April 30, 2011

Tip of the day—Print your coupons

At the beginning of each month, many printable coupon sites refresh their lists.  If you see a coupon on the list that you want to make sure you have for a future shopping trip, now is the time to print. 

April 29, 2011

Cottonelle FREE Flushable Moist Wipes

tub Cottonelle is offering another FREE tub of their Flushable Moist Wipes for you and a friend.  They gave these out last year, and the full sized tub is a fantastic freebie!!  Sign up before they are gone. Thanks Hip2Save!

FREE Sample Pro Plan Roasted Slices by Purina

fb-roasted-giveaway_form-confirm Go to the Pro Plan Facebook page for a FREE sample of the Pro Plan Roasted Slices by Purina.  Thanks Hip2Save!

FREE Shipping at The Disney Store

disney-store-world-wish-day-300x105 The Disney Store is offering FREE shipping today on any purchase in honor of World Wish Day.  Five percent of all sales will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Use coupon code WISH at checkout to receive free shipping.

Since we are going to Disney in May, this was great news.  We still had a little money leftover in the gift budget, and I used it to pick up a few things for our daughter.  Someone recommended packing a few gifts that she can open on the way and while at the park to help curb the “I wants” a little.  Of course, we’ll still get souvenirs, but this way we won’t be paying theme park prices for the same items. 

Thanks Thrifty Mama!

FREE Bag Frito Lay Chips—GO NOW

fr Head over to the Frito Lay Facebook page and “Like” them.  The first 24,000 will get a free bag of chips in celebration of their Guinness World Record.  They were having technical difficulties and it was supposed to go live at 3pm EST.  It looks like it should go live any minute now based on the most recent update.

Earth Fare Matchups and Deals through May 31


Hannah with Frugally Farming Family has the matchups and deals for Earth Fare posted. These run through the end of May.  Happy Shopping!

Bath & Body Works, FREE Royal Collection Lip Gloss or Pocketbac with purchase


Did you wake up at 4am and watch the Royal Wedding this morning?  You weren’t alone.  I did too!! 

Bath & Body Works is celebrating the nuptials by offering a free royal collection lip gloss or pocketbac with purchase today only, in stores and online.   Use code ROYAL at checkout for $1 shipping on online orders of $25 or more.  Go here to print your coupon.

Tip of the day—Party foods on hand

I like to keep a few easy party foods on hand in case I have an unexpected guest drop by, house guests from out of town, or want to throw a party and not fuss over prep work.  Below are a few easy party foods:

  • Watch for sales on brownie, cake, cookie and muffin mixes as well as break apart cookies and cinnamon rolls.  All are easy to prepare, and while not the healthiest of foods, are usually crowd pleasers.
  • Carrots and apples both keep for a long time if stored properly and are inexpensive enough to keep in the house most of the time.  Both are good served alone or with a simple dip.
  • Cream cheese is my go-to food for parties.  Serve with hot chili and cheese poured on top and tortillas.  Make my herbed cream cheese spread.  Add a little jam and whip together for a tea sandwich filler.  The ideas are endless.  Watch for it to go on sale for $1 or less and stock up on the boxes with the expiration dates farthest into the future.
  • Popcorn is a favorite.  It is healthy, easy to make from scratch, inexpensive, and since stored in kernel form doesn’t go bad quickly.  Chips can get crushed or become stale when stored for longer periods, but popcorn doesn’t.  Just heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil in a large and tall pot.  Add enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pot in a single layer,  put the lid on but vent it slightly to let steam escape, and give the pot a good shake every few seconds.  Heat until the popping slows down and take off of the eye.  When the popping stops, salt and serve.  It it also good with a little nutritional yeast added to the top. 
  • Crackers are versatile.  Serve them plain, with a dip or spread, with cheese or meat, or with a fondue. 
  • Drinks can be expensive.  For the most part, I usually stick with serving sweetened and unsweetened tea with an additional pitcher of water available.  I’m from the South and most people expect you to have tea available.  When I catch a good deal on ginger ale, I keep it in the pantry with a little white cranberry so that I can make mock-champagne punch.  Just mix the two together and serve with an ice ring or just ice—it seems fancy but takes very little time to make.

What about you?  What are your go-to party foods?

April 28, 2011

Strasburg Children Sample Sale, Chattanooga


If you have never seen Strasburg Children clothes, you will oooh and aaah.  They are beautiful and we are lucky enough to have some that my aunt purchased for our daughter (on sale of course!).  If you have a wedding coming up, you might want to make the drive to pick up some flower girl and ring bearer attire. 

We know for some that live far away, this will be bitter-sweet news, but for others it will be a sweet surprise...

Join us this Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the first ever Strasburg Children Sample Sale to be held in Chattanooga, Tennessee!

With a large selection of sample garments, you'll find Strasburg styles you've never seen before and at prices that are truly unbelievable.

This sale is very much a "first come first served" type situation, so the best selection can be found on Friday (4/29) and purchases can only be made in our Hamilton Place location.  Click here for directions.

Sample Sale times are only during the regular store hours, so you are encouraged to call (256) 880 - 2040 for more details.     

Due to the unique nature and popularity of this event, we encourage adult-only shoppers.  We hope to see you there!

The First Annual Sample Sale in Chattanooga, TN, is happening at 2100 Hamilton Place, Blvd, Ste. 163, Chattanooga, TN, starting on 4/29 and running until inventory is gone.  Sample Sale merchandise will remain available until sold, and multiple sale days are not guaranteed.  This sale is not currently happening online or at any other Strasburg Children store location.  Purchases must be made in-store at the Hamilton Place location.  All purchases at this location during this period are final sales and can not be returned for exchange or credit.   

FREE Better Oats at Kroger

better oats I just picked up some of these this week at Kroger for the food pantry because they were a great price ($1 each), and I was super excited to see this coupon from Money Saving Maine-iac:

Head over to the Better Oats Facebook page and under the 'special offers' tab you will have access to a $1.00/1 Better Oats coupon. 

They will be free after coupon! These are in the cutest boxes near the other instant oatmeal packages.  Thanks Teresa!

Cottonelle Walgreens Deal, Starting Sunday

cottonelle Head over to Coupon Katie’s post to learn how to score inexpensive Cottonelle toilet paper at Wags starting Sunday.  This is a great deal, and I hope to stock up.

Thanks Katie!

FREE Sample Soooo Sweet! Stevia


 Request your free sample of Soooo Sweet!® now while supplies last.

White Balloon—2 FREE 5x7 Portraits with donation, Knoxville

white Mother's Day is right around the corner...Do you need something special to give to Mom, Grandma or those special Aunts?

This Saturday, April 30 at The White Balloon for a donation of your choice  to One Vision Japan you can bring your little ones to have their portraits taken by Lorelei from Gentle Touch Portraits and you will receive 2 FREE 5x7's.

What a GREAT idea for that someone special, especially with Mother's Day right around the corner!

Just email us or call (588-6844) us so that we can put you into one of the time slots we have open.

Bath & Body Works-- I Love Fragrance Event, April 30th

bbw Join Bath & Body Works fans for the I Love Fragrance event on Saturday, April 30th 1pm - 5pm.

Take our fragrance personality quiz and Mother's Day quiz to find the perfect gift, consult with fragrance experts and discover the many ways to wear your favorite fragrance! Vote in our fragrance challenge to see if you are the ultimate BBW fan and get our FREE GIFT to you with any Signature Collection purchase*. Follow @BBWInsider on Twitter to receive LIVE updates from the event from our BBW insiders!
*Purchase value $15.50. Available while supplies last. Limited 1 per customer.

Tip of the day—Are your flashlights where you can find them?

A few days ago, our area had a quick and violent storm roll through, and yesterday afternoon through the night we had another batch of torrential storms with multiple tornadoes.  Earlier in the week my dad was without power for approximately 7 hours, and I think it caught him a little off guard.  He phoned me late at night asking if I knew where he had put his flashlights.  He had the light from his cell phone and had been looking around the house trying to find a flashlight with batteries that worked.  He finally found one, but I spent a good chunk of time worrying that he would fall in the dark and hurt himself.

So, as part of emergency preparedness, do you know where your flashlights are?  Do they have batteries that work?  If they are solar powered or crank run, are you charging them periodically?  Make a habit of putting the flashlights back in the same place after each use so that they are where you can easily find them. 

I hope that all of you made it through the storms without any problems.  We spent a good chunk of last night in the downstairs bathroom hunkered down.  We’re fine and other than some limbs down we don’t seem to have any major damage. 

Be safe!

Charley’s Greenhouse—FREE Seed Sower with your next order

sower Receive a FREE SEED SOWER with your next web order at Charley’s GreenhouseA $7.95 Value!  Enter promotion code  SOWER3  at checkout.  Offer good through 5/5/11

Three Rivers Market/Co-op Advantage Stores Matchups and Deals, 4/27-5/10

prod_4_27_11 Three Rivers Market (or TRM as I abbreviate it) is our local Co-op Advantage Store.  Below are the deals for the next couple of weeks.

Produce Specials: April 27 - May 10 

  • OG Tommy Atkins Mangoes, $1.59 ea. (reg. $1.99 - save 40¢) Yellowish-orange with deep red to purple blush, thicker skinned, juicy but firm with medium fiber.
  • OG Ataulfo Mangoes, $1.59 ea. (reg. $1.99 - save 40¢) Smaller and, flat, oblong shape, greenish yellow to deep golden when ripe; delicious, very sweet, rich in flavor and close to fiber free.
  • OG Green Onions, 99¢ ea. (reg. $1.49 - save 50¢) Milder than their big bulb relatives, this diminutive version offers a piquant counterpoint for loads of dishes. Dig on some Booker T & the MG's while you prepare dinner.

Also, here's a short video on How to Cut A Mango.

co op_deals_standard I am working with Teresa of Money Saving Maine-iac on the Co-op Advantage Stores matchups, adding the coupons that are available in our area to her list. Thank you Teresa for your hard work on these matchups! If y’all haven’t yet checked out her site, I highly recommend it. Not only is she a super nice person (I’ve gotten to know her a bit through blogging), but her site is also a wealth of information.

Go here to view the Co-op Advantage Sale Flyer. The new Co-op Advantage Store Coupon Book is available in the front of the store at Three Rivers.  If you shop at another location, you might want to ask the store manager for a coupon book if you can’t find them.  Don’t forget that if you own shares at Three Rivers Market, you can get a case discount of 10% off. They will allow you to use coupons with your case discount, making your deal even sweeter!

Happy Shopping!

Garden of Eatin' Corn Chips 9 oz. $2.29
- $1.00/1 Bag of Garden of Eatin' Chips @ Garden of Eatin'
$1.29 after coupon

Organic Valley Sour Cream 16 oz. $2.59
75ct/1 Organic Valley product from the Knoxville Coupon Fair
$1.84 after coupon

Barbara's Puffin Cereal $2.50
- $1.00/1 in the April/May CO-OP Savings Book
- $1.00/1 Barbara's Product @ Barbara's Bakery
- $1.00/1 Barbara's Product @ Mambo Sprouts
$1.50 after coupon

Izze Sparkling Juice Beverage 4-Pack $3.99
- $1.00/1 @ Izze facebook
$2.99 after coupon

Clif Energy Bar $ .99
- $ .35/1 in the April/May CO-OP Savings Book
- $1.00/3 in the April issue of Hannaford's Organic & Natural
As low as $ .64 after coupon

Barbara's Cheese Puffs $1.67
- $1.00/1 Barbara's Product @ Barbara's Bakery
- $1.00/1 Barbara's Product @ Mambo Sprouts
$ .67 after coupon STOCK UP PRICE

Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Raw Agave 23.5 oz. $4.79
- $1.00/1 or $2.00/1 from the December free sample offer
As low as $2.79 after coupon

Cascadian Farms Organic Granola Bars $3.29
- $1.00/1 @ Cascadian Farm
-$1/1 Box of Cascadian Farm Granola Bars from the Knoxville Coupon Fair
$2.29 after coupon

Arrowhead Pancake Mix $2.89
- $ .75/1 Arrowhead Mills any One Item in the April/May CO-OP Advantage Savings Book
- $1.00/1 Arrowhead Mills Product @ Arrowhead Mills
As low as $1.89 after coupon

Rudi's Gluten Free Bread $3.99
- $ .75/1 Rudi's Original or Multigrain Gluten-Free Bread in the April/May issue of CO-OP Advantage Savings Book
$1.00 off any Rudi's Gluten Free Bread
- $1.00 off any Rudi’s Gluten Free Bread at Mambo Sprouts (might be the same coupon linked above)
As low as $2.99 after coupon

Kashi TLC Crackers $2.79
- $1.00/2 in the April issue of Hannaford's Organic & Natural
- $2.00/1 Kashi Product @ Recyclebank - 125 points
As low as $ .79 after coupon

Kiss My Face Pure Olive Soap $2.50
- $2.00/1 Kiss My Face any Product in the April/May issue of the CO-OP Advantage Savings Book
- $2.00/$5.00 or more Kiss My Face purchase @ Recyclebank - 20 points
$ .50 after coupon!  STOCK UP!!  These will be great to add to gift baskets or for part of a hostess gift

Boiron Arnicare Gel $9.99
- $1.00/1 Boiron any Arnicare Gel, Cream or Ointment in the April/May issue of the CO-OP Advantage Savings Book
- $2.00/1 Boiron Arnicare Gel, Bream or Ointment
As low as $7.99 after coupon

Biokleen 10 lb. Laundry Cleaner $12.99
$1.00/2 Biokleen Laundry Products @ Biokleen
As low as $11.99 each when you buy 2

Seventh Generation Baby Diapers $9.99
- $1.00/1 @ Seventh Generation
$8.99 after coupon

Equal Exchange Organic Love Buzz Coffee $8.99 per lb.
- $1.25 any (TWO) Equal Exchange Fairly Trade Coffee Bulk Coffee at Mambo Sprouts
price will vary with weight

Happy Baby Organic Puffs $2.50
- $1.00/2 @ Mambo Sprouts
$2.00 each when you buy 2

Annie's Organic Pasta & Cheese Dinner $ .99

Simply Organic Seasoning Mix $ .99
- $ .50/2 @ Simply Organic
$ .49 each when you buy 2

April 27, 2011

Tip of the day—Take it in stride

If you are a fan on Facebook, you know that yesterday afternoon our daughter decided to cut bangs for herself.  I joke that she sees me do all sorts of frugal things with scissors—cutting coupons, trimming my bangs, cutting her hair, cutting fabric—and she decided to follow suit.  The funny part of the whole thing is that they actually look pretty good! 

When I realized what had happened it was one of those moments when I could have thrown a fit or remained calm.  I chose the latter, and I was glad I did.  I remember cutting my own hair as a child (and I butchered it!), and I know that this is something that many kids do at one point or another. 

I am trying to remind myself more and more that how we react to things is a choice.  Take a deep breath, use some self talk, and then proceed.  Try to take the little stuff in life, and the big stuff for that matter, in stride.

I hope your day is a fantastic one!

Free Sample of Degree Goes Live Sometime Today

degree Check back later today at the Degree Facebook page for another chance to win a sample of their Motion Sense deodorant.  They will give away another 6600 samples, though the site isn’t saying at what time.  Thanks Mojo Savings!

Free Sample of Folgers

folgers Head over to the Folgers Facebook page to sign up for a free sample.  Thanks Hip2Save!

April 26, 2011

Baskin Robbins 31 Cent Scoop Night

baskin robbins Baskin Robbins 31 Cent Scoop Night is tomorrow night (April 27th) from 5-10pm.  Enjoy a sweet treat and support a good cause!

Tip of the day—Picking up glass

I just learned a new tip that I have to share with you all!  When you have broken a glass or plate, sweep up what you can and then use a piece of sandwich bread to pick up what tiny shards might remain.  What a great idea!

April 25, 2011

Curbside Recycling Knoxville—Have you signed up yet?

We signed up this week, and I’m so looking forward to the program.  It will make recycling a cinch for so many people!

COKRecycling_HouseholdButton The City of Knoxville introduces a Simple to Use Household Curbside Recycling program!  The details from their website:

  • No sorting by type of recyclable item - all recyclables go into the recycle cart together.
  • Cart provided by the City of Knoxville and will be delivered to your house in September of this year. The cart is on wheels to make it easy for you to roll it to the curb.
  • Pick up at your curb - household recyclables will be picked up curbside every other week. The pick-up service will begin in October of this year.
  • 75 - 80% of household garbage in Knoxville can be recycled! Do Your Part with the Cart Brochure [PDF]
  • No additional cost to you as a resident of the City of Knoxville with household garbage collection service. The City's initial curbside recycling program will be offered to the first 20,000 households that sign up. This new service is funded in part by a grant from the Federal government and through recommended cost saving measures to the City's overall solid waste program.
  • RecycleBank is a rewards program that provides you with discounts on goods and services based on the pounds of materials you recycle.
  • Households in the City limits of Knoxville that receive weekly garbage collection are eligible for the program. Apartments of more than four units are not eligible for this program but may continue to use the drop centers for their recycling needs.
  • Residents in the Central Business Improvement District (CBID) will have single stream location options and do not need to sign up for the program. Details will be communicated by the City and the CBID.

Sign up today to be a part of the City's initial 20,000 households enrolled in the new curbside recycling program.

Tip of the day—Check your stores

Once a month check your food stores. This not only helps to prevent spoilage and waste, but it also helps you to keep better tabs on what you have on stock to use for meals.

  • Check your freezer. Discard what is freezer burned or what might be beyond use. Give it a good wipe down and refresh the baking soda box if needed.

  • Look in your fridge. Use any leftovers, the last of the olives, that last teaspoon of jelly, anything that might need eating to make way for fresh foods. Give everything a good wipe down and replace the baking soda box in there. Check the temperature and make sure it is at the proper level. Vacuum the coils so that it is running properly at least a couple of times a year.

  • What do you have in dry storage? Onions starting to sprout? Chop them and put them in a bag in the freezer. This will help to streamline your prep work for supper on busy nights. Potatoes starting to sprout? Consider planting them this year as part of your garden. Garlic getting tough? Roast or dehydrate it so that you can use it before it goes bad.

  • What about your pantry? Organize. I like to put the cans so that I can see the labels, because I’m anal because I like to see what is available with a quick scan. Make a habit of putting the new cans and jars in the back so that you can use them in a first in first out method. Check any food that you have preserved at home for spoilage and discard what is unsafe to use.

  • Check your spices. If you can’t smell them, then they are probably too old to use. Most spices do best if stored for 1-2 years.

  • Plan a meal or two using the odds and ends that you found in your kitchen quest.

Independence Day Update, 4/25/11

We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge.  Even though she isn’t posting these updates in a while, I really like the format for a weekly review. 

The weather in our area has been sunny and warm.  Easter was a beautiful day, though pretty hot in the afternoon. 

In the garden, the bearded and Dutch irises are blooming, the clematis is just starting to flower, and the scilla bloomed perfect shades of blues and purples.  The prize for most beautiful and fragrant, though, goes to one of the most diminutive flowers in our gardens—the sweet Lily of the Valley.  I remember when I was in the Ukraine how the boys would bring us bouquets of the flowers that were the diameter of a saucer.  Absolutely gorgeous!  My sweet neighbor who passed a few years ago gave us most of the plants, and I will always think of his kindness when I see those flowers. 

The plum trees are loaded with plums this year, which makes me quite happy.  If they survive the birds and squirrels, there is a chance that we’ll have enough to make jelly this year.  Plum jelly is one of my favorites, and I always think of my grandmother and grandfather when I eat it.  They had huge plum trees in their back yard, and plum jelly was one of their specialties.

Likewise, the blueberries are covered in flowers this year.  If you look closely you can see the start of small berries.  Again, if we can keep the squirrels and birds off, there is a chance we’ll have blueberry jam from our own shrubs.  Of course, it will be very tempting to go out to the shrubs and eat our fill!

Hubby has been doing lots of research on how to prepare bamboo shoots.  We have what we call our “Bamboo Forest” in the back yard, and it is a grove of bamboo that was planted approximately 50 years ago by the original owner of the home.  Our daughter and her friends love weaving their way through the canes and exploring the grove.  The birds perform what we call a “Bird Show” nightly as they fly in flocks around and around the trees and swoop in dramatically to the bamboo.  We use the bamboo for trellises and teepees in the gardens, and it would be nice to also enjoy it as part of our meal. 

Many of the seeds that I planted last week are already starting to sprout and show growth.  How I will look forward to our first cucumber, tomato, or squash!

Plant— Tomatoes, second wave of cucumbers, green bean pole beans, lima beans, daylilies and surprise lilies

Harvest—Asparagus, green onions, spinach, romaine, pea sprouts, broccoli leaves, radishes, bok choy leaves.  The family went on Good Friday to pick strawberries at Rutherford’s Farm in Maryville.  We’ll make at least one more trip so that we have enough jam to give away as gifts this Christmas.

Preserve—I froze some of the leftover sausage and ham from Easter lunch.  I made 2 batches of the traditional strawberry jam recipe—1 with Sure-jel and 1 with Ball pectin.  I made another couple of batches with the Ball no sugar needed pectin.  I hadn’t used this pectin before.  You add 4 cups of crushed berries with 1 cup of non-sweetened apple or grape juice and the pectin to your pot.  You can sweeten it with 0-3 cups of sugar, or you can use honey or artificial sweetener.  I made one batch using 1 cup of sugar and another batch using 3 cups of sugar.  We liked the 1 cup batch the best.  In total I made 8 pints, 8 half pints, and 4 twelve ounce jars of jam. 

Waste Not/Reduce Waste— The rain barrel was full after the rain, and I’ll be hand watering instead of using the hose.  We continue to compost and recycle as usual.  Hubby signed us up for the new, free curbside recycling program in Knoxville.  He is in the process of figuring out the details of the TVA audit so that we can have one on my dad’s home. 

At the church Easter egg hunt on Saturday, along with our donations of Yummy Earth Organic lollipops (a good choice when there are folks with food allergies) and some of the free-after-coupon candies, we used some of the leftovers from our daughter’s birthday party for treats for the kids.  We had approximately 20 treat bags leftover at her party, and I was so happy that the contents went to use!

Want Not/Prep/Storage—Hubby has been researching building designs for the chicken coop.  We’ll build it this fall and get chickens early next year.  I’m so looking forward to harvesting our first eggs, though at this point it is more than a year away! 

Want not, that is an interesting category for me this week.  I’ve had a serious case of the “I wants”.   If I had an extra $1000 on hand, I would have spent it in its entirety this week.  Hubby was really great about reminding me of our long term goals and why we are budgeting the way that we are right now, but I still found it hard.  Ever have a week like that?

Building Community Food Systems—It was so good to be at a farmers market last week.  Daughter and I made our way to the Harvest Town Farmers Market on Thursday.  She had won a free ice cream from Cruze Dairy Farm and was thrilled with that!  I picked up grits and fresh buttermilk at the market.  Also, we bought berries at Rutherford’s as mentioned above.

I was so proud of the youth of the church this week.  On Friday many of the youth with parent chaperones took part in what was called a 30 hour famine.  They tried to better understand what it would be like to be homeless.  They had 2 former homeless people from the community come and talk with the group.  They slept outside with makeshift shelters on the ground.  They didn’t eat anything but water and broth for 30 hours.  When talking with many of them at the Easter egg hunt, I could see a new sense of awareness in their eyes.  The little things that we all take for granted were very much appreciated by them—a warm place to sleep out of the elements, a soft place to rest your head, a full belly, modern conveniences, a hot shower.  They realized that even with the difficulties that they faced during the project it paled in comparison to what the homeless in our community face daily.  It is such a blessing to watch these teens blossom into young adults and community members.

Eat the Food—The cabbage rolls from Easter dinner were really fabulous this year.  If you are local and happen to make it to the Harvest Town Farmers Market, I highly recommend you pick up some grits.  They were some of the best I’ve ever eaten—really fabulous.  We’ve enjoyed having so many fresh strawberries in the house and of course tasting the jam hasn’t been too much of a chore either. 

Meal Planning, Week of 4/25

Yesterday’s lunch was a feast, as is the Easter tradition in my family.  My family is part Eastern European and Easter is the big holiday, bigger than Christmas or anything else.  We dined on a huge platter of ham and assorted sausages (part of the tradition) and cabbage rolls as the main course.  The sides were pretty simple—baked apples, green bean casserole, boiled eggs, assorted relishes, and lime congealed salad.  We had homemade chess pie for dessert.  We completely forgot to put the rolls in the oven and will save them for another occasion.  Needless to say, after such a big meal, we have tons of leftovers. 

Remember that the meal plan is for 2 adults and a child.  I’m hosting a jewelry party this week, and we’ll most likely have at least one friend or relative over to dine with us at some point.  I calculate the cost of the meal when initially making it, and because of that, leftovers are marked at $0.  When we go to restaurants, that money comes from our entertainment budget and will also be marked at $0. 

 DSC_3568 Monday

Leftovers.  Did you really have to ask after reading the first paragraph??? ;)

Approximate cost--$0

Ways I saved on this meal—I really enjoy cooking, but this time of the year when it is hotter outside I like to cook once and eat multiple times so that I don’t heat up the house too much.  I do what I can to prepare larger portions and either freeze them or eat them later in the week.  I’ll most likely freeze the sausage to save for jambalaya at another time.  I’ll chop and freeze the ham and use it in quiches, omelets, or pasta dishes.



Leftovers.  Yes, again.  We will have a lot of food to eat!

Approximate cost--$0

Ways I saved on this meal—Have you noticed that I haven’t cooked anything from scratch yet this week because of leftovers??  Love that!  I’ll probably throw some veggies from the garden on the plates to change things up a little. 



A friend and I prepare the meal for the children’s program at church on Wednesday nights.  These meals are sometimes subject to change if I find another good deal or if I find a good deal on veggies and/or fruit.

Tonight we have planned roasted chicken, corn on the cob, cucumber slices with ranch, and fruit. 

Approximate cost--$0

Ways I saved on this meal—Out of the church budget.  The foods on this list are on sale at Kroger this week.  I’ll bake the chicken at home and pull it from the bone to make it easier for the kids to eat.  We’ll have corn on the cob cut in half to make it go a little farther.  The cucumbers were a good enough price to buy them and we’ll use the Ranch dressing that was leftover from a recent church function.  The fruit will depend on what looks good at the store.


CIMG3220 Thursday

Party food!

I’m having a jewelry party at the house tonight.  The rep asked me to keep things simple, though that is hard for me to do when hosting people around supper time.  Here’s the plan at this point:

Platter of crackers with slices of pepperoni, herbed cream cheese spread, and egg and caper salad for toppings

Carrots and Celery Sticks with dip,  maybe some radishes from the garden if any are big enough


Dessert platter of macaroons, brownies, and some sort of other cookie

Sweetened and unsweetened tea

Approximate cost--$10, for a party, that isn’t too shabby!

Ways I saved on this meal—The pepperoni are from packages I bought when on sale at Kroger and I had a coupon.  Each pack was only 50cts.  The crackers were some Ritz that I caught a deal with coupon and Mega Event sale.  The herbs from the cream cheese spread will come from the garden and the cream cheese was some I bought on sale.  The organic carrots and celery was some I caught on sale, and the dip will be some Annie’s dressing that I picked up for free after coupons and Mega Event at Kroger.  Relishes were canned last year by me, mostly from foods found in our garden.  We buy the macaroons at Three Rivers Market and I happen to get them on sale while they were celebrating their 30th birthday and giving an additional 10% discount.  The brownies are some Duncan Hines that I had a coupon for, making them less than $1 a box.  



Simple meal of pasta with veggies from the garden. 

You’ll see this meal repeated relatively often this time of the year, as it is a great way to make a meal out of the veggies that are just starting to be ready for harvest.

Approximate cost--50cts

Ways I saved on this meal—Since the pasta was free after coupon and the veggies are free from the garden (cost of seeds and such comes from a different part of the family budget), this is a very inexpensive meal.  I’ll add some capers, olive oil, and lemon juice to the dish as a free form sauce.  So simple and yum!



Lamb on the grill with a bit of rosemary and olive oil

Grits, cheesy if I still have enough cheese in the fridge

Dressed salad greens from the garden

Approximate cost--$7.50

Ways I saved on this meal—We haven’t eaten lamb in a while, mainly because we were so excited about the beef that we’ve been dining on it more often.  We purchased 1/2 of a lamb with friends from a farmer friend late last year.  By doing it this way, the cost per pound is around $6.  The herbs were from the garden and the olive oil was some that I picked up at Sam’s.  The grits were absolutely delicious ones that I bought at the farmers market—really out of this world good.  Since the recipe only calls for a small amount of grits and makes a large pot full, it is an economical dish as well as a yummy one.  The salad greens will be a mixture of broccoli leaves, bok choy, spinach, Romaine, radish leaves, and pea sprouts.  The dressing will most likely be some of the Annie’s that I bought on sale with coupon and scored for free.  However, sometimes I prefer to serve the lamb on top of the greens and the marinade and drippings from it serve as the dressing for the salad.  Yum!



I know it is a little hot for soup, but I so enjoy it year round.

Beef soup with cabbage

Approximate cost--$5

Ways I saved on this meal—My dad gave me a head of cabbage that he didn’t use on the cabbage rolls.  I’ll use some of the beef soup bones from the 1/8 of a locally grown, pastured steer we recently purchased with friends.  I’ll use whatever other veggies I have available in the pantry, freezer and fridge, as soups tend to be one of those everything but the kitchen sink kind of foods for me.

April 24, 2011

Photos of the Garden on Easter


Lily of the Valley—one of my favorite flowersDSC_5608

DSC_5539 We were given a start of Lily of the Valley by our sweet neighbor about 10 years ago, and it is wonderful to see it thriving today.

DSC_5547  Bearded IrisDSC_5586DSC_5585Dutch Iris  DSC_5603“Helicopters” as Hubby and daughter call them.  Silver Maple seed pods  DSC_5607Look at all of those blueberries! Can’t wait! DSC_5633Purple plums.  Seeing these makes me so happy! DSC_5651

Purple Asparagus DSC_5713Dill DSC_5715 One of our bird friends, singing an Easter song

Weekly Matchups and Deals, 4/24-2/30

Remember while shopping this week to watch for Easter items clearance priced.  You might want to pick up a few Easter toys, plastic eggs, and other goodies to store for next year.  You might also find some pastel wrapping and plain baskets on sale that you could use for gift bags and baskets later in the year.  Let us know if you spot any really great deals!

co op_deals_standard

Co-op Advantage Stores/Three Rivers Market through 4/26Organic butter is one of the better deals this time around


Best deals for this month for Earth Fare

target frugal mom blogger  columbus ohio

Target—I was pretty disappointed last week.  Almost all of the freebies on the list were either priced higher at the Target I went to or out of stock.  Bummer!  I guess that happens every so often, though.  I didn’t see anything that really stood out on the list this week at Target—what about you?

kroger deals kroger sales logo

Kroger  I’ll be sure to pick up some free Crest this week for the food pantry.  Remember that if you have an abundance of it, food pantries are usually more than happy to accept the donation.  Also free clinics, such as our local Interfaith Health Clinic, and homeless and women’s shelters accept it.advantage_card

Ingles—Quite a few freebies this week!


Walgreens I went to 3 stores, trying to find the Splenda last week for my dad.  The store in Maryville didn’t even carry that size box.  Has anyone been able to find this in stock around town?



A Happy Thought—Happy Easter!!

DSC_3499 “Christ has risen, He has risen indeed!”

Happy Easter to all of you!

Tip of the day—Relax

Major holidays are sometimes a source of stress.  Today do what you can to relax, enjoy time with your family and friends, and feel the blessings of what this holiday represents.

Happy Easter!

April 23, 2011

Eggs are Eggcellent!

DSC_9621 Couldn’t resist the pun!  Spring is the season for eggs—hens are laying and Easter is here!  Below are some great recipes and some helpful tips about eggs.

  • I wrote this post as I was starting to blog and it contains information about farm fresh eggs, how to boil the perfect egg, and a recipe for Egg and Caper Salad.  The salad recipe is a great way to use leftover eggs next week.
  • If you are hosting a brunch, you might also want to check out this post which gives my recipe for quiche.
  • If you have any extra eggs, you might want to try this recipe for Eggs and Rice.  Our family eats it for breakfast, lunch or dinner--yum!
  • If you want a nice dessert to serve with Easter this year, try this recipe for cream cheese pound cake.  You won’t want to use any other pound cake recipe after you try this one!
  • Last but not least, is this fantastic recipe for lemon curd. I’m practically drooling thinking about it. 

Tip of the day—Check the girls!

Time to check the girls!  Once a month perform a self check breast exam and remind those you love to do the same.  It only takes a few minutes and might help you detect a lump or abnormality.  Remember to have a clinical exam one time a year and a mammogram when you are over 40 or earlier if your healthcare provider recommends due to a family history of breast cancer. 

This time of the month it is also a good idea to remind the men in your life to perform a testicular check for lumps.  Early detection of a testicular lump could save his life!

Remember that preventative health measures aren’t just money smart!

April 22, 2011

What to do with strawberries

 CIMG3220 I know, I know, no one really has a problem knowing what to do with strawberries.  They are perfect plain or with a spot of sugar and cream.  They are good in pies, muffins, and cobblers.  They are delicious dehydrated, frozen, or made into jams and jellies.  Don’t even get me started about strawberry ice cream and sorbet.  Are you salivating yet?  If so, get out there and pick some strawberries while they are in season and check out the recipes below.  If you have any favorites you’d like to share, please post or link to them in the comments section.  I’m always looking for more recipes!

Preserving strawberries (freezing and dehydrating)

Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet  (I highly recommend Cruze Dairy Farm buttermilk if you are local)

Making Strawberry Jam  (Freezer jam is also super simple, but I usually prefer to can them because it makes it easier to give them as gifts.  I have limited storage space in the freezer and try to save it for whole frozen berries)

Easy Cobbler (perfect with just about any fruit)

Our daughter’s Earth Day art

Hannah picture 4-22-110018

I couldn’t resist scanning this in and posting it because of the narrative that went with the drawing. 

This is for Earth Day.  I made it.  Well, it says that you like the earth and you don’t want to destroy it.  The earth is good to me, and we love the earth.  This is me and Dora in the picture.  

Earlier she told me she was dressed up like Mother Earth in the picture.  Pretty cute!

Don’t forget your free tree at Lowe’s tomorrow!

Earth_Day_2011_01On 4/23, Lowe’s will be giving away 1 million trees in honor of Earth Day. Visit a local store to get yours, and remember that these deals go fast!  If you want one, I’d try and be there early in the day.  Thanks Coupon Katie and thanks to Becky for the reminder!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

What to pack at pick-your-own farms

If you are a “Liker” on Facebook of CICT, then you know that we went picking strawberries this morning at Rutherford’s in Maryville, TN.  The jam is about to be cooked and jarred—yum!

In case you are planning to make a trip to a pick-your-own farm, I thought you might want to read the tips below.  I posted this last year, and readers talked about it being helpful.  I hope it is to you!

What to pack when going to a pick your own farm:

  • Keep in mind that many may not have restrooms or port-a-potties.  Go to the restroom before you leave.  If you have a child who is potty training, you might want to bring a small potty with you.  Put it in a garbage bag so that your car doesn’t get soiled.  If you have a weak bladder, you might want to consider wearing a depend or thick maxi.  Bring a few extra diapers for the infants or babies and an extra change of clothes in case you have a blow out.  Bring tissues or toilet paper, just in case.  Always bring wipes, see below.
  • Wear boots.  Bring a bag to put your boots in when you return to your car and bring a change of shoes.  Do this for the whole family.  You never know what you’ll come across.  Boots better protect you from thistle and thorns, snakes, manure, and muck.  Decide for yourself if you want to wear long pants or not.  I’ve done both.  If I don’t know the farm, though, I’m more apt to wear pants the first time to protect my legs.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.  Wear a bandana or sunbonnet.  Wear good quality sunshades—when you are older and do not have macular degeneration, your eyes will thank you for this step.  (Yes, I know that sunlight isn’t the only cause of macular degeneration, but every single eye doctor and geriatrician I’ve ever spoken with about the subject recommends the use of sunglasses.)  Use sunscreen. 
  • Hydrate.  It is amazing how hot your body can get before you realize it.  The methodical nature of picking fruits and vegetables can trick you into not realizing how much time has passed.  Keep in mind that children, pregnant and nursing women, and older adults are especially susceptible to heat stroke.  Bring water and drink it.
  • I’m a big fan of baby wipes.  If you make your own or use eco-friendly ones, all the better!  (I’ll confess, I do not.)  Your hands will most likely be sticky after picking, and you’ll want something to wipe all of the strawberry stains off of your child’s face before embarking for the ride home.
  • Bring a basic first aid kit, one that has something for stings and scrapes.  If you have an allergy to bees, bring an epi-pen if your allergy deems that necessary.
  • Bring cash.  Many places will ONLY take cash.  Many are on the honor system.
  • Bring your honor with you.  See above.  DON’T you dare drive off without paying!
  • Bring buckets, baskets or something to store the fruit/veggies.  Some places offer buckets, others don’t. 
  • Bring some newspaper, a tarp, or plastic bags to put down under the buckets.  Strawberries tend to run juice, and you don’t want that in your car.
  • Bring the camera…if you want.
  • If your skin is very sensitive, bring gloves and wear long sleeves to help prevent rashes.
  • Bring your sense of awareness.  Many times you will be out on a farm with no one in sight.  Be aware of who and what is around you.  This can be as simple as watching out for stinging nettle or poison ivy or as serious as looking out for a black bear.
  • Bring your cell phone.
  • Bring some snacks.  Yeah, I know you’re picking fruits or veggies.  Bring something like a granola bar just in case you or your kids get the munchies.
  • Bring your kids.  Let them experience the joy of a very fresh peach or strawberry.  They will remember those outings for years.  Make something with your harvest, gorge on the bounty.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we, our children included, felt the fullness and enjoyment of a belly filled with strawberries instead of Cheetos???

Have fun and make some memories! 

Tip of the day—Happy Earth Day!

Between now and the next Earth Day, I encourage you and your family to think of one big step you can take to lower your carbon footprint.  Most of the tips up until this point haven’t required much if any out of pocket expense.  The ideas below will, but they might save you more money in the long run on your energy bills:

  • Switch to a low flow toilet
  • Switch to a tankless water heater
  • Replace some or all of the windows in your home with new ones
  • Replace drafty doors with new ones
  • Caulk around windows and doors
  • Add more insulation to your home
  • Have a home energy audit—these usually cost money but there are some programs that give you tax incentives to perform them
  • When it is time to change out appliances, pick the ones with the best energy ratings
  • Switch showerheads to high pressure/low flow options
  • Put your electronics, such as your entertainment center, on power strips so that you can turn the entire system off with a single switch
  • If you have the ability, consider whether or not solar panels or wind turbines would be beneficial for you
  • Add a rain barrel or two to your home
  • When it is time to change out your roofing, speak with contractors about the best choices in your area for energy savings.  Many people in our area are switching to metal roofing for this reason
  • Change your thermostat to a programmable model

What other steps have you taken?  What other ideas do you have for readers?  Be sure to include them in the comments section.

Happy Earth Day!

April 21, 2011

Tip of the day—Teach your children

The tips of the day now through Earth Day are focusing on environmental stewardship.

Probably the best thing you can do for Mother Nature is to teach your children to respect it.  Below are some ideas on how to do so.  I hope you’ll add any additional tips or ideas in the comment section so that all might benefit.

  • Engage them in the garden.  Check out my post about Gardening with Children to learn more about how to do that.
  • Let them help with composting and recycling.  When they start doing those things early, they won’t think twice about recycling a jar instead of dumping it in the trash.  Not only that, but when they are at other people’s homes they’ll ask, “Where do I recycle this jar?”  Out of the mouths of babes are some of the best lessons for grownups. 
  • Read books and watch films that focus on nature.  As a family we enjoy watching Nova on PBS from time to time, and our daughter delights at seeing underwater sea creatures and animals from worlds away.  We have friends who homeschool, and I often steal their lessons and use them with our daughter.  A year or so ago, they were studying caves and had lessons on bats, rock formations, and minerals.  We checked books out of the library and made a trip up to Mammoth Cave. 
  • Let them see your excitement.  We get pretty excited about worms in our family.  We call them “The Gardener’s Friend”.  Our daughter enjoys naming them and moving them to new homes so that they can loosen the soil in other areas of the  yard.  Had I been grossed out by worms she probably wouldn’t be so receptive to picking them up, examining them, and wondering at their unusual bodies and purpose. 
  • Teach them the “why”.  A long time ago, we started saying in our house that when you are leaving the refrigerator open too long you need to shut it to “Save the Penguins”.  Our daughter was intrigued by penguins at the time, and it became a way for us to talk to her in simplistic terms about how our actions affect others.  Take your kids to your local recycling center so that they can see the “why” of recycling.  Likewise, take them to the city dump so they see what happens to the waste.  Talk through things with them as you are doing them.
  • Visit museums, wildlife refuges, forests, oceans.  Take a trip to a natural history or science museum so that they get a sense of ecosystems and how we all interrelate.  I have a friend who was lucky enough to visit a gorilla refuge in Africa as a child.  Now she is on a national board for protecting these animals and just last year was able to make a visit and see a new refuge being opened.  Those kind of experiences make lasting impressions on young minds.  Even something as simple as taking a trip in the forest and talking with your children about how the woods are being affected by invasive species and insects gives them a bigger picture experience.  I have a friend who was a park ranger when younger, and she has led hikes with parents and children on various trails in our area.  Each time I’m with her, I see our daughter’s world experience being broadened, not to mention my own.
  • Take them to the farmers markets and visit local farms.  I think that one of the many blessings my parents gave me was teaching me where food comes from.  Kids as a whole today not only do not know when a beet is in season but they can’t pick one out at the market.  Much less, many cannot pick one out when it is growing in the earth.  By taking them to pick-your-own farms, they’ll know that peaches are ripe in the summer, and pumpkins and apples are ripe in the fall.  Also, take them to markets and farms in different areas of the country/world so that they can experience seasonal, locally grown food from other places. 
  • Let them cook with you.  Get your kids in the kitchen any chance you can.  I know that it takes longer, and I know there are times when it is easier to just do it yourself.  Yet, teaching them to cook is a gift that you give them.  They will have an appreciation for food and what goes into getting that food on the table.
  • Let others teach them.  Programs like scouts and 4H are wonderful resources for kids to learn more about nature.  How I wish that I had been able to be involved in such programs when I was growing up!  We didn’t have them available in our small school, and I would sometimes dream of what it would be like to show a pig like in Charlotte’s Web or jam like in Little House on the Prairie.

Note, I’m not an expert on parenthood.  I helped to raise my sister after our mother died when we were young (I was 10 at the time) and that experience helped me to get a sense of teaching another person life skills.  Now my husband and I have a 5 year old, and I’m learning even more about instilling in her the knowledge that she needs not only to survive but to be a community member.  That said, I welcome any other ideas you have on getting children excited about nature and teaching them about environmental stewardship.

April 20, 2011

Jimmy Dean Sausage Coupons Reset, just in time for Cabbage Rolls

FeaturedProduct-Rolls-Maple There are a couple of coupons for Jimmy Dean sausage products that have recently reset.  The 55ct/1 coupon will make for inexpensive sausage at Kroger this week! 

If you want a great recipe for sausage, check out my family’s traditional Easter dish—cabbage rolls.  Absolutely fantastic!

Tip of the day—Encourage others

The tips of the day now through Earth Day are focusing on environmental stewardship.

One of the best ways to influence others, in my opinion, is to be encouraging.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you know that last year as my dad was renovating his home and moving to Knoxville he lived with us for a few months.  During that time, he watched us garden, compost, recycle and work to reduce waste.  It has been interesting to watch how many of those steps that he now takes in his own home, never having done them before.  Among all of the positive steps he’s taken, watching him consistently recycle is what makes me the proudest.  He doesn’t believe in peak oil or Global Warming, and him taking steps that are eco-friendly, mean so much to me.  I tell him often how happy it makes me that he is now gardening, recycling, and not running the AC non-stop, and he usually gives me a coy grin to show that he, too, is proud of himself. 

As you continue through this week and month, I hope you’ll think of ways that you can encourage others to become better environmental stewards.  How can you use your influence, enthusiasm, and know-how to help make our corner of the world a better place?

April 19, 2011

A few good coupons—Reach, Scott, and Lysol

Below are some coupons and deals that you might want to check over before you head to the stores:

16150079 Coupons.com has a new Reach $1/1 coupon that will make for free floss.scott While at Wags, be sure to print the $1.50/1 Scott Natural Paper Towel coupon and match it with the $1/1 Walgreens coupon in the April booklet.  These cost $5 for a 6 pack before coupons—great deal after coupons!

coupontab-bgBring the $1.50/1 Lysol coupon on their Facebook page with you to Target, and you’ll score these for less than 50cts.  One of the fragrances is priced at $1.89 this week.  Even if you are picky about the type of Lysol wipe, this coupon makes a tub of wipes pretty cheap even without the sale.  I know that some schools ask parents to bring in wipes, and if you don’t use these at home, you might want to donate them to your child’s teacher. 

Great deal on cheese at Kroger in Farragut!

jarlsbert A friend of mine, Jessi, shot me an email today to tell y’all about a great deal on cheese at the Kroger in Farragut:

Just ran across a good deal your blog readers might be interested in. The Farragut Kroger is phasing in a new cheese distributor in May, and as part of the contract they have to sell off all of their stock to make room for the new products. As a result their current stock is being discounted by about 50%, making for some good deals on many of the gourmet cheeses. Much of the marked down cheese doesn't expire until the Fall. There are $1 off printables for Jarlsberg out there that make it even cheaper. Just thought I'd pass that along :).

Now would be a great time to stock up on cheese if you are in that area of town!  Thanks again, Jessi!