Monday, November 24, 2014

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

I had a very busy and productive Sunday.  I just love it when I can get a ton of stuff done and crossed off my "To Do" list.  At the end of the day I was exhausted and had a serious case of dishpan hands.

After starting a load of laundry, the bread machine to make my first batch of dough and a pot of coffee I made the last birthday gift I needed to get done.  This one is for my youngest.  I used items from my sewing and craft supplies to make it so I didn't have to spend any additional money.

I wrapped the gifts I bought at JC Penney using items I already had on hand, including gift boxes.  I also repurposed two boxes my recent Amazon orders came in and some bubble wrap I had in the garage to wrap a Christmas gift for my youngest and a birthday gift for a friend of mine.

I made a Christmas gift for a friend of mine.  Since she reads my blog faithfully I can't give any specific details about it.

I made 6 loaves of whole wheat bread.  Holy cow!  I put five away in the freezer and one in the fridge to use throughout the week.

My oldest daughter made two loaves of Friendship Bread.  We ate them for breakfast throughout the week.

We made some sourdough starter and put it up on top of the refrigerator to ferment.  Hopefully it works because sourdough bread is one of my favorites.

I washed out another two gallon Ziploc bag to reuse.  I also washed up a mason jar that a candle came in and an olive jar to reuse.

I did a Fred Meyer survey online to earn extra rewards points to use for a gas discount next time I fill up.  I am so thrilled to see gas drop below $3 a gallon.

Albertsons had canned vegetables on sale for 2/$1 and I had a coupon for $1 off four making my final price 25¢ a can!

I made a coconut cream pie from scratch my daughter's birthday on Thursday.

I worked overtime again this week.

A friend's husband had an extra ticket through his work for the Judas Priest concert which they gave me so I got to attend it for free Friday night.  We had a blast!

I went to the dollar store and picked up some stocking stuffers for my girls.

How did you do saving money last week?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Our Thanksgiving Day Menu Plan

It has been another one of those crazy busy weeks.  For one thing both girls are celebrating birthdays.  My oldest was yesterday and the youngest is on Sunday so I've been prepping and celebrating for both events, complete with family parties.  Plus there was a Thanksgiving feast to attend at my youngest's school.  I've also been going in to work early each morning and working late to help with a yearend cleanup project.  Nonetheless, I promised this post and here it is. 

I have to work the day before Thanksgiving and the day after so we won't be joining friends and family at the cabin this year.  Instead the girls and I will be staying home and making our own feast, which I have to say thrills me to no end.  I love to cook and bake plus I loooove the leftovers.  Because of this I have to say Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

This is what we have planned for our mid-afternoon meal:

Roasted Turkey & Gravy
Mashed Potatoes & Carrots
Olives & Pickles
Homemade Dinner Rolls & Butter
Cranberry Sauce
Apple Juice

Pumpkin Pie & Whipped Cream
Hot Coffee

Pretty standard, but pretty delicious.  I can hardly wait to dig in.  What are you planning to make?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thrifty Gifts To Give Teachers - Glass Tile Magnets

This year we decided to make magnets.  Super simple and not expensive at all.  Most of the supplies we needed I already had in my craft box.  The only thing I needed to get was a 12" X 12" sheet of glass tiles which I bought at Home Depot for $4.98.  There are more than enough tiles per sheet than what we needed so we'll have loads of leftovers for additional gifts to give others now or in the future.

For this you will need:

Small 1" glass or ceramic tiles - 1 sheet
Roll of magnet strip
Hot glue gun
1 -2 glue sticks

Pull the tiles off of the mesh backing.  They come off pretty easy. 

Cut a small square from the magnetic strip.  Remove the paper backing to expose the adhesive side.

Place a dollop of hot glue in the center of the and firmly press the adhesive side of the magnet onto the back of the tile.

That's it!

We decided to make them in sets of six magnets.  The girls used some scrapbook paper cut in 6" squares to fold and make origami gift boxes to put them in.  They watched an online video that showed them how to make the boxes.  I thought that was clever.

After tying a piece of ribbon around each box the gifts were finished and ready to go.

It was a fun project for us to do together as a family.  I want some!  J 

You may also enjoy this idea.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

On Sunday I made two loaves of Friendship Bread.  Good thing too because I had four friends stop by that afternoon and we immediately devoured an entire loaf.  The other loaf didn't last long either.  I shared a starter and recipe and froze the remaining starter to use later.

I ordered a Christmas gift online for my youngest.  I made three birthday gifts using items I already had on hand.  I also finished a couple Christmas gifts I had started several months ago.

I wrapped the birthday gifts with gift wrap I bought at the dollar store and re-used the bows my girls put on my birthday gift.  They're getting them back. J

I also wrapped a few Christmas gifts using gift wrap, bags, bows and tissue paper I already had on hand.  I re-used the gift basket bag the girls used on my birthday present too.

We got some snow!  Our deck Friday morning.
I watched some Masterpiece Theatre on television using the Roku.  I love those BBC period productions.  We also started watching Teen Wolf.  My girls are loving it.

My wonderful friend gave me a HUGE stack of coupons.  I clipped several from the stack and printed off twelve more online coupons.  I filed them away in my coupon organizer and read the ads online.  I will most likely use about a half dozen of those coupons in combination with items on sale at the stores this week.

I started working on next my December and January shopping list.  I finished making a menu plan for December as well as our menus for Christmas and Christmas Eve.  I made a goodie list for holiday baking too.

I picked up some supplies at Home Depot to make Christmas gifts with.  I spent less than $10.

I stopped at Walgreens and bought two bottles of laundry detergent on sale and with a coupon.  They ended up costing only $1 each.  With all the company we have been having I went ahead and grabbed three bottles of soda and used a $1 coupon making the final cost $2.  I also got three cans of olives with a store coupon made them 89¢ each and a bottle of dish soap on sale and with a coupon for 74¢.

At Fred Meyer I picked up a few grocery items and used coupons or store coupons with everything.  My favorite buy was two new glass Pyrex bread pans on sale for buy one get one half price.  I also had a $1 coupon making my final price for both pans $6.49.

I braved the mall and the rough roads to finish up my girl's birthday shopping.  I used the $10 coupon JC Penney sent me in the mail to buy each of them two new pair of pajamas.  If I used my store credit card I would get an extra 20% off my purchase, which I did, and then they took the $10 off.  It made the pajamas much more affordable.  All four pair cost $46.  I'll pay my card in full next month so I don't accrue any interest.

Saturday evening we made Christmas gifts for the girl's teachers.  I will be posting about that tomorrow.  Then they made origami gift boxes to put them in using scrapbook paper I already had.  A 12" X 12" sheet of paper made four gift boxes.  Each box was tied with a piece of ribbon from my sewing stash.  They turned out really nice.

I washed out a one gallon and a two gallon Ziploc bag to reuse for my next session of bread baking.

I worked quite a bit of overtime this week.

How did you save money last week?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Touches Of Fall Around Our House

I thought I'd share a few pictures of the fall decorations I've put out since the first of October.  Just because. J

Our fireplace is one of those electric ones and I just love it.  It produces heat and has realistic looking flames.  A lot of people have mistaken it for a gas one.  I built the surround and mantle to give it a more authentic look.  In the past I have put stuff to display on the mantle and left it year round.  Since moving back home I've decided to use it more for displaying various vignettes.  Not my normal MO but I thought I'd try doing something different.

Like my electric jack-o-lanterns?  I'm not one who particularly enjoys carving pumpkins but I do love jack-o-lanterns so when they came out with these guys I knew this was right up my alley.  I've had them a few years now and they have more than paid for themselves plus no muss, no fuss.

I love these little ceramic pumpkins.  I found them at the dollar store several years ago.

I bought this little leaf dish at ShopKo a couple years ago.

The only new items I bought this year were the three leaf shaped tea light holders for the dining room table.  I found them at the dollar store.

Check out the Halloween cat in the window.  And the new rug.
Once Halloween was over I put away the jack-o-lanterns and the obvious Halloween d├ęcor.  I'll keep everything else in place through the end of the month for Thanksgiving and then it will be time to decorate for Christmas. 

Do you decorate your home for fall?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mission Accomplished - The Pantry & Freezer Are Stocked For Winter!

I am super excited to report that my freezer and pantry are well stocked and ready for the cold winter months ahead as well as the upcoming holidays.  Usually I will combine the budget for November and December into one lump sum so I can take advantage of sales at the holidays.  I did that this year too and after visiting four stores I was able to get everything on my list with plenty of money left over.  Needless to say I am tickled beyond belief. J

Bright and early I went to Albertson's and bought loss leaders and marked down meat.  I was able to get steak, which we haven't had for awhile, as well as ground beef.  All the steaks had $2 and $3 OFF coupons attached to them.

I was thrilled to get some extras for the holidays.  A store coupon afforded us marshmallows at 25¢ a bag for toasting on the back deck fire pot and minis for cocoa.  Ricotta was marked down to 99¢ and bagels too.  Eggs were on sale for 99¢ a dozen.  The cuties were $3.99 and the 4# bags of sugar were $1.50 each.

The ibuprofen was 49¢ with store coupon.

At Winco I stocked up on pasta from the Mexican and Asian food aisle.  Rice, beans and a variety of tortillas also.

I rounded out my canned goods stock with tomato sauce, olives, pesto, soy sauce, etc.  I was low on garlic powder and dried basil so I grabbed that from the bulk bin.  I also got pecans from the bulk bin for a pie at Christmas.

The corn dogs were on sale for $2.98 a box so I bought two.  Bulk bacon, a family pack of sausage and a package of bologna.  Not the healthiest meats but we love them.

At the dollar store I found canned pumpkin and coconut milk.  I picked up an extra package of pepperoni slices and lasagna noodles.  The bag of cheese balls was just because.

Dollar store finds

I have a handful of items I still need for holiday dinners and a couple of birthdays coming up next week, but for the most part we are sitting pretty darn good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I Was The Recipient Of Some Gifts

I don't know what on earth happened but I was blessed a couple weeks ago with some nice little gifts.  It was completely unexpected.

A friend of mine gave me these sweet little dishes.  They are glass and I love the print.  I had admired a set she had and then she surprised me and gave me a set of my own.  Aren't they nice?

The leaf in the cellophane is impressed with wildflower seeds.  A lady at work got married and had these extra take away gifts from her wedding reception.  She asked me if I would like one to plant next spring.

Two of my dearest friends returned from a trip to visit family in Wisconsin.  They brought me cheese and pure maple syrup.  I was delighted.  Especially since they had threatened to bring me back a foam cheesehead.  I much prefer the real thing. J

Last but certainly not least was a snail shell necklace one my daughter's friends insisted I have as a thank you for having them all over for the party and sleepover.  She is such a darling and what a kind gesture.  It even came with a great big hug.

So many nice surprises.  I felt so special. J