Archive for April, 2011

A visit to the U.S. National Arboretum

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Today was an absolutely perfect day to be outside!  The temperature was just right!  The sun was shinning and there was a slight breeze in the air. Not wanting to waste away this perfect day, we ventured into DC to visit the U. S. National Arboretum.  The Azaleas were in bloom and were vibrant and colorful!

Some of the best sights were the 386 year old Bonsai tree:

And the original columns from the East Portico of the Capitol:

A list of “what’s blooming when” is here.  In mid May the peonies will be blooming!  We saw tons of buds today and we hope to be able to return some time while they are in bloom!

Click here to see all the pictures we took.

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Good Friday is the day that Christians remember Christ’s death on the cross on their behalf and celebrate the gift of eternal life that His death has provided for those who believe.

Songs that celebrate the sacrifice that Jesus made for mankind:

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross – Fernando Ortega

The Wonderful Cross – Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us – Phillips, Craig, and Dean

Chicken and Broccoli Stuffed Shells

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Prep: 30 minutes

Bake: 40 minutes

Makes 6 servings

From Semi-Homemade by Sandra Lee, page 75


1 box (12 oz) dried jumbo shells

1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped broccoli

1 large egg

1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese

1 cup cooked chicken, chopped

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Dried Italian seasoning



1 jar (16 oz) Alfredo pasta sauce


Preheat oven to 350.  In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook pasta for 12 minutes or just until al dente.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.  Place broccoli and 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl.  Cover and microwave for 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.  In a small bowl, beat egg with a fork.  Stir egg, ricotta cheese, chicken, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper into broccoli until thoroughly combined.  Spoon 1 cup of pasta sauce into bottom of 13×9 baking dish.  Fill 21-24 pasta shells with chicken  mixture.  Arrange in baking dish.  Spoon remaining sauce over shells.  Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.  Cover loosely with foil.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake 5-10 more minutes.

Scalloped potatoes

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

1 quart heavy cream

5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (peeled and sliced thin… about 1/8″ thick with a mandolin)

salt and pepper

8 oz shredded Colby jack cheese

butter or cooking spray to grease the baking dish

Preheat oven to 350. Pour cream into a pot and heat over medium heat until warm. Salt and pepper to taste. In large bowl, pour cream over potatoes. fold in cheese. Then pour mixture into greased baking dish. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 2 hours. Every 30 mins use spatula to push potatoes down. Bake until potatoes are soft.  Makes 12 servings.

Cinnamon- oat pancakes

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)- I used whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups old- fashioned rolled oats

2 cups milk

2 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for skillet

In food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and 1 cup of oats and pulse a few times to coarsely grind oats.  In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and oil.  Add dry ingredients and 1 cup of oats and whisk just until moistened.  Heat a large skillet (nonstick or cast-iron) or griddle over medium.  Lightly oil skillet.  Using 2-3 tablespoons, for each pancake and cook until a few bubbles have burst, 1-2 minutes.  Flip pancakes and cook until browned on underside, 1-2 minutes.  Repeat with more oil and batter.

I found this recipe in a magazine, but I don’t know which one =(

Today at Giant

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Total OOP: $5.68  Total savings: $10.67

Breakstone’s sour cream: Price $2.29 with a buy 1 get 1 free sale.  I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $1. I bought 2.  Total: $0.65 each

Ken’s salad dressings: On sale for $1.00 each.  I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $1.00 off 2.  I bought 2.  Total: $0.50 each

Seventh Generation dish soap: On sale for $2.99. I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $1.00 and was pleasantly surprised buy another manufacturer’s coupon worth $2.00 off 2 attached to the package.  I bought 2.  Total: $1.49 each


Monday, April 11th, 2011

Today I headed out to 3 different stores.  I went to CVS, Walgreens, and Giant.  I know, I know… I made a rule to limit myself to only 3 stores… and CVS and Walgreens were not on that list… but good deals were to be had at those stores… so they are now officially added to “my list.”

Here are today’s deals and savings:

CVS: total OOP: $12.62; total savings: $17.18

Scott Toilet Paper: on sale for $6.88.  I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $1.00.  Total= $5.88 (that is $0.49 a roll)

Raisin Bran: on sale for $1.66.  I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $0.70.  Total= $0.96

Colgate toothpaste: Price $2.57 with a buy 1 get 1 free sale. I had 2 manufacturer’s coupons worth $1.00 each.  I bought 4. Total= $0.79 each

Duncan Hines Brownie Mix: On sale for $1.00 each.  I had 2 manufacturer’s coupons worth $1.00 each.  I bought 4.  Total= $0.50 each

Walgreens: total OOP: $36.89; total savings: $62.17

Carnation evaporated milk: on sale for $0.99 each.  I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $.50 off 2.  I bought 2. Total=$0.74 each

Lysol Kitchen spray: Price $4.19 with buy 1 get 1 free sale.  I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $1.00 off 2.  I bought 2.  Total= $1.60 each

Blue Diamond Almonds: Price $3.49  with buy 1 get 1 free sale.  I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $0.60 off 2.  I bought 2.  Total= $1.45 each

Crest white strips: Price $29.99.  I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $10.  I also had a Walgreens coupon worth $10.  Total= $9.99

M&M’s: Price 2 for $1.59.  I had a manufacturer’s coupon for buy 2 get 1 free. I bought 3. Total= $0.53 each

Hefty One Zip freezer bags: Price $3.29 with a buy 1 get 1 free sale.  I had 3 manufacturer’s coupons worth $1.00 off 2.  I bought 6.  Total= $1.15 each

Playtex tampons: On sale for $3.99.  I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $2.50 off 2 boxes.  I also had a Walgreens coupon worth $1.00 off 1.  I bought 2.  Total= $2.24 each

Bic Razors: Price $6.99 with a buy 1 get 1 50% off sale.  I had 2 manufacturer’s coupons worth $3.00 each.  I bought 2.  Total= $2.24 each

Giant: total OOP: $30; total savings: $32.38

Perdue Boneless Chicken Breasts: on sale for buy 1 get 1 free. The total for the chicken prior to coupons was $11.93.  I had 2 manufacturer’s coupons worth $0.75 each.  Giant doubles coupons under $1, so my coupons were worth $3.00. I bought 4. Total= $2.23 each

Dole Frozen Blueberries: On sale for $3.29.  I had 3 manufacturer’s coupons worth $0.75 each.  Since the coupons were doubled, they were worth $4.50.  I bought 3.  Total= $1.79 each

Turkey Hill Ice cream (not pictured): On sale for 2 for $5.00.  I bought 2.  Total: $2.50 each

Betty Crocker frosting: On sale for $1.67. I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $0.75 (worth $1.50 after doubling). I bought 2.  Total= $0.92 each

Betty Crocker cake mix: On sale for $1.50.  I had a manufacturer’s coupon worth $.50 (worth $1 after doubling). I bought 2. Total= $1.00 each

All laundry soap: on sale for $3.99.  I had 2 manufacturer’s coupons worth $1.00 each .  I bought 2.  Total= $2.99 each

I am well aware that boxed cake mixes and brownies are not healthy and might be considered to go against one of my rules… but I make an exception for them because they are handy in an emergency situation, such as: needing something for dessert for last minute dinner guests, bringing something to a church function, making something to go with a meal for a family in need… etc.  As far as the M&Ms and ice cream… well, everything in moderation! 😉

Couponing day one: A success

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Today was day one of our couponing adventure.  Our biggest deal was at Staples.

We got 2 reams of HP printer paper and a plastic chair mat for a grand total of $2.61.

Here’s how we did it:

The paper was on sale (which ended today) for $5.99 each- limit 2.  A mail in rebate for $4.99 for each ream printed off with the receipt.  In the weekly ad online we found a coupon (that expired today) for $10 off any chair mat.  We chose the cheapest one… which was $29.99.  To top it off we had $19.98 in Staples rewards.

So, the mat ($19.99 plus 0.60 sales tax) + the paper ($11.98)= $32.57- the reward points ($19.98)=$12.59- the mail in rebate refund ($9.98)= $2.61

Or you can look at it this way- we got 2 reams of paper for free, paid $12.59 for a chair mat and will recieve a check in the mail for $9.98.  Either way, it was an AWESOME deal!

Adventures in Couponing

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Well, the couponing bug bit me!  I have been using coupons for a while now… but apparently not to their full potential.  TLC’s EXTREME Couponing has inspired me (and I actually haven’t seen a full episode… just the clips on their website!).  Now, don’t worry… I’m not going to get (too) crazy about it!  I am setting rules for myself.

My rules:

1- only use coupons for things I would normally use

2- steer clear of coupons for things that are super processed or unhealthy (since I wouldn’t buy them anyway)

3- limit myself to the following stores: Target, Giant, and Wegmans (at least initially) to reduce anxiety!

4- try to combine coupons with rock bottom prices whenever possible to get the BEST deal (this one is most exciting to me!)

5- don’t freak out if I miss a good deal… there will be another!

6- do not, I repeat, DO NOT dumpster dive for coupons! =)

I have spent about 3 days pondering this idea and about 4 hours already organizing myself and becoming familiar with the coupon policies of the stores I am focusing on.  Already I have learned a lot!  Even if this doesn’t pan out to be a success, at least I will be a wiser shopper in the end.

So, I ask, if any of you are just tossing your coupons in the trash, consider sending them my way instead!

I enjoyed this post from the Krazy Coupon Lady for “beginners”.

Muffins for my muffin

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

I took some time this week to make up 3 batches of muffins to have on hand for the next couple of months for Peter to grab for breakfast when he is heading out the door to work.  I made blueberry oat, banana walnut, and apple cinnamon.  For each recipe I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular whole wheat flour.  Regular whole wheat flour is too dense for baked goods but whole wheat pastry flour is very similar in density and texture to white flour so it bakes lighter.  Click the links to view the recipes that I used.

Blueberry Oat

Banana Walnut

Apple Cinnamon