Monday, March 4, 2013

She Works Hard for Her MONEY!

SOOOO hard for her money..dun du..dun du !

 I have great expectations to take you touring around the great sites of DC once the weather is much better. As you would know it, Winter is rearing his ugly head. UGH! 40 degrees and the threat of a winter storm with up to 6 inches of snow predicted for Wednesday. I am making the best of it and taking you on a tour of my life instead, lucky you, and definitely staying inside... well kinda.

So my newest life quest is to re-learn what I am all about. Since my kiddos threw my prince and I into immediate adulthood at a relatively young age for our generation, Ive realized that I need to be reintroduced to myself. I am in this, pseudo midlife crisis, what you see is what you get, no apologies necessary quest. When I figure it all out, Ill let you know how things are going. So far, and there's really a lot more to it then what Ive described... but for now...the two of us, Me and Me, are getting along....

OKAY...;) Its getting a little too deep in here so I'm abandoning this subject, and I'll go to the next one. Yup cooking. I have never thought of myself as a cook, nor have I really ever enjoyed it but I do really enjoy saving money and being resourceful. Recently, excited about paying off our debt, I delve back into coupons, meal planning, and shopping with a purpose. I started investigating some of the really great blogs that help you save money and meal plan. I hate planning meals so, being the resourceful (lazy) person I am, I found No I'm not joining the million of coupon bloggers, but I'm very thankful for them. I am just sharing (and documenting) my adventures. I am sure a lot of you have seen or heard of this amazing website, there is so much to explore there is no way to tell you about it all. But what I will tell you is that one of the most helpful tools on the site, aside from the weekly meal plans she provides, is her blog about baby #4's freezer stock up plan. I love the idea of freezing breakfast for your family so that Pop-Tarts and Cereal are not the go to...*remember this*. This morning I made and froze about 24 Potato Egg and Cheese breakfast burritos (she calls them tacos). Here is her recipe and link to the stock ups

...I also started dinner, one of the awesome $5
Dinner Recipes...

Family Portioned Chicken Tenders
1 Jar of BBQ sauce
Chopped onions...

Thank you Miss Crock Pot, I always like it when you cook for me :)
On to bigger and better, the actual shopping part. YAY! Ok, after burning 300 calories in the gym... Wait, before you congratulate me I already ate those 300 calories, in the not-so-healthy way *Cereal and Pop-Tarts*. Remember, no apologies!! It was awesome! :)
 I armed myself with my grocery list, coupons and store circulars. I am now on my way to Shoppers and Target with a little detour to Pier 1. I love shopping! It is one of my most favoritest, yes Angela Pinkard-Hale I know that's not a word, things to do in this WHOLE WIDE WORLD :) I had every intention of walking myself straight into the grocery store but that wind just blew me right into Pier 1. I did however resit the temptation to buy this really cool papasan swing chair for my balcony but could not pass up these cute measuring spoons that were on SALE from $14.95 to $7.48. This was not a frivolous purchase, we are still trying to save, I don't have any of these...well anymore, I think they were lost in one of the moves. Last week when I made freezer blueberry muffins it was a little tedious using the only one I had left, the 1/4 of a teaspoon. Yeah that was fun.

STORE #1...well# 2 :) Shoppers...

One of the best places around here to shop. Its really expensive here, ask my mother-in-law. Its not just that we live on the East Coast, its the actual area we live in. Everything is way more expensive. Shoppers and Target (with coupons) is the most economical for me. I've shopped Shoppers many times before and two places I have to check out before leaving is:

*1. the day old bakery section
*2. the dent and scratch basket.

OMGsh I feel like I won the supermarket lottery today...Green beans for $0.35 a can, peaches for $0.65 a can, stuffing for $0.75, Mini Spooners for $1, and Brawny for $0.75 a roll. Is it sad that I get this excited about beat up grocery goods? Really for me, this is the best part of the dinner prep. I did think about taking all of the cereal and canned goods in the basket but realized that if I let the hysteria take over, I might have the impulse to beat the sweet old lady next to me over the head with the really cheap paper towels I just scored...walk away Steph, walk away! lol I seriously get these visuals, oh I so entertain myself.
Ok back to reality, I did strategically buy some other items, and used coupons. My total tally of all of this heart stopping shopping is... 21 items and a total savings of $6.48. Everything else was on my "Shoppers" list. Now on to Target where the shopping game resumes, and its a little more tricky. Do any of you see gambling tendencies in you future after grocery shopping like me??...I also think, thank goodness saving a dollar for me is like winning a dollar at the casino, except I don't have to smell cigarette smoke, run the risk of catching a serious illness, or give total strangers all my money.
I had a plan, I knew that select breakfast foods were on sale at target today. Also if you purchased the certain breakfast foods, 5 at a time you receive a $5 gift card. Before you judge me for the quality of the food, I know that Pop-Tarts aren't breakfast so to speak, and right now all three of my kids are eating me out of house and home. In our house these items accompany "real food" or are only eaten alone as snacks. we usually do not have chips, or soda. Our junk food is Pop-Tarts and empty calorie cereal.:) My kids eat almost anything.  Even Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts...the list really does go on. OK so here's the low down on the damage to the pocket book.
So much easier to show than to tell so here is what I am talking about....

 The best part about this is...Target will allow you to use your coupons, both manufacture and target, in combination with the gift card deal. I have a few rules about coupons. I don't ever buy something just because I have a coupon and just because I have a coupon doesn't mean its the cheapest brand. I had multiple coupons for the General Mills Cereal and Pop-Tarts so here's the tally.

3 Corn Pops @ $2.75 each
- $1/3 Kellogs coupon =
$2.41 each

3 Poptarts @ $2.75 each
-$ 1/3 Poptarts coupon =
$2.41 each

$14.46 total

Part of the Buy 5 get $5 gift card so the cereal and Poptarts

After the $5 gift card each item is a little over $1.50 per item....

The coupon guru's do it much better than I do...and yes, Target allows you to stack your manufacture coupon with your Target coupon for each item...Lots of savings!

This is a match up from $5 Dinners website.
Kellogg's Cereal, 10.7 - 16.7 oz - $2.751.00 off any 3 Kellogg's Cereals listed
$1/2 Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Cereal, exp. 3/31/13 (Package Insert)
$1/2 Kellogg's Rice Crispies, Cocoa Krispies, Crispix or Kellogg's Corn Flakes Cereal, exp. 3/31/13 (Package Insert)
$1/2 Kellogg's Krave, Raisin Bran Cinnamon Almond or Crunchy Nut Cereal, exp. 3/31/13 (Package Insert)
$1/2 Kellogg's All Bran, Rice Krispies, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, or Raisin Bran Cereal, exp. 3/31/13 (RP 02/17/13 R)
$1/2 Kellogg's Cinnamon Jacks Cereal, exp. 3/24/13 (RP 02/10/13 R)
$1/3 Kellogg's Cereal, exp. 3/17/13 (RP 02/03/13 R)
$0.70/1 Kellogg's Cinnamon Jacks Cereal, exp. 3/24/13 (RP 02/10/13 R)
$0.70/1 Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Crunch, exp. 3/24/13 (RP 02/10/13 R)
$1/2 Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Crunch, exp. 3/24/13 (RP 02/10/13 R)
$1/3 Kellogg's Cereals, exp. 4/14/13 (RP 03/03/13 R)
$1/3 Select Kellogg's Cereals Target printable
$1/1 Kellogg's Rice Krispies (Ibotta Deposit)$0.50/1 Kellogg's Corn Flakes (Ibotta Deposit)
$0.50/1 Kellogg's Raisin Bran Original Cereal (Ibotta Deposit)
$1/1 Kellogg's Corn Flakes (Ibotta Deposit)
$1/1 Kellogg's Raisin Bran Original Cereal (Ibotta Deposit)

Read more:

On top of all of that, each box of Corn Pops and Pop-Tarts had this coupon insert. So really, I can do this over and over again until the 5/$5 gift card promo is over. Its Krazy Coupon Lady bliss..

*This one even has coupons for eggs and milk

Here's a pic of the boxes that have the coupon inserts, not all of them do... Another plus side to using these specific coupons is every time one of these coupons are redeemed, Kellogs makes a donation to school breakfast programs...for some kids, that's good news. CHA-CHING....and the tickets at the arcade keep coming...

 I had a quick stop off at the house to unload all the loot and look who I found...Doing homework..Cutie Pie

Now off to the Local library...I love the library, it makes me feel smart, and cheap...wait I don't feel, that almost took a wrong turn.
So here is our awesome, lovely local library. It looks cold outside, right, UH! Lately I have been renting movies for the girls. The girls are in that stage where all they want to do is watch girl movies a pint of ice-cream cause my best friend is no longer my best friend, until tomorrow, I never look right and my hair is always crazy and all I want to do is look at my iPhone and listen to music, draw crazy pictures and no one is as interesting (or as pitiful) as me stage...everyone got that...yeah, me neither...

  The BEST part of the library...I'm addicted! The $0.10 paperbacks...Does anyone know if there is a cent sign on the keyboard???  Anyway..I never get out of the library without buying something from this cart. There is also a $1 hardback section too.. 
 Today I scored almost an entire series of inspirational romance, christian based, the best thing for the girls now since everyone in their peer group is still obsessed with overly dramatic vampires..BLAH!
 Back in the car, home sweet home there on the left. My day is almost getting to the really busy mommy stage of my elementary and middle school goblins. It's 4pm and the, "MOM!!! So and so said this, and so and so said that, and now my life is ending as we know it!!!!. I'm hungry!..My legs and arms hurt!!!! Can I go to so and so's???? Can so and so come over???"... "OH MY GOSH JUST DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!"... part of the day is coming! Seriously, I love my life and I love seeing it unfold, chaotically, in front of me.
 But before I go to bed for the night and leave you all to wonder why you've waisted 10 minutes of your life that you cant ever get back...I have to give you the grand tally for today's awesome shopping excursion...and here is the recap!

Burned 300 + calories 
Saved $6.48 at Shoppers
Saved almost $25 at Target
Bought 10 books for $3.70
All in a days work...All in a days work...Until next time, love you all!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bicycle! Bicycle

"I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike..."

"Bicycle Race" released in 1978 by Queen, my birth year by the way, has been running through my head ever since we set out on our bicycle adventure today. With every turn of my pedal, and new scene upon the horizon I thought of so many of you today. I am so glad it is 50ish degrees outside I really thought I was going to have to commit myself soon. I am not all too fond of the climate around here and really, I'm trying really hard not to pack up and set out for my mommas! :)So psychotherapy by way of bike and city was a great remedy for my winter pity party I've been attending for quite some time now.

The DC/metro area  has a bikeshare program so for about $15 an hour you can rent a bike in one part of the city, and drop it off in another. So today we decided to go down to Old Town, Alexandria, one of my favorite places to go. To be honest when Michael said, very enthusiastically, "Hey! Lets go rent some bikes!" I was a little reluctant when I saw his running gear come out of the closet and the neon fanny pack being prepared. I was a little afraid we would be huffin it up the hills Tour de France style.  You see this is when the fond memory of "skiing lessons" with Michael and Timothy Tidwell, two springs ago, came to mind. Both Tim and Michael convinced me that I could learn to ski by doing the "pizza wedge and french fry" and I would certainly be okay with ditching ski school and I should come with them on the first run. Sandwiched between the two of them, I was thoughtfully coached all the way up the lift assuring me the hardest part was getting off. So it was a great surprise to me that after I had successfully gotten off the lift I tumbled head over feet twice, then slid down what seemed like 10 seconds face first with my poles and feet buried in the snow, as everyone else was upright, crying and screaming, I CANT STOP! Well I finally did stop, but I couldn't get up...I struggled so long, and it must have looked bad because ski patrol was alerted and paid me a visit. Someone helped me up but by this point the pizza wedge and french fry had no meaning so I took off one ski and walked down the mountain...for 2 hours...whew...    Anyway after some convincing, I agreed.                          

   I love the repetition of the bikes lined up along the city streets. I feel like such a big girl :) but all I could think before getting on is... well there it is...I hope we get along little bike...Its been about a year since Ive been on a bike and never in the city. All I could think of is falling into the other bikers on the trail, you know the very serious ones. They whiz by you at what seems like 40 MPH as they ring their bell and scream "ON YOUR LEFT!"... very neighborly. Anyway, after disclosing that I would NOT ride on the street, only the sidewalks, we set out for Mt. Vernon's Trail.

                                                                                                     There is so much to see, amazingly we live only about 3/4 of a mile from the airport so its the first thing we pass on the trail. I don't know if any of you have actually flown into Ronald Reagan, but its really exciting to land since it is on the bank of the Potomac. Fourth of July this past year "AJ" Aunt Jessica and the rest of the Poche clan walked the same trial in the other direction toward Gravelly Park. You can actually see the planes take off and land from this park. Its a hot spot for family's because the runway stops at the edge of the Potomac just at lift off and the planes fly over, roaring engines and all, a couple hundred feet above you. It IS really fun.

After you pass the airport the trail becomes more open the the city life just melts away. We cross multiple bridges and get to see many views of the Potomac in more of a natural state. I love seeing the sail boats and wild life. Just as we were passing, this family of ducks started to venture out into the more open part of the river. I couldn't help but think of Ben and Theresa...Ben loves birds, he works at the Audubon in Dallas. He spent last summer teaching the girls all about birds and the bird calls, they love their time with Uncle Ben and Resee!!  I also think its interesting to see the airplane on the horizon. I always think of Michae'sl dad and Beth Ann when I see sailboats. We went to visit them on the Gulf of Mexico two Christmases ago and loved every minute of it...It's also when I finally snuck the check from the waitress. Robert has this way of always paying when we go out and I really wanted to pay this time...I really think it was a shocker when I looked at him, giggled, and said "Too slow old man!"...Oh the look on his face...and by the way, it has never happened since. I really love Robert and Beth, we always have such a good time with both of them when we get to see them!
 Well we made it the first 5 miles of the trip to Old Town. We decided to go to lunch and walk around a bit so we parked our bikes at a bikeshare station and ventured into the nearest bike shop. There is so much to offer by way of the pedestrian lifestyle, restaurants, boutique shopping, piers off the Potomac, farmers market, etc. After having a chance to gain some confidence and let my skin soak in some good ol' fashion vitamin D, I decided that I really like riding the bike. I mentioned I thought I might want a bike for the spring and summer to go back and fourth from the farmers market.
We also found a really nice place to eat, great paninis! I love paninis! I really love this guy, he always seems to get me going in the right direction. We have explored so much already in the almost 14 years we've been married. Now that the kids are a little bit older we are seeing what being just a pair is like...I am enjoying the freedom but I love my babies! Old Town is so fun. You get to experience the best of the city but its also historic and quaint with a little boho feel.

Trolleys are a great way to travel in this area because there is a lot of traffic, both pedestrian and automobiles. You also have to pay for parking everywhere and it is rarely cheap. Everyone was out spending time with family and walking the dogs. It was just warm enough to enjoy walking but cool enough that there was no threat of sweat while riding the bike :) perfect combo!

xYup! I even ventured out on the street and I was also taking pics while riding...probably not too smart. I was really proud of myself, as long as Michael was leading. Plus its not often that I fully become part of the urban lifestyle so I had to have proof. Traffic wasn't too bad in this area. After a great lunch and time away I was ready to go home with all of my biking experience in tow. I was able to take all the scenery in now that I have skills so we ventured out a bit on the trail.
Of course with all the wind time of bike riding I thought so much of Connie. Connie and I would spend all day on our bikes adventuring in the neighborhoods. Even into our early teens, the bikes and skates were our way to a little freedom. We took many a trip down the bayou too. We were the female modern version of Huck and Fin...hiding food and water in plastic containers in old hollowed out logs, "falling" out of the boat, and sometimes pushing each other out of the boat...visited great memories today while spending time with my favorite person. Cant wait to see what our next adventure will be...hopefully we have more of these bike rides.