Angie Gets Organized

This is why I'm trying to get organized...for my family. I am a strong believer in family meal time, but I know that without a little planning, it will be hard to keep us all together. It will also be easier to spend money foolishly on prepared foods or fast food. I love trying out new recipes, so this is my site to pass on recipes, while also organizing them into a meal plan. I hope it helps you to keep your family together. I would love to hear what others are having for dinner, or see a new recipe or two! Feel free to leave me some feedback in the comments section...at least then I would know someone is reading this!

It's not gourmet...just good food!






Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Raid the Pantry Week

Yes, I know I did not post a menu for this week, and yes, I know, it's taken a while to come around to this confession. But, in my defense, it's been a hard week with teething and fevers and head colds. So I figured that, like all other well-planned out things, "stuff" is bound to happen. There have been several nights since I have started planning out my meals that, for some reason or another, we haven't eaten the "planned" meal. Either I didn't "feel" like that meal that night, or we were invited to in-laws houses to eat, or whatever...but there have been a few meals that I have bought the stuff for and never made. So I have deemed this week "Raid the Pantry Week". Time to clean out the freezer and pantry! There is no savings in buying new things, just because I have a "new menu", especially when the pantry is full! So my best savings tip this week is to go through the old menues from this site, or your old menues, and use up that stuff!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Really good clearance deals on local gift certificates

If you're looking for a bargain on some local hot spots, I just found some at http://myhometownhalfoff.com. This site sells gift certificates half-price for local restaurants and stores (they change weekly, I believe). It looks like if the gift certificates don't sell at the half-price amount, they reduce it EVEN MORE! I found a few that might be of interest to you locals. There are exclusions and they do expire. The website gives all the details.
FIRSTLOOK PHOTO: One $50.00 gift certificate will cost you $12.50. It expires 6-15-10. Think of this as a way to make your own sale, especially if you're in the market for a new camera. You do not get change from the gift certificate, so you might want to make sure your purchase is $50 or more. You would also be able to get $50 of film processing pretty cheap as well.
BREAKAWAY SPORTS LOUNGE (Waynesboro location only): You get 2 $25 gift certificates for $12.50. They expire in Aug. and can be used on food only (not alcohol). And you can only use one certificate at a time (one per visit). But for a cheap date night, this will amount to $25 worth of dinner for $6.25!!
HAGERSTOWN SPEEDWAY: I have never been here, so I don't know what kind of racing goes on. One $50 gift certificate will cost you $12.50 and it expires 7-22-10.
PHOTOGEM (Greencastle): You get 5 $10 gift certificates for $12.50. They have to be used one at a time. They do offer photo processing.

If you can use these, they will certainly save you some money. You could also give them as gifts, as long as you let the receiver know that there are exclusions.

Flylady, I love you!

I am really getting into the cleaning routines posted on the flylady's website, http://flylady.net. This site has really helped me get organized and motivated. I want to encourage all of you to check it out, especially if you are finding it hard to establish your own routines. I've been getting her emails since January, and, although my house is still not as clean as my mother-in-law's or my sister-in-laws ( I don't know how she does it!!), I feel like I am chipping away at it! The daily emails are motivating and keep me on track. The flylady has broken down our homes into 4 zones. She focuses on one zone each week, so as not to overwhelm us. She also sets monthly goals for you. Just today, I finally discovered some routines on her site that I'm going to post somewhere in my house to keep me on track, without forgetting anything (just in case I forget to check my email for a few days). I wanted to pass this on to you guys, but I still hope you'll check out her site (it is free to sign up and receive her emails).

The Flylady Routine
Monday:
*Do one load of laundry
*Spend 15 min. in the current zone (she gives you these in the emails and on her homepage)
*Complete your weekly "blessing hour" (these are a quick list of chores to do in 10 increments. She says to complete them in one fell swoop or break them down into one or two a day). I'll list the chores at the end of this.
Tuesday:
*Do one load of laundry
*Spend 15 min. in the current zone
*Water plants
Wednesday:
*Do one load of laundry
*Do the "deep cleaning" chores for that week's zone
*Menu planning, grocery lists
*Checkbook maintenence, pay bills
Thursday:
*Do one load of laundry
*Spend 15 min. in the current zone
*Grocery shopping and errands
Friday:
*Do one load of laundry
*Spend 15 min. in the current zone
*Filing
Saturday:
*family time!!
Sunday:
*Rest time

The weekly blessing hour: (to be done at once or broken down over the week)
This is supposed to be quicky cleaning, since you spend more serious time in each zone of the house once a month. This is not supposed to be stressful! She suggests setting a timer for 10 min., and when it goes off, move to the next thing. Whatever you get done, is what you get done. Some people like to do this complete list more often than once a week (her site says some may prefer to do it Monday to recover from the weekend and Friday to get ready for the weekend.) Whatever works for you!
*Vacuum in the general walking areas (she says not to move furniture!)
*Dust
*Quick mop (probably just main areas of kitchen, especially under table and around cooking areas...remember, you do deep cleaning later)
*Clean mirrors
*Get rid of old magazines, catalogs, or junk mail
*Change Sheets
*Empty Trashcans

Yes, I know there are seven things here, so I guess pick one to delete if it's not important to you, or take a little longer than an hour.

Hope this helps someone...I hope I'm not the only one struggling with getting it all done!

A few deals and a cool website

Here are two new deals that I found in my inbox this afternoon:
1. Walmart is selling a trial kit (not sure of the price) of the new Pampers Cruisers and Swaddlers diapers. The trial kit includes diapers, wipes, and a cute diaper pouch. Looks like a neat thing for the diaper bag. I'm hoping the price makes it worth it.

2. Here's a new code for a "rent one, get one free" movie from the Blockbuster kiosks. GN13B4
These little movie rental kiosks are popping up everywhere around Waynesboro, Chambersburg, and Shippensburg. Like Redbox, they are only $1/per night and they can be returned to any Blockbuster kiosk (which are at almost every Sheetz store in Chambersburg, and a few Rutters). The locations are on their website http://blockbusterexpress.com. This code doesn't expire until 3/29, so it looks like we'll be getting 2 movies for a $1 this weekend!

I wanted to also pass along a cool website that my mom found. It looks like it could be very helpful to getting us all a little more organized. Its called http://cozi.com. It has online calendars for you to use, which can be broken down into each family member and viewed on your cell phone. It's got a lot of other organizational tools, too, but I haven't finished checking it out. Oh, and it's free for the downloads!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Menu 3/20-3/26

Ok, so I'm REALLY not getting any faster at this...my week just seems so crazy, plus it's tax season! (I help my mom do taxes, so this takes up most of my free time after the kids are in bed). But, I am proud of myself for keeping this gig up for this long. And I do feel more organized, even if it's just in the meal department. Hey, the flylady (flylady.net), says to take one day at a time, and that as long as we're doing SOMETHING we are never really behind. I like that way of thinking!! It keeps me motivated, even when I only accomplish one small task every couple of hours (or one a day!!). So, for now, I am focused on the meal thing, and reducing my grocery bill. So far so good for this month, although, I really should only spend $60-70 more dollars this week! And at least $10 of that is already going to pull-ups! So I tried to keep it pretty cheap this week.

3/20 Meatball Subs, macaroni and cheese. Meatballs are $3.99/bag at Martins plus BuyOneGetOne free! Use the extra bag of meatballs for Monday's meal. A box of macaroni and cheese is less than a dollar. If you make your own, pasta is on sale for $1.00/box at Martin's. Cost: $5.00/4-6 serv.

3/21 Pigs in a Blanket, baked beans. Not the healthiest of meals, but pretty cheap. Hatfield Hotdogs are BOGO this week at Martin's ($2.99/pack). There are tons of coupons floating around in current and old coupon flyers for pillsbury cresent rolls (although the cheap ones are usually cheaper, even without the coupon). A can of baked beans is usually around $1.50, but I have tons of beans in my cabinet (don't ask me why), so I will probably bake my own. Cost: $4.50/4-6 serv.

3/22 Spaghetti. Barilla pasta is $1.00/box again this week at Martin's. Several spaghetti sauces are on sale as well. Garlic toast (if you want to splurge) is $1.99 at Martin's, but the generic Texas Toast is usually around $1.69/box at Walmart. We have extra bread (from a BOGO promo last week) so, I'll be making my own garlic toast. Round out the meal with salad: generic brands are $1.00 or less at Aldi's and Save-a-lot or BOGO at Martin's (at $3.69/bag). You could also make garlic bread from the extra package of cresent rolls (most likely, if you use a coupon, you had to buy 2 containers of rolls). Don't forget to use your extra meatballs from Saturday's meal. Cost: varies from the cheap end $3.00/6 serv to $5.00/6 serv.

3/23 Chicken and Spinach Pierogies. Probably the most expensive meal this week, but I was thinking that you wouldn't have to use much meat (think of it more as a side). Fresh spinach (tastes best) is $0.99/bag with coupon in flyer at Martin's. Not sure of pierogi cost, but I think around $2.50/box. May need two boxes for larger families. I will probably use about two cut-up chicken breasts for this recipe. Use more or less, depending on your taste. Cost: approx. $5.50/4 serv. (this assumes you will have the other staples on hand).

3/24 Leftovers. We always have leftover spaghetti! But if not, I'm sure there will be something in the fridge or the freezer to pull out.

3/25 Beefy Bean Burritos. Refried beans are always cheap! I think the generic at Walmart is $0.50. Hamburger (if not already in your freezer), can usually be found for $1.99-$2.50/lb in bulk packs. I never buy hamburger from Walmart...it always seems to be the most expensive place for it! Didn't see any sales on salsa, but a generic brand usually comes in at under $2.00. I haven't bought it in so long, since I'm still using my homemade canned salsa. Cheddar cheese is on sale for $2.00/bag at Martins, and I think there is a Sargento coupon floating around in my coupons. But generic cheese may be cheaper, will have to look! Mission Tortillas are on sale for $2.50 at Martins, but I think that Walmart has similar prices, maybe even a few cents cheaper.
Cost: around $9.00/4-6 serv if you don't have anything on hand. (wow, didn't think these would be this expensive until I added it all up!)

3/26 Homemade Chicken Tenders. I will be just dipping cut-up chicken breasts in egg and flour/breadcrumbs and baking them. I could only find a chicken sale at Target (I think $6/bag, not sure for how many pounds). I'll be using chicken from my stocked up freezer. We will probably do potatoes or french fries for a side. Aside from sale prices, Walmart generally has the cheapest regular price on potatoes (although I haven't checked out Aldi's prices on potatoes). Martin's has french fries on sale 2/$5.00, and with a coupon from their flyer, you will get FREE Ore-Ida Steam-n-Mash Frozen Potatoes (with purchase of 2 Ore-Ida french fries). Target has small bags of Steamable Veggies on clearance for less than a dollar. Cost: $8/4-6 serv (this is if you use the entire bag of chicken from Target, but most likely you won't have to use that much!)

Total cost: approx. $37 dollars!! Yeah!! Under budget, and with leftovers to spare! Of course, I will still have to buy snacks for my kids at school, diapers/pull-ups, and a few other things (umm, ice-cream?) that somehow sneak into my cart!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Price tag for this week's meal

Just out of curiousity, I added up the basic grocery list for this weeks meals. I was happily surprised that it added up to (roughly) $48.44!! And this price includes the extra casserole that is going in the freezer for later! I didn't add in staples that most people keep on hand (like spices), but I did add in a veggie side and potato side to go along with the roast chicken meal! Most of the meals are 6 serv (or more), so that brings each serving of a meal down to about $1.20! Wow, much better than a happy meal!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Menu 3/13-3/19

Here are my suggestions for meals this week, using the sales from Giant/Martins. There seems to be a lot of good bargains this week, so hopefully we can stay within our food budget!

3/13 BLT sandwiches, pasta salad. Bacon is BOGO this week. We'll use both packages for two different nights this week. A box of pasta salad (we like Suddenly Salad) usually runs about $1.50/box, but it might be cheaper at Walmart.

3/14 Roasted Chicken in the crockpot. Didn't see a specific deal on whole chickens, but they are usually pretty cheap, and can be used for two recipes this week. This one is done in the crockpot, so you can put it in there and go outside and enjoy the weather for the rest of the day!

3/15 Chili Corn Dog Casserole. If you like chili dogs or corndogs, you'll like this easy casserole. I've made it several times, and we all really like it. Hot dogs are also BOGO this week. Kraft shredded Cheese is 2/$4.00 with the coupon from the sales flyer. Boxes of cornbread mix are usually less than a dollar.

3/16 Chicken Comfort Soup. This is a yummy recipe from our church cookbook. You can use the leftover chicken from Sunday's dinner, or use canned chicken (on sale for 2/$5.00).

3/17 Leftovers.

3/18 Taco Stuffed Shells. Another Taste of Home recipe that we love!! The kids gobble this down, plus it makes enough for 2 casseroles (one to eat, one to freeze!). Cream cheese is $1/box, shredded cheese is 2/$4.oo with flyer coupon, and there is also a flyer coupon for free salsa with purchase of two bags of tortilla chips. You will need all of these for the recipe.

3/19 Breakfast for Supper. Need to do some recipe research, but we will probably do a stuffed french toast casserole and serve it with the bacon from this weeks BOGO sale.

I will try to get all the recipes posted earlier this week! Sorry I keep falling behind!

Free music downloads for the kiddos!

This is so cool! I checked this out today because Mary loves "her" music for in the car. I'm getting a little tired of the same old CDs, so when I heard about this site, I wanted to give it a try! If you go to http://sproutonline.com , and click on the music and video tab, you will be directed to a spot with LOTS of free downloads. Some of the songs are really short, but they were all really cute. I'm going to download them today and buy some CDs to put them on. There were a lot of other fun activities on this site as well.

$3.00 Barbies

Superstar Barbies are $3.00 this week at both Toys R Us and Kmart. Toys R Us has a limit of one per customer, but Kmart doesn't appear to.

There are also lots of toy coupons on the Hasbro site. Might be able to use some of them on travel size games for a pretty good price. I know Target sells a lot of travel games.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Menu 3/6-3/12

Wow! What a weekend! With everyone in the house either "throwin" or "goin" (as Shane's dad says), who could even think about cooking or menu planning, or even buying a Sunday Paper! So, with not much knowledge about what's on sale, I just had to put a menu together with things are generally cheap to make, with what one probably already has in the freezer or pantry. Regardless of what you make, eating in is always cheaper than eating out!

3/6 Spanish Rice. I did see some sales on canned tomatoes (Giant), although generic brands are usually just as cheap. And my canned tomatoes from last summer are FREE! Ground Beef and rice are also usually on hand or cheap. I do believe that ground SIRLOIN is actually on sale at Giant for $1.99/lb. Wow, cheaper than ground beef and a better cut! You can eat the rice alone, or put it in a soft tortilla. The tortillas are usually under $2/pack at Walmart.

3/7 Ham Primavera. I'm using my extra ham steak that I picked up a few weeks ago on a BOGO special.

3/8 Italian Chicken Roll-ups. This is a new recipe for me, but it looks pretty good. Not sure if there are any good chicken sales going on for skinless breasts (which you'll need for this recipe), but did see that chicken leg quarters (good for soup and casseroles) are on sale at Weis for $0.59/lb.

3/9 Hamburger Helper. Pick your favorite one or use one from the pantry. With a coupon, (pretty sure there is one still in date) and some hamburger, this is definitely a cheap meal.

3/10 Leftovers. You'll think of something! Could even be one of those boxes of Mac & Cheese sitting in the back of your pantry and a pack of hotdogs out of the freezer!

3/11 Chicken Sesame (crockpot meal). This is also a new recipe, but everything I've tried out of this cookbook, my family seems to love! You'll need more chicken breasts, so make sure you buy a bulk pack in the beginning of the week. The recipe calls for sesame seeds, which I have on hand. If you don't have them on hand, it may not be worth the extra cost for you to purchase them. I seriously doubt they add that much flavor! But if you are gung-ho about getting them, I would highly recommend getting them from a place that sells spices in bulk (like Apple Blossom Dairy, Paul's Market, Bender's, or some other type of Farmer's market/Mennonite food store)

3/12 Hoagies/Subs. These can be homemade or storebought. I know I said eating in is cheaper, and it is!, but sometimes we like to splurge on a good hoagie!

Have a good week. If anyone has found some good sales, please pass them along!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blockbuster kiosks

Do you guys know anything about the new Blockbuster Kiosks that are starting to pop up? They are similar to the Redbox movie rental kiosks that are now at Walmart, Walgreens, and Giant. I have only seen one at the Rutters in Quincy, but am hoping that more will show up in Chambersburg and Waynesboro. Well, for now, if you can get to the one in Quincy, there are some free movie codes below that will make it worth your trip.

After picking your movie, use the following codes at checkout (before swiping your credit/debit card). You can only use each code once (per credit card).

GW12B4 Rent one movie, get one free (Exp. tonight!!)
GOLIVE Rent one movie for FREE for one night (Exp. 3/3)
GE12B Rent one movie for FREE for one night (Exp. 3/8)
GT21A Rent one movie for FREE for one night (Exp. 3/12)
GL9RA Rent one movie for FREE for one night (Exp. 3/31)
POPCORN Rent one movie, get one free (Exp. unknown)

Since some of these codes expire in the middle of the week, my suggestion would be to rent two movies at once (maybe one for the kids and one for the parents), using two different codes. You will have to check out twice to use two different codes. Maybe have some kids over for a movie date with the kids! I know my kids will be excited to get a movie treat in the middle of the week (since we usually save them for the weekends!)