31 July 2009

Target Toy Clearance

I was reading on Hip2Save last night that Target is having a toy clearance sale. I needed to finish my teenaged daughter's birthday shopping anyway so while at Target I decided to check out the toy section and see if it is true.

I am very happy to report that, yes!! Target is having an awesome toy clearance sale. A great many of the toys are marked 75% off. I picked up quite a few items for my younger children and plan to set them aside for Christmas. Toys that were normally $14.99 were marked down to $3.74. I will check my receipts against the original prices and tally up the totals later, but I paid about $75 for probably close to $400 worth of toys. They are not all summer toy items either---there are Star Wars/Terminator action figures, dolls, Schleich figures (they make knights, Indians, and Elves and normally are quite pricey), games, etc. If you have children you are buying for, you might want to check out the sale and set some stuff aside for Christmas and birthdays. (I know we larger families do this out of necessity! But it's a good idea anyway because you really do save money.)

It's Hip to Save!: Walgreens: .06 Starbucks Drinks + Toy Clearance

It's Hip to Save!: Walgreens: .06 Starbucks Drinks + Toy Clearance

If you plan to head to Walgreens either today or tomorrow, check out the above link to find out how you could score really cheap Starbucks frappuccinos!

Spaghetti sauce

(If you have time to let this simmer a long time, the flavor improves)

1/2 eggplant, cut up (peeled if desired)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, diced, or garlic powder
1T or more basil or oregano, or 1 bay leaf
2 cans diced tomatoes

Saute the eggplant, zucchini, onion and garlic until tender. Add the spices and the tomatoes and let simmer. If you like a thicker sauce, add a small can of tomato paste. Serve this over hot cooked pasta. (Alternatively, rather than using canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, you can use a jar of pasta sauce)
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand." (Romans 5:1)

30 July 2009

Kellogg's $5 coupon booklets

There are $5 coupon booklets in select, specially marked packages of Kellogg's cereal. There are three different coupon booklets available. I picked up a box of Corn Pops (no, it wasn't on sale, and no, I did not have a coupon, but my daughters really wanted it and I figured I'd get it, since there were coupons inside...). The booklet I got had $1/1 Rice Krispies or Crispix, $1/1 Special K, $1/2 Nutrigrain bars, $1/1 All-Bran, and $1/2 Morningstar Farms products. I used the first 3 coupons on Kroger's 50% off Kellogg's sale and plan to hold the other 2 for a sale. Hopefully someone will put the specially marked boxes on sale soon so we can snag lots of coupons!!

Box Tops 4 Education and Campbell's Labels

Just a friendly reminder---PLEASE keep (or start) clipping the Box Tops logos and Campbell's labels for your child's school! The schools need all the extra help they can get! So far this summer we have clipped 90 Box Tops for my children's elementary school.

There is currently a special promotion going on called the Big Clip. I have found 14-oz Cheerios boxes and Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie dough mix included in this promotion (the cookie dough is currently on sale at Meijer as part of the 10/$10 promo). These items have 2 extra Box Tops (for a total of 3) per package!!

Honey Bunches of Oats coupons

If you go on www.postcereals.com and click on the Honey Bunches of Oats link, you can print a $2.00 off coupon for the pecan bunches cereal! This would be great to print and hold for a sale.

27 July 2009

Get your coupons ready!

Kroger is having a one-day sale on Thursday, July 30th at their Greater Cincinnati and Dayton area stores. The following items will be 50% off: Keebler vanilla wafers, fudge shoppe or fudge stripe cookies, chips deluxe or sandies cookies, Famous Amos cookies, Right Bites, Zesta saltines, Townhouse or Club crackers, and graham crackers; Kellogg's Raisin Bran, Special K, Frosted Flakes, Frosted Mini Wheats, Rice Krispies, Corn Pops, Froot Loops, Apple Jacks or Crispix, Pop Tarts, Eggo Waffles, Special K or Nutri-Grain bars, Fruit Snacks, Yogos or Rice Krispy Treats, or Chhez-It Crackers.
I don't know what their normal prices are but at 50% off, and especially if you still have some of the coupons that were available on some of these products, you should be able to snag some good deals.

25 July 2009

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'"

23 July 2009

No-boil lasagne method

I read this in a magazine years ago. It's quite easy and you DON'T have to use the special no-boil lasagne noodles that they sell.
Basically, you want to make sure you have at least four cups of sauce and that the sauce is hot. Assemble the lasagne as you normally do (don't boil the noddles first, though). Start with one cup of heated sauce on the bottom of the pan, assemble the lasagne like normal, and end with at least one cup of heated sauce.
Next, you oil (very lightly) a large enough piece of tinfoil to cover the pan. You want to make sure that it is sealed tightly around all the edges, but tent it up slightly in the middle to allow for steam.
Bake the lasagne at the temperature called for in your recipe. It will probably take longer to bake than regular lasagne. Mine always takes at least 45 minutes to an hour. You can test it but be sure to reseal the foil tightly if it needs to bake longer.
This method sure beats the old way of boiling the noodles and trying to prevent them sticking or tearing as you work with them, and it does NOT require purchasing special, more expensive noodles. It is much easier and in my opinion, tastes a little better.

Animal Shelters

We have all heard what a difficult time food banks and other charities are having, with demand for help skyrocketing but donations down. This is true of animal shelters as well. With people losing their jobs and/or homes, or taking pay cuts, many people have had to give up their precious pets. Many shelters are struggling, trying to care for more animals with fewer resources.

I have a houseful of animal-lovers (probably why we ended up with 4 pets) and we decided to gather some things to take to our local humane society. We took dry kitten food, canned cat food, cat litter, and canned dog food (we don't even have a dog but we couldn't leave them out!!). Of course the kids visited with the kitties and tried to talk me into adopting them all!! It was hard to walk out of there WITHOUT one of the cute little kittens.

While we were there, we found out that they have donation bins---if they receive something they can't use, they put it in the bin for people in need to take for their own pets.

I would like to make an appeal to anyone reading this to please consider donating pet food or other items to your local pet shelter. Your local shelter may have a donation bin too so you can be sure all the items will be put to good use. And please believe, the shelters are having just as difficult a time in this economy as the rest of us!! They perform such a needed service in caring for homeless animals and trying to find them homes.
"I tell you the truth, whoever heard my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)

22 July 2009

Staples Backpack Sale

Backpacks at Staples are marked between 25% and 50% off, plus you get the full purchase price back in the form of Staples Rewards. These rewards will be issued in October and I was told that they may be used on anything in the store.

The backpacks were more expensive than the ones at Walmart and even the ones that I looked at at Meijer---HOWEVER---if you have a high school or college aged student who needs a backpack, you might consider the Staples deal. The backpack I found for my daughter is quite a bit larger than what you normally see. It looks quite durable and waterproof (she needs a strong one for all her heavy textbooks), but most important, in her opinion anyway, it is very attractive. And we'll get the entire cost back in the form of Staples Rewards.

They did have some younger childrens' backpacks there as well. I didn't check the prices but you might do better doing the Kelloggs $10 off deal (find one $10 or less and it's free). But as I said, if you need a larger, more durable one for an older student, you might check it out.

Update on Meijer Backpack Deal

I was at Meijer today and there were signs in the Kellogg's cereal aisle saying that you cannot combine the $10/backpack (w/purchase of $10 Kellogg product) and the Buy 1 Get 1 for $1 backpack offers. So, if anyone was planning to try to combine the deals---sorry!!

Fried Apples and Onions

This is an old, old recipe but surprisingly good.

You will need: 1-2 onions, sliced thin; several cooking apples, peeled and sliced (depends on how many you're serving), a couple of tablespoons butter, and brown sugar to taste

Melt butter in a heavy skillet (cast iron works well, if you have it). Fry the onion slices in the butter over moderate heat until golden. Add the apple slices and cover, cook until apples are tender. You want this to cook rather slowly so the onions get nice and sweet. When the apples are done, add brown sugar to taste. If you want, you can add bacon (fried and cut up) for flavor. My family prefers it without the bacon.

21 July 2009

Free or Cheap Cat Food

Thanks to The Cheapsk8mom for this find!!!

Meijer has the small bags of Purina One cat food on sale for $5.99. If you go on meijer.com (not meijermealbox), and click under the section for "pets" it pulls up a $5.00/1 Meijer coupon for Purina One. That would make the cat food $0.99. However, since this is a Meijer coupon you should also be able to combine it with the $3/1 manufacturer's coupon that was in the Sunday paper back in June. I used only the Meijer coupon and got 4 bags of the cat food for a little over $4 (incl. tax).

This coupon is good for dog food as well. I don't know if the dog food is on sale but it would be a nice discount.

Even if your pet does not eat this kind of food, with this price it would be very nice to get a bag or two and donate it to an animal shelter. They're having a tough time too!!!

20 July 2009

Box Tops For Education

If you go on the Box Tops For Education homepage, they are currently running two promotions which you can enter to try to win extra box tops for your school. It's probably a long shot, but somebody has to win, right? Maybe it will be you!!

Please, please keep clipping (or start clipping) those box tops on all those products you find on sale. This past week alone I must have picked up at least 30 more box tops on cereal and other things I found on sale. (It was an unusually good week for box tops!) It really does add up for the school you support. The more people that participate, the more your school earns and nowadays, when many schools can't get levies passed and the government likes to cut funding to schools, they need all the help we can give them!! These box tops don't cost you any extra if you are going to buy the product anyway. And, if you combine sales and coupons right, you actually save money buying, for example, Cheerios cereal (which has a Box Top) vs. the generic brand (which does not).
"'The days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.'" (Jer. 23:5,7)

This is a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ. The amazing thing is, it was written in the Old Testament, long before He was ever born. I think it's so wonderful that God gives us a picture of the Messiah throughout the entire Old Testament so throughout history, people can look back at the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah and realize that only Jesus Christ fulfills them. It was through the messianic prophecies ( written long before Jesus was ever born but describing his life so beautifully) that I came to faith in Jesus. This has been the case with many, many people. No matter how one comes to faith in Jesus, it is truly a marvellous, transforming work of God!!!!

Pet food

For those of us who have a pet rabbit (rabbits may not be as common as cats or dogs but they make super sweet pets), the cost of rabbit food can get quite high because, let's face it, whose bunny does NOT eat a lot? My rabbit eats more than both my cats combined.

Walmart sells a 25-lb bag of rabbit pellets for $7.99 which is VERY reasonable. You can pay that much for a much smaller bag at Meijer or Kroger. The food is just pellets---it doesn't have the tasty little treats that some of the other foods have---but as long as you are feeding your bunny fresh food and some hay besides the pellets, they really don't need all those little treats.

Walmart also has the least expensive hamster/gerbil food, cat food and cat litter that I have found. We feed our cats the Good Life food and they sell a 6-lb bag for $6.99 (Kroger sells the little 3-lb bags for $5.99!!).

Kroger sale

Kroger has salmon on sale for $2.99/lb. This is a very good price for salmon. I bought 3lbs worth, enough to have some now and freeze a little extra. Salmon is healthy and usually costs quite a bit more than $2.99/lb.

18 July 2009


1 cup dried pinto beans
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup fresh corn kernels (slice them off the cob)
1 zucchini, chopped
optional: 1/2 cup chopped green pepper

Soak the pinto beans and cook according to package direction. When the beans are tender, saute the onion, zucchini, fresh corn and peppers in butter until tender. Add to the pinto beans and serve this with brown rice.

16 July 2009

Homemade noodles (Great-Grandma's recipe)

2 eggs
milk to fill 1/2 eggshell
a pinch of salt
flour to make a stiff dough

Mix together the eggs, the milk, the salt, then stir in enough flour to make a stiff dough. Stir it in well until it's smooth.

Lightly flour a board and roll the dough out till pretty thin. Put a kitchen towel over a very large stockpot or something similar and hang the dough over it for about an hour to dry it some. Cut it into strips for noodles. Bring a pot of broth to the boil, put in the noodles and cook until noodles are done.

This is an old recipe and not real specific in directions but the noodles taste really good! I often make homemade beef/vegetable soup and add these.
Here's yesterday's thought for the day which I forgot to post!!

"He(Jesus) came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God---children born not of natural descent, nor of human desire or a husband's will, but born of God."

Wouldn't this world be a much better place if ALL would receive Him---and all believed in Him enough to live our lives according to His Word? I am trying day by day to live in the way He wants me to. And the more I come to know Him, the more grateful I am that He is so full of mercy!! We will never be perfect in this life---that is why God sent us a perfect Savior.
"Let no debt remain outstanding, except for the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law." (Romans 13:8)

Meijer 2-day sale

Meijer will be having a 2-day sale July 17-18. Some of the deals that caught my eye from the ad were 2 for $9 frozen skinless chicken breasts (40-oz sie), $0.88 2L Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist, Mt Dew and 7Up. $1.69/lb fresh pork spareribs, $2.49 Meijer OJ, $0.99 Kleenex 180/280 ct, and 40% off selected brands men's sports socks. If you need any of this you might want to check it out.

15 July 2009

With the poor economy and all the job losses this year, there will probably be more kids than ever whose parents are unable to afford or have a hard time affording school supplies. If you have more than one kid in school you probably know that the list can get extensive and the cost pretty high. So, this year, when you're out shopping the good deals for supplies, would you consider buying extra? Then, when school starts, give the extras to your child's classroom teacher and ask her/him to give them to kids who don't have any. If no-one in her class needs any, I'm sure she can find another teacher who has a child who does.

Sometimes teachers or the school counselors know of children who need clothes but whose parents can't afford them. Before you donate your children's outgrown clothes to a thrift shop, it wouldn't hurt to contact the school and ask if they know of anyone who could use the clothes.

Rice Pudding

Here's a tasty and inexpensive dessert for you!! For 8 servings or 4 large servings:

6 cups milk, 2/3 cup uncooked rice, 1/2 cup sugar, 1-2 T (or to taste) vanilla, cinnamon to taste

Bring milk to the boil. Stir in rice. Turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every so often, until done. (Rice should be tender and pudding rather thick.) Stir in sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, remove from heat and serve either warm or chilled.

14 July 2009

Meijer brand cheese

Meijer has the 24-oz blocks of Colby Jack, Mild Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, and Colby on sale for $4.00 (reg. $6.29).
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times."
(Micah 5:2)

The Big Clip

If you plan to take advantage of the General Mills cereal sale at Meijer, be on the lookout for the 14-oz original Cheerios boxes marked with the Big Clip logo. This is the size on sale but if you get the specially marked box, you get two extra box tops (that's 3 rather than 1!) to give to your school.

Meijer catalina deal

I decided to take advantage of the 5/$10 General Mills cereal sale Meijer has this week. I had three coupons for original Cheerios and two for the multi-grain, so that is what I bought. At the checkout lane the catalina machine gave me a coupon for a FREE box of original Cheerios. It made a good deal even better.

13 July 2009

Walgreens school supply sales

Walgreens started their school supply sales already. I found some decent bargains: $1.99 Expo dry erase marker 4-count packs (must use in-ad coupon for this price), $0.39 index cards (my older kids used a ton of these last year for reports and such), 8 for $1 pronged portfolios with in-ad coupon, and $0.39 mechanical pencils (10-ct package).

It seems the sales started earlier this year than last year. I wonder if it's because of the poor economy and stores are hoping to boost sales by starting earlier, or if there will be even better markdowns later. I do remember that last year by the time our school district posted its school supply lists on their website, many of the best sales had already happened!! I've been picking up things that I know the children will need when I find them at a good price.


2 avocados
1 medium tomato
1/2 medium onion
a pinch or two of chopped fresh cilantro
1 fresh jalapeno (can omit if desired)

Peel the avocado and chop it into a mixing bowl. You can squeeze a little lemon juice over it for flavor and to prevent browning. Chop the tomato, onion, jalapeno if using and add them with the cilantro to the bowl. Mix up well.

Serve this with tortilla chips or wrapped in warmed tortillas.

For a change you can mix in some bottled salsa such as Pace or some other brand.
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the punishment for our peace was on him; and by his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

12 July 2009

Staples school supply sale

Yes, the school supply sales are underway early this year!!!! We picked up some 8-ct packages of the Staples #2 pencils for $0.01 each!!! (It's limit 2 so if you have your kids with you and they're old enough, let them each go through the line and get two packages. Mine thought it was great fun.) Also, packages of copier paper are on sale for $3.69 each but you can get a $3.68 rebate (limit 2). While you're there, check out the clearance shelf. As always with clearance shelves it's hit or miss but we found some pretty good deals.

Mexican rice

For four servings:

1 cup white rice, uncooked
1 small can tomato sauce
4 cups or a little less chicken broth (I use canned, or water with a couple tsp of bouillon)
small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced
small green bell pepper, chopped (can omit if you don't like these)

Heat a couple of TBS oil in a pan. When hot, pour in the UNCOOKED rice. Let it toast till golden. Add the onion, garlic and peppers and toast 1 to 2 minutes. Then add the tomato sauce and the broth. Bring to the boil, then turn heat down to simmer and cook, covered, until rice is tender and the liquid is gone. You can also add some frozen mixed veggies or some corn if you want.

Meijer sales

I found a few items on sale at Meijer that weren't listed in the ad. Whole chicken is on sale for $0.89/lb. Tyson boneless skinless frozen chicken breasts are $4.99 for a 40-oz pkg and the Meijer brand of boneless skinless frozen chicken breasts are $7.99 for a 70-oz package. Nasoya tofu is 3 for $5.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope..." (Romans 15:13)

11 July 2009

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)

I love this passage---nothing in creation can separate us from God's love. The creator of the universe loved us so much that he sent his one and only Son to make the ultimate sacrifice and reconcile us to him. No matter what comes our way, it can't separate us from God's love for us.

Our church service this weekend was awesome (we go to a Saturday evening svc). It really rekindled my love for and desire to follow Jesus. If you don't already, may I encourage you to start attending church? Jesus loves you so much and He is the only answer to this world's problems!!!!

10 July 2009

School Supplies Sales

It seems some of the stores may already be marking down school supplies. If they're starting this early in the season, we can hope there will be further markdowns later on!!
This is what I've found so far---Walmart has Crayola crayons for $0.25 and Roseart crayons for $0.20 (I'm thinking these will definitely go lower), looseleaf paper for $0.70 (definitely can find cheaper elsewhere), Elmer's glue sticks $0.25 for a package of two, spiral-bound 70-pg notebooks for $0.15 each (a good price) and the marbled composition books for $0.50 each.
Meijer had the composition books and looseleaf paper for $0.39 each and the crayons for $0.19 (but they were sold out on crayons).
I did find a clearance rack of the 3-ring binders at Walmart. We picked up a few patterned ones for $1 each.
Keep your eyes open though because CVS is having some sales coming up and I believe Walgreens will as well.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

Fried Brown Rice

1 cup brown rice, cooked and cold (leftover is good)
1/2 cup chopped fresh veggies---mushrooms, snow peas, cabbage, bean sprouts, carrots, green onions, etc. (whatever you have)
oyster sauce or soy sauce to taste

Heat a little oil in a wok (I got mine at Ikea for $7). When hot, add vegetables and quickly stir-fry until crisp-tender. Add rice, mix in. Add oyster or soy sauce and mix up well. If you want to add protein to this dish, you can mix in some cooked leftover meat or chicken with the rice. Or, when the vegetables are cooked you can drizzle in a beaten egg, scramble it, then mix in the rice and seasoning. This makes a really good quick lunch of leftovers or even a side dish for dinner.

09 July 2009

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4)

Easy Yellow Lentils

For four servings:

One cup of yellow lentils, dried (no need to presoak)
2 or more cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth
curry powder to taste

Bring the broth and lentils to a boil. Simmer until lentils are tender and sort of a thick stew, but not dry (you may have to add more broth). Add the curry powder to taste closer to the end of cooking time. It will take around a half hour. Serve this over brown rice.

Meijer ground turkey

Meijer is having a ten-for-ten, get the eleventh free sale on some of their store brand products. Don't you love it when they run those sales? If you buy ahead and stockpile as I do, now is a really good chance to add to your stockpile. The Meijer brand frozen ground turkey rolls are included in this sale. I use these all the time in place of ground meat in spaghetti sauce, chili, tacos, etc. It's very tasty, lower in fat than ground beef, and at this price it comes out to 90-cents a pound (assuming you buy 11) which makes it cheaper than ground beef. They normally run around $1.59 a pound but whenever Meijer runs these sales, I buy enough to last till the next sale and just put it in the freezer!! And to make a good deal better, Meijer currently has their own brand of pasta on sale for 50-cents each!! I'm envisioning lots of cheap spaghetti with meat sauce in my family's future!!!

Box Tops for Education and Campbell's Labels

Do you have children in school? Do you know someone with children in school? Or, do you live in a neighborhood with a school? The answer to one of those questions is no doubt yes. I want to encourage you to start looking for and saving the Box Tops for Education and the Campbell's Labels for Education on the products you buy. They are on all kinds of different products, and your school earns money/points for each one. This can really help them in a time of failed school levies and loss of revenue due to the challenging economy. Each box top is worth 10-cents and each label either 1 or 5 points. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it really adds up. If every family in a school clipped just one box top a month, for example, imagine how much that would be over the course of the school year? Now imagine if everyone clipped one a week, or even two? It's an easy way to help out your child's school without it costing you anything extra, because they're on the products you probably already buy. I have a big bag of box tops and one of Campbell's labels that I am collecting over the summer. I want to challenge anyone who is reading this to do the same!
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths." (Prov. 3:5,6)

Back to School

School may be out for the summer, but it'll be back in session before you know it. If you have children, you know what August means---school supplies, new school clothes, and school fees---all in the same month!! If you have more than one child in school, it can be a little overwhelming. Here's what I plan to do this year to help ease the strain a little bit---I plan to take a small amount of money each week and devote it to creating a stockpile of school supplies. The key is to buy those supplies while on sale and to spread the purchase out over several weeks to ease the strain on the budget. CVS will be having free (after ECBs) school supplies over the next couple of weeks. I plan to take full advantage of those!!!

Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients for Four Servings:

1 cup brown lentils, dried
1 small eggplant, cut up in small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, diced,
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 jar spaghetti sauce

Cook lentils in several cups of boiling water till done, about a half hour. (No need to pre-soak). While they are cooking, saute the vegetables in a little oil until tender, then add sauce and simmer. When lentils are done, drain them and add to sauce. Serve with hot spaghetti or other pasta.