Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mama Knows best : No More Wire hangers :)

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!

I don't know about you but I have alot of wire hangers laying around! We don't use them and I don't want to throw them away so they keep getting pushed to the back of the closet. This makes the closet look disorderly which drives me crazy !!! Every time we get dry cleaning back, there are more to add to the pile!

Then I got the best tip. Put the wire hangers in your dry cleaning pile to return to the cleaners! Yep, take them back. The dry cleaners can re-use them. (Or send them to the proper place to re-use them) You don't have the guilt that they are sitting in a land fill somewhere and they are not getting on your nerves in your closet!

Do you have a money/time/sanity tip to share? E-mail me at !

Friday, August 7, 2009

Supermom Syndrome

I have had a day. Make that a week. Make that a... well you get the idea.

Most the time I want to dance around my kids, thanking the Creator for their very existence. I want to play games with them, wrestle with them and eat them up with hugs and kissies. Then there are those days when I just want to eat them.

I have been in a slump this week. I am tired, overwhelmed and just plain drained of emotional energy. Do you know what I mean?

Why is it that alot of us mamas can only recognize the things that we haven't achieved?? I have a running checklist in my mind of all the things that I haven't gotten done. Its like once I accomplish something it just disappears. I haven't done the Giant Eagle or the kids craft post, I haven't gone through that stack of "junk" mail. Don't even get me started on what I didn't do with the kids. I didn't play with them enough, was too hard on them, not hard enough, didn't listen enough, lost my patience and didn't cherish them enough. Or so the devil on my shoulder tries to whisper in my ear.

I locked myself in my bathroom this week. Yep, that's right. (My hubby was home and feeding the children so safety wasn't an issue. ) For 30 minutes I sat on the floor and cried my eyeballs out. Earlier, I had taken both children to the doctor and several stores. Normally it would be routine but today I had a "test the limits" toddler and a teething baby. That is 3 very unhappy people. Actually make that a good handful. (All the people at the store and doctors office that we tried to pick up for a free ride on the crazy train that I was driving!)

Sniffling, I looked around and seriously contemplated living in this one bedroom world of locked doors and quiet. Sure, there would be a toilet in my bedroom but beggars can't be choosers right? I sat there asking myself and the dust I noticed on the back of the toilet (One more thing on my list of things I didn't get done) how I got in this sad state. Where did I get off course?

What I came up with is that I had a dreaded disease. There are no vaccinations, no cures and plenty of symptoms. Its a silent killer. I had developed a bad case of supermom syndrome.

I have tried to be it all, to all. I had volunteered at my church every day last week while juggling kids so that no one missed Mama. I had cooked a hot meal every night and kept the house cleaned. I was a counselor to anyone that needed a shoulder to lean on and I did so with great joy. I was a hostess to anyone that wanted to come to dinner. I managed to bake enough dessert to feed an army for a family reunion. I made my calls, ran errands and cut my coupons.

What I never seemed to find time for was one single moment for myself. All too often I think that if I move something to do something I enjoy , I am robbing someone else. I don't want to take anything away from the friends and family that I love so I will take something away that I need. And it works, for a while. Until you lock yourself in the bathroom and consider getting your mail forwarded.

I tried to explain to my hubby that what mama's lack is any kind of mental freedom. I have not even gotten a 5 minute car ride by myself. I am talking if a really good song comes on the radio, I do not have the luxury of listening or singing along. I instead have to turn the radio down so that I can hear my 3 year old ask why the cows are by the tree, ask when we are going to the zoo again and the discuss the wonders of the bubble. Its like the moment we get in the car my child feels he has to meet a word quota. I won't even get into "bathroom breaks". All I will say is that it usually involves either banging on the door or someone 2 inches away from my face asking to flush.

So how do we keep Supermom syndrome at a minimum? My books tell me that I should go on dates with my hubby, take walks by myself and spend long nights laughing with girlfriends. Then real life hits of runny noses, family emergencies and grumpy hubby's. I guess this tired mama had to hit the wall with a painful thump to see that what I am doing is just not working! How do you keep from getting to this low place? I have no answers, so if any of y'all have them please tell me!

All I can do is make myself take some time for myself. I can drag my own booty out the door for a walk or take that offer for help. Maybe I can just sit with a cup of decaf while the kids are sleeping instead of cleaning house. I just know one thing for sure. Next time I look at that "supermom" enviously, I will think twice. Beyond the perfect hair, nails, house, dessert and dinner party is probably a woman that has thought about how she can get her dinner slid under the bathroom door :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bargain Recipe of the week - No Frying Chicken Parmesan

Bargain Meal of the Week

This is not a new recipe for my family this week. I have made it several times and my kidlets love it !! I am very thankful that there is no frying involved because the thought of splattering hot grease makes me cringe!! Happy Eating Y'all!!

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

No Frying Chicken Parmesan

1 lb skinless chicken breast halves (On sale $1.59/lb) $1.59
1 egg, beaten $.09
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs $.25
1 jar Pasta Sauce ( Del Grosso on sale $1) $1
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese ( On sale $1.67) $.84

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Dip chicken in egg, then bread crumbs.

Arrange chicken in 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Bake 20 minutes.

Pour pasta sauce over chicken; top with cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve, if desired, with hot cooked pasta.

Total Cost of Meal: $3.77

Add pasta ( San Giorgio on sale $1) Total Cost of Meal: $4.27

Add noodles and salad (Fresh Express on sale $.99) Total Cost of Meal: $5.01

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

WFMW- Some back to school fun... now!

I am always trying to come up with fun things to do to keep the kidlets out of the whiney zone! (We live in Ohio and you never know what the weather is going to be like! ) This is a great kids craft that may even buy you ten minutes to unload the dishwasher or use the potty. :) Better yet, it has a purpose. You can use this craft during school days!

I took out our pack of brown paper bags and looked them over. I eyed the markers, crayons, stamps and stickers in the corner. I then let my kids go at it. Yep, we decorated our lunch bags. They were free to do as many as they liked and I even jumped in on the action! They could use any craft extra we had laying around our house. If we had it here, they could decorate a bag with it!

Not only did they have a great time, my son will get a kick out of it all year long when we go on field trips that require a packed lunch :) He will have a "custom made" bag.

Easy, cheap and creative.... and that works for me!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Meijer bargain recipe of the week- Stuffed and Wrapped Chicken

Bargain Meal of the Week

Ok... I must be on a bacon kick this week!! :) (At least you can buy 1 pack of bacon and get 2 recipes from it !) This sounds like a dish that my family will love!! Happy Eating Y'all!!

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

Stuffed and Wrapped Chicken Breast

8 slices bacon (On sale $2) $1
6 ounces cream cheese, softened (On sale $1.50) $1.14
4 green onions, chopped .20
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (On sale .99/lb) .10
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (On sale $1.99/lb) $1.99

Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Lightly grease a small baking dish.
Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until the grease has mostly rendered, but the bacon is still very soft, about 3 minutes. Remove, and pat dry with paper towels; set aside.

Stir together the cream cheese, green onions, bell pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl until combined. Divide this mixture onto each chicken breast. Fold the breasts in half, and wrap with 2 slices of bacon. Secure with toothpicks as needed. Place into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the thickest part, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the toothpicks before serving.

Total Cost of Meal: $4.43

Add Fresh corn on the cob (On sale 10/$2) $5.43

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Kroger Bargain recipe of the week- Granny's Pork Chop dinner!

Bargain Meal of the Week

This just sounds plain yummy. I am a sucker for anything with bacon so I can't wait to try this! (Not a lowfat dish for sure, but I bet it is yummy :) ) Happy Eating Y'all!!

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

Granny's Pork Chop Dinner

1/4 pound bacon (John Morrell Bacon on sale $1.99) $.50
4 pork chops (On sale $1.88/lb) $2.82
1 onion, sliced $.20
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices (10lb bag on sale $2.99) $.33
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet with a lid, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until cooked through but not crisp, about 6 minutes.

Place the pork chops, onion, and potato slices into the skillet with the bacon and drippings, and pour the water over the ingredients. Cover the skillet, bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.

Total Cost of Meal: $3.85

Add Salad (Done on sale $.98) Total Cost of Meal: $4.59

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Teacher Knows best: School Supply List

I am blessed to live next to a elementary school teacher who loves my kids and we love her!! She has multiple education degrees and is the first person I run to when I am worried about speech, development or anything learning related!! She has agreed to write a weekly post for me on some common concerns involving little ones and just great tips! If you have a topic that you would like to see addressed, please e-mail me at

Back to School Shopping

As a teacher, seeing school supplies out in stores brings two feelings:
1) dread that my summer is coming to an end and
2) excitement that I get to start a new school year with new students, new expectations, and new crayons (I can’t help it, I love new crayons). So today, here’s some Frequently Asked Questions about school supplies…

Q: How do I know what my child needs?

A: The good old school supply list. You can find one for your child’s school and grade usually in stores, but the best place is the school website. Make sure you have the right grade level and teacher.

Q: This list is pretty long. Does my child really need all this?

A: Yes. These supplies have to last all year, so we ask for more than one glue stick and box of pencils because your child will use them. We also find it’s cheaper for parents to buy them on sale in August instead of at regular price in January.

Q: Why do some teacher’s want names on supplies and others don’t?

A: The reasons vary. Some teachers do community supplies and some have every student keep their own. Some want to have everyone label folders the same way so that it’s easier to organize. It depends on the teacher and how the classroom is run.

Q: How can I save money on school supplies?

A: One way I’ve heard of is to shop in high quantity. If you have access to a Sam’s Club or Costco membership, go shopping there and split the supplies and the cost with another family. Many school PTOs offer pre-packaged supplies. These are often cheaper than hunting down all the supplies yourself because the PTO will buy en mass and pass the savings onto you. You also know that the supplies are exactly what the teacher is asking for. Fair warning: my school PTO offers this program but from a company and the boxes do not include everything needed, there are still some things to buy for specific teachers. Many schools have the PTO put together bags and are able to include everything.

Q: What supplies should I have at home for homework?

A: Extra pencils, colored pencils or crayons, scissors, glue stick, ruler, and notebook paper. Either use leftovers from last year or buy two this year and reserve them for homework use only. Keep everything together in a school box or pouch to cut down on the chance of not being able to find the scissors.

Q: Anything else I should get?

A: Enough pencils to get to the moon and back – you’d be surprised how many we go through, it’s like a pencil monster comes and eats them every night. Keep a stash at home so when your kiddos come home and say “I need more pencils!” you’re ahead of the game. Also tissues and hand soap - we try to keep the kids, especially the little guys, from killing an entire forest every time they sneeze, but in the name of cleanliness and not spreading germs, we use a lot of these supplies.

Menu Plan Monday

This is a weird week... which is nothing new in my house! :) We all have summer colds, been traveling and I am just plain pooped!! I am sticking to mostly simple dishes and some frozen meals. (Boy am I glad that I freeze stuff!!) Hope y'all have a yummy week!

Monday: Chicken and summer squash, baked potato

Tuesday: Baked ziti, garlic bread, salad

Wednesday: Grilled cheese and soup from the freezer

Thursday: Savory Pork Chops, green beans, homemade mac and cheese, crescent rolls

Friday: Pizza Night!

Saturday: Leftover night !!! If its in the fridge you can eat it, but mamas not cookin!!!

Sunday: Grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, potatoes on the grill (aka: hubby is cooking)

Today is the last Free Mocha Monday!!

Just a reminder that today is your last day to receive a free Mocha at McD's!! I am not sure about you, but on Monday's I need a little extra umph in my energy level !!

McDonald's is going to help us all out by giving away 7-8 oz iced or hot mocha's from 7 am to 7 pm. They will be running the promotion through August 3'rd.

Stop by and get yours today!!