Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mama knows best- Keeping germs away and save money!

Every Saturday I will be featuring Mama Knows Best series. We as mamas have to be innovative and thrifty all in the same beat. Somehow we find new ways of doing things that save us money, time and maybe if we are really blessed.... sanity!

We usually go out to dinner once a week in our family. There is also the occasional lunch out with the girlfriend and her kids. (This usually involves nuggets and a indoor playground somewhere but at least I get to talk to another mama!)

Along with the good conversation comes germy tables. I am not germ crazy but I don't want to lay their food down on a table.... well lets just say I don't know where that table has been! I have spent a fortune on those disposable table mats. (You know the kind with the sticky tabs in the back) They are very nice and very convenient but I feel like I am throwing money in the trash.

So I rejoiced when I found this in the dollar bins at Target....

Its a place mat that can be thrown in the dishwasher and then folded up again and taken with you. I have used it several times now and its awesome! My son calls it his "map". I know where its been and I save a TON of money!!

Got a great idea? Send me yours at . I will gladly give you and your blog recognition for your creativity as a mama!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Free pie at Bob Evans!

Go here to print off your coupon for a free piece of pie from Bob Evans. ( This offer is through February 15th) No purchase is necessary. One coupon per person. WOOHOO!!

(Thanks to Money Saving Mom !! )

A Mans View on a Womans World: Pregnancy

Each month I will be featuring a male point of view. Lets face it ladies most of these posts are for women by women. I thought it would be fun and refreshing to see a males point of view once and while.

If you know of a male who would be willing to submit some of his thinking I would love to post it! E-mail me at!

The blogger featured today calls himself a friendly neighborhood nerd. :) He is about to be a daddy for the first time and his thoughts were hilarious!! Hope you enjoy!

Third Trimester thoughts
My lovely wife is in the third trimester of her pregnancy (I won't even attempt to say our pregnancy...I'm not doing anything compared to her). On the general schedule of growing humans from scratch, that means she's just about finished. A couple more months, and we'll have a living, breathing, helpless person relying on us for everything. A bit scary.

The baby inside her apparently isn’t too well-versed on concepts like "day" or "night", so he'll kick whenever he darn well pleases. What this means is that wife never knows when she's going to get a swift kick to the spleen or bladder, usually resulting in a groan, moan, or grunt. Could be during a lovely dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant or in the middle of a deep sleep. Baby doesn't care; he just knows he's gotta stretch out a bit.

Alien kicks. What's interesting to me (and uncomfortable to her) is that no longer can you only feel the kicks when you place your hand on her belly, you can actually see them. It not unlike that scene in the alien movie when the guys chest bulges and pulsates right before the alien busts on out. There have been times when I would swear that I saw the outline of a foot pushing on her belly from the inside. It's disturbing actually.

Pee. Every day is all about peeing for her. Before we leave the house, she pees. When we get to the restaurant, she pees. Before we leave, she pees. Getting showered and dressed sometimes requires up to three pee breaks. Even just making it through the night with only two pee breaks is a huge exercise in willpower and endurance. Fortunately, (and maybe I'm assuming too much here) all of the pants she wears now are stretchy and without buttons and zips...even the jeans. I would certainly think that would help drop the events down on the "pain in the rear scale".

Nesting. I had no idea. Seriously, no idea. The instinct to prepare is absolutely unbelievable. Suddenly, walls need painted, furniture needs moved, carpets need cleaned, closets need sorted, and there are constant ambiguous references to "getting ready." She's still got 8 weeks to go, and I'm already getting interrogated about packing for the hospital.

Emotions. It's like someone took her emotion output and amplified it ten fold. When she laughs, she laughs until she has tears in her eyes and her stomach hurts. When she cries, it's for silly reasons, and is as intense as I've ever seen. Certain foods make her dance in her seat, and disappointments crash her for the entire day. A roller coaster? You betcha.

Words. This is probably the part that has shocked me the most. My wife has completely lost her grasp on the English language. Like a toddler with a 100-word vocabulary, she can never seem to find the right words to convey what she's trying to say. Ridiculous substitutions are common, and I'm usually at a loss to understand what she means. Usually I stare at her blankly as she frustratedly struggles to better define her intent. Examples? No problem.

She recently wanted to know if the basket of dinner rolls was still on the table from dinner, so she asked me "Is the bread-bun-pot still available?" What? Huh? Bread-bun-pot?

Or when she wanted me to put the dirty towels in the hamper last night, I was asked to "Please correctly place them in the roughrider." Yes, the roughrider. If you had an armful of towels and someone asked you to "correctly place them in the roughrider", you'd do what I did: stare blankly at them.

I can't tell you how many times she's been frustrated with me when I don't understand what she's talking about. Any and all paperwork is referred to as "information", regardless if it's a bill or a Christmas card. She often refers to "the thing" and makes ambiguous hand gestures. What makes it even more difficult is that I find it so cute and endearing. It's nigh-impossible to keep from giving her a hard time about it.

So what's my role in this whole ordeal? Well, near as I can ascertain, it's my job to perform arbitrary organizational tasks, interpret the language of a crazy person, perform as a helping hand for getting out of cars and sofas, and exercise lots and lots of compassion and patience. And, I'm trying. I know that the frustrations I have to deal with are NOTHING compared to her daily ordeals.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bargain recipe of the week- Giant Eagle!

Giant Eagle has some awesome deals this week! This week is a family recipe that we make at least once a month!! I know this recipe is easy and excellent and you can't beat that! The kids also love this and it makes a nice chicken pasta dish. Happy Eating!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand.Check out Stretching a Buck Giant Eagle deals here to see more great deals.

Easy Chicken Cacciatore

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (Buy one get one free this week) 1.99
1 tsp olive oil
1 can crushed red tomatoes (Dei Fratelli on sale 4 for $5) 1.25
1/4 cup chopped green onions (You can usually find these for .99 a bunch) .49
3/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 box pasta (On sale San Giorgio 10 for $10) .50

Using a 10 inch skillet, lightly brown chicken pieces in oil over medium heat. Remove the chicken. In the same pan, cook the green onions until tender. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and remaining ingredients, stirring to blend. Return chicken pieces to pan and simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes.

I just hate wasting anything so here is a tip for the green onions. I always chop up the remainder of the green onions and freeze them. This way when I make the recipe again I don't have to buy this ingredient.

Total cost of this meal: $4.23

Add Salad: (On sale Fresh Express 2 for $5) Total Meal: $5.48

Some deals for you!

I just came across these deals. Happy Shopping!

Carters- Is having a Presidential sale. Take 20% off clearence items. T's, shorts and other items are only $5. Check it out here.

ShutterFly- Free shipping on orders of $50. Use the coupon code of FREESHIP50.

Childrens Place- I just went today and they have 1/2 their store marked down to 4.99. I stocked up for next winter!
Yankee Candle- Presidents sale Feb 13-16. All small candles 3 - $15, All home electric fragrencers 3- $15 and much more!! Go here to check out more great deals.

Pottery Barn Kids - 30 - 75% off new sale items. Go here to see the savings!

Osh Kosh- Presidents sale that take an extra 20% off clearencr items and a 40 - 60% off spring sale. Go here to see more!

Valentine Chocolate Giveaway!!

My Friend over at $5 Dinners is having a perfect giveaway just in time for Valentines day!
Check it out here and enter for your chance to win. YUM!!!

Valentines fun for kids .....on a budget!

Valentines day is not just for couples! Little people looooove Valentines day! My 2 year old really dosen't understand what its all about. Being the tradition person I am however, I still do my little things to try to make it special. (Its not all about spending alot of money!) Here are some ideas to shower your little ones with lots of love on Valentines. :)

- Make pink rice crispy treats. ( I found strawberry marshmallows but you can buy a regular ones and just use food coloring) You could even get really creative and cookie cutter them in the shape of hearts......

- Make pink heart pancakes. My mom always made us shaped pancakes and we just loved them! Just make sure that you use a pancake mold with a handle to prevent getting burnt or freehand them. ( Who cares if it looks like a butt- tell them its a heart!)

-Make heart shaped cookies together.

- Remember when you had to make a valentines day box for school? Make a box with your little one and have the family members exchange valentines. They will "love" getting the mail!

-Have a valentines hunt. Hide Valentines candy or kisses throughout the house, give them a basket and send them off to see if they can find them all. ( You may be able to squeeze ten minutes to drink a cup of coffee but I can't make any promises!)

- Make Valentine coupons together. Cut out some rectangles on construction paper and help with the writing. Come up with some activities or chores that they can "give" - no grumbling- to your spouse. Dad would love getting the gift of "Watching a quarter of football with no interuption"!

- Make candy necklaces. Get some yarn and candy that can be strung ( Anything with a wrapper that can be hole punched should work fine).

Happy Heart day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gerber coupons

Go here to get some great coupons for Gerber products. Here are some of the great deals...

Buy 2 DHA jars and get 1 free!

$1.00 off 8 jars of 3rd foods

$1.00 off 2 Graduate healthy meals for preschoolers (These are great to have on hand for babysitters)

$1.00 off 2 Graduates fruit twists

Bargain recipe of the week- Meijer

I found this recipe and it looked too easy not to post. I haven't tried it, but I heard its awesome and quick! What could be better?

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand.

Smoked Sausage Stew
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces (On Sale 2 for $5-use .35 coupon from 1/25 ad) 1.80

2 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed vegetable soup (Progresso soup on sale 8 for $10) 2.50

1/2 medium head cabbage, shredded ( I can usually find this for .99 a head) .99

Cut smoked sausage into 1 inch pieces and brown lightly in skillet.

Combine vegetable soup with sausage and place shredded cabbage over the top. Place lid on skillet and let cook on medium heat until cabbage is tender. Stir together and serve.

Total price of meal: $5.30

Add salad (Dole on sale $1) Total meal: $5.80

Add salad and Meijer brown and serve wheat rolls (On sale.99) Total meal: $6.30

Happy Eating!!

Works for me Wednesday - The Looooove edition!

Valentines day seems like a luxury when we are all trying to save as much as we can at the grocery store and anywhere else! I however, believe that one of the most precious gifts we can give our children is seeing their parents in a happy marriage. The time and effort put forth doesn't have to be expensive and can really go along way. Some of the things that my hubby has appreciated the most are the things that are free! That being said here are some budget friendly ideas for your special someone. Happy Heart day!

- Wake up early and fix your spouse his favorite coffee/tea. Prepare it the way he likes and bring it to him in bed. Its amazing how much this can mean to a tired man :)

-Have grandma watch the kids and surprise him with a gourmet supper in. (Aldi has Fillet Mignon for $1.99 each) You could easily make a VERY NICE dinner at home for under $10. You could eat your food while its hot and you could actually talk to each other in your own home.. wow!

-Strawberries are on sale this week at both Kroger and Aldi's (.99 a lb at Aldi's) Take advantage of the good prices and have some chocolate dipped strawberries after the kids go to bed and rent a movie.

-Everyone likes chocolate on V-day. It doesn't have to break the bank however. Buy some Hershey kisses ( That the leftovers can be made into kiss cookies for the kids class at school) Wrap up the kisses with a bow along with a note that the chocolate kisses can be turned in for the real thing later. :)

-Write a simple note telling him how much you love him. Times are busy with kidlets and often its the marriage that gets put on the back burner. Just hearing that he is still the man in your life can really mean alot!

-Pull out your old "nightwear" that hasn't seen the light of day since you got pregnant with your firstborn. Men are visual beings so this would be the gift of the century :) he he

- Have your kids help you make cookies for your significant other. Everyone will have fun making them, and your spouse will enjoy them. Take them to work the Friday before V-day (if they allow little visitors) so they can share them with their co-workers.

I would tell you which idea that I am giving my spouse for Valentines day but my mother in law reads my blog!! Whatever you choose I hope you have a very special Valentines day with the ones that you love. And that works for everybody!

For more WFMW visit Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tempt my Tummy Tuesday!

This weeks recipe is garlic cheese biscuits. (Very similar to those served at Red Lobster- yum!) I love to have fresh rolls with soups and stews and these are perfect! Hope you enjoy!

For More great recipe's visit Blessed with Grace. You will be glad you did!
Garlic Cheese Biscuits
2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup melted margarine
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Mix Bisquick, milk and cheese until a soft dough forms. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Drop by spoon fulls onto cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden.
Mix margarine and garlic powder. Brush over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Everyday anew....

Do you know those days where the sun is shining, birds are singing and your kids are acting like angels? Yeah...yesterday was not one of those days. If you are looking for a happy perfect mom blog your in the wrong place, sister.

Yesterday started out with me locking my keys in my car. Locking my keys in the car in the cold Ohio weather. Locking my keys in my car, in the cold weather..... with my 2 year old snapped in his car seat inside. I called my husband and he thought that the smart thing to do was to call his buddies on the HEAVY RESCUE FIRE TRUCK (You know the really really big one that comes with the jaws of life) to come and rescue me. I seriously thought about crawling under my car until the whole thing was over when they were blocking five cars with their truck and couldn't get into my steel trap of a car. This is when 2 year old started knocking on the window telling me "I'm done mama!!" I guess he was done with this game... I wanted to tell him "me too!!"

I may be totally wrong here but I think that all of us mamas have days like these. I tend to raise my eyebrow like John Black on Days of our Lives when mamas appear too perfect. If it looks too perfect something is going terribly wrong somewhere. Or at least that is what I tell myself to get through the day. Don't we all have common threads woven throughout our life that unites us as mamas? I know I can totally sympathise with the woman in the grocery store with the screaming child. I smile at her and my eyes say " I've been there and done that!". That other mama is feeling horribly alone, however. At that moment it seems like her child is the only child in the whole store going through a moment of temporary insanity.

There is a show on TLC and its called 18 and counting. That's right people, the woman has 18 CHILDREN. Get this.... she home schools them all and never and I mean never raises her voice. She is the sweetest mama I have ever laid eyes on. I have 2 and feel like I am losing my mind occasionally. Sometimes I think I am on a candid camera gone bad. I look for the cameras but I never quite find them.... I know their there.

What keeps me going is my fierce love of my kids and the promise of a new day. I love the hope that a fresh new day brings. It makes me feel like I can start over tomorrow. I can be a better mama, a better wife, a better friend. It just amazes me how much better I feel after some sleep. So I will start each day hemmed in prayer. I pray that we will have a good day today, that I will have a sweet spirit. That I will be patient. Don't you just love a new day?

Bargain Recipe of the week- Kroger

This weeks bargain recipe of the week is a Asparagus, Chicken, Penne pasta. With asparagus and chicken being on sale you just can't miss with this one!. I also get tired of making the same red sauce pastas so this will shake things up a little bit. Happy Eating!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand.
Check out Stretching a Buck Kroger deals here to see more great deals.

Chicken, Asparagus, Penne Pasta

1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta (I usually buy the Kroger brand for.99) .99
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast -cut into bite-size pieces(Sale Tyson 1.99lb) 1.50
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces (Sale 1.99lb) 1.49
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (OPTIONAL)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
(Use cheese of your choice-Kroger brand on sale$1.50) .38

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until firm and lightly browned; remove from pan. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Cook and stir garlic, asparagus, and red pepper flakes in oil until asparagus is tender. Stir in chicken, and cook for 2 minutes to blend the flavors. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss pasta with chicken and asparagus mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

Total cost of meal: $4.36

Making a Happy Home Monday- Staying on top of schedules

Its getting hard to keep up with my family. (And I have 1 that is not even walking!) We seem to be all moving in different directions all at the same time! Doctors appointments, preschool open houses, girls movie night, my husbands work schedule, play dates, lunches. WHEW!

I noticed that my basic calendar was not cutting it. Things would get overlooked and I would miss things written in tiny dark corners. It made me go crazy.. not a far stretch I assure you. :)

I discovered this in my bargain bin at Kroger's.....
There is a line each week for each member of my family. We each have our own space in which to see what is going on with us. All you have to do is follow the line and wahlah.... you know what is going on with everyone! There is also a handy pocket at the bottom in which to keep whatever you may need that month such as reminders etc. ( I keep my weekly Michael's and JoAnn fabric coupons in there.) It keeps me from acting like a crazy person.... and that makes everyone a little happier!
For more great happy home ideas visit As for me and my house.

Menu Plan Monday- Bargain edition

Happy Monday! I am so excited about this weeks menu plan. I am using two of my bargain recipes of the week which means each meal for my family of 4 ( well 3 1/2 :) ) is under $5!! I am also using 2 of my meals to make other meals later in the week which means I am really getting my moneys worth. In this economy who can beat that !!! Happy Eating!

Monday: Baked slow cooker chicken, Butter noodles, broccoli, rolls

Tuesday: Balsamic roasted pork loin, mashed potatoes, green beans

Wednesday: Homemade chicken noodle soup (Use leftover slow cooker chicken), salad, cheesy rolls

Thursday: Leftover night... If its in the fridge you can have it but mamas not cookin!

Friday: Pizza night! woohoo!

Saturday: Grilled chicken breast on rice, asparagus, mixed veggies, rolls

Sunday: Chicken tacos (Use leftover chicken breast ), re fried beans

For more great menu plans visit I'm an organizing Junkie!