes in their lives and are moving to a different home in the Salt Lake Valley and my husband found a job after 3 months.  Life has its ups and downs and if you don't try to enjoy the ride along the way, you are going to miss out on a lot.

We appreciate all of your support and have had tremendous support from sales at our Amazon Store Prospering Families on Amazon

We are both going to keep saving money and will continue to share our stories as we know they have helped many. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Save Money on Meat

Some quick tips...
  • Stock up on Sales!
    • When there are great deals on extra-lean ground beef I always buy as much as my budget allows and then I portion the meat into 1 pound packages (I do a few 2 pound packs for some recipe convenience).  I then freeze the meat.
    • I do not usually precook my meat and then freeze it as sometimes I make meatballs and inevitably the time I want to make them, I don't have uncooked meat in the freezer.  Doing some of both (precooked and uncooked) will help too
  • Try Canned Meat
    • Some recipes will gear to canned meat well - like a Chicken Tortilla Soup - but others need fresh.  I would NOT buy in bulk on canned goods until you try them to see if your family will even eat it or else you will have wasted money
    • I would buy more smaller cans rather than fewer larger cans.  Again, meat will go to waste if you are not using it quickly once it is open.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Software Tax Relief Sale!

Donna and I have been sharing our message of creating a Prepared Pantry for almost 5 years.  We have taught this message through classes, through our website, through our partner websites, at workshops, at fairs and shows and I am sure other places I can't remember.  We finally realized we needed to get the message out to more than just Utah, so we partnered with DVO Software (I grew up with the founder and owner Dan in Michigan) to get our message out in a format that many could use.

Our Preparedness for Life Software is step one to get your family and household organized and more prepared.  As I can personally testify, you never know when your life will get thrown a curve ball (still without a job after 9 weeks, and still have money in the bank).  Once your family has your Prepared Pantry, you might need more recipes to add and we sell DVO recipe software for that.  Then, you will want to start preparing your family with long-term supplies and the Food Storage Planner will help you accomplish that task.

All of this can be done by using software that we sell.  Go to our Amazon Store and purchase any of the software for only $10!  We are offering this through April 17th so don't delay.  We want to be a partner with your family in the preparedness plans.  After all, you NEVER know what tomorrow will bring.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Savvy Shopper Site Goes National!

I have been working with the Savvy Shopper website since it started about 4 years ago.  I have been the Preparedness Moderator. 

It has been a Utah site but it has now gone National!  The following states will have grocery deals listed: Georgia, Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Wyoming.  Other states will be following but these are the ones that will have local grocery store ads covered now.

Check out the site!!  Savvy Shopper website

Thursday, April 1, 2010

No April Fool's - Still No Job - Still Surviving!

It is now into our 8th week of no income.  Again, I am amazed at how far my buck can go when I have to do it!  I planned the meals out for the month and am just picking up a little here and there as required by fresh foods or to replace the Fritos that someone opened and ate as a snack when I was going to make Frito Casserole.  I'm not mad, I'm just reporting the facts.

Coupons are saving me... as well as the weekly ads.  Check out the post I did on the Utah Mama website that lists all the weekly ad links for Utah (Utah Mama Grocery Ad Link).  For all our clients and friends around the nation, you should take time to do this too for your local area.  It will SAVE YOU time and money by spending a few extra minutes to plan your shopping trip to the stores that give you the most dollar stretching opportunity.

Here's to hopefully some good job news this week...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Utah Mama Blogger

I have been invited to Blog for Utah Mama!  What an exciting opportunity for me and the company I co-own with Donna, Prospering Families.  We have been at this for 4 1/2 years and have great ideas to share and now through this opportunity we have a bigger audience!

Utah Mama Blog

I will be blogging about screaming grocery deals frequently but will continue to have just as much great information here.  Both blogs are important to us and this blog is now our official site!  You can purchase products here by clicking on the link to our store and watch all of our videos.  Let us know what you would like to see and we'll add it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Find the Best Prices!

I hate when I HAVE to go to the grocery store for just a couple of items.  Inevitably I will go to the store that has the highest price on those few items I need.  If you live in Utah, Savvy Shopper Deals has the best tool available.  Type in the item you are looking for and the wizard spits back at you (thankfully not with real spit) the store(s) that have that item on sale.
Today I have to shop for Pam cooking spray, flour tortillas, diet coke and eggs.  I know, random things.  The great part is that the wizard shows you how much you are saving if the item is on sale and it will match the item to an existing coupon, if available.

Alas, none of my items are on sale so I am just going to have to hit a store on my way to other errands.  Oh, but looking through my Costco coupon booklet I see there is a Pam coupon for $2.50 off a 2 pack (12 oz ea).  So, not knowing what Costco's price is, I will need to pop in (does one ever just run in and out of Costco?) and check out the price.  It happens to be on my way to other errands today (lucked out on that one).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Virtual Grocery Shopping Trip

Donna and I created this video a few years ago.  It is on our software (Preparedness for Life) and actually walks you through the grocery store giving you tips and tricks of saving money as you become a better Household Manager.  It is a 9 minute video but it is packed full of information!  Enjoy!!

Virtual Shopping Trip

Monday, March 22, 2010

Saving the Planet While Shopping

Reusable grocery bags are back in vogue.  Going Green has never been more fashionable and I found the cutest bags at Mixed Bag Designs.  I purchased 4 of them 2 years ago and they are still in fantastic shape!  They can hold SO MUCH FOOD and household goods.  I can get 12 cans of vegetables in one and though I kill myself with the weight, the bags won't tear.

I know you can get the fabric ones at the grocery store for just a couple of bucks, but they are not as strong.  (FYI: I have no ties to the company other than I love their bags! )
My only issue is that I forget them in the car sometimes... Hey, did you know some stores even offer you a $.05 credit per bag used?  Saving the planet & saving money, what could be better?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Know your price points!

My hubby went out to the store today to pick up some dog food.  We have one picky beagle and one that will eat anything.  Anyway, I digress.  We needed to get just a small bag of food to mix in with the brand that our one dog won't eat.  I sent him to Ridley's as most of their prices seem to be better than a lot of the other grocery stores.  The dog food was $1.14 a pound.  He was pretty sure that the dog food at Walmart was less expensive for the same brand. He decided to do the running and see if it was and most definitely, it was at $.86 per pound.

I had just the reverse experience with purchasing some deodorant that I was sure would be lower in price at Walmart and it was more expensive than at Ridley's.

So what I am trying to encourage is for you to start a Price Point Book or spreadsheet.  This will help you keep track of the most common items you purchase by brand, size and store.  It takes some time to set up, but it will help you in the long run.  Purchase a cheap notebook (or you may have one that was half used by one of your children at school last year and they refuse to finish out the book) or set up a spreadsheet on the computer. 

The Savvy Shopper has a great start for the products SHE purchases located here: Savvy Shopper Price Point List.  You do need to be a registered user of the Savvy Shopper Website to see the list. I am a moderator on the Savvy Shopper site and LOVE IT! 


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Did you see the ad in the mail?

Every Tuesday I get the ads for the local grocery stores in the mail.  Today I found the ad for Buy Low on the back of the redplum insert. They have some amazing deals this week!  I will add coupons and pay just a few dollars:

Yoplait Yogurt 6 oz $.39 each
Pinto Beans $.39 pound
Hailey's Steak Cut fries 24 oz (I assume they are frozen) $.39 each
Springfield sugar 25 pounds $8.88

Also coupons for:
10 pound bag of potatoes for $.58
Juanita's Hominy 108 oz (someone tell me how to use this) 1.98
Best Foods Mayo 30 oz $1.98

Monday, March 8, 2010

4 Weeks - Still Going Strong

We have survived now for 4 weeks without a job. I have changed my thought process significantly and the following things have happened:
  • The shopping trips are lighter, quicker and cheaper
  • The process of determining wants vs. needs is actually easier (though not fun)
  • The thought process of any purchase is much longer
We have spent about $120 in groceries (I did splurge one week to get the cereal that we didn't need immediately, but I can't resist a good deal and urge to continue to build my prepared pantry) which is significantly less than I used to spend.

I was able to make a birthday cake for my brother-in-law that didn't cost me a dime since I had all ingredients and supplies on hand. If you can't tell it is a construction cake with a hard hat and bricks.

I did spend a good chunk of change on Girl Scout Cookies as I had committed to that purchase before the job loss.  It felt good to help out a worthy organization and my family certainly loves the splurge (if they can find my secret hiding place for them).

This experience is tough but I count my blessings as my children are teens and have made a conscious effort to not ask for things they know we can't purchase right now.  They are making sacrifices each day and I praise them for doing that. 

Even with our situation I know that there are others across the world and nation that are in more dire circumstances than we are and I appreciate those friends and family members who continually give us moral support.  We will find a job... I have faith it will happen soon.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I am a Fan of Coupon Finds on Facebook!

Many companies have jumped on the bandwagon of social networks and finding fans.  Some of those companies are offering coupons for free product or cents off coupons.

Facebook is offering all kinds of deals: Nabisco, Skittles, Eggs..... The list gets longer every day.

I got a coupon for buy one dozen get one free dozen eggs, buy 1 milk and 1 package of nabisco cookies and get a free pack of cookies (which I piggybacked with a coupon for free milk... so I got 4 packs of cookies and 2 gallons of milk for $5.00!)

Search for your favorite product and see if the company has developed a fan page.  You will then see tabs on the top and one can say "coupons"  (Skittles just said "Coupon the Rainbow").  And voila I have a buy one get one free coupon for skittles to help me through some long meetings!!

Post your finds... we all want to network on Facebook!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blessings Every Day!

I really have been happy that all the work I have been doing for 4 1/2 years building a Prepared Pantry is paying off now.  It feels good to have food and supplies on hand and not to have to run to the grocery store or Walmart all the time. 

This has also forced me to be more organized.  I have been told that I am a busy person with a husband, 4 teenagers, church volunteer service, my own business, and PTA volunteer service.  I have always tried to be organized to accomplish all that I do, but those skills have been finely honed to have dinner ready and not have Ramen Noodles every night!

Here's to living well... even without a job...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Shopping Update

I went to 2 stores today to pick up good deals...
1. Ridley's sent out coupons for free hot dogs & free french bread.  I also needed Secret Clinical Strength Sport deodorant (I don't want to stink) so I picked up that as well... had a $2.00 off coupon for it.  Spent $5.92 total.
2. Smith's had Land O'Frost lunchmeat on sale for $2.79 and I found $2.00 off coupons on the internet.  I spent $1.75.
So, since February 9th, I have spent $54.00.  I have my meals ready for the next 2 weeks and may have to buy milk, eggs, cheese, fruits and vegetables.

We have picked up quick meals while on the run (less than $10) and I had to purchase a shirt for my daughter for a school event (Kohl's, had 15% off coupon).  We are doing it!

I sure appreciate being prepared for this job loss event, though we are holding out hopes for good news this week.  My hubby had 5 interviews this week and has only gotten 1 "no thanks".

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Making the most with what you have

I needed to take 2 steps to create my new Master Menu knowing that I needed to avoid going to the grocery story until I absolutely had to.

1. Inventory what I have - Luckily I have been working on creating my Prepared Pantry for 4 years.  We have plenty of canned meats, pasta and yes, wheat.  I really am hoping I don't have to start using the wheat, but if I do, well, I have lots and lots of recipes!  We have a lot of canned goods on hand which meant that my shopping trip yesterday was really only necessary for purchasing dairy, meat and fresh fruit.  The meat was a splurge... the store had extra-lean ground beef on sale for $1.59 a pound - I could NOT pass that up!!

2. Go through my recipe file and search the internet - I have a lot of canned chicken so I have been finding all my recipes for different kinds of casseroles, soups and such.  It is amazing how much I already have on hand!  I love the DVO Cook'n Software which I can search with the ingredients I have on hand and it spits out recipes.  Takes a lot of the guesswork out of my hands.

2 Job Interviews today... wish us luck!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Surviving Job Loss

My husband was laid off 2 weeks ago.  The company had a reduction in force.  We were saddened and shocked that day as well as the few days following.  This week is looking very positive with many interviews, follow-up interviews and phone calls.  Faith tells me that we will be just fine.

So, I have been practicing what I preach the past two weeks.  I rearranged our Master Menu to include only foods I have on hand and not purchased any groceries for 2 weeks except for milk.  I have had enough paper goods, cleaning supplies and groceries in my prepared pantry to keep us in a great place.  Last night we splurged and bought Little Caesar's Pizza.  We have eaten out of our food storage & prepared pantry.  I can't believe how many meals I can make.  Luckily I have canned meat on hand as well and that has helped a lot.

Today I went to the grocery store for the first time since the layoff.  I had watched the sales, gathered my coupons and I spent $46 for at least 2 weeks worth groceries.  Here's the list from 2 stores:
  • Cheerios (.29!!)
  • Electrasol
  • Canned Beans (kidney & black)
  • 5 pounds Tillamook cheese
  • Eggs (had a buy 1 get 1 dozen free coupon)
  • Sour Cream
  • 4 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 4 loaves bread
  • A Pineapple
  • 6 pack soda
  • 9 pounds bananas
  • 2 boxes Rozini pasta
  • 2 gallons milk
  • 5 pounds oranges
  • Bacon
  • 5 bottles of pickles (.48! each)
  • 3 pounds apples
It helped that a new grocery store just opened (Riddley's) and they sent out coupons for free bacon, soda,  and a buy 1 get one free on a gallon of milk. 

I anticipate spending less than $50 a week on groceries for my family of 6 (4 teenagers) until he finds a job.  It can be done.  It takes planning and patience and practice, but by using those skills I have already acquired, we can do it! 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Money Saving Ideas

Create your Prepared Pantry
* Purchase products that are staples when they are on sale
* Purchase in bulk - ONLY IF YOU WILL USE IT ALL (use your freezer to freeze portions)

* Plan Leftover nights
* Use Coupons!! Savvy Shopper Deals

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Where do I find Coupons?

You can find coupons in many different places, not just the Sunday paper.  Watch this quick video to learn where else you can find them:

Where do I find Coupons?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fun Family Activity

Last night our family had a fun night. I decided to have an object lesson while making homemade pretzels.  I used the recipe I saw on the Food Network by Guy Fieri found here:

We all took part in adding ingredients and I let everyone pick whichever topping they wanted.  They had fun raiding the spices. 

The object lesson was even with the exact same dough, they made their own shapes and had choices in their toppings.  It is kind of like life.  We are all the same - human beings - but we all look different and make choices that can be positive (the salty pretzels turned out great) or negative (garlic wasn't a favorite of one child) but we must live with the consequences of our actions. 

It can be just a moral lesson, a more philosophical or religious discussion.  I hope you find this helpful.

Monday, February 1, 2010

January Gone!

I made it through January - whew! I had some fun health issues - woke up one day with my fingers swollen up like sausages! Life can sure throw you some interesting curves. It turned out to be a reaction to something I touched. I am blaming my husband's chlorine-drenched swimming suit and have stated that this is the sign I shouldn't be doing laundry anymore, but all that happened was a box of disposable gloves ended up next to the washing machine. I got a laugh and it is all okay again.

The day I woke up with the problem was a day I was not able to use my hands very much so it was a good thing I had prepared my menu before hand. It was a night I was supposed to fix Spaghetti Pie (which was delicious the next night) but I had planned a whatever/leftover night. The family survived and we enjoyed Spaghetti Pie (recipe courtesy of my friend Cheryl which I tweaked) the next night. This is a pretty easy recipe and money saver.

Spaghetti Pie (courtesy of Cheryl Phipps)

6 oz. vermicelli (cooked, drained, and chopped) - I used thin Healthy Harvest Spaghetti
½ clove garlic, minced
¼ c butter
½ c Parmesan
1 lg. egg, beaten
1 t. dried basil
1 c. ricotta cheese or sour cream - My family doesn't like texture of ricotta, I used cottage cheese
6 oz. shredded mozzarella

1/2 pound lean ground beef - I didn't have Italian sausage so I used 1 1/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound Italian sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
15 1/2 oz. prepared spaghetti sauce

To make crust, combine vermicelli with next 5 ingredients. Chop the mixture and press into a 10” pie plate. I used a 9x13 pan - it made a TON

To make filling, cook ground beef, sausage, and onion together. Drain fat. Stir in spaghetti sauce and heat thoroughly.

To assemble pie, spread ricotta cheese on crust. Top with filling and cover with mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 6.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year Goal #1 Meal Planning

I created this video to take you through the steps to create a family Master Menu. 

Meal Panning Step-by-Step

This is how I manually used to do it but now with the software we sell (Feed 5 for 50), about 80% of the work will be done for you.  Using the software is easy.  You need to enter your recipes and then drag and drop them into a calendar.  Then the shopping list is generated for you automatically!  Go here to purchase the download:

Feed 5 for 50 Software

Good Luck! 

Monday, January 4, 2010

What Your Grocer Won't Tell You

* If you hate crowds and lines, shop at dinnertime (5-9 p.m.) or even later. Only 4 percent of shoppers hit the aisles between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. Least crowded day of the week? Wednesday!

* Go ahead and reach way back for the fresh milk. Everybody does.

* Coupons with a bar code are easy to scan. The other ones take an eternity.

* That star fruit has been here a lot longer than the broccoli. Familiar produce turns over more quickly than exotic things.

* The more products you see, the more you are likely to buy. That's why the aisles are so long and the milk is usually in the far corner.

* Like employees with a good attitude? Shop at chains that are employee owned. When employees have a stake in the profits, it shows in their attitude.

* The "grazers" order food at the deli, eat it as they're shopping and get rid of the wrappers before they check out. We also call that stealing.

* I'm not just selling groceries, I'm selling real estate. Look high and low - literally - for good values from smaller manufacturers who can't afford to stock their products in the eye-level sweet spot.

* We're marketing to your kids too. That's why we put the rainbow-colored cereals and other kiddie catnip at their eye level.

* Be wary of "specials". When people see signs with numbers "8 for $10!" "Limit: 5 per customer" - they buy 30 to 100 percent more than they otherwise might have.

* The baby formula is locked up because thieves resell it on the black market. Ditto for the cough medicine, smoking-cessation products, razor blades, and batteries.

* Driving your Ferrari to the Piggly Wiggly and want to avoid shopping-card dents? Park far, far away.

* You'll end up tossing 12 percent of what you buy.

Courtesy of Readers Digest. More things found at: