Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School Dinners

If you are like me, back to school evenings mean craziness.  Between dance lessons, scout meetings, Awanas, school functions and HOMEWORK  it is rare to have a quiet evening at home.   There are many nights when it seems like dinner is on the run.   I am always looking for easy and inexpensive meals that can be made quickly.   My goal is to make at  least one crock pot meal a week, especially on our busiest days.   I had the oppurtunity to ask my teenager tonight what kinds of meals she would like me to prepare.  She is probably my pickiest child, so I was thrilled when she mentioned pasta, lasagna, chicken, bbq and meatballs as good choices. 

Here are some of the  meals that we are definitely going to try in the coming weeks.  

Cream Cheese with Broccoli from Family.go.com
Crockpot Lasagna from Food.com


Dump and Go Cheesy Chicken from Allrecipes.com


Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwiches from McCormick.com


BBQ meatballs from Taste of Home.     I already have my own  recipe to make meatballs in the crock pot, so I may or may not try a new one.  I just add a bottle of bbq sauce, some ketchup and a spoonful of grape jelly, and it turns out everytime.  If you prefer exact measurements, this looks like a good recipe to try. 
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Great Gift Idea

I just heard about an incredible deal at Canvas People, that I had to share it here.  You can chose from  a FREE
8 x 10 Photo Canvas (just pay shipping)  or receive $50 off any other size.  I have heard good things about Canvas People and this would make a great gift! 

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Best Deals at Meijer

Well I made it to the grocery store.  Yea!  This is NOT all that I bought, but the BEST deals I found today. 

Overall I did pretty good. I spent a total $86.13  I used $21.50 in manufacturer coupons and $9.16 in Meijer Meal Box coupons and special promos.   I also saved $40.77 in sales for a total savings of $71.43.

Now for the best deals in the picture.  

Non Coupon Items
Broccoli, Cauliflower and Dole Salad on sale for $1.25
Corn on the Cob on sale .20 an ear
Meijer pop on sale 5 for $4 or .80 ea
Hostess Cupcakes Buy 1 Get 1 free $4.29 for 2 or $2.15 each
Archway Cookies Buy 1 Get 1 free $2.87 for 2 or $ $1.44 each
Rosa Pizza on sale 50% off.  Reg $2.99, on sale $1.49
Raspberries on sale $1

Coupon Items
DiGornio 200 calorie pizzas on sale $2.50, used $1 coupon, final price $1.50
2 Eggo Waffles on sale $1.67, used $1 off 2 coupon, final price $1.17
2 Mt. Olives pickes on sale $1.67, used .50 coupons that doubled, final price .67
2 Hidden Vally Ranch Farmhouse dressing on sale $2.50.   I used two $1 coupons and $1 off 2 Meijer Mealbox coupon, final price $1 each.  I LOVE the Savory Blue Cheese!
2 Mrs. Dash on sale $2.00, I used two $1 off coupon and $1 off 2 Meijer Mealbox coupon, final price .50 each.
KCMasterpiece BBQ sauce on sale $1.50.  I used .50 coupon that doubled, final price .50
Land O Lakes Cinnamon butter (it was sold out last week) on sale $1.50.  I used .75 coupon, final price .75
Sara Lee Cheesecake on sale 50% off at $2.14.  I had a $1 off coupon, final price $1.14
Sara Lee Coffee Cake on sale 50% off at $2.49.  I had a $1 coupon, final price $1.49
Johnsonville Chicken Sausage on sale $2.50.  I used $1 coupon, final price $1.50

Items that were great deals but sold out 

Febreeze Noticeble Warmers on sale $2.50.  P & G has $3 coupons which would have made them FREE
Purell hand sanitizer (perfect for back to school) on sale $2.29, there is a $1 coupon available which have made it $1.29
Daisy Cottage Cheese 16 oz on sale $1.79.  There is a .45 coupon that will double, final price .89

I am so missing my VGS double dollar coupons.  The VGS in the neighboring town still doubles to $1, but the last few weeks that sales have not been worth the drive.   


 
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Back to School Insanity

In the last couple of days we have had 3 school registration days and freshman orientation.    All 3 of  my kids are moving up to new schools with their new grade.   The high school registration was first on Thursday.  We had to wait in line to turn in our emergency form, we had to wait in line to  have her  pictures/ID  taken,  then there was another line for our planner and schedule.  For the most part, the high school registration went quickly and smoothly.   Yesterday did not go quite as quickly.   My soon to be freshman was trying to test out of a class.  I had to drop her off at 10 am at the high school,  and then take my soon to be 5th grader to the intermediate school for her registration day.   This time  all the lines were long.   First there was her school pictures/ID,  then another line for her teacher/class schedule,  then another line for her planner, and then yet another line for bus schedule.  It was at least a good 90 mins. or more before we were done.  We rushed back to the high school, where soon to be freshman was already waiting.   This morning we had the pleasure of doing the process  all over  again.  I dropped the soon to be freshman off at school for freshman orientation, then ran back home to make sure the soon to be 7th grader was out of bed.  Once he had breakfast and was showered, it was off to his school for his registration.  We thought we were home free when we saw very minimal lines to pick up his schedule, planner, and bus schedule but unfortunately we were not so lucky.  We went to the gym for his school pictures/ID and all the lines were clear across the entire gym.  It took a good hour to before it was our turn for pictures.   As soon as we were done with that, it was time to go back to the high school because my soon to be freshman needed to be picked up.  We still needed to find soon to be 7th graders locker and classes. so after dropping off his sister, it was back to the middle school.    We finally finished with everything a little after 1 p.m.    So after 5 hours of waiting in line, and  writing 8 checks (with 4 more still to write), my kids should now be ready for school next week. 

Now I need to get my list and coupons together and get to the grocery store before dinner.   It looks like another good week at Meijer. 
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Monday, August 29, 2011

New Coupons Available

There are some new coupons available to print from Coupons.com. My favorites are $3 off 2 Glidden paint testers, and $1 off Renuzit Super Odor Neutralizer.





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Clay Creations by Kara

This post is a "guest tutorial" by my daughter Kara, age 10.  She wanted to show how  she made an Angry Bird that can be used as an ornament or decoration.





She used a block of red  Fimo/Sculpty clay for this project.  Before rolling into a ball she pinched off a small piece of clay. She put it aside to make the feathers on top of his head in a later step.  She then used the remaining clay  that she rolled into a ball for  the bird's body.


Using a little bit of black clay, she rolled a "black worm" and then flattened to make his eyebrows. 



You can make clay eyes if you prefer, but Kara thought it would be fun to use google eyes.   She suggests putting the eyes in to ident the clay,  but then taking them out before baking the clay.  They can be glued back on, in the indented spots after the clay cools.  I am not sure how they would hold up if try to put them in the oven. 


She used the red clay she set aside, and added the feathers on top of his head.  She rolled a very long red worm which she folded in half to make the middle feather.  She then folded up each side again to form the other two feathers.  She then attached the feathers to the body.

Before using the white clay, she had to wash her hands because they were pretty red working with the red clay.  Once they were clean, she put a small piece of white through our clay pasta maker. When it was to the thickness she was happy with, she formed the belly piece and gently added it on.

She used some yellow to make the beak, and  then used a clay tool to add his nostrils.   A toothpick would work at this step as well.  


To make the tail, she made 3 small worms and then attached the ends together before adding it to the bird.


She is working on several more clay creations, so you might be seeing more tutorials for kids soon!
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quick and Easy Nachos

One of our favorite appetizers when eatting out is Fridays Tostado Nachos.  We get it almost every single time we have a survey coupon for $8 off an appetizer.      We decided to try and make a quick and simple version at home, that tastes pretty close to the real thing  

You will need 6" tortillas
a can of refried beans
a can of chili with no beans

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.   Spray a little bit of cooking spray on a cookie sheet and then lay out your tortillas.   With a knife spread each one with some refried beans.  Then spread a layer of the chili meat.   

I had a request to make some without refried beans as well, so some of tortillas have only meat.
Layer the tortillas generously with cheese and bake for 10 mins. 


Serve with your favorite toppings.  We used sour cream, fresh tomatoes from the garden,  guacamole, salsa and lettuce.    You can also add jalapeno slices  if desired.  


The tortilla comes out with a little crisp to it, but if you want to make it even crispier heat a couple of minutes before adding the toppings.    Cut in half with a pizza cutter to get the resturant look, or just serve whole like in the picture. 

With both the beans and chili meat, they are quite filling. They also might give you a little bit of gas (LOL) so don't eat these  on days you might be concerned about that.    To lighten things up, we had watermelon for dessert.  

Enjoy!

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Froggy Fun



Tonight Kara found 3 little frogs on the sliding glass door, and Kara being Kara had to "save" them. We already had a tadpole habitat which was the perfect house for the little frogs.   I have to admit they are really cute.    The little guys inspired me to find and post some fun froggy food. 

CUPCAKES AND CAKE

You can find this froggy cupcake version on Allrecipes.com
This version is from Parenting.com

And this sweet version is from Cutestfood.com



If you prefer making a cake to cupcakes, this happy guy can be found at Taste of Home.
CAKE POPS


I found several froggy cake pops. This one is from Bakerella.


This cute big eyed version is from Cakepop Cottage
FUN FOOD

How about some froggy sherbet from Family.go.com


I almost forgot about this adorable froggy watermelon by Kitchen Fun with my 3 Sons.  I have shared it before and it would be the perfect adddition to a frog themed party. 



We almost had a crisis here.  One of the cats opened the lid to the frog habitat, and Kara thought one of the frogs got out.  After a few minutes of panic, we realized he was still inside the habitat.. Its going to be a long night.  LOL!
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Phineas and Ferb Lunch

My kids LOVE watching Phineas and Ferb on the Disney channel.  They like to eat fun themed food as well, and would love these mini Perry sandwiches.   I was so excited to come across the blog Hawai 'i"s Bento Box Cookbook  where she not only shares ideas for Perry, but the many of the Danville gang.  Make sure to also check out  her ideas for Phineas, Ferb and Isabella.
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Sunday Paper Coupons

I am going to spend a few hours shopping with my teenage daughter this afternoon, so I have saving and coupons on my mind.  Have you ever wondered what coupons were going to be in the Sunday paper before you bought it?   There is a site where you can see the coupons BEFORE the Sunday paper even comes out. 

It looks like this week we will be geting a Smart Source, Red Plum and P & G.   To see the coupons in each insert, click the Sunday Preview icon. 

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to School Shopping Deals..

Have any last minute back to school shopping to do?  Check out these great deals.. 

Today and tomorrow you can save 20% off using codes SAVEBTS, AUGUST20AF and BTSMEGA.  There is also only 99 cent shipping per items and 4% cash back through Ebates.  If you are not yet a member of Ebates where you get money back when you shop online, check it out here.


 Also today and tomorrow, get $10 off $25 with coupon code GOTASALE online  and also earn back 6% back through Ebates.
To print a coupon to use in store, go here.
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Earn with Swagbucks

Would you like to earn a little extra  money for the upcoming holiday season.  Consider joining Swagbucks where you can earn free stuff just by doing what you already do on the internet.  Its easy and free to join.




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Quiznos 30th Anniversary Coupons

It's Quiznos 30th Anniversary, and to celebrate they are releasing 4 new coupons for their customers.  Print yours for free food and high value coupons.    

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Angry Bird Marshmallow Pops




Tonight we made Angry Bird Marshmallow Pops with giant marshmallows, colored candy melts and dollar store candy.   While they are not perfect, they still taste great!



I used the items in the pictures above to make the different  parts of the birds. 

The first thing I did was use the Wilton sprinkle set with white circles, and the black edible marker to make the eyes.   I made them all ahead of time, so they would be ready when I needed them. 


The first bird I made was the red bird.   The very first one I covered totally in red and he ended up looking like an angry elmo.   I quickly realized I forgot to leave the white belly, and my second bird turned out much better. 

For the beaks, I decided to go with a 3D affect. (plus I didnt have the yellow Wilton triangle sprinkles)   I used the orange slices in the Sunkist sour fruit gummies.  The candy was not easy to push into the marshmellow, so I used my food shears and made a small slit.  When I put the whole piece in, the beak was too long  I found it worked the best when I used  2/3 of  a slice. 

After the beak was in place, I inserted the  stick.  I wish I had the bigger sticks today since I used giant marshmellows, but I only had the skinny sticks on hand. They still worked, but the marshmellows are leaning a bit.   For all of the pops, I place the stick in so that the flat service of the marshmellow faced forward.

I then used the 30 second melting method on some red candy melts.  I used a knife to spread the candy evenly on the marshmellow, instead of dipping it in. 

The eyebrows are small sliced  pieces of grapevine.  I know the real brows are black, but our entire family hates black licorice.  The purple was close to the color, and tastes MUCH BETTER.

The feathers on top of his head, is  made a cherry from the Sunkist regular gummy fruits.  I cut it with my food shears to get the right shape. 

The next marshmellow pop I made was the yellow bird. 

I have never seen triangle shaped marshmellows.  I thought about using the shears to cut the sides down, but it was too sticky.  Instead I tried to  get the general triangle shape by pinching the marshmellow. It sort of worked.  I didn't really stress about it, because I knew my kids would love it even if it was techncially not a triangle.   

Since yellow birds eyebrows are light brown,  I decided to cut an orange Good & Fruity  in half. 

His black (purple) feathers are a small piece of grapevine with 3 cuts to mimic his black feathers.  I also used a piece for black tail feathers. 


I made the triple blue birds next.  Since they are smaller than the rest of the birds,  I used regular sized mashmellows.   Because they are smaller and have smaller beaks,  I used an orange Good & Fruity.  
Sorry this picture is so blurry. I really need to get a better camera.   I did not have blue candy to use as their feathers, so I decided to use a knife to shape the candy  on the  top of their heads.   This method wasn't perfect, but gave the impression of feathers. 


The green pig king was the next.  I inserted the stick  of the pigs so that the marshmellow was more wide than tall. You can gently shape it with your hands to get the oval shape.  
I used a Sunkist sour apple gummy fruit for his nose.  I made sure to place the eyes on the sides of the nose, instead of on top of nose like with the birds.  The crown also was  a Sunkist sour gummy with small triangles cut out.  For the ears I used green jujubes turned on their side.  Dip the jujubees and candy crown in a little bit of melted chocolate to get them to stick on the top of the marshmellow.  

By the time I got to the white egg bird,  I was getting pretty tired.  I had white candy melts to cover the marshmellow, but decided since it was already white to leave it plain.  I did  melt just a tiny bit to use as "candy glue'.  I used the white melted chocolate to add his eyes, brows and feathers.  He had them both on the top of his head and for a tail. 






After we were done, we did have some fun with the pops.  WATCH OUT pig, you have some angry birds that want to get you!


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