December 30, 2009

January Challenge

I've been inspired by Money Saving Mom and her attempt to eat from her pantry for the month of January. The scoop here is to only go to the grocery store 3 times a month and only spend $25 a week on dairy/veggie/fruit products. And use the leftover grocery money budgeted for that month for charity. The goal is to use up a majority of the food that is in your pantry, and use what you have on hand.

Here's a photo of our pantry as it is stocked quite nicely. We'll see how it looks at the end of January!

I've heard of other people (on blogger) going for a couple weeks just eating from their pantry, so I know that this is an obtainable goal. You just have to get creative. And I consider my husband and I to be pretty creative people. So if you're up for a challenge, I suggest you try it as well. We can be in this together!

We are fortunate enough to have a couple of pantry's. Here's a photo of our little swivel cabinet. I know there's a fancy word for it, but that's what I'll call it for now. It is well stocked with cereal as well.
A couple of our rules in the Fisher household for the "eat from your pantry":
  • We are allowing to use the WIC coupons that we get from the Health Dept., which include bread, milk, cheese, etc.
  • We will be allowed one trip to the grocery store each week for fresh food, $25 worth.
  • We are allowing those who want to give us free food, to accept it with open arms! haha!
So do your usual weekly grocery trip and jump on board for the January "eat from your pantry" challenge! Set your own rules and have fun!

Grocery Shopping this week

I was excited to see my Thrift Store Friend, Angela, at Aldi's this afternoon! It's always fun to see a familiar face when I'm out and about. It was fun chatting and catching up from the Holidays. Nice to see you again Angela! :)

I decided to go grocery shopping with my oldest son, while my husband stayed home and rested up from the flu that's been going around our family. We went to Aldi's (pictured above) and we spent $44.01. A little over our grocery budgeted amount...but we were close!

Pictured above is our quick trip into Walgreens. The Stacy's Pita Chips were on sale for $2.99 and we had 2 $1 off coupons. The Chex Mix was $1, and the Puffs and Playtex gloves were free from coupons we had got in the mail. Total spent for pictured above: $5.08.

I saved my favorite savings for last. Pictured above are the items we got at CVS. Each of these soaps are $0.99 this week, and with the $1 coupon from Sunday's insert, the total for the items above was only $0.33! I've been needing to stock up on soap, so I was so excited to step foot into CVS to see if there were any left. And yes, there are still lots more if you're needing to stock up on soap as well.

December 28, 2009

Our Day Off

WOW! It's been over a week since I've posted last, sorry about that! I know there are some dedicated readers out there. Thanks for hanging in with me.

My family and I had a great Christmas, though we had two sick little boys off and on through the weekend, we're slowly getting better. It's rough having sick kids.

Well, it has snowed here in Central Illinois and in Champaign we got a little over 6 inches. (At least those are my calculations from our backyard deck!). The boys are thrilled to see the snow pile up, and I am too!

This morning my husband and I took the boys sledding, and even though it was bitter cold out with the wind and snow, we decided to take the boys sledding. We wanted to say we took the boys sledding at least ONCE this winter. So we'll see if we head out again to do it later this winter.

Here's a fun video of Jason and Silas on the sled:

After we sled down the hill a couple times, we as parents, decided it would be best if we can back at a warmer time. So, we convinced the boys that they could build a snowman in our back yard instead of sledding. Here is a before picture of the snowman that Zechariah and I built:

And here is the after picture (a couple hours later):

I found it quite hilarious how the snowman's smile turned upside down when his eye fell out!

Hope you're enjoying the snow wherever you're at!

December 17, 2009

Free Shipping Day

Free Shipping Day is Today! 743 participating merchants are offering free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve. Check out more stores by clicking this link.

For those of you who have waited to shop for Christmas, today is your day where you could get free shipping delivered by Christmas Eve. So if you haven't gotten all of your gifts, I suggest starting here and see what you can find!

December 15, 2009

Simple Treat - Spider Sandwiches

I have been reading a book titled, Cheap Talk with the Frugal Friends by Angie Zalewski and I'm just soaking in all the information that they have. Their topics range from coupon clipping to cheap dates. I checked it out from our local library and wanted to share with you a simple treat that I got out of their book.

Our boys have been kinda picky at eating lately, and unless it's an apple or peanuts, they're likely to say "no". So when I found this little treat in the book I'm reading, I had to try it out.

It's a recipe for an after-school snack, called a spider sandwich. Really all you need to do it cut out 2 circles from a couple slices of bread, slather some peanut butter in it, grab some pretzel sticks, some raisins (or chocolate chips) for eyes and you're all set! (I also added peanut butter chips for fangs). The author also suggested drawing a spiderweb on a napkin for more curb appeal.

And our boys gobbled them up fast!

December 12, 2009

Our New Laundry Room

Are you anxiously awaiting the photos of our new laundry room? Probably not, but I figured that I'd post some pictures just for folks who are curious as to what it looks like now.

For awhile there our new washer was making an awful screeching noise when filling up the machine with water. We contacted Home Depot, where we purchased the machines, and they recently sent out a handyman to check it out. It turns out that the noise was coming from the water hook up. The delivery men, who hooked up our machines, put the hot water hose on the cold water spout. And vice-versa. YIKES!

So he quickly fixed that, and then put a new valve in our washer, so that it won't make that noise anymore. I've been quite pleased with it now that it's fixed.

Before Photo:

We put in new vinyl floor, re-painted the cabinets, and painted the walls a different color.

After Photo:

I forgot to get a before photo of the adjacent wall, but here is an after photo:

I found those cute white shelves at our Salvation Army store for a couple bucks each. And then went back a few weeks later and found those cute birdhouses. They match the walls perfectly!

I still would like to put a nice lamp in there to soften the lighting. Here is the laundry room I'm aspiring to have: 320 Sycamore's Blog

Free Christmas Music

In the mood for some free Christmas music? Check out this free album on iTunes. There are some pretty good artists on this album, so I wouldn't wait to download it. Here is the complete list:

O Come All Ye Faithful – Amy Grant
The First Noel – David Archuleta
Silent Night – Sarah McLachlan
Carol of the Bells/Jingle Bells – Barry Manilow
It Snowed – Meaghan Smith
Above the Northern Lights – Manheim Steamroller
Baby It’s Cold Outside – Lady Antebellum
We Three Kings – Toby Keith
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Rascal Flatts
Silent Night – Wynonna
12 Days of Christmas – Mexicani Marimba Band
We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Weezer
A Snowflake Fell (and It Felt Like a Kiss) – Glasvegas
Another Christmas Song – Stephen Colbert
Greensleeves – Vince Guaraldi
Dream a Dream – Charlotte Church
The Nutcracker, Op. 71, Act 2: Character Dances – Kirov Orchestra & Valery Gergiev
Angels We Have Heard on High – Aretha Franklin
O Holy Night – Musiq Soulchild
Auld Lang Syne – The Lonesome Travelers

Word to the wise - You will need to have iTunes already downloaded to your computer in order for you to access it.

December 10, 2009

Laundry Items at Schnucks and Walmart

I just got back from running a couple of errands, and since I was in the Savoy neighborhood, I decided to stop by Walmart and Schnucks on my way home tonight. I got the below items for a little over $5.00!!
At Walmart, you can get the little boxes of Snuggle for Free! (and possible overage). All you need to do is have the RedPlum coupon insert from 12/6/09 Sunday's paper. There is a $2 off any Snuggle Fabric Sheets. I grabbed the Dole Pineapple ($0.88) for a filler at the checkout lane.

The other items I got at Schnucks. The All detergent is on sale this week for $2.99, and in the same RedPlum insert, there is a $2 off All detergent. That makes each bottle $0.99! And since we upgraded our washer and dryer, we need to buy HE detergent, so I was excited to stock up on those items. And the Method hand wash was on sale for $2.50, and I had a $2 off coupon here.

Total spent on these items altogether was $5.16!

(For those of you who are planning on also getting these deals, the All detergent is on sale till Sunday (12/12//09), and the Method hand soap is on sale till 1/10/09).

December 9, 2009

Dumpster Diving - well not really

Okay, so no, I didn't technically dumpster dive for this cute stool, but it was in someone's pile of garbage on the side of the road. I always keep my eye out for furniture or bigger items on the side of the road, just in case. So when I saw a stool, I had to stop and check it out. It's in perfect condition, it was just a little dusty. It's a little tall for our two boys right now, but I know in time it will work perfect with a desk. For now it's another piece of furniture that the boys can crawl all over.

Who said nothing in life is free?

Snow Globes

We recently got a coupon for some free baby food. So after we ate those up, we tried thinking of some way we could reuse those jars. An idea popped into my head, that since it's almost Christmas, why not try to make snow globes. The boys love to shake those globes whenever we're in Hallmark visiting Grandma, so I figured why not give it a try.

Of course as usual, I looked up online how to make your own snow globe, just to get a better idea how to go about making one.

First I had the boys take the jars into the family room to try to find a toy that would fit inside the jar. Zechariah found a Lego man, and Silas found a small Elmo to put in their snow globes. It was perfect!

Next, we found an extra piece of something to fit in the jar that the toy could stand on. For example, we found some pop lids that we super glued to the baby food jar lid, then we super glued the toy on the lid.

Once those were dry, we filled the jar with water and dumped in about 1 tsp. of glitter and sequences.

Then I put more super glue on the lid and tightened the lid as best I could. Let that dry, and later the boys had their very own snow globes that they made! It turned out great!

The only thing that I would've changed is that Zechariah put too much glitter in his, and we could've put more water in his. Other than that it's a great way to reuse what you have and a great craft for Christmas!

Baking Wednesday

It was so cold and windy outside today that I thought it would be a good idea to put the boys to work and have them help me with some baking. We only had two recipes to make, but no worries, it took pretty much all morning. Sometimes I need to have extra patience when I'm baking with my little ones, because they can make twice as much of a mess and take twice as long. But I know that it is beneficial to both of them as it is to me, so I try to be as patient as possible.

Here is Silas (1 1/2 years old) trying to put the batter in the pans:

We started off with mashing the bananas that were almost completely black! Since bananas are such a good deal in the stores now, we had some getting black to make banana nut muffins. I also was out of eggs, so I found these recipes on the internet. They turned out quite yummy!

Our second recipe was for Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. This recipe also didn't call for eggs, so we tried them as well. And yes, they were tasty as well!

If you're interested in the recipes, here are their links. Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Eggless). Banana Nut Muffins (Eggless).

December 7, 2009

Puzzle Christmas Tree Ornaments

Do you need some easy craft ideas for your kids to make? Try this craft! It's super easy and kids who enjoy using glue will get a kick out of them.

All you need for this craft project is:

-Sturdy cardboard
-Puzzle Pieces
-Decorative embellishments (i.e. sequences, ribbon, stars, etc.)

We have an ornament on our Christmas tree from my mother-in-law just like these, the only thing is that she bought hers from a craft fair.

Step 1: Cut out a base from the cardboard for your tree.

Step 2: Use puzzle pieces to cover that cardboard. We used an end piece to form the trunk of the tree. We also had 3 layers of pieces so that you could no longer see the cardboard underneath the pieces.

Step 3: Embelish your tree with whatever you have available. We are going to use beads and sequences.

Step 4: Attach a ribbon at the top so that you can hang your ornament on the tree!

I'd love to hear or even see your results! :)

December 3, 2009

Remodeling Laundry Room

Laundry Room : Before Photo

For those of you who don't know it already, our washer had recently been leaking tremendously after a load of wash.  My husband and father-in-law have both been trying to figure out why it has been doing that, so we called the Appliance guy and the Sewer company.  The Sewer Company flushed out the pipes, and the Appliance guys said there was nothing that he saw that was wrong with it.  So in the end, we just finally decided it was probably time for a new washer (and dryer).

Now, as frugal as we are, my husband and I though about finding one for cheap on Craigslist or another website that sells them for cheap.  But we decided to keep up with the times and splurge on a brand new washer and dryer.  We figured that it would be best to recycle (or give it back to our landlord/father-in-law) the old ones, and than use an old dryer with a new washer.  We have some money saved for a rainy day - so what better way to use that than on a rainy washer! 

So here are some update photos on what we did with our laundry room:

First we took the old washer and dryer out.  Found out that there was still water under our old vinyl floor, so we tore all that out.  We put a heater in there to get the actual floor completely dry.  Then my boys and I went to Home Depot to buy some new vinyl floor.

We repainted the walls from white to a sort of khaki color, and we repainted the cabinets a fresh white, and painted the trim from a wood color to white.  

Our new vinyl floor that my brother-in-law installed!  It looks 10 times better already!

So now I will have you anxiously awaiting the final result with the new washer and dryer and a complete laundry room!  More to come...

I love Freecycle!

I'm really into any sort of frame now-a-days, so when I saw that someone had posted on Freecycle that they had 6 8x10 frames, and only lived a few short minutes away, I jumped at the chance to see if they were still there.  I have a huge wall in my office of any sized black frames that I can find.  It's fun to see where I got them all (mostly at garage sales!).  So back to my story...when I got to the house that had the free frames, I hurriedly got out (because I had a child in the car with me), and looked around for the frames.  I finally noticed them when I was about to jump back in the car.  They were in two plastic grocery bags, so I thought they were trash.  I peeked in the bag, and low and behold, they were BLACK!  And in mint condition!  I'm so excited that I can add to my photo gallery wall in my office!  I now just need to find some awesome artwork or sign up for some free 8x10 photos, and I'll be all set! 

If you've never heard of Freecycle or have never joined.  I highly recommend it if you're into Recycling, Reusing, and Reducing.  I think today I'm going to post of Freecycle all the magazines that I've already read and have been collecting dust on my shelf in the living room.  Anyone need some Parenting magazines?   

Have you gotten anything off of Freecycle lately, if so, what?  I'm curious to hear about your finds.  

December 1, 2009

Schnucks: FREE Nestle Chocolate!

Schnucks is having some great deals this week, especially on Nestle Chocolate Chips. Nestle Chocolate Chips are on sale this week for $1/bag. Click here to sign up for a $1 off coupon. That makes them free this week! Yippee! For more Schnucks deals, head on over to Coupon STL's blog. Thanks to Coupon STL for putting these deals together!

Redbox - FREE Rental

Here is a code to get a free Redbox video - SPNSV9. Hurry, it expires on 12/2! Happy date night for me! :)