Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Black Friday

I am not a morning person. So for MANY years, I didn't even consider getting up to join the crazy crowds to get the good deals. That is, until 2 years ago. With finances as tight as they are and were, the only way I could get my hubby a decent camera for Christmas was to get up and join the thousands of others who brave the early, early morning to get the best deals. My first year was also my great aunt's first year and she was 73 years old!!! We got up at 4am and got in line at Walmart in order to buy a Sony Cybershot for my hubby. We went to a few other stores, had breakfast and returned home by about 8am. Well, the rest of the day we spent napping. It is HARD to recover from that early of a morning when you are no spring chicken:-)

Then last year, my hubby was working at the Walmart in San Luis, AZ. We got permission to bring our RV the night before and spend the night in the parking lot. When my hubby went into work around 4am, he called and let me know that the lines were starting and we may want to come in and get in line. There were a couple of items we wanted to buy for our kids, so I put one kid in one line and another kid in another line (they were 12 and 14 yo), while I went in search of still another deal. We got all the items we wanted and then went back to the RV and crawled back into bed to sleep until my hubby got off work. It was a great way to do the deals shopping!!

Well, this year we now live back in the US of A and I was all set to make a big morning of it. BUT....the items that my kids (and hubby) wanted were not going to be on sale anywhere!! What a letdown! However, I found out that the malls here start their Black Friday deals at midnight on Thanksgiving!! And they were offering a $50 Amex gift card if you spend $100 in the mall between midnight and 3 am!!! Well, we decided to go see if one of the items we needed to buy (Ipod Nano) was perhaps available at one of the stores there so we could get the $50 gift card. Best Buy was not opening until 5am, but perhaps Radio Shack would be open and have it. We arrived about 5 minutes after midnight and went straight to Radio Shack. They had the Ipod Nano and when we checked out, it was $15 LESS that they thought - which then equaled the best deal we had seen at!!! My daughter and I then went to stand in the line for the $50 gift card - a very long line already at 20 minutes after midnight!!! There were rumors that they only had 200 cards and we were at least 100 ppl back!! Would it be in vain? Well it turns out, after an hour in that line, that we were number 161 of 200!! Woo hoo! We got the gift card, my hubby and son had wandered all over the mall checking out any other deals (none we were interested in), so we went home around 1:30 am.

I got in bed, but then began to think about the deal that Kohls was offering on a hard-anodized pots and pans set (normally $199, on sale for $99, plus a $40 mail-in rebate=$59). My husband then said that maybe I should consider it and use the $50 gift card we just got at the mall, plus the $10 coupon from the paper. He went to sleep. I went online trying to determine the quality of the set vs. Calphalon (the BEST!!) and thought and thought about it until around 3am when I decided to go. I told my hubby I was going to stand in line at Kohls for their 4am opening to get the deal. He said ok and went back to sleep:-)

Off I went in the middle of the night to stand in line with about 100 other strangers to get the best deals at Kohls!!! I stood in line for 45 minutes and it was a little chilly. By the time the doors opened at 4am, there were at least 400 people in line! I went right in, found the set (they only had about 12 total!) and checked out with my gift card and $10 coupon, paying $47.01! I was back in my car by 4:07 am and back home shortly afterward. I didn't get to sleep until 5am!! And I will be getting my $40 rebate making the total cost to me for a $199 set = $7.01!!
I think that was worth it!

And the day wasn't as bad as when I got up so early the years before. I am a night owl, so I would MUCH rather stay up really late and sleep in than get up early! I slept until 11am and then took a nap in the afternoon. So that is my story - how did you take advantage of the Black Friday deals?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Thanksgiving Funny

Twas the Night of Thanksgiving

Twas the night of thanksgiving,
But i just couldn't sleep.
I tried counting backwards,
I tried counting sheep.

The leftovers beckoned -
The dark meat and white,
But i fought the temptation
With all of my might.

Tossing and turning with anticipation,
The thought of a snack became infatuation.
So, i raced to the kitchen, flung open the door,
And gazed at the fridge, full of goodies galore.
Gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.

I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
'Til all of a sudden, i rose off the ground.
I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky,
With a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie.
But, i managed to yell as i soared past the trees....
Happy eating to all - pass the cranberries, please.

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes 'n gravy have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious.
May your pies take the prize,
May your thanksgiving dinner stay off of your thighs!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area - Week Before Thanksgiving

This week, there are still alot of great deals on things you will need for your Thanksgiving Dinner, so don't miss out!

Honeysuckle White Premium Turkey $0.43/lb limit 1
Asparagus, Green Beans, Broccoli or Cauliflower $0.99/lb
Minute Maid Premium or Simply Orange Juice 2/$4
Gold Medal FLour or Albertson's Butter 2/$3
Pictsweet Vegetables 14-16 oz. $0.77
General Mills Cereal $1.77
Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese 5/$5
Albertsons Dips 5/$5
Hormel Little Sizzlers 12 oz. 5/$5

Granny Smith or Red Delicious Apples $0.49/lb
Milk $1.49/gallon
Flav-R-Pac Classic Vegetables (frozen) 16 oz. $0.69

Food City
Sweet Potatoes or Yams 3 lbs/$0.99
Mrs. Cubbison's Stuffing 2/$3
Celery $0.69
Cucumbers 4/$1
Cilantro 4/$1

Fresh & Easy
Mrs. Cubbison's Classic Seasoned Dressing $0.99
French's Original French Fried Onions 6 oz. $2.49
Farmer John Half Ham $0.77/lb
Cool whip $0.99
10 lb bag Russet Potatoes $1.98
Mrs. Smith's Pies $1.99

Pro's Ranch Market
Honeysuckle Turkey's $0.37/lb with $25 purchase
10 lbs potatoes $0.99
Pork Chops $0.87/lb (6 lbs or more)
Celery 3/$0.99
Mrs. Cubbison's stuffing or dressing $0.99 w/coupon
Springfield Whole Kernel Corn 3/$1 w/coupon
Hass Avocados 3/$0.99
Yam 4 lbs/$0.99
Navel Oranges 2 lbs/$0.99
Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese $0.99

Turkey $0.39/lb w/$25 purchase (limit 2)
10 lb bag Russet Potatoes $0.97
Barilla Pasta 10/$10

Pineapples $0.97 each
Walnuts Halves and Pieces $2.99/lb
Large Navel Oranges 3 lbs/$1
Broccoli $0.88/lb
Celery $0.88/bunch
Extra Lean Ground Beef or Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts $1.97/lb
Raw Almonds $3.99/lb
Fancy Pecan Halves $4.99/lb
Fresh Free-Range Turkey $1.47/lb
Shredded Mozzarella, Cheddar or Monterey Jack $2.99/lb

Turkeys $0.40/lb
Green Giant Canned Vegetables $0.50
Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce $0.88
Green Beans $0.98/lb
Campbell's Cream of Mushroom or Chicken Soup $0.58
Swanson Chicken Broth 14 oz can $0.45
Great Value Butter $1.50/lb
Nestle Tollhouse Morsels 12 oz. $1.78
Minute Maid OJ 64 oz $2

Hope you find all you need and want for your Thanksgiving dinner! I won't be doing the sales ads next week - you will just have to dive into Black Friday on your own:-)

Have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving with your friends and family!!!

Baking and Preparing for Thanksgiving

I spent the day yesterday baking 8 dozen dinner rolls in order to take them to Sunshine Acres Children's Home in Mesa, AZ. Then today we toured their facilities. Wow! What an amazing place for children in tough situations! They have 125 acres with 6 separate homes for 10 children each, as well as other buildings for housing, dining, administration, health, school, etc. I was very impressed with their staff, facilities and their heart for these kids, as well as the staff who care for them. Having established and run a teen boys home for several years in Mexico, I understand exactly what they are dealing with and appreciate the lengths that they have gone to in order to make a difference in the lives of these children.

My heart was incredibly touched and it brought back to my mind the boys that we worked with and loved while we were in Mexico. I don't know if God has this type of work in our future again or not, but it really touched my heart to see Sunshine Acres and how they are doing what they do with such excellence. They also have a Boutique where they sell items in order to bring in additional funds. I was very impressed with the quality and prices of items there. If you live in the area, you should go check it out for Christmas gifts and decorations. They are located on Higley Rd. just south of the northern loop of the 202.

We are looking forward to the opportunity to volunteer and help in some way at Sunshine Acres in the near future. They have many needs and many areas in which you can volunteer, so if you are looking for a place to help out, there just may be a niche that you can fill at Sunshine Acres. And if you have never visited, I urge you to take the time to visit and tour the facility. It will fill your heart with joy to see how they are helping this kids have a stable, loving, Christ-centered childhood.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area - Preparing for Thanksgiving!!

Now is the time to stock up on those items you need for your Thanksgiving (and Christmas) meal!! Some great deals this week, so pay attention!

Honeysuckle White Premium Turkey $0.43/lb (limit 1)
Premium Spiral Sliced Ham $1.57/lb
Clementines 3 lb bag 2/$5
Bottom Round Roast $1.88/lb
93% lean Ground Beef $1.67/lb (5 lbs or more)
DelMonte Vegetables 2/$0.88 (limit 6)
Breyer's Ice Cream $1.99 (limit 2)
Albertsons Butter $1.99/lb

Boneless Cross Rib Roast $1.88/lb (first 4)
80% lean ground beef $1.38/lb (first 2)
Basha Milk 1/2 gallon $0.88 (first 2)
Food Club Jumbo Flaky Biscuits $0.88
Food Club Cheese, 6-8 oz. $0.99

Food City
Chicken Leg Quarters $0.49/lb (10 lbs bag)
Bananas 3 lbs/$0.99
Mangos 3/$0.99
Cilantro or Mexican Green Onions 4/$1
Del Monte Canned Vegetables $0.59
Hunt's Spaghetti Sauce $0.99
Tilapia Fillets $1.99/lb
Green Cabbage 3 lbs/$0.99

Beef Back Ribs $0.79/lb

White Onions 5 lbs/$1
Lemons 3 lbs/$0.99

Fresh & Easy
Jennie-O Premium Basted Frozen Turkey $0.37/lb STILL BEST DEAL!!! (limit 2)
Farmer John Half Ham $0.77/lb (limit 4)
Boneless Beef Chuck Roast $1.99/lb
Mrs. Smith's Pies $1.99
F&E Cream Cheese $0.99
F&E Bagels $1.99/6
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls or Cinnamon Rolls $1.65
F&E Frozen Hash Brown Patties (10 ct) $1.89
F&E Canned Vegetables 10/$5
Mrs. Cubbison's Seasoned Dressing $1.49
F&E Butter $1.99/lb
Libby's Pumpkin 29 oz $1.99
Carnation Evaporated milk 12 oz. $0.99
Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce $0.99
$3 off $30 purchase and $5 off $50 purchase coupons

Accepting All Grocery Competitors Coupons!
All Manufacturer's Coupons Now Worth $1!!
Jennie-O Turkey $0.43/lb (limit 1)
Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts $1.57/lb
Clementines 3 lb bag $2.47
Bananas $0.39/lb
Blue Bunny Ice Cream 56 oz. $1.99 (first 4)
DelMonte Vegetables 20/$10
Duracell Batteries $1.88
Large Eggs $0.97 (limit 4)
Kroger Value Sugar 4 lb $0.97 (first 2)
Land O Lakes Butter $1.99/lb
Kroger Cream Cheese 10/$10
Carnation Evaporated Milk $0.99
Fry's Powdered or Brown Sugar 2 lbs 2/$3

Pro's Ranch Market
73% lean ground beef $0.88/lb
Pork Shoulder Picnic Roast $0.88/lb
Tilapia Fillets $1.98/lb
Bananas 3 lbs/$0.99
Seedless Watermelon 7 lbs/$0.99
Special Value Salt 26 oz. 4/$1
Springfield Long Grain Rice 5 lb bag 2/$3
White Onions 4 lbs/$0.99
Medium Yams 3 lbs/$0.99
Red Radishes 4 bunches/$0.99
Minute Maid OJ $1.99
Pilsbury Biscuits and Crescent Rolls 2/$3
10 lb bag of Potatoes $0.99
Boneless Chicken Tenderloins Pieces $0.98

Boneless Beef Round Steak $1.47/lb
Safeway Turkey $0.43/lb (limit 2)
Asparagus $0.99/lb
Green Giant Canned Vegetables $0.39
Lucerne Butter $1.99/lb
Tostitos Tortilla Chips $1.69
Quaker Instant Oatmeal 2/$3 (limit 6)
Crisp Gala Apples $0.47/lb
Safeway Hot Dog Buns $0.79

Walnuts halves and pieces $3.99/lb
Large Roma Tomatoes $0.88/lb
Trail Mix Blitz - 25% off
Heartland Spiral Cut Ham $1.99/lb
Virginia Peanuts $1.79/lb
Sprouts Bagels 2/$4 (6 ct)

Some great deals - go get them!! Let me know if you come across anything else spectacular, too! I got some great deals last week at Fry's and Albertsons, so I am looking for some more great deals this week. Stocking up on butter, eggs, turkeys, nuts, pumpkin, roasts, clementines, ice cream and cream cheese for starters!! My pantry is already overflowing, but I will find another closet space to stock up some more. You can't beat these deals and prices, so take advantage of them and stock up. I still have freezer space, so meat and butter deals are fantastic for me right now. Use your coupons and double your savings, especially at Fry's this week with all coupons $1 (use your small ones for sure:-). If you need to know where to find great coupons besides in the Sunday paper, go to, Redplum, Smartsource and check out The Krazy Koupon Lady - she let's you in on on the best deals!!

Christmas Already?

Wow, it seems like Christmas music is played earlier and earlier! And I know quite a few people who have already put up their Christmas trees!! Really??? It is only the beginning of November!! And I saw my first Hallmark Christmas commercial on TV this past week - the first week of November!!

What is going on? It seems like there is almost a desperation this year to begin celebrating Christmas. Perhaps, with the economy the way it is, we all want to just forget the tough stuff and celebrate. I guess that isn't a bad thing, just seems really strange. However, I would like to take time to celebrate Thanksgiving - giving thanks to our awesome God for all He is, has done and will continue to do in our lives!!

I am so thankful that I can find such great deals on groceries so that I can feed my family very well on such a little amount of money each week. I am very thankful for the opportunities and friends that He is bringing into my childrens' lives this year. I am extremely thankful for my dear husband and children - my life would seem so empty without them. I am thankful for the friends that God has brought into my life. I am thankful that I can homeschool my kids, even though it makes the finances so tight. I wouldn't trade it for the best salary in the world! My children and the opportunity to homeschool them means more to me than having the means to buy lots of things or afford a nicer house.

Well, the list could go on and on......I am SO VERY THANKFUL for so many things!! God is amazingly awesome and powerful and deserves all of our praise and glory!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area

There are some good deals this week, especially if you stack with some coupons! There are also alot of FREE or discounted turkeys, if you spend a certain amount of money at the store. However, Fresh & Easy has Jennie-O Turkeys for $0.37/lb this week again!!! You will certainly not beat this deal this season, unless you spend $100 at a store and get one for free. Not only do I never spend more than $10-15 at one store at one time, I have NEVER spent $100 at one time since I started being so frugal:-) I only spend on average about $40-$50 per week for all of our groceries (including cleaning products, paper products, pet food, etc.). And that includes stocking up on some items (like turkeys last week - I bought 4). So get the good deals and start stocking up on your baking items now while they are on sale and there are coupons, too!

Ground Beef 93% lean 5 lbs or more $1.67/lb
Boneless, skinless Chicken Breast $1.57/lb
5 for $5 Sale:
Del Monte Pineapples
Roma Tomatoes
Large Eggs
Albertsons Cream Cheese
Farmland Roll Sausage
Heinz Homestyle Gravy
Pepsi 2 liters
Green Giant Steamers
Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce

Save $10 Instantly when your purchase $30 of P&G Products

Boneless Top Sirloin Steak $1.99/lb (first 2)
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts Buy 1, Get 1 Free
Navel Oranges $0.39/lb
Large Eggs $0.99/dozen
Milk $1.57/gallon
Tillamook Cheese 8 oz. $1.99
Shocker Coupons w/$25 purchase:
Gold Medal Flour 5 lb $1.28
Food Club Sugar, brown or powdered 2 lb $0.88
Nestle Chocolate Morsels 12 oz. $1.48
Blue Bunny Ice Cream $1.99 when you buy 4
Receive $5 off coupon good for next visit when you buy $20 of any of the items listed in a single purchase (see in ad items list)

Food City
Boneless Beef Chuck Steak $1.99/lb
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts $1.49/lb
Bone-in Country Style Pork Ribs $0.99/lb
Mexican Key Limes 3 lbs/$0.99
Mahatma Long Grain Rice 20 lb bag $7.99
Squirt, RC or 7-Up $0.88 2 liter
Cucumbers 5/$1
Green Cabbage 4 lbs/$1
Fuyu Persimmons 4/$1 (what do you use these for???)
Mexican Squash 3 lbs/$0.99

Fresh & Easy
Jennie-O Premium Basted Frozen Turkey $0.37/lb (limit 2)
Ground Beef 80/20 $1.49/lb
All F&E Spices or Extracts 1/2 price
F&E Canned vegetables $0.69
F&E Butter 1 lb $1.99
Libby's Canned Pumpkin 29 oz. $1.99
Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce $0.99
Mrs. Cubbison's Dressing $1.49
French's French Fried Onions 6 oz. $2.49
$3 off $30 coupon in ad

Jennie-O Turkey $0.47/lb (limit 1)
93% lean ground beef $1.97/lb
Navel Oranges $0.47/lb
Kroger Deluxe Ice cream $1.88
Campbell's Chunky Soup or Saltines 10/$10
Milk $1.47/gallon
Kroger Butter $1.88/lb
Fry's Vegetable Oil 48 oz. $1.99
Shelled Walnuts or Almonds $2.99 12 oz.
Mega Event: Buy 10 items, Save $5
Kellogg's Cereal $1.99
Cheez-It $0.99
Coke 2 liters $0.89
Kraft Shredded or Bar Cheese 16 oz. $1.99
Heinz Ketchup 32-26 oz. $1.49
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce $0.89
Carnation Evaporated Milk $0.49
Nestle Toll House Morsels $1.99
Lay's Potato Chips $1.77
Del Monte Tomatoes $0.49
and much more!!

Pro's Ranch Market
Bone-In Chicken Breasts $0.98/lb
Tomatoes 3 lbs/$0.99
Bone-In Pork Steak $0.98/lb
Coke 2 liters $0.87
Ground Chicken $1.49/lb
Hunt's Spaghetti sauce $0.99
Marinated Chicken Fajitas $0.98/lb
Pork Spareribs $0.98/lb
Boneless Lean Pork Cushion Meat $0.98/lb
Green Cabbage 5 lbs/$0.99
Brown Onions 5 lbs/$0.99
Medium Yams 3 lbs/$0.99
Cilantro 4/$0.99
Greens (Collard, Mustard, Texas, Turnip) 2/$0.99

Safeway (all coupons worth $1)
Pork Shoulder Country style Ribs $0.99/lb
Safeway Turkey $0.43/lb w/$25 purchase
HoneySuckle White Turkey $0.79/lb w/$25 purchase
Lucerne Milk $1.49/gallon
Saturday & Sunday, If you Spend $50, you can get the following FREE (w/in ad coupons):
1 dozen Large Eggs
64 oz. 100% Orange Juice
Safeway Bacon 12-16 oz.
Safeway Raisin Bread or English Muffins
Get a $5 Reward Coupon when you spend $25 or more in participating products in a single transaction (see ad for list of items)
Buy 4, Save $4 Mix n Match sale (see sales ad for item list)

Hass Avocados 3/$1
Rocky Jr. Whole Chicken $0.99/lb
Navel Oranges $0.77/lb
Lettuce (red, green or romaine) $0.88 each
Cauliflower $0.99 each
Roasted Almonds $3.99/lb
Cheese Fest: Colby Jack, Sharp, Pepper Jack and cheddar $2.99/lb

Well, that's the best for this week that I can find. Have a happy shopping trip and use those coupons, too! It's amazing some of the deals you can get, if you take a moment to use the coupons on top of the sales.

Happy Grocery Shopping!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Truth About Bread

I have been asked to put together some information about bread, whole wheat, and why I grind my own wheat into flour to make my own bread. So I thought this would be a good forum to share some of this information.

First of all, we have to understand that bread (made from the whole wheat grain) is almost the perfect food. Of the 44 known essential nutrients needed by our bodies and naturally obtained from foods, only 4 are missing from wheat - vitamin A, B12, and C, and the mineral iodine.
As long as bran is intact and grain kept relatively cool, dry and rodent or bug free, these “seeds” will store indefinitely with no nutrient loss. Once broken open, as in milling, many of these nutrients, now exposed to oxygen, are lost by oxidation. In fact, once milled, as much as 45% of nutrients are oxidized in first day alone. In 3 days, 72 hours later, 90% of nutrients are lost to oxidation alone.

In 1876, the first light white French rolls were exhibited in France. The Governor of Minnesota was in attendance and determined to bring this to America. White flour is where they have separated the bran and germ, leaving only the endosperm. This new white flour was storable and could be shipped long distances without becoming rancid.

Disease and illness related to vitamin deficiencies rapidly increased. Beriberi and pellagra (2 vitamin B deficiency diseases) and anemia became so prevalent that health officials urged the milling industry to return the bran and germ to the flour. However, millers had developed a lucrative market for the “by-products” of the milling process - chicken and cattle feed! So instead, they chose to “enrich” the long lasting white flour.

But here is the fallacy of enrichment: when you compare whole wheat bread to enriched bread, you can see that they failed miserably with replacing most of the nutrients. Because I don't know how to adequately add a chart to my blog, you will have to look at the numbers following each nutrient. The first number is the quantity in Whole Wheat Bread (made from freshly ground wheat), the second in White Unenriched Bread, and the third is White Enriched Bread.

Nutrient Whole Wheat White Unenriched White Enriched
Calories 400 455 455
Protein (g) 16.0 13.1 13.1
Fat (g) 2.4 1.3 1.3
Carbohydrate (g) 85.2 95.1 95.1
Calcium (mg) 49 20 20
Phosphorus (mg) 446 109 109
Iron (mg) 4.0 1.0 3.6*
Potassium (mg) 444 119 119
Thiamin (mg) 0.66 0.08 0.55*
Riboflavin (mg) 0.14 0.06 0.33*
Niacin (mg) 5.2 1.1 4.4*
(Source: USDA Handbook No. 436 *From added nutrients)

Only riboflavin reaches or exceeds original content. Refined white flour is missing up to 80% of the nutrients found in the original wheat kernels. The contents of 22 vitamins and minerals is diminished by 70-80%, and the fiber content is only 7% of original amount. Although protein content is only slightly affected, the nutritional value of that protein is greatly reduced because the essential amino acid lysine is lost. What little vitamin E is left after refining is destroyed when flour is bleached to make it “whiter than white”. Four nutrients - iron and 3 B vitamins, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin - have been artificially added to the refined white product, but some 25-30 have been either drastically or completely reduced.When I bake bread, I use only 6 ingredients: freshly ground whole wheat flour, water, honey, yeast, salt and oil. All of these ingredients are good for your body and your health. There is plenty of good fiber in this bread to aid in your digestive system. I grind my flour immediately before baking bread, so there is protein and all these wonderful nutrients for your body. And best of all, it is light, soft and oh, so yummy!