Monday, August 31, 2009

Menu Monday

I enjoyed reading where you grocery shop! Thank you for the comments, I enjoy reading every one!! Comments make me smile.

We have a super busy week. Lots of back to school meetings. Kate also starts back to dance classes. This is when I put on my super mom cape...

Monday: Ground Beef Taco's with Knorr Spanish Rice and Black Beans

Tuesday: Leftover Taco Meat for Quesadilla's

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken Cesar Salad

Thursday: Frozen Dinners

Friday: Make Your Own Pizza. We eat in the living room and watch a family movie.

What's your favorite easy weekday meal?

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wally World vs. Kroger

I've been back and forth with the two for many years. For the last 2 years I've been a Wal-mart grocery shopper.

Why, well I was slacking on the coupon cutting and figured I was getting the cheapest price.

*Sigh and Head Hang*

Yes, I know I am self proclaimed Frugal Jen and I wasn't using coupons.
Let me share my pro's and con's of both....


  • I can bring in other stores ad's and they will match the price
  • They are coupon nuts.. they instantly know if one is expired or you need a multiple item. They almost call you out on the loud speaker.
  • They have the best price on diapers!
  • If the kids need some clothing items I can pick it up. Remember this post.
  • They sell my favorite coconut lime candle.
  • The two above bring me to the conclusion... I won't stick to my list I spend more $$$
  • I will only visit one location. Some can be kinda shady and scary.


  • They have a car cart which the kids enjoy.
  • They double and triple some coupons.
  • You can have your grocery's taken to the car.... Do we tip these people?
  • I stick to my list.
  • They have Boars Head brand meat!!!
  • I spend less money.


I bought the same grocery items at Kroger this week I usually buy at Wal-mart. I spent $60 less. I noticed that the regular price of items is cheaper on most of the items. Kroger was cheaper on breads, cereals and can items. Wal-mart was cheaper on it's meats.

I will be Krogering and see if this saving trend continues. Plus, I am back couponing!

Where do you grocery shop?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thrifty Thursday- Free Food and Deals?

When we go out to eat we almost always have a coupon. With our family of 5 the bill gets out of control really fast.
Here are some great restaurant freebies out right now:

Pei Wei - become a fan on facebook then click the link and get a free Japanese Beef Chile Raman. Sounds good! My favorite item is the Spicy Chicken with brown rice.

Chili's Email Club- join and get a coupon for free chips and queso. They will also email you $5 off coupons. This is one of our favorites! We can all eat for under $25. Check out their 2 for $20 deal too!

On the Border- also has the email club. They are part of the Brinker family of restaurants with Chili's. They also have a special $6.99 combo special.

Olive Garden- the never ending pasta bowl is back! Complete goodness in a bowl. I could easily gain 5 pounds with one trip. Salad, bread sticks and unlimited pasta! I wonder if anyone has stayed all day for lunch then for dinner on the same bill? Sorry no coupon link I've only seen them offer coupons in the Sunday paper inserts.

OK Who wants to go to lunch today? After writing this I've got some serious cravings!!

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Name Brand Chips vs. Store Brand

Have you ever compared store brand and name brand chips next to each other? Well I did. Let me share the shocking results
(not really but it sure sounds good)

I bought two bags of Wavy potato chips. We ate half of each bag then evaluated...

Here is a photo of the Store Brand Wavy Chips. Ummm do you see wave? The Name Brand Wavy Chips now that is a wavy chip.

My results:
The Store Brand
  • Most of the bag was broken into small pieces
  • It was greasier
  • The taste was not as good but pretty close
  • It was only $1.75

The Name Brand

  • The chips stayed in big pieces
  • Not as greasy as the store brand
  • Classic taste
  • It was $3.00

The Verdict- Pay the extra $1.25 for chips that are dip worthy. I made ranch dip and the small remnants of chips made it very frustrating to get my dip. They just broke into the dip making crumbly mess

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesdays Tip - Old Earrings?

I absolutely love free decorating ideas! I get giddy when I see an idea and immediately go home and do it myself.

This weekend we ate dinner with some friends at their incredibly decorated and cozy home.

She accessorized a candle with old earrings and charms. What a great idea!

So I came home and found these old earrings I NEVER wear. Put them on a candle and viola it gave it a little "pow". Here is the candle before just a plain ole Dollar Tree Candle

Take a look at the pair! This is on the wall in my kitchen. I found this floral arrangement in Canton. I got it for my birthday 3 years ago, doesn't it just scream I live in Texas? Thanks mom!
I am on the hunt for big gaudy earrings at garage sales now!
Watch out all my candles will be accessorized!

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Monday, August 24, 2009

FREE Chick-fil-a

Gotta love some FREE chick-fil-a!

Visit the chicken wave site and create your own personalized cow for the wave. Of course mine is Texas Orange! The first 250,000 to sign up will get a coupon mailed for a free sandwich. When I signed up there were only 625.

Another bonus on Monday, September 7th (my birthday yipee) wear your favorite team shirt and get a free chicken sandwich. Woo!!!

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Menu Monday- First Day of School

Today is the big day for my little guy! He is officially a school kid!!! Now we have one in 7th grade and one in Kindergarten. I am looking forward to having my little 2 year old to myself at home.

My sweet friend Jenny stopped by my house yesterday and brought me these yummy muffins to help with my kindergarten anxiety! Thank you for being so thoughtful!!
First day of school lunch..Wills Fave's: Peanut Butter Sandwich, a bag of Nacho Doritos, packet of gummy fruit snacks and a Capri Sun.

So elementary moms can you give me some ideas of what else I can send?

Dinner Time This Week:

Monday: Make your own pizza!

Tuesday: Lazy Evening Frozen Meals (got some great deals at Kroger a couple weeks ago)

Wednesday: Bean and Cheese Nacho's

Thursday: Baked Potato Skins - love these!

  1. Bake potato's (about 10 medium to small size) at 375 for an hour

  2. Hollow potato's out with a spoon- put the insides in another dish to save for mashed potato's

  3. Spray potato's skins with cooking spray (I use EVOO spray)

  4. Sprinkle the outside with salt, Sprinkle the inside with garlic salt, pepper and any other special seasonings you have . I add Cajun seasoning.

  5. Bake for 15ish minutes at 425 till crispy

  6. Remove and top with shredded cheddar cheese and bacon bits (I use Oscar Meyer Real Bacon Bits)

  7. Bake for a couple more minutes then enjoy!

  8. Eat with sour cream, ketchup or my absolute favorite ranch dressing!

Now I am understanding why I have high cholesterol...

Friday: Honestly I have no idea!! I was a poor planner this week. I chose complete comfort foods since my little baby boy is starting school. I figured I would wash away my sadness in yummy foods.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Another Blog... My Mural Business

I would like to share a mural I painted last week for a wonderful family expecting a baby girl in the next few weeks.
I've finally done it! I started another blog for my side business. I paint custom children's murals on a very part-time basis.

Since I am a frugal girl I axed the web hosting and put together a free blog!

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My Baby Corner is Grown Up!

I've shown you these photos before but now I want you to notice the progression on the right corner. As you can also tell I redecorate this room a lot. I do think I finally got it right. Keep reading...
1st we had a baby swing in the corner.. 2nd we had an exersaucer in the corner..

3rd we had a pack n play in the corner....

And now we have a little chair! I think I will stick with this look for a while.

I hit Kirklands last week and got the mirrors ($12 each) and did some shopping in my house and moved accessories from other rooms to complete my look. Thank you Nicole for the R!

My little zoo animal Madeline has outgrown her much beloved playpin. She's decided she is done with it let me share....Doesn't she look like a roaring lion with an elastia leg.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thrify Thursday - Swap Meet?

As I was reading one of my favorite decorating blogs The Nester it hit me our next blog party should be a swap meet! Take a look and see the Nester Style Swap Meet.

How about sometime in October? You know us busy girls have to plan ahead.

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Back to School Savings

Don't let back to school shopping scare you! (I had to come up with some cheesy saying to show off this photo of Kate from our trip to Austria. This was at the Science and History Museum)

School Supply Deals (May vary by region, this is for the North Texas Area)

Office Max- selling 1 cent crayons and glue. Everything else is more expensive than Wal-mart other than those items.

Wal-mart - selling 25 cent crayons and glue. Markers 70 cents. Folders and 70 page spirals 15 cents!

Office Depot- we looked around I so NO significant savings

School Lunch Printable Coupons - print coupons for mott's apple sauce, goldfish and uncrustable sandwiches.

Hostess 100 calorie packs- this is my pre-teens favorite sweet snacks this is one of my favorite coupon sites! Print coupons like Cheerios, Nature Valley and Pillsbury.

Clothing Deals My Favorites!

Aeropostale- Graphic Tee's $10. This is my daughters favorite store. Ton's of stylish clothes at a great price.

Gap Kids- Buy one pair of jeans get 2nd pair for $10. Gap jeans are my favorite for my son. They are tough and durable. At our mall all clearance clothing was an additional 40% off. I got all his back to school clothes for $52, 2 jeans, 2 shorts, 3 shirts and a package of underwear.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesdays Tip- Pop!

I am a girl who loves easy prep foods. I have NEVER make Jiffy pop until Sunday....
Remember we have family night every Sunday.

This time we chose to make fun popcorn and watch a movie.
Let me share.... here is the jiffy pop warming up
Everyone anxiously awaiting, this is family fun!

Pop, pop, pop... it was kinda scary and loud to use newbies.

Finally all done, it was the best popcorn ever!! Really it was better than movie theatre popcorn.

We had our popcorn and a movie. Madeline had the first choice of Veggie Tales for 30 minutes.

We put her to sleep then the big kid movie. Batman on VCR tape (garage sale find).
We put the tape in and what do we have ..... a home video NO Batman.

I'm just glad it was a wholesome tape, can you imagine how it could have been?

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Menu Monday- More Recipes

Here is the group photo from the blog party Friday night. A couple girls left before the photo was taken.
Again it was wonderful to meet such great ladies!
This is officially the last week of summer for my kids! We've got lots of back to school shopping, hair cuts, last swims and sleepovers this week.

Monday: Make your own Stromboli (a new fave)
1. Take pizza dough and put in all the fixins: hamburger meat, pepperonis, mushrooms, peppers, onions and cheese
2. Fold over and blend the edges in
3. Cut a couple slits on the top to vent
4. Bake for about 15 minutes and use pizza sauce for dipping.

Tuesday: George Foreman Style Pannini's (we had this last week and enjoyed it so much)

Wednesday: Freezer Raid
When we have left overs I put small containers in the freezer to make easy frozen dinners. My freezer is so full it is time to make a buffet of little meals.

Thursday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Can you believe I still have frozen meatballs from my homemade batch 3 weeks ago?
My favorite spaghetti sauce is Prego Roasted Garlic and Herb

Friday: Grill out Burgers

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

DFW Blog Party

Friday night I hosted a DFW blogger get together. It was wonderful to met some great ladies.
I was thrilled that my blog buddy Nicole drove in from Oklahoma to meet in person! She is such a great lady now I am thrilled to call her an (IRLF) In Real Life Friend. Me and my BF Adrien.
We had 17 bloggers join us!

Here is Dina, Jennifer, Liz and Adrien
The Quad moms, Suz, Casey and Misty.

Elyse, Alicia (a childhood friend of mine)me, Gari-Ann and Dina
It was great to reconnect with Alicia. We went to the same at home nanny when we were little girls.
Me, Stacy, Alicia and Nicole
I was too busy talking and I missed out on taking lots of photos. I am hoping some of the other girls will share their photos. Send me the group photo please!
Other wonderful bloggers who attended but aren't pictured:
Catherine, Kendra, Alyssa , Crystal. I could kick myself for not taking many photos!!
I enjoyed meeting everyone I had some great conversations with wonderful women. Thank you for coming out and meeting in real life!

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

TX Kroger Super Double Day!!

Texas Kroger's will be doubling coupons up to $1.00 on Saturday, August 15th! Check out a comprehensive list of the deals and match ups here.

I'm going Kroggering... remember that commercial from back in the day?

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wasteless Wednesday

Did you know the best time to plant a tree is in the fall?
Here in the Texas heat I see many homeowners plant trees in the summer when the trees are on sale. Too bad they are dead by fall.
Don't waste your money, check with your local nursery about planting and timing. Now if someone can sell me the seed to that money tree I am looking for!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Umm what happened?

Anyone else had all their "following" blogs deleted from the dashboard on blogger? I am freaking out here!!! It took a long time to build that list. I don't have them book marked anywhere.

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Wally World Steppin It Up!

Growing kids = never ending clothing supply! My little miss is almost always in need of more clothing.

Target is my store of choice. Inexpensive cute clothes.. most of the time. Not quite sure what their buyers are doing right now but I am not digging the fall clothing. However they do have FABULOUS kids shoe's for the fall.

This lead me to check out the clothing at Wally World, yes good ole Wal-mart. I found several really cute top and legging sets for $8.

This is an outfit I would expect to see at Target, love it! Wal-mart is stepping it up in their kids clothing section. Remember this cute dress I bought and embellished from Wal-mart?

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Menu Monday

My Cheerio cholesterol diet has started! I gave up my morning Special K protein bars for my childhood favorite Cheerios's. Let's see how it works.

This week is the first menu to reflect my condition (gosh that sounds bad like I am dying). My high cholesterol.

Monday: Kids and Husband Meatball sandwich and French Fries, Me a salad

Tuesday: Grilled Turkey Pannini's George Foreman Style
Take whole wheat bread spray with EVOO spray
Put in 2% cheese
Turkey (I like it shredded from the deli)
Red and Green Pepper slices
Mushrooms (husband likes)
Squirt a little Italian dressing inside and put on the George Foreman Grill

Wednesday: Chicken and Rice, Salad and Rolls
Easy Recipe and an all time favorite in my house:
2 cups cooked rice
1 can of reduced fat and sodium cream of chicken
1/2 cup of chicken broth
2 cups of cooked chicken -( I grill it up on the George Foreman and top with Kickin Chicken seasoning then cut it up)
Mix all together and bake for about 20 minutes covered with foil. I used to top with Mozz cheese.

Thursday: Leftover Chicken and Rice

Friday: DFW Blogger Girl Meet and Drink Party! I am looking forward to meeting many of you!! We still have some spots open if you want to join us!

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Frugal Friday- Kirklands

Yesterday I was shopping at Kirkland's looking for something for my newly painted accent walls.

They are having a HUGE mirror sale.

Too bad I could not find any matching ones.
Anyone else have an idea for accent pieces for this wall?
So when I got home I went to Kirkland's website and found this new site

YIPEE!! I am so excited!

Kirkland's now has an online community of home decorators. I am in heaven!

Just what I need another online tool to keep me away from laundry and cleaning.

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