Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday Oct 19-25

Here's my meals for this week:

Monday- Pizza Cups, Salad
Tuesday- Tomato Soup and Sandwiches
Wednesday- Crispy Chicken Drumsticks, green beans, rolls
Thursday- Lentil Tacos, Spanish Rice, Corn
Friday- Weekday Lasagna, salad, Low-fat Bread Machine Italian Bread (made into breadsticks
Saturday- Halloween Party (I'm bringing Crockpot Brown Sugar Chili)
Sunday- Potato Soup, Peasant Bread

Monday-Eggbeaters Omelet, English Muffin, fruit
Tuesday-Eggbeaters Omelet, English Muffin, fruit
Wednesday-Eggbeaters Omelet, English Muffin, fruit
Thursday-Eggbeaters Omelet, English Muffin, fruit
Friday-Heart Smart Waffles, sausage links, (kids will eat with homemade syrup)
Saturday-Heartsmart Pancakes, bacon, (kids and dh will eat with homemade syrup)
Sunday-Cereal, yogurt, fruit

Wednesday-sandwiches, fruit
Saturday- sandwiches, fruit
Sunday- Fat Free Hotdogs, oven fries

Air popped popcorn, , String Cheese, Fat Free Rice Krispie Treats, Chex Party Mix

My family is also wanting some Caramel apples, but since they are so expensive at the store, I'm making my caramel from scratch.

Come back and see how my shopping went. for the Grocery Cart Challenge.
Go here to see more plans.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Grocery Cart Challenge

I try to spend about $120 a week on food for the week, stocking up and on items to put in my food storage. Here's how this week went.

Day's Resale Bakery

2 Loaves sandwich bread, 1 loaf potato bread, 1 Arnold Sandwich Thin-$4.00


5.34 lb bananas- $2.56

King Size M&M's- $1.00 (Child treat)
1.59 pounds tomatoes- $3.15
4.46 pounds red grapes- $5.44
2 Velveeta cups- $1.96
Smart Taste Rotini $1.50
2 Nature's Own Hamburger Buns- $3.94
Celery $1.36
Weight Watcher Cheese Singles- $3.62 minus $1.00 off coupon
Whole Cantaloupe $1.00
2 Fat Free Sour Cream-$2.00
2 Weight Watchers Yogurt- $1.08 minus $0.55 off 2 coupon
2 Weight Watchers Yogurt- $1.08 minus $0.65 off 2 coupon
Fat Free Yogurt- $2.14 minus $0.55 off coupon
2 bacon- $4.96 minus $1.50 off 2 coupon
Heart Smart Bisquick- $2.94 minus $0.60 off coupon
Cherry Limeade- $1.98
Herbal Tea- $2.32
2 popcorn seasoning- $3.74
2 pizza cheese- $3.96
Turkey Pepperoni- $3.32
2 frozen steam broccoli- $2.50
Lunch meat- $3.00
Weight Watchers Mexican Cheese- $2.68 minus $1.00 off coupon
Sunchips- $2.68
Great Northern Beans- $0.98
2 cooking spray- $3.36
Bacon pieces- $1.56
2 pasta sauce- $3.06
Salsa- $1.44
Whole Chicken $5.30
Fat Free Hot Dogs- $2.98
I Can't Believe It's not Butter- $3.24
2% Velveeta- $4.46
Orange juice- $1.98
Rice Krispies- $4.18 minus free coupon so I got for free!
Diet Dr. Pepper- $3.98
Nestle Water- $3.88 minus $0.50 off coupon
Total: $98.05

Save a Lot

Lettuce- $1.29
cucumber $0.59
apples $3.49
24 cans tomato soup- $11.76
Total: $17.13

Food City
3 bags popcorn: $4.47
Total: $4.47


2 gallons milk
1 bag rice
1 juicy juice
1 eggs
2 boxes cereal

Total for the week: $123.65

See how others spent their money this week at The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: October 12-18

Here's my menu for this week:
Monday- Sloppy Tacos (made with 2% cheese and lean meat on light bun), oven fries
Tuesday- Soft Tacos, Mexican Rice, Corn
Wednesday- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Peasant Bread
Thursday- Chicken Sandwiches, green beans
Friday-Homemade Pizza, Salad
Saturday- Spaghetti Casserole, salad, Low-fat Bread Machine Italian Bread
Sunday- We are going to a friend's house who invited us (but I am bringing some fat free hot dogs for the grill

Monday-Eggbeaters Omelet, English Muffin, fruit
Tuesday-Eggbeaters Omelet, English Muffin, fruit
Wednesday-Eggbeaters Omelet, English Muffin, fruit
Thursday- Heart Smart Waffles, sausage links, fruit
Friday- Cereal, yogurt, fruit
Saturday-Heartsmart Pancakes, bacon, (kids and dh will eat with homemade syrup)
Sunday-Cereal, yogurt, fruit

sandwiches and soup or leftovers and fruit each day

Chex Party Mix, String Cheese, Fat Free Rice Krispie Treats, air popped popcorn, granola bars

Come back and see how my shopping went.

Go here to see more plans.
Come back tomorrow and see how I do at the grocery store for the Grocery Cart Challenge.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Grocery Cart Challenge Oct 5-11

Here's how my shopping went this month......

Day's Resale Store

2 loaves sandwich bread, Weight Watchers English Muffins, Arnold's Sandwich Thins $4.00

Save a Lot
4.51 pounds bananas $1.50
Basil $1.39
4 Biscuits $3.56
Cheese Puffs $1.19
2 cream cheese $1.98
4.02 pounds ground chuck $6.79(on sale $1.69lb)
Lite Ranch Dressing $1.29
4 lbs onions $2.99
Oregano $1.39
5 lb bag potatoes $0.99
Pretzels $0.99
Powdered Sugar $1.29
2 Sugar $3.98
Brown sugar $1.29
Dill pickles $1.69
Tortillas $0.99
Vanilla Ice Cream $2.29
Total: $35.59

Bell Pepper $0.94
Cucumber $0.66
Lettuce head $0.98
Cereal $5.24
Shell Macaroni $1.00
Strawberry Syrup $1.34
Hawaiian Punch $1.97
3 Butter Non stick Sprays $5.04
2 Non stick Canola oil spray $3.36
Spaghetti $1.50
Bacon $2.49
Red Velvet Cake $1.16
Cream Cheese $1.82
Lite Hot Dogs $3.00
WW String Cheese $3.42 minus $1.00 off coupon
1 lb Ground Turkey $1.98
Ham Cheese Loaf $3.00
2 shredded cheese $3.96
6 WW Yogurt $3.24 minus 2 free from two buy 2 get 1 free coupons
White Rice $1.32
Egg Beaters $4.38 minus $1.00 off coupon
Yogurt $2.00 minus $1.00 off coupon
WW Cheese Slices $3.62 minus $1.00 off coupon
4 Progresso Soups $6.00 minus Two $1.00 off 2 coupons
Lite margarine $0.62
Yogurt $2.14 minus $0.55 off coupon
2 Granola Bars $$4.52 minus $1.00 off 2
Sunchips $2.98 minus $1.00 off coupon
Margarine $0.50
2 mini marshmallows $1.92
2 All purpose flour $3.48
2 Bread Flour $4.28
Diet Dr. Pepper $3.98 minus $1.00 off coupon
RF Parm Cheese $2.42
Orange Juice $1.98
Sloppy Joe Envelope $0.88
Cherry Lime aide Drink mix $1.98

Food City
3 White Popcorn $4.47
1 small package M&M's $0.79(kid treat)
Total: $5.31

WIC Vouchers
2 boxes Multi gran Cheerios
2 gallons milk
1 Juicy Juice
1 dozen eggs
1 package brown rice
2 huge bunches grapes
Total: FREE

School Snack Program
My child's school got a grant to give kids on free and reduce lunch snack on days off school and weekends. Since we have Fall Break this week, here is what they sent. I don't usually buy these things so they will be treats. There are pop tarts, crackers, fruit cups, pudding, juice boxes, ravioli, applesauce, etc.
Total: FREE

Total Spent: $131.04

Week in Review: While I went over $11, I still feel good because I bought extra Butter sprays because I have not been able to find them when I go to the store and they had lots this time, I bought more ground chuck than I needed because it was like $1.00 cheaper a pound than I had been paying. I also bought some beginning of the month stuff like basic baking supplies. I also bought extra stuff for a birthday that we would not usually buy. I am also feeding my kids breakfast and lunch this week which they usually have at school. (That added a lot) All in all I am pretty happy this 1st week of doing this.

See how others spent there money this week at The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Menu Plan Monday October 5-11

This week I am trying something new. On Monday's I'll post my menu and then on Tuesday's I'll show you how much I spend at the grocery store. We have decided to budget $120 a week for groceries, but some week's may be a little more and others may be a little less. I have a family of 6 to feed. I think planning is key to making that happen. It seems really hard to eat healthy meals and spend less at the grocery. So, here's my attempt. My kids are home this week on Fall break, so I have to plan more food because they usually eat those meals at school. We also are celebrating my dh's 40th birthday this week.

Tuesday- Headstart Family Fun Night (I'm bringing Pickles and Chips)
Wednesday- Lentil Tacos, Spanish Rice, Corn
Thursday- Soup beans(made with ham bouillon), Sauerkraut with Lite Hot Dogs, cornbread
Friday- Sloppy Joe Casserole, Corn, fruit
Saturday- Spaghetti and Meatballs, Low-Fat Bread Machine Italian Bread(made into bread sticks), salad, Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese icing, vanilla ice cream (This is the meal my dh picked for his birthday: I might be using my 35 weekly points for this meal)
Sunday- Crispy Chicken Drumsticks, green beans, baked potatoes, rolls

Monday-Eggbeaters Omelet, English Muffin, fruit
Tuesday-Eggbeaters Omelet, English Muffin, fruit
Wednesday-Bagels with light cream cheese, yogurt
Thursday- Heart Smart Waffles, sausage links, (kids will eat with homemade syrup)
Friday-Biscuits and sausage, yogurt (I'm having same as Monday)
Saturday-Heartsmart Pancakes, bacon, (kids and dh will eat with homemade syrup)
Sunday-Cereal, yogurt, fruit

Monday-Sandwich on Arnold's Sandwich Thins, fruit
Tuesday-Sandwich on Arnold's Sandwich Thins, fruit
Wednesday- Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup, fruit
Thursday- Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches (for kids), Sun Chips (For me: Boca Burger on Arnold's Sandwich Bread instead of P&B sandwich, fruit)
Friday-Grilled Cheese, Chicken Noodle Soup, fruit (Weight Watchers Progresso Soup for me instead of Chicken noodle soup)
Saturday-Sandwiches, Sun Chips
*I made my dh some homemade bread in the bread maker and he is eating that with some soup this week.

Chex Party Mix, String Cheese, Fat Free Rice Krispie Treats, air popped popcorn, granola bars
Come back and see how my shopping went.

Go here to see more plans.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Campfire Night

One of the things on my kid's list of fun things they wanted to do this summer was to make smores. I thought it would be neat to expand that idea to a campfire night. During a campfire night, we roast winnies, make smores, and just enjoy the fire. You could build a fire at a local park which has the facilities to do that, make a fire in your charcoal grill, or use a fire pit. Fire pits can range from $50-$300, so that might be an expensive purchase if you only bought it for that one time use. It could however be an investment if you planned to do several campfire night or use it when you campout. I was planning on going to a local park, but my son's Cub Scout Pack had a campfire night that we were all invited to and someone brought a fire pit. The kids enjoyed looking for sticks to roast their hot dogs and marshmallows on, but you could also use skewers. Make sure you keep safety in mind during a camp fire night by keeping your children from getting too close to the fire and having a bucket of water near the fire in case of an emergency.
After it gets dark, you can sit around the fire and tell stories. This activity was a lot of fun for my family and cost a lot less than if I would have gotten a camping site. The only money I spent on this activity was on the food and my family would have eaten dinner that night, so this was a pretty frugal activity for us. Here's a list of some items you may need for a Campfire Night.

Things to get for a Campfire Night
Campfire Marshmallows
Hershey’s Chocolate Bars
Graham Crackers
Hot Dog Buns
Mustard, Ketchup, other condiments
Charcoal, wood, etc (Things to start your fire with)
Cold drinks
I hope you get the chance to have a campfire night with your family this summer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pizza and a Movie Night

My kids love pizza and love to watch movies, so why not do both in one night? This summer my kids made a list of fun things they wanted to do this summer and Pizza and a Movie night was one of those. I really like to do these nights because it's a time for my family to spend together doing something fun. We usually get our movie from the Redbox, which cost $1.00, but we have also gotten movies from the library for FREE. I don't cost the count of the pizza because I make it homemade and we would have had dinner anyways. So, I think this is a pretty frugal summer activity.

Here are the recipes that I used to make our pizza, pizza sauce cheesy breadticks, and Monkey Munch (our movie snack):

Pizza Hut Style Pizza Dough or Cheesy Breadsticks
1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cornmeal
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp yeast
Add ingredients to bread machine, according to manufacturer’s settings, and run dough setting. After the machine beeps, roll out the dough. You can roll the dough into two 9×13″ pizzas (great for kid’s lunches!) or into two medium pizzas or a large pizza and an order of breadsticks (as instructed above). Parbake the crust with a drizzle of olive oil on it at 450 degrees for ten minutes. Remove the crust and add sauce and toppings. If making breadsticks, add your breadsticks at this time. Place into the oven for another ten to fifteen minutes or until golden and bubbly. Enjoy!
You can freeze your pizza dough for an easier night.

Easy Pizza Sauce
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
4 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups water
Combine tomato paste, garlic, parsley flakes, onion, oregano, basil and water in 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Cool a little and spread on your pizza crust and proceed with remainder of your toppings.
Makes 3 cups
You can freeze this pizza sauce easily.

Monkey Munch
9 cup Chex
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Put cereal in large bowl. Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over Chex cereal, put into a large plastic bag with powdered sugar and shake well to coat.Spread mixture evenly on wax paper and allow to cool.
This does not last long at my house!
We will be doing this several more times this summer. I hope you get to plan a Pizza and a Movie night for your family this summer.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Frugal Family Fun-Pine Cone Bird Feeders

Our family gets together once a week, usually on Monday night and does something fun together. It's a great way to make sure that you take time for your family. So, each week, I'll post something about what we did for fun.

On our summer fun list (that my kids made) they wanted to make pine cone bird feeders. They love the birds and were really excited about this. We have two huge pine trees in our yard and I kept seeing these beautiful pone cones on the ground well we started collecting them and I knew I was going to do something with them. So here's what we did.

Pine Cone Bird Feeders
Materials you will need:
Pine Cones
Peanut Butter
bird seed
Place string on the end of the pine cone leaving a loop to place the feeder on the tree. Place peanut butter on the pine cone and get into the underneath parts of the pine cone. We made 4 feeders and it took a whole jar of peanut butter. Next, I got a casserole pan and place the bird seed in it and the kids rolled the pine cone in the seed. Then we hung them on a tree.

Bird seed- $1.00 (we used half a bag)
String- $1.00 (from Dollar Tree and there is lots left over)
Peanut Butter- FREE (for me but this might cost you a little more.)
Pine Cones- FREE
So, for under $5.00 we had a really fun family time and also accomplished an activity the kids wanted to do this summer. The kids were really proud of their feeders and can't wait to see the birds eat from them. I am really glad that I waited to do this activity when my husband was home because every kid wanted you to help them. The extra hands came in handy.

So, if you want to have fun this summer with your kids, consider pine cone bird feeders.

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Blog

I started a new blog on Frugal Family Fun. Go here to see what kind of fun our family is having for free or little money.

Homemade Fabric Softner

Do you want to save money in the laundry room? Then this article is for you! After making my own laundry detergent, which I love, I knew I needed to make my own fabric softner and went searching for recipes! Many people make their own laundry products to save money and to use more natural products. This recipe calls for vinegar (this is pretty cheap), a bottle of conditioner (I get the 78 cents one or a free one after rebate or ECB from CVS or Rite Aid.), and water. so, this can definately reduce your laundry cost! I found it to be quite easy to make and I stored mine in a gallon milk jug and then pour it into a baby wipes container. I then take an old sock that has lost it's mate forever and dip it in the fabric softner. I squeezed some of the liquid out and then threw the sock in the dryer. I washed sheets first and I found no staining, which is a common question people ask about the homemade fabric softner. My fabric softner made my clothes smell like the conditioner I used. So, if you are wanting to save some money in the laundry room, give this recipe a try!

Homemade Fabric Softner
2 cups hair conditioner [one regular size bottle is almost 2 cups - close enough]
3 cups white vinegar
6 cups water
Mix these together and use as you would store-bought softener.
Note: I stored mine in a gallon milk carton and then pour into a baby wipes container for use.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Frugal Summer Fun for the Family- Redbox Movies

Are you looking for fun activites for your kids this summer, but you don't have a lot of money to spend on that fun? Well, that's how I felt, so my family made a list of things they wanted to do this summer and most of them were pretty frugal activites. One activity was getting movies from the Redbox using the free movie of the month codes. We actual got to use the first one this week. We had popcorn and sodas, which cost maybe $2.00-$3.00. But all of those things were already in my pantry, so it felt like I did not spend much at all. We enjoyed watching Hotel For Dogs as a family.
Redbox is a great service for families not wanting to spend much money on family fun. You can find Redboxes in many locations. My closest one is in a Walmart, but I also have one near me outside of a MacDonald's. You will need to go to the Redbox website to find where the closest Redbox is to you. Once you find out where your closest Redbox is located go to that place. It will be hard to miss because it is a big red vending machine. You will have to have a credit card to rent a movie. The movies cost $1.00 per night. I think that is pretty frugal family fun. But, wait, on the first Monday of the month throughout this summer, you can go online and get a free movie code, we usually post it on Busy Mommy too. You need to hit the rent with promo code first and then proceed with your order, you will still need to use a credit card. If you want more than one free movie, all you have to do is use a different credit card. As long as you bring the movie back before 8 pm the next evening your credit card will not be charged. Also, if you register your e-mail on the Redbox website, they will give you a free first movie code to use and send you e-mails about upcoming movies. Another feature that I really like about the Redbox service is you can go online and reserve a movie, so when you get to the Redbox the movie will be waiting for you. You can not use movie codes on reserved movies though.
I have been using the Redbox movie service for over a year now and I have been quite happy with it! I did however have a movie that would not play. I e-mailed Redbox about my problem and they sent me a free movie code. So, I also think that they have great customer service !
So, if you are looking for a fun frugal family night this summer check out your local Redbox.

Our Summer Fun List

Last Friday was my kids last day of school. So, now it's time for me to entertain them all summer until school starts back. But, what can I do that won't put a huge strain on the budget? This year, I decided to get creative after reading an article from Momadvice. I let my kids decide what they wanted to do. I already do a lot of fun frugal activites with them so they had some ideas already in mind. It was interesting to me that they put a lot of those activites and lots more that were very frugal on the list. It was also a fun family time as we sat around talking about what we wanted to do this summer. We posted a list of the activites we want to get done this summer and placed it next to our family message board. We will be marking things off the list as we do them to make the list even more fun. I will also be posting about these activites here as we do them, so stay tuned. Here is my family's list of of the things they want to do this summer to give you an idea of what you can do for a little or no money. I am sure your family will come up with their own great ideas.

Family Summer Fun List 2009

1. Go to Burger King Playland and Eat

2. Go to the Summer Library Programs

3. Make Homemade Slushies

4. Have a Homemade Pizza and Movie Night

5. Make and Play with Homemade Play dough

6. Go get some shaved ice from a local store

7. Spend a night with Granny

8. Go to the Park

9. Make Pine Cone Bird Feeders

10. Have a Family Bake Night

11. Make Smores

12. Go to the Movies

13. Go on a nature hike

14. Go to at least 1 movie night at the park

15. Get a free Redbox movie each month (They have 1 free movie code per month)

16. Go Swimming

17. Have an ice cream sundae night

18. Read a LONG book with mommy

19. Go on a picnic

20. Make homemade ice cream

21. Make homemade bubbles and play with them outside

As you can see most of these are pretty cheap. We do take the kids to the movies in the summer which will be the greatest expense but we do go to the matenee to cut cost. There are lots of free movies during the summer at some locations but we don't live near any of those or we would take advantage of that.

Why don't you make a list with your kids before summer gets started. You may have to give them a few ideas, but it is interesting to see what they will say they want to do.

Hope you have a fun frugal summer!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Free Package of Oscar Meyer Beef Franks

Get a package of Oscar Meyer Jumbo Beef Franks for free. Just go to this website and enter your email and they will send you the coupon.

Arm and Hammer $10.50 Coupons

The Arm and Hammer website is offering $10.50 worth of coupons on there products. Go check it out and see if you use any of them.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Easy Pizza Sauce

Easy Pizza Sauce
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
4 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups water
Combine tomato paste, garlic, parsley flakes, onion, oregano, basil and water in 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Cool a little and spread on your pizza crust and proceed with remainder of your toppings.
Makes 4 servings
Calories 80 Fat 0.5 Fiber 4.5
This was really good on the pizza. I don't know about the serving size, but I can get at least 2 pizzas out of this one batch of sauce and maybe a third one.
Note: This pizza sauce freezes really well too.

Easy Pizza Dough

Cooking from scratch is a great way to save money. Here's a pizza dough recipe that is so easy. I found this recipe on Mom Advice.

Basic Pizza Dough (from"How to Cook Everything,")
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea slat, plus extra for sprinkling
1 to 1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
To make this dough in food processor: Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 teaspoons salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube. Process for 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. You can cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry or you can let the dough rise more slowly in the refrigerator for six to eight hours.
To make this dough by hand: Combine half the flour with the salt and yeast and stir to blend. Add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons olive oil; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add remaining flour a bit at a time; when the mixture becomes too stiff to stir with a spoon, begin kneading, adding as little flour as possible- just enough to keep the dough from being a sticky mess. Knead until smooth but still quite moist, about ten minutes. Proceed as above.
To make this dough with a standing mixer: The machine must be fairly powerful or it will stall. Combine half the flour with the salt, yeast, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 cup water; blend with the machines paddle. With the machine on slow speed, add flour a little at a time until the mix has become a sticky ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl (switch to the dough hook if necessary). Knead for a minute by hand, adding as little flour as possible, then proceed as above.
To make this dough with the bread machine: Add ingredients as follows- warm water, olive oil, flour, salt, and then add yeast at the top. Turn machine on and select the dough setting. When the machine beeps, you can roll out the dough onto your pizza stone/pan.
I made this dough in my bread machine. I watched it and it seemed really wet so I added some more flour to it. It was still a little sticky when I took it out of the machine so I added some more flour. This was really good and once I took care of the stickiness, it was easy. I added a sauce, cheese and other toppings and cooked for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Some people like to pre-bake there crust before putting on toppings and you can do that too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mom Advice Experiements- Homemade Laundry Detergent

Experiment: Can I make a powder laundry detergent that will clean well, not break out my family, and be cheaper?
Experiment Taken From: Notebook 03.08.2007

Materials Needed: (See Instructables for their directions)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda Powder (not baking soda)
1 bar Fels Naptha soap (you can use other soaps like Zote used by instructables, but I could not find that soap, others also use Ivory, Pure & Natural etc)
Food Processor or cheese grater
Use the cheese grater on your food processor and put your soap in to grate. Then take out the grated soap and put in the chopping blade on your food processor add the grated soap and the rest of the ingredients and process until powdery. I like to put a wet dish towel on top of my processor during the chopping stage. Add to container and use 1 tablespoon for small loads and 2 tablespoons for large loads.
Note: You can use a grater instead of a food processor and mix all the ingredients with your hands, but I find that harder to dissolve in the washer if it is not more of a powder like substance.
I put my washing powder in a 5 gallon bucket that I got at Walmart for about $5. I also tied a long string to the bucket with my tablespoon attached, so I would never lose it. (see above picture)
Results: I was worried about whether this powder form would dissolve as I had read others having this problem. I just turned on the hot water and swished the soap around before putting in my clothes and I have not had any problems with my powder soap dissolving. I made 10 batches of the laundry powder to save more time later and it really did not take that long to finish all of the batches. My clothes seem clean. One big difference is that this soap does not make bubbles and people worry that it will not work, but it does work fine. Nobody seemed to break out from the detergent and several in my family have broken out when I have changed detergents. I figured out that this soap cost about 5 cents a load. I was using Sun detergent and it was about 8-10 cents a load depending on where I got it from. So, while the powder detergent does not save as much as the liquid homemade laundry detergent, which is more like 1 cents a load. I am still saving money. Most tide detergents are about 20 cents a load. Personally, I was really happy with the results. I would like to mention that you really do not want to wash your food processor in the dishwasher after you have made your detergent because it will leave a soapy residue on your dishes. Instead hand wash it. Also, I have read a lot of articles saying that this type of detergent is harder on your washing machine. I read that adding some vinegar to your fabric softener dispenser every now and then will help with this problem, so I plan to do that. I also learned that vinegar works really well as a fabric softener, so I may be switching for fabric softener sheets to a homemade fabric softener soon.
Conclusion: This homemade powder laundry detergent is easy to make, if you have a food processor, and cleans well. It also did not break anyone out in my family. So, I think it is a keeper for my house.
For more experiments go to Mom Advice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Planning My Menu

One of my favorite quotes is, "Fail to Pan, Plan to Fail." I really think that is true in so many things in life. It also fits really well in trying to save money at the grocery store. If you take some time to plan, you can save money at the grocery store. If you have a guide for what you are going to eat, then you will be more likely to be successful in saving money at the grocery store. That's where menu planning can help you. I like to plan my menu's for 1 week at a time, but I know others who like to plan a month in advance, so do what ever works for you and your family best.

Here are some steps I follow when planning my menu.

1. Take an invetory of existing foods- This is really important because sometimes I get really good deals and already have items on hand. Some people call this pantry shopping. I like to know at all times exactly what I have in my pantry so I keep a list on the fridge and add and take away. This prevents me from having to go digging in my cabnits and deep freezer. I also like to double my recipes as I cook and so I keep a list of the extra freezer meals I have on hand and I make note if I want to use some of those that week.

2. Check and compare sale ads and coupons- This can seem time consuming, but it helps me save the most money. I also know that Walmart price matches so sometimes this helps me not have to go to several stores. I also like to match coupons to get the best deals. I will stockpile items that I plan to use later, if I find a really good deal. I also like to make note of recipes that work best with the items that are on sale that week.

3. Decide on your meals for the week- You can find lots of menu planning worksheets online, but I just use paper and pecil for mine and then type it on the computer. I have a notebook that I use for meal planning. It is a three ring binder and I use the following tabs: Chicken, Beef, Pork, Fish, Desserts, Breakfast, Beverages, Soups, Salads, Muffins. I keep my recipes behind the tabs and then I can just go looking for recipes that match what I need. For example, if chicken is on sale, I go looking in the chicken tab for a chicken recipe my family likes. I also have a tab for untried recipe that I want to try. I try to make at least one new recipe a week. The very first tab is where I put my menu plans. I like to keep old ones just to see what we ate later, it helps me make new menus. This took a little while to make, but now that it is made, it saves me so much time! I put my recipes in plastic sleeves so that they are protected and I can feel save to use them as I cook.

4. Make a grocery list- After I have my recipes, I make a list of the things I need to make each recipe and then I go pantry shopping and mark those items off of the list since I have those on hand.

5. Match coupons - I like to make sure I have all my coupons ready that I plan to use before going to the store. Get those ready and have those ready with your list so you can go shopping.

6. Go Shopping- If I plan my menus, I am so much more likely to not have to go back during the week and this not only saves me money, but time.
That is pretty much what I do as I plan my meals. I hope you will take some time to plan your meals, it really does save money and time.

Here's my dinner menu for this week:
Monday- Corndog Casserole, salad
Tuesday- Crockpot Taco Junk, tortilla chips, salad
Wednesday- Crockpot Brown Sugar Chili (I'll make a double batch to freeze for another meal), Cornbread
Thursday- Spaghetti Casserole, garlic toast, salad
Friday- General Tso's Chicken, Baked Egg Rolls
Saturday- Eat out for my birthday!!!
Sunday- Homemade Pizza, here's the dough I use