Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mama knows best: cleaning mirrors with newspapers!

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 am a bit of a clean freak. For some reason, I was born with the need to clean. I know its weird. I recognize.

Anywho, one of the things I cannot stand is streaky mirrors. I have tried various paper towels, cleaning cloths, even old socks! In the end the most effective way I have found to clean mirrors and windows is.... newspaper.

I know it sounds so weird but its true. I take the paper ( after the hubs has read it of course :) ) and fold it and crumple it a little so that I can handle it. Then I spray the cleaner directly on the mirror and start to wipe with the newspaper.

You may notice with the first swipe a streak or two but continue to wipe the surface for a totally smear and streak free surface, You will be amazed!

Happy Cleaning !!!

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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mama Mysteries...Eating off your kids plates

Why is it that mamas feel the need to eat what is left on their children's plate? All my girlfriends have confirmed that it is truly a mama mystery.

Somehow you feel compelled to finish up the sandwich, pick at the pudding or gobble some gold fish. What makes this mama mystery truly disturbing is that most of the time it has drool, is mushy or has other unknown substances on it. All the same, it goes into the mouth.

Most all of the time I am not hungry or find the food all that appealing. So why in the world do I feel the need to put it in my mouth? hmmm.....

Giant Eagle Bargain recipe of the week : South of the Border Chicken and Pasta Skillet

Bargain Meal of the Week

I have been dying to try this recipe and with most of the ingredients on sale this week, its the perfect opportunity!! This is one of my more expensive recipes but it sounds so yummy....Happy Eating Y'all!!

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

South of the Border Chicken and Pasta Skillet

2 cups pasta, uncooked (Barilla on sale $1) $1

2 skinless chicken breasts, halved (On sale $1.99) $1.99

16 oz salsa (Chi-Chi's On sale $2.50) $2.50

10 oz frozen corn, unthawed $.90

4 oz cream cheese, cubed (On sale $1.25) $.62

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 cup shredded cheese of your choice $1.25

Cook pasta as directed.

Meanwhile, cook and stir chicken in non stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on med-high heat 6 minutes, or until done. Add salsa, corn, cream cheese, and cumin. Simmer on med-low heat 6 min. or until corn is heated through and cream cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.

Drain pasta, add to skillet with half the shredded cheese. Simmer 3 minutes or until heated through. Top with remaining shredded cheese; cover. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Total Cost of Meal: $8.26

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WFMW - Taking some of the stress out of the school day!

My little guy is just starting his school days but this is a tip that we already use. We make multiple trips to the zoo, park, and play dates each week. Each trip requires a packed lunch. Now ladies, I don't know why but I hate packing lunch in the morning. I always have someone hanging on me, start getting whiny requests for certain foods, we run late and then I start to get that crazy look in my eyes..... scary!

So I have started to make multiple sandwiches on the weekend and freeze them! That way the morning of the event, I can grab a sandwich and go... no mess, fuss or crazy looks!!

Peanut butter and jelly is always a big hit with my little ones. Just make sure that you slather peanut butter on both pieces of bread before you spread the jelly to keep bread from getting soggy.

Wraps also freeze well. Add meat and cheese of your choice, roll and your ready! Just be sure to skip the mayo or mustard since they freeze... well lets just say its not good. :)

After you have made your sandwiches, wrap in foil or freezer bag and pop in your freezer. If you are giving it to your child first thing in the morning and its hot it will be just about perfect for lunchtime. If your little one is going to be eating the sandwich in a couple of hours I would remove the night before and pop it in the fridge :)

I cannot tell you how much mental aggravation this saves since the lunch is pre -planned before the week even starts. And that works for this crazy eyed mama!!

For more WFMW tips check out We are That Family!

Meijer bargain recipe of the week: Creole Pork Chops

Bargain Meal of the Week

Can you tell I am ready for fall? I am starting to think hearty, filling, yummy meals. This recipe can also be made in the crock pot for 5-6 hours. Y'all know I love that !! I hope its as yummy as it sounds..... Happy eating!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand. W/C means with coupon.

Creole Pork Chops

4 pork chops (On sale $1.99) $1.99
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 can diced tomatoes (Hunts on sale $1.25) $1.25
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (On sale $.99/lb) $.40
1 onion, chopped $.20
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Coat the pork chops with flour, shaking off the excess. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and cook until browned on each side, about 5 minutes per side. Reduce heat to low and add the tomatoes, bell pepper and onion. Season with Worcestershire sauce and salt. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour, until chops are fork tender.

Total Cost of Meal: $ 3.84

Add Red Beans and rice (Zatarains on sale $1.25 w/c $.88) Total Cost of Meal : $4.72

Add rice and salad (Dole on sale $1.67) Total Cost of Meal: $5.55

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kroger bargain recipe of the week: Sausage Scramble

Bargain Meal of the Week

Sometimes the monotony of dinner becomes overwhelming. We rely on the same ol' standbys until our families start to moan more than say "yum" ! That is when I make breakfast for dinner. It shakes things up just enough to appease the masses :) (It also seems easier to make for some reason. ) Happy Eating Y'all!

I will not expense spices/oils since most of us have them on hand. W/C means with coupon.

Sausage scramble

5 potatoes, cubed (On sale 10 lb bag $2.99) $.60
1 smoked sausage ring (John Morrell on sale $1) $1
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
6 eggs, beaten (On sale $.88) $.42

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Place potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. While the potatoes are cooking, brown the sausage ring in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skin is browned, cut into 2 inch pieces.

Transfer the potatoes and sausage to a 9x13 inch baking dish. Drizzle the olive oil over them, and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. While the sausage and potatoes are baking, reheat the same skillet with the sausage juices over medium heat. Pour in beaten eggs, and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are scrambled and cooked through. Stir into the sausage and potatoes before serving.

Total Cost of Meal: $2.02

Add Grands Biscuits (on sale w/c $.29 $1) Total Cost of Meal: $2.31

For more great bargain recipes click on the icon above!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Teachers View: The 1st day of School!!

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

1st Day of School

Whether your baby is having their first first day of school or their last first day of school, the first day is always a big one. At my elementary school, the first day is full of shiny scrubbed faces, new clothes, and sometimes, a bit of chaos. Here are a couple of things to remember about this magical day!

· Get a good night’s sleep and have a good breakfast. The older our students get, the later they eat lunch. It comes as a surprise to many of our 4th and 5th graders that they don’t eat until almost 1 and after one and that they are starving at 10:30.

· Pack a great lunch or make sure your student has lunch money. It’s especially helpful if younger students have their lunch money in an envelope marked with their name and teacher. Also make sure your child’s name is on their lunch box. If your school uses an automated payment system, start practicing the PIN and put a piece of paper with it written down in their pocket.

· Be at the bus stop at least five minutes early the first week of school. My friend Janelle works at our local school district’s department of transportation and tells me that bus schedules can fluctuate as drivers figure out who needs picked up where and make changes to routes.

· Take pictures! Arrive at school or the bus stop a few minutes and capture that smiling face!

· Be aware that some schools do not let parents escort students to their classrooms. At my school, only the parents of our preschool students are allowed past the front door. There is a long chain of teachers to walk younger students to class and to help older ones find their way. And yes, we’ll be happy to walk them down, even if tears are involved J Call your school office if you have questions about your child getting to class.

· Look through your child’s bookbag for papers that might have come home. There are usually papers to fill out.

· Be ready to celebrate! The first day of school is exciting! And usually homework-free. It might be a great night for one of the last trips of the season to the pool or ice cream shop.

Menu Plan Monday: Grill week!!

This week I am trying to hang on to summer as long as I can. I am doing mostly grilled dishes. To make it an even better week I am only using 3 meats and getting 5 meals!! ( The chicken and the pork) That makes mama very happy :) Happy eating Y'all!!

Monday: Italian Burgers, Grilled veggie mix (basically zucchini, squash and onions in Italian dressing!) Baked potatoes

Tuesday: Grilled chicken, butter noodles, broccoli

Wednesday: Grilled pork tenderloin, fresh cole slaw, baked beans and salad

Thursday: Basil, tomato,chicken penne pasta, garlic bread and salad

Friday: Pizza Night!!

Saturday: Pork tacos, re fried beans and Spanish rice

Sunday: Leftover night - If its in the fridge you can eat it but mama is not cookin!