Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mama knows best: Making your own stain remover

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!

This weeks post comes from Frugal Girls. Frugal Girls is dedicated to helping you save $$ by finding the best bargains, coupons & deals! You should check it out... you will be glad you did!!

This week I ran out of my favorite laundry must-have... Shout Stain Remover!

I was committed to find a way to get some effective but cheaper stain remover, so I decided to make my own. Yes, I was very skeptical... thinking this probably wouldn't work as well, but I have used it on grass stains and dirt stains so far, and the clothes are coming out clean as ever!

Following is the "recipe" for my homemade laundry stain remover...
1/3 cup Dawn Dishsoap
1/3 cup Ammonia
1 cup Water
3 tbsp. baking soda
Mix all ingredients together and store in an empty spray bottle...I'm using my old Shout bottle!

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 20, 2009

Central Ohio Moms: Complimentary Baby's first haircut at a spa :)

Have you seen the hair salon/ spa J Bentley?? My friend had some gift cards that we used there for a pedicure and oh my word! It is SUPER NICE!! What I was impressed with the most however is how Kid friendly it is!

They consider a baby's first haircut a very special experience! (With my son I sat in the corner and wept like my high school boyfriend just broke up with me. Anywho...) They offer a complimentary first haircut and save a lock of hair for your keepsake book. They also help preserve the moment for you with a photo and DVD of the milestone experience. (We are not talking Polaroid here people- this is like a little photo studio!!)

(They only use most gentle ingredients as found in "The Original Little Sprouts" line of products. They exclusively use those products in each and every child's service. )

Then J Bentley just sent me this update yesterday:

J.Bentley also offers free babysitting! Receive your scheduled salon and spa services while your children play in our dedicated children's space under the supervision of one of our skilled professionals. Babysitting hours are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11a-5p.

Its so nice that a salon is finally taking mamas into consideration when planning services!
Check it out !! Just take your tissues if your softie like me :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bargain recipe of the week- Giant Eagle!

Bargain Meal of the Week

I heart Giant Eagle!!! They are having great sales again this week. This is a recipe that I am really excited to try. I don't have 3 hours to simmer something however, so I will be trying that step in a crock pot. That way I can start it in the morning and it will save some time. Happy Eating!

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

Italian Casserole

3/4 pound lean ground beef (On sale $1.99 a lb) $1.50
1 onion, chopped (Sale- 3 lb bag $1.50) .20
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped (Sale Del Monte 10 for $10, use coupon for .40 off 1 ) .20
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste (You can usually find this for .80 or under) .80
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
black pepper to taste
8 ounces wide egg noodles (Giant Eagle brand on sale 10 for $10) $1
As much cheese and the type you want! $1

In large skillet, brown ground beef and onion. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, parsley, garlic salt and pepper, and simmer over low heat for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

In a 2 quart casserole dish, combine noodles and meat mixture. Top with cheese slices and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Total Price of Meal: $4.70
Add salad (Farmers Market or Fresh Express on sale 2 for $5) $1.25 Total: $5.95
Add salad and Giant Eagle crescent rolls : Total $7.70

Click on the image to go find more Bargain Meals of the Week!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Confessions of a Desperate Housewife: Freak weather havoc

When I first started this blog I swore I would never try to come off as one of those mamas that had it all together. This is such a great illustration of how I have accomplished that goal!

I started the week at the mall to get Valentines cards and maybe some new bras. (The girls are working gals that are retired so they need some extra... um.... support) I had both kiddos with me so I knew shopping would be quick and probably painful. While shopping I spotted a lovely bra in a harlot shade of red. It was almost Valentines day so I thought it must be a sign

Now, I haven't bought any undergarments that weren't for function in such a long time. I have been a breastfeeding mama and if it didn't come in lift up flaps at the top for feeding access it wasn't in my drawer. Since my baby weened herself and I am starting to get my body back I thought this would be a great splurge. Besides it had lift em up high cups which is the support that any good post breast feeder needs....and it was on sale. (I remember when we were first married I didn't care how much my bras cost... oh how times have changed! )

I quickly made my purchase and started to head for the doors. I put the kids coats on and started to step outside.

Now the thing with Ohio is that we have freak weather patterns. We will get 5 inches of snow on Tuesday and Friday we are having a 65 degree heat wave. The most current freak thing we have been having is wind storms. Big bad woof wind storms. As in blow your house down winds. I knew that we had a wind warning but when I walked in the building a few hours earlier we had a breeze.

The moment (and I am talking a nanosecond here) I stepped outside things went downhill at a neck breaking speed. It was slow motion to me, playing out like some bad movie sequence but I am sure it went much quicker. (Lord I pray it did!)

The first thing that happened was that my sons hat went flying off his head and started to roll down the sidewalk. My son instantly started to scream bloody murder. (He was having "I must wear a hat" day) At the exact same time the wind decided to pick up our leftovers from chick-fa-lay and roll them in the same direction. I side stepped to try to save the rolling bag of grease along with my sons hat. I glanced at my son who had his hands on both ears, eyes shut, screaming "MAMMMMMMAAAA". My baby girl was waving her hands wildly and blinking at a rapid pace.

At the moment of catching up with the nuggies and hat, my own hat was whipped off of my head. Now ladies, lets be real here. My man was working a 24 hour shift, the kids got up early and I was tired. I did not wash my hair. I was dealing with more oil than Valvoline. I desperately reached for my hat as it laughed at me and rolled on to rest on the cigarette butt/ trashcan thingy. Lovely.

It was around this time that out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of red. Sheer terror washed over me as I prayed to a loving and gracious God that it was a hallucination. I turned just in time to see my newly purchased red bra rolling in... the middle of the street. It felt like I was trying to run underwater as I threw my embarrassed body out in the middle of the street trying to get my personal undergarments. ( Really personal , right? Now the world knows I own a working girl red bra) ~sigh~

I had just caught up with it when I heard my little guy let out a "weeeeeeeeee". Weeeee usually means fun right? I whipped around, hat, nuggies, hooker bra in my hand to see my stroller picking up speed down the slanted sidewalk. I was in a cold sweat as I broke some kind of running world record somewhere. I caught up with the stroller to find my children laughing hysterically. At least they won't need therapy for this incident. (I am sure there will be many other things they can lay there and talk about)

It was about the time I was wheeling to my car that I started to think about the scene that just played out to somebody driving by, sitting in their car or waiting to exit the building. I started to laugh so hard I had to stop pushing the stroller. I laughed even harder when I had to cross my legs to keep from peeing a little.

What to do with those big Valentines day sales!

I went shopping with my friend yesterday. We were delighted to see all the Valentines merchandise 50% off or more. We sat there with things in our hands, excited about the price but not sure what to do with them. Here are some ideas we came up with.....

- Take the mixture of pink M&M's you find anywhere and use them at your daughters birthday party. Either bake them in cookies and arrange them on a tray or leave them in a pretty bowl for attendees to munch on.

- They had large bags of little play doughs in a variety of pink, red and white shades. Use these as favors for your child's next party... everybody loves a little play dough!!

-Buy cards that are not HOT (You know Hannah Montana may be in jail next year at Valentines day....I'm just sayin..) Stick with classics such as Snoopy, Strawberry shortcake etc. It seems like we always run out of Valentines and these could be your backup at such a cheap price!

- Buy the marked down Valentines day pink cake mixes to use at the next baby shower your helping with. ( Save the heart candy sprinkles for next Valentines day or your anniversary) Everyone loves some pink cupcakes!

- Buy pink picture frames for next to nothing for a girls room.

Do you have a great idea for those Valentines sales? Leave a comment!!

Works for Me Wednesday- Keeping kids medications organized

With 2 kids under 3 we have quite a bit of little people medical paraphernalia! Bulb syringes, three different types of thermometers, saline drops, Motrin, Tylenol. If it saves my babies one drop of pain, I got it.

We used to keep it with our medicine but then we would have a hard time finding it when we really needed it. ( You know, like at 2:30 in the morning with a screaming child... good times) It was one such instance that we came up with this.....

We grabbed a basket with some side pockets, washable liner and big handle. It can easily sit on our high shelf in our linen closet and pulled anytime the need arises. Everything we could need for a child is right there, included new bottles that has not been opened. If we have a really sick child, we can keep it in their room that night so everything is at hand. And that works for us!!

For more WFMW visit Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bargain recipe of the week- Meijers

Bargain Meal of the Week

Click on the image to go find your Bargain Meal of the Week!

Meijers is having some really awesome sales this week! This recipe is great because its easy and tasty. (I add Green peppers and onions to mine for some added kick!) Check out Stretching a Buck deals here to see more deals at Meijer.

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

Mozzarella Mushroom Chicken

6 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (On sale $1 a lb) $1.50
2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 clove garlic, minced
fresh mushrooms, sliced (On sale $1) .75
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (Kraft on sale for $2) $2.00

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in the skillet, and season with garlic powder and garlic. Cook 12 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. Set chicken aside, and keep warm.
Stir mushrooms into the skillet, and cook until tender. Return chicken to skillet, layer with mushrooms, and top with cheese. Cover skillet, and continue cooking 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Total cost of meal: $4.25

Add Knorr noodles (On sale 10 for $10) Total cost of meal: $5.25

Add Knorr noodles and fresh broccoli(On sale 10 for $10) $6.25

Add Knorr noodles, broccoli and fresh Italian bread (On sale 2 for $3) Total cost of meal $7.25

Monday, February 16, 2009

K-mart Dollar days

K-mart is having dollar days this week. I just love the deals they have!! They also have the following deal happening this week with Huggies/clothes.

Save $5 when you buy $30 worth of Huggies, Pull-Ups, Goodnights, and/ or Wonderkids and small wonders apparel.

Combine the sales with the kids clothes, Huggies products and coupons and the savings really add up!

Did you also know that you can go here and sign up to get $10 worth of coupons!
Happy Shopping! (S/A = Sunday ads)

Child/ Baby items:

Huggies baby wipes, washes - 2 for $5. Use your S/A coupons $1 off 1 bath and body product to make them $1.50 each

Wonderkids infants and toddlers 2 pack clothes (This includes 2 tops) $7

Wonderkids Infants and toddlers sets ( This includes shorts and a top) $5

Gerber 5 Pack onsies, 3 pack sleep and plays- $8

Safety first 1-2-3 potty, infant toddler bath tub or Evenflo position lock gate - your choice $10

Gerber 2nd foods- 2 pack 10 for $10

High rise booster car seats, flip out drink holder, removable, washable seat pad- B1G1 free $18.99

Household Items:

Gain or Bounty fabric softener 2 for $6- Use your S/A .25 off of Bounty, .50 off of Gain, Total: $2.63 each

Lysol, soft scrub products 4 for $10. Use your S/A coupons ($1.00 coupon on 1 disinfecting spray, .50 off any soft scrub product, use 2 .75 off of any Lysol product) Total is 4 products is $1.75 each!

Duracell Batteries - 2 for $12 ( 8 pack for AA OR AAA and 4 pack for C or D)
Use your S/A coupon for .75 off any one pack and they become $5.25 each

Swiss Miss, Hamburger Helper, Lipton, Sunny D -10 for $10.


Revlon Colorsilk haircolor- 2 for $4

Vaseline various lotions- 3 for $8. Use S/A $1.25 off each lotion. Possible total: $1.42 each

Cover Girl Makeup- Buy one get the second 50% off. Use your $2.00 off any 1 product or $2.50 off any 2 products and it turns out to be a good deal!

Max Factor products- 40% off

Oil of Olay skin care- Buy 1 get 1 free. Use your S/A coupons save $3 on any 2 facial cleanser or moisturisers.

Centrum vitamins 130 ct, Advil liqui gels or pm 80 ct- $7. Use your S/A coupon for $1 off Advil or $3 off Centrum.

Gillette various razors- sale $6 for 10- 12 ct pack. Use your S/A coupon for B1G1 you get each pack for $3.

Pantene, Herbal Essences or Aussie haircare products- 3 for $10
Use your S/A coupons- $3.00 off 2 Herbal Essences or $2 off any 2 Pantene

Did you see any sales I missed or know of more coupons? Leave a comment!! Happy Shopping!!

Tempt my Tummy Tuesday - Easy brownies

This week I am making some really delicious brownies. In my recipe book I wrote next to the recipe. "Really easy". That sounds good to any busy mama!!

For More great recipe's visit Blessed with Grace. You will be glad you did!

Peanutty Picnic Brownies

1 package double fudge brownie mix
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 egg
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/3 cup chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 13x9 inch pan.

Combine brownie mix, oats, egg, water and oil in large bowl. Stir with spoon until well blended, about 50 strokes.
Stir in peanuts butter chips. Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle with peanuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 28 minutes or until set. Do not overbake. Cool completely. Cut into bars.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bargain recipe of the week- Kroger

This week pork chops are on sale at Kroger for $1.79 a lb!! I found this recipe that I am going to try in my next menu..... yum! 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.

Marinated Baked Pork Chops

1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
4-6 pork chops, trimmed (On sale for 1.79 a lb) $2.68

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a small bowl, thoroughly blend soy sauce, vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, and ketchup.

Place pork chops in a medium baking dish, and spread with 1/2 the sauce.

Bake pork chops 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Turn, and spread with remaining sauce. Continue baking 30 minutes, or until internal temperature of the chops has reached 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Total cost of meal: $2.68

Add fresh asparagus (On sale for 1.97 a lb) $4.65

Making a Happy Home Monday- Helping little ones feel big

This week I discovered that my son has a favorite new phrase..... "ME DO!!!" Before I was a mom I would think that this would be a good thing. Now, however when I hear the phrase it sends shivers down my spine. I know that these two little words will cause me at least 15 extra minutes, some tears and several countdown in my head to keep from losing it.

To make our home a little happier( and mama too... which is never a bad thing) I found this.

I just hung a cheap little hook on the inside of the closet door. Its right at his level. He can get it off the hook and put it on... well sort of. This makes getting out the door with a few less tears, head countdowns and frustration. And this makes everyone happy!!

(Please ignore the vacuum hanging out.... It was a long weekend :) )

To see more happy home ideas visit As for Me and My House.

Menu Plan Monday

This week I get to use 2 of my budget recipes so I am super excited! I have included a yummy dessert I plan to make sometime this week as well. Happy Eating!!

Monday: Chicken Cacciatore, salad, garlic bread

Tuesday: Sloppy Joes, tater tots, mixed vegetables

Wednesday: Leftovers- if its not movin you can eat it!

Friday: Pizza Night

Saturday: Anniversary dinner- woohoo!

Sunday: Pot roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, hot rolls

Buster Bar Ice Cream Dessert
1 pound chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 cups dry-roasted peanuts

Combined crushed cookies and melted margarine and press into a 9x13 inch dish. Chill 1 hour in refrigerator.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine confectioners' sugar, evaporated milk, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup margarine. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside to cool.
Slice vanilla ice cream into 3/4 inch slices, and place them in a single layer over the chilled crust. Smooth the seams. Sprinkle the peanuts over the ice cream. Top with the cooled chocolate sauce. Cover and freeze 8 hours or overnight.