Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Wow, it has been a very busy last month!  Time has flown by and too many things have happened to even recount here right now.

However, we are enjoying the holiday season and making preparations (like baking cookies, decorating, shopping for food and gifts, etc.) to celebrate Christmas this Saturday.  We took several weeks off from homeschooling and have enjoyed some nice times together as a family.  With the kids being teenagers, it is hard to find Christmas activities that are not geared towards little kids.  It is hard to believe how much my kids have grown up!  I am going through another transition in how I deal with them because of how mature they are getting.  And change is always hard!

I truly enjoyed decorating our home this year!  There were so many decorations that I haven't been able to us for  many years because of space limitations.  However, this house has so many places that can be decorated that I was able to use almost ALL of my decorations and even had to buy a couple of things to supplement!  I am very happy with how the house looks, except that our 6 1/2 foot tree now looks like a table top tree!  Hoping to get a 9 foot one for next year!

Here is hoping that you have a warm, peaceful holiday season - celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!!  He IS the reason we celebrate this season!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pumpkin: Fresh vs. Canned

This year, I decided to try making my own pumpkin puree from a fresh pumpkin.  However, I didn't want to have to find a "sugar pumpkin" or "pie pumpkin", so after much reading on the internet, I determined that I could use the pumpkins I bought for fall decorations.  You know, Jack-o-lantern pumpkins.  We didn't carve ours, so they were still fresh.  Plus, I just couldn't bring myself to spend $2.50 for a can of pumpkin (on sale, but I only spent less than $1 for the pumpkins I had:-).

So, I cut the pumpkin open, scraped out the seeds and stringy stuff, and then cut the pumpkin into about 8 large pieces and placed in a big pot with a steamer basket.  I steamed them for about 30 minutes until they were nice and soft.  After cooling, I used an ice cream scoop to scrape the flesh off the skin.  This I then pureed in my food processor and had about 6 cups of nice fresh pumpkin puree.  Since I had read that this type of pumpkin can be more watery than "pie pumpkins", I put the puree into a strainer to sit while I was finishing up the other puree (my food processor is pretty small.)  A good bit of water did strain out.

Then I used the fresh pumpkin puree for my pumpkin pie (I use a recipe that calls for sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk and sugar).  The recipe not only made one beautiful pie, but I also had enough filling left to make 12 little mini pumpkin tarts using a mini muffin pan and another refrigerated pie crust.  That was a good thing, because we would not have been able to wait a whole day to find out how it tasted:-)

Tasting has brought about the conclusion that fresh is much lighter and you can certainly taste the difference.  You can also see the difference because fresh pumpkin is more yellow than the canned, which I have learned is mostly butternut squash.  Yes, canned pumpkin is mostly made of butternut squash which is much more orange in color.  So that may account for the difference in taste also.

I do believe that after trying it this way, I may never  buy canned pumpkin again.  Plus, I have two more large pumpkins still waiting to be cooked up and made into pumpkin puree, so I will have quite enough to get us through the holiday season and winter.  I will be making pumpkin muffins, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin stew and many more dishes that include fresh pumpkin puree.

Have you ever made fresh pumpkin puree?  What is your conclusion?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tasty DNA and Spudoodles!!!






We are in the last couple of weeks of our Biology Co-op classes before holiday break and last week the students made Tasty DNA out of colored marshmallows, toothpicks and Twizzlers.
Then this week, we were studying Mendelian Genetics and in order to more fully understand the effects of the parents' genotypes on the offspring, the students created Spudoodles!  They are sort of like a version of Mr. Potato Head using a random selection from the mother's genotypes and the father's genotypes.  However, they really turned out cute, so I thought I would share.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Edible Cell Project

This past week in our Biology Co-op class, the students made Edible Cell replicas.  They could replicate either an animal or plant cell, using all edible components.  I thought I would share their very creative projects.

Ciara made a plant cell out of cake and candies.  She won for Most Accurate model.

 Dylan made an animal cell out of cake with fondant for the organelles.
 Jonah and Kerena made their plant cell out of cake with various treats used for the organelles. They won Most Creative Use of Ingredients award.
 Aubrianna and Chennady made their animal cell out of chocolate pie crust and icing, using nuts and candies for the organelles.
 Cody made his animal cell out of pumpkin pie, pudding and candies.  His replica won for Tastiest Cell.
 Alissa made her plant cell out of cake, pudding, fruit and candies.
 Emmalee made her plant cell out of cake and candies.
I was very proud of all of their Edible Cells and hope that they had fun doing this educational AND tasty project!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area This Week (Oct. 13-19, 2010)

I know I haven't been consistent with these deals, but I had a little time today, so I thought I would post them (and I got the sales ads in YESTERDAY'S mail - woohoo!)

Albertsons
Asst'd Pork Loin Chops  $0.97/lb
Ground Chuck 5lbs or more  $1.59/lb
Gold Medal Flour 5 lbs. $1
Barilla Pasta $1
Driscoll Raspberries $1 6 oz
Lay's Chips and Doritos $1
Old Orchard frozen juice $1
Rotel $1
Buy 8, Save $4:
Totinos Pizza Rolls $0.99
BC Cookie Mix $0.99
Green Giant Mushrooms $0.99
Reese's Puffs $1.99

Basha's
Cross Rib Roast $1.77/lb twin pack
Fresh Ground Sirloin $1.97/lb value pack
Strawberries $0.99/lb
Red Seedless Grapes $0.77/lb
Welchs 100% Grape Juice $2.99
Buy 10, Save $5:
Hunt's Pasta Sauce, Barilla Pasta, Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce $0.69
Tyson 1lb bacon $1.99
Coca Cola or Pepsi 2 liter $0.69
Kleenex Facial Tissue $0.99

Food City
Avocados 4/$0.99
Large Tomatoes 3 lbs/$0.99
WEDNESDAY ONLY:
Cucumbers 6/$0.99
Green Bell Peppers 5/$0.99
THURSDAY ONLY:
Chicken Drumsticks $0.59/lb
Bone-In Country Style Pork Ribs $0.99/lb
73% lean ground beef $0.99/lb
FRIDAY ONLY:
Valencia Oranges 5 lbs/$1

Fry's
Large Eggs 1 dozen $0.84
Simply Potatoes $1.49
Buy 10, Save $5:
Coke 2 liters $0.79
Nabisco Snack Crackers, Ritz $1.99
Philly Cream Cheese $0.99
Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers $1.49
Oreos $2.49

Pro's Ranch Market
Bone-In Country Style Pork Ribs $0.98/lb
Boneless Beef Bottom Round Steak or Roast $1.88/lb
Fuji Apples 3 lbs/$0.99
Yellow Corn Tortillas 50 ct. 2 /$3
Cucumbers 6/$0.99
Cabbage 5 lbs/$0.99
WEDNESDAY:
Red Potatoes 4 lbs/$0.99
Tomatoes 4 lbs/$0.99
Oranges 5 lbs/$0.99
Jalapenos 3 lbs/$0.99
THURSDAY:
Chicken Fajitas $0.98/lb
Tilapia Fillets $1.99/lb
FRIDAY:
Brown Onions 7 lbs/$0.99
Springfield Long Grain Rice 5 lbs/$1.39
SUNDAY:
Hefty Foam Plates 50 ct $0.89

Safeway
Fresh Ground Beef - 80% $1.29/lb, 93% $1.99/lb
Roma Tomatoes 3 lbs/$1
Fresh Express Spinach, Shreds or Green & Crisp Salads $0.99
Campbell's Condensed Soup Tomato or Chicken Noodle 2/$1
Welch's, V-8 and V-Fusion juice $2.99

Sprouts
Strawberries $0.97/lb
Cluster Tomatoes $0.88/lb
Acorn, Butternut or Spaghetti Squash  $0.49/lb
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs $1.47/lb
AND REMEMBER, last week's ad is still good TODAY!

Happy Grocery Shopping!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sweet Baby Girl's Birthday Today!

Today, my sweet baby girl turns 14!  She has been an amazing blessing in our lives these 14 years.  She was only 1 day old when we brought her to our home and our lives have never been the same.  It took alot of cuddling that first year to help her overcome her total independence, but she has blossomed into a loving young lady who will often come to me for a hug.  She always is full of laughter and giggles.  All her life, she has been able to make new friends in an instant.  When we would go to the beach every week in Myrtle Beach, she would make a new friend within 5 minutes of arrival.  She is sensitive to others and a very caring friend to her friends.
She loves music and has an incredible voice that I am sure God will use for His glory in her future.  Roller skating is another passion of hers, as well as dance - right now she is taking Hip Hop/Krump at a Christian dance studio.
She is a strong and independent young lady, not afraid to be herself with others.  Although extremely shy as a child, she is full of self-confidence and comfortable with herself and others.  I don't know what her future has in store, but I know that God can and will use her for great things in her life.  My prayer for her is that she will continue to grow in the Lord, draw near to Him and learn to know His voice above all others.  I pray that she will walk in His footsteps as He leads her on a great adventure for her life!
Happy Birthday, Alissa!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Baby Boy's 16th Birthday

Today my baby boy turned 16 years old!  Wow, I can't believe it!  His arrival in our lives was SO very momentous!  We had tried and waited for 12 years to have a baby and God brought this beautiful little boy into our lives to change us forever!  From the day we received him (he is adopted), we knew that God had an incredible call on his life and that has been confirmed prophetically many times.

He is an incredible man of God with a heart to help people.  We have been so blessed by him over the years and watching him grow and become the man God has called him to be has been an awesome journey!  He is full of passion for God, music and football!  Everything he does, he does with all of his being.  He is an encourager and a tremendous helper (that's what his name means:-).

I wish my son all the multitude of blessings that God has in store for him this year and in the years to come as he follows his Savior on the path He is leading him.  Love you, Buddy!!

Earning $$ with SwagBucks

I have been earning Swagbucks for several months now, and have accumulated $30 in Amazon.com gift cards so far!  All this just for using Swagbucks for my internet searches and keeping an eye out for Swag codes which give you extra bucks.  I installed the Toolbar, which gives me one buck each day just for using it and I do all my searches via Swagbucks, which is on the top of my screen as my search engine anyway, so very easy!


If you want to earn some $$ just for searching, sign up for Swagbucks and download the toolbar.  Then do your searches via Swagbucks (especially on Fridays - they give some big bucks on Fridays:-) and you, too, can earn $$ for searching.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Calories Needed to Sustain Football Player

A couple days ago, my son told me he was not recovering adequately from practices and games like he was accustomed to in the past.  He was concerned that something was wrong with his metabolism.  he was dragging and not feeling the energy he needed for his grueling schedule of 1 hour weight lifting/wrestling practice and 2 hours football practice each day.

So I did some research online and found out that there is no way he is consuming sufficient calories each day to sustain himself with this kind of schedule.  My son is going to be 16 years old next week, about 6 feet tall and weighs 195 lbs.  He is not a very big eater.  In fact, most days he only eats twice a day and not huge meals at that.  However, I discovered after some research that he should be consuming between 3300 and 4500 calories per day to sustain his body!!  Well, I am SURE he has not been eating that many calories per day.  We eat pretty healthy here, but I just didn't realize how many calories he was burning each day and what his caloric requirements were.

So the very next day I began taking charge of his diet and cooking more food for him to eat.  Amazingly, he had no trouble increasing what he ate and in just one day he felt SO much better!  I make sure he eats a good breakfast, then I prepare him a banana whey protein smoothie before he heads to school for wrestling/weight lifting and football practice in the afternoon.  And when he comes home, I make sure he eats a good dinner, plus a snack later in the evening.  We may even add another snack late morning or early afternoon to get his calorie count up to what it needs to be.

I just figured he would eat what his body needs, but apparently he is just not a big eater unless I make it happen.  So I got a wake-up call about my son's diet and will make sure he gets what his body needs.

If you have a child in sports/athletics, you may want to read this great article called Fueling for Football by Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, LDN, is Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and serves as a consultant to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pitt athletics, and several area high schools.  She discusses the importance of carbohydrates, fluid intake, pre-game meals, post-game snacks and weight issues.   I was very impressed with the information shared and will follow her suggestions in order to keep my son in top performance mode during the football season.

And just a side note:  even though they did not win their game last night, my son played REALLY awesomely!!  Even the coaches said so - not just Mom:-)

Make Your Own Ice Gel Pack

It seems we are constantly in need of an ice pack in this house - between my son and my husband, they are almost always using one for some kind of pain or another.  And we had two of the gel ice packs until recently when one mysteriously disappeared.  So the two of them were having a hassle over sharing one ice pack (and one of them seemed to forget to put it back in the freezer when done:-).

I knew I had seen directions online sometime back about how to make your own and save money, rather than buying another one.  So I did a search today and made one.  It came out great and cost only pennies!!

Here's what you need to do:

Get 2 ziploc freezer bags (one sandwich size and one quart size)
Mix 3 parts water and 1 part rubbing alcohol together
Add a little blue food coloring (or whatever color you like:-)
Put the water mixture into the smaller bag and seal, getting out all the air that you can.
Then put the smaller bag into the larger one and seal, again getting out all the air that you can.
Place in freezer for a couple of hours and it is ready for use!


You can make a larger one, too, if you want to.  We mostly had hand and feet needs, so the small one works for now.

This is better than using frozen peas (especially when your guys forget to put them back in the freezer when they are done:-) and so easy to make!  Now, if only we could avoid the injuries that create the need for the ice packs.....NOT gonna happen with a son playing football and a hubby who works out hard all the time!!!

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area This Week (Sept. 8-15, 2010)

Sorry this is a day late - football game yesterday!  There are some good deals going on this week and there are quite a number of catalinas running, but I can't get all that info together just yet.  I may add to the post later when I can sit down and gather the catalinas.  So here's what I see as the best deals this week:

Albertsons
Milk $1.67 gallon
Malt-o-Meal Cereals $1
V-8 and V-Fusion Juice 2/$5
Seedless Red, Green or Black Grapes $0.79/lb
American Beauty Pasta or Hunt's Pasta Sauce $1

Basha's
1/2 gallon milk $0.87
Ground Round (5 lbs or more) $1.67/lb
Utah Peaches or Gala Apples $0.77/lb
Fritos or Cheetos $1.19 w/in ad coupon (limit 4)
Coca-Cola 2 liter $0.88
Cheez-It $1.88
Challenge Butter $1.98

Food City
Peaches 3 lbs/$0.99
Cantaloupe 5 lbs/$1
Large Tomatoes $0.39/lb
American Beauty Pasta or Hunt's Pasta Sauce $1
Granny Smith or Red Delicious Apples or Bartlett Pears $0.59/lb
Red Bell Peppers 3/$0.99
THURSDAY ONLY:
Chicken Thighs $0.59/lb
FRIDAY ONLY:
Strawberries $.99/lb
20 lb. bag of Blue Ribbon Rice $4.99

Fry's
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts $1.67/lb
Gala Apples or Bartlett Pears 2 lbs/$1
Gallon Milk $1.77
Cascade or Dawn Twin Pack $3.99
Wesson Cooking Oil 48 oz. $1.99

Pros Ranch Market
Tomatoes 4 lbs/$0.99
10 lb. Bag Potatoes $0.89
Farmer John Link Sausages $0.98
Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks $0.68/lb
2 liter Coca Colas $0.75
Bartlett Pears 3 lbs/$0.99
Peaches 2 lbs/$0.99
White Onions 4 lbs/$0.99
Cabbage 6 lbs/$0.99
Celery 2/$0.99
Carrots 3 lbs/$0.99
Radishes 4/$0.99
FRIDAY ONLY:
Red Grapes $0.69/lb
Tilapia Filets $1.88/lb

Safeway
London Broil $1.99/lb
On the Vine Cluster Tomatoes $0.99/lb
Ragu Pasta Sauce $0.99 when you buy 6
Welch's Healthy Start Juice $1.99 w/in ad coupon
Lucerne Large Eggs 18ct. $1.99w/in ad coupon
Mission Tortilla Chips $1.29 w/in ad coupon
Barilla Pasta 5/$5
Minute Maid OJ 2/$5
Jimmy Dean Sausage Rolls $1.99 w/in ad coupon
SATURDAY, SUNDAY, MONDAY ONLY:
Oreos $1.99
2 liter Pepsi or 7Up $0.77

Sprouts
Yellow Peaches or Nectarines $0.49/lb
Gala Apples, Bartlett Pears, Vine Ripe Tomatoes or Cantaloupe $0.77/lb
Fresh Green Beans $0.88/lb
Stash Tea 2/$4

Well, that's what I see for this week.  Couple these with some coupons, and there are some great deals.  Don't forget to load your digital coupons onto your shopping cards from Cellfire and Shortcuts, as well as on Fry's and Safeway's websites.  These can be combined with paper coupons for extra savings.

Happy Grocery Shopping!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Math Tutor Review

To read more about an interesting and helpful Pre-Algebra and Texas Instruments Calculator DVD Tutor, click here.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

My Access! Home Edition by Vantage Learning Review

To learn about an incredible online writing program, click here to read my review!

Lovin' the Pride Card!!

My son sold these discount cards for his football team and we ended up buying 2 of them (still have one other one to sell, just in case....:-).  They were $20 each, but are good until July 31, 2011.  So we thought that ought to be long enough to get our $$ worth.

Well, let me just tell you....I am LOVIN' this card!  We were able to go out for Blizzards at DQ the other night and saved over $8.  Then tonight, I didn't know what to cook for dinner, so we decided to try Filiberto's.  A friend who bought one of the cards recommended it, saying they ate there alot.  Some of you know that we are VERY particular about Mexican food, having lived in Mexico for 6 years. So we try new Mexican restaurants with reluctance because it is hard to find "good" Mexican food around here.  But, Filiberto's is AMAZING!!  We had to buy burritos, because that is what is on the discount card - buy one burrito and drink, get one free!  So we each ordered a different one - Adobada, Green Chile, Extreme and Chicken.  They were HUGE!!  AND DELICIOUS!!!  The total came to only $12 and that was 4 large burritos (my daughter could only eat 1/2) and 2 big drinks (their mediums are BIG!).

Can I just say WOW!!  We will be using our discount card at Filiberto's ALOT over the next 11 months:-)  We have already saved $17 of the $40 we spent on two cards, so it won't take long at all for us to come out ahead.....with many months still of use, too!!

I just LOVE a great bargain....AND great Mexican food!!

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area This Week (Sept. 1-7, 2010)

I apologize for not posting these deals much lately.  I get my mail SO late in the day, that the days just seem to get away from be before I can get this done.  But I am going to start posting just the main grocery stores early, and then ad the ones I get in the mail later.  So here goes:

Albertsons
Whole seedless watermelon $1.88 (limit 2)
Pork loin baby back ribs Buy 1, Get 2 FREE ($6.99/lb)
Lay's Chips or Nabisco Snack Crackers 3/$5 (limit 3 each)
Blue Bunny Ice Cream 56 oz. $1.88 (limit 2)
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts $1.77/lb
Gatorade 32 oz. $0.69 (limit 10)
Hot dog or hamburger buns $0.88
Cool Whip $0.88
Rosarita Beans $0.88
Popsicles 12 ct. $0.88
Kraft BBQ Sauce $0.88
Hebrew National Beef Franks $1.97 (limit 4)
8 piece fried chicken $3.99
Mt. Olive Whole Kosher Dill Pickles 80 oz. $2.49 (there is also a coupon SS 8/1)
Clorox Bleach $1.99 (coupon SS 8/22)


Bashas
Ro-Tel 10/$10
Rib Eye Steak $3.98/lb (first 2 value packs)
Split Chicken Breasts $0.98/lb (first 2)
Colorado Olathe Corn 6/$1
Watermelon $0.15/lb
Haas Avocados 2/$1
Blue Bunny Ice Cream $1.67 (w/in ad coupon - limit 1)
Bar-S Meat Franks $0.47 (w/in ad coupon - limit 2)
Lay's Potato Chips $1.77
Gatorade $0.77 32 oz.
Food Club Cheese 6-8 oz. $0.99 (first 4)
Oscar Mayer Beef Franks $1.88 (there is a coupon on coupon.com)


Fry's
Hebrew National Beef Franks $1.97
Lay's Potato Chips $1.77
Dole Salad Blends $1
Red Seedless Grapes $0.77/lb
Popsicles 10/$10
Kroger Cottage Cheese $1
Kraft Cheese 50% off
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce $0.97
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts $1.77/lb
Steamfresh Frozen Veggies 10/$10
Doritos $1.99
American Beauty Pasta 10/$10
Kroger American Cheese Singles 4/$5
Heinz Ketchup 40 oz. $1.47

Safeway
Lay's Potato Chips $1.79 w/in ad coupon
Bar S Franks $0.88 w/in ad coupon
Hot Dog or Hamburger buns $0.89 w/ in ad coupon
Kraft Cheese $1.69 w/in ad coupon
Lucerne Slices 12 oz. $1.49


Well, that's it for now!  Some good deals on hot dogs and bbq sauce, for sure.  Can also load up for that last hot weeks with some Popsicles!  I will come back later tonight with the other ads and their deals for the week.

Happy Grocery Shopping!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Riparian Preserve Field Trip

Our first field trip with the Biology class was to the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert.  We needed to collect some pond water to grow different microorganisms in and there are not a lot of natural ponds and/or lakes around here.  So when several moms told me about the Riparian Preserve, I went to check it out.  It is really beautiful and educational.  There is a main lake where you can actually fish.  And we saw many ducks and a turtle in the water.  The Riparian Preserve is a place where they reclaim groundwater and pass it through several different marsh-like bodies of water in order to clean it.  Then it is used for all different purposes.  We also saw a great blue heron and many white egrets, as we explored the area.

The kids seemed to have a good time, as they found a pool of water with some fish left in it.  They caught 2 of them and decided to return them to the lake.  Not sure if they both made it into the water, but....

We did collect the water we needed for the experiments that we will be doing this coming Friday and the kids seemed to enjoy the time.  The weather was perfect - cloudy with a nice breeze - very odd for the middle of August.

We are also talking about going to the Botanical Gardens when we are studying the Plant Kingdom, and Biosphere 2 during our holiday break.  So far, this Biology Co-op is going well and we all seem to be enjoying it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Set....Hut.....Here We Go!!

Football season has officially begun in the Burgan home!  This last week was Cody's first football game of the season playing JV football.  He started as center, and also played alot of defensive line (which is what he prefers).

Now, he has been practicing and doing weight camp almost every day since early April.  But now the games have begun!  It is very exciting to see him doing what he loves, and doing it quite well!  He has a game almost every week for the next two months.  I am helping to feed the boys each week before their games and my hubby is going to be video taping all the games.  We definitely like to be involved in helping with things that our kids are doing:-)

And I KNOW that we will be watching ALOT of football games on TV, too, as the NFL and college season get underway.  So.....football season, here we come!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

TOS Homeschool Planner

This is NOT your average homeschool planner!

This is a  
LIFE PLANNER 
for 
HOMESCHOOLERS!!

To read more, click here!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Cupcake Wars?

Several days ago, I was craving cupcakes.  Ok, if you know me very well, then you know that I don't even particularly LIKE cupcakes, or any cakes for that matter.  However, I have been watching some episodes of Cupcake Wars on TV, so maybe that caused this unexplicable craving for cupcakes.  As I thought about making cupcakes, I decided I really wanted carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  So I looked up a recipe on Allrecipes.com and found one for Maple Carrot Cupcakes, which sounded a little like something you might see on Cupcake Wars.

They were quite simple and quick to make and since there wasn't a ton of sugar, that made me feel better.  The icing was a little strange in that it had NO sugar in it - I have never seen icing without powdered suger!  It used maple syrup as the sweetener, along with butter, cream cheese and vanilla.

Well, the cake portion got rave reviews, but the icing got mixed reviews.  I liked the icing and most of my family did, but my son HATED it!  He said it was the most disgusting icing he had ever tasted and made me take it off his cupcakes (so I left some un-iced for him).  However, it makes a nice combination, in my opinion.  However, next time I will probably make my normal cream cheese frosting and leave it at that.

Oh, I would show you a pic except that someone tilted the cupcake holder on its end and all the cupcakes are messed up now:-)  Thankfully, they still taste good!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

TOS Travel Kits Review

Photobucket 
I have once again joined the TOS Crew to review homeschool curriculum and related items for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  I was given a free copy of the ebook The Old Schoolhouse Travel Kits for the purpose of this review and found that it is a delightful book with great ideas to get you inspired to help others by putting together creative and fun Travel Kits for your friends and their children.  It is 93 pages filled with ideas and motivation for a very nominal cost of $12.45.

At first when I received this ebook,  I was a little puzzled as to the purpose of such a book.  However, after spending time reading through the ideas and looking at the beautiful photos, I began to get inspired!  If this book was just about making Travel Kits for your kids to keep them occupied during a trip, it would fall a little short in my esteem.  However, the fact that it REALLY inspires you to think of opportunities where you can bless someone else with such a myriad of ideas is really phenomenal!  Reading through this ebook made me want to think of people I could bless by making them a fun and really useful Travel Kit.  It even gives you great ideas on where to find items for very little money to include to make your Travel Kit exciting for the recipient.  They encourage you to wrap each item so that it is a continual surprise to look forward to throughout the trip, thus increasing the child's (and adult's) anticipation of the next "gift".

So what is a Travel Kit?  Well, it is a bag, or box, or basket, or whatever filled with individually wrapped "presents" for the recipient to open along their journey.  These "presents" can be anything from snacks to toys to games to books to whatever item you can think of that the recipient would enjoy.   The possibilities are practically endless!  But the inspiration to begin is the blessing of this ebook!

This made me think of all the family trips we have taken and how much quicker the time could have passed if I had made Travel Kits like these for my kids.  You can make Travel Kits that fit into any budget, any length or type of trip, any age range of recipient and any theme you would like to come up with.  I believe the strongest aspect of this ebook is that it is the spark that starts a flame of inspiration and creativity in your mind so that you can come up with all kinds of ideas and ways to bless others with this project.  You can get your kids involved in blessing others in a very fun and creative way, too.  No matter how young or old your children are, they will really get into the spirit of blessing others when you enlist their help in planning, shopping, and assembling these wonderful Travel Kits. And think of the joy of giving they will learn along the way!

I know that some of you are thinking, "I am creative.  Why would I need this book when I could come up with my own ideas?"  Yes, that is what I was thinking....until I read through this book!  I don't know if I can adequately express the blossoming inspiration that flowed through my mind as I read this book.  I thought of people I would love to bless this way and ideas of items I could include in different Travel Kits for different folks.  It made my heart brim so full of wanting to bless others with these kits!  It really inspires you to think of ways to be a blessing to others.  THAT is what makes the price of this ebook such a great bargain.  For only $12.45 (and since it is an ebook, you don't have to wait for it to arrive in the mail) you, too, can be inspired to bless your friends and family in so many different ways that they will be remembering and talking about for a very long time.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Great Sirloin Steaks for CHEAP!!!

Yesterday, I went to Basha's and bought a whole sirloin tip in a bag for $1.59/lb.  Then I went over to the butcher and asked him to cut it into thick steaks for me (yes, that is free!!).  I got 9 super HUGE steaks plus the end cuts for under $20 total!  I think I am going to marinate the steaks in something yummy and grill them next Friday when my brother and his family are visiting.  With baked potatoes and a veggie/salad, we can have an awesome steak dinner for about $25 for 8 people!!!  That sure beats eating out, even WITH a certificate from Restaurant.com (the only way I eat out:-)!

I do believe I will go and buy another one before the price goes up!!LOL

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area This Week (July 14 - 20, 2010)

This week, to find the best deals on groceries, you just need to go to Fry's!!! They have a great $5 off when you buy 10 items promotion that you can couple with coupons and get some GREAT deals!! There are so few items at good prices elsewhere, that I hate to even take the time to delineate them:-)


Albertsons

Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts $1.77/lb
Strawberries $0.99/lb
Whole Pineapples $0.99 each
Fritos & Cheetos 4/$5
Kellogg's Cereal $1.99 limit 4
Blue Bunny Ice Cream Buy 4, Save $4 = $2 each

Basha's
Pork Chops $0.99/lb
Sirloin Tip (whole in bag) $1.59/lb
Blueberries $1.27 12 oz.
Large Eggs $0.99/dozen
FRIDAY & SATURDAY ONLY
Bananas 4 lbs/$1
Rotisserie Chicken $3.99
Ground Sirloin $1.77/lb

Food City
Cantaloupes 6 lbs/$0.96
Valencia Oranges 6 lbs/$0.96
Roma Tomatoes 3 lbs/$0.98
Avocados 4/$0.99
Green Onions 5/$1
Cilantro 4/$0.99
Green Bell Peppers 4/$1
Chicken Thighs or Drums $0.88/lb
Bone-In Country Style Pork Ribs $0.99/lb
Dole OJ $1.99
Jarritos, Sangria or Sidral 1.5 liter sodas $0.79
THURSDAY ONLY:
Boneless Chicken Thigh Meat $0.99/lb
FRIDAY ONLY:
Red Delicious Apples 3 lbs/$0.99
Old Orchard Healthy Balance Cocktail $0.99

Fry's
Boneless skinless chicken breasts $1.77/lb
93% lean ground beef $1.97/lb
Red Cherries $1.37/lb
Mangos 2/$1
Top Flight 70 page Notebook $0.15
Crayola Crayons 24 ct. $0.25
WHEN YOU BUY 10, SAVE $5
Gatorade 32 oz. $0.49
Kraft Shredded or Bar Cheese 8 oz. $1.38
Philadelphia Cream Cheese $0.99
Pepsi 2 liter $0.75
Tombstone Pizza $2.49
Rice A Roni $0.49
Dole 100% Juice Blends 64 oz. $1.49
Breyers Ice Cream $1.97
Hunts Tomatoes $0.49
Keebler Fudge Shoppe Cookies $1.49
Welch's 100% Grape Juice $2.49
Simply Potatoes Hash Browns $0.99 (by the eggs!!)
Dixie Plates or Napkins $1.49
Boulder Chips $0.99
(Lots of these items have coupons!!)

Pro's Ranch Market
Romas 4 lbs/$0.99
Mangos 4/$0.99
Cantaloupes 5 lbs/$0.99
Bone-in Split Chicken Breasts $0.98/lb
Powerade $0.47
Red Delicious Apples 2 lbs/$).99
White Onions 3 lbs/$0.99
THURSDAY ONLY:
Chicken Wings $0.98/lb
FRIDAY ONLY:
Kool-Aid Kool Bursts 6 pack 2/$1
Bananas 4 lbs/$0.99
Corn Tortillas 60 ct. $1.49

Safeway
Dairy Glen Milk $1.88 gallon
Breyer's Ice Cream or Klondikes $1.99
Ziploc bags $1.49 w/in ad coupon

Sprouts
Watermelon, seeded or seedless $0.09/lb
Cluster Tomatoes $0.77/lb
Navel Oranges $0.88/lb
White or Yellow Peaches or Nectarines $0.88/lb

Happy Grocery Shopping!

How to Cook a Meal Without Melting!!

Well, it is 113 degrees here today and climbing still higher the next 2 days! Yikes! We are having company for dinner, so I HAD to cook a meal. So here is how I did it without melting (or running my oven for very long).

First, I put a whole chicken (that I got for $0.49/lb) in the crock pot over night to cook. This morning I simply unplugged it and turned it off. A little later when it was cool, I picked the meat off the chicken. Then I prepared my Enchilada Casserole which is simply layers of green enchilada sauce, tortillas, chicken and shredded cheese. Later, I will simply put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (while I run my daughter to roller skating - I won't even be here while the oven is heating the kitchen:-). And dinner will be served with a little salad and sour cream and hot sauce to top it off.

And I made two of them so I can put one into the freezer for another day when I don't feel much like cooking.

That's how I cooked a meal without melting today!!

How about you? Do you have any tips on meals you can make without heating up your kitchen?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Blackberry Freezer Jam

I had never heard of freezer jam until lately and several blogs have posted about their freezer jam. Well, I just had to try it because my husband LOVES blackberry jam and I don't like the stuff in it. Blackberries are still REALLY cheap here, so I bought $4.00 worth (8 cups!!) and made 8 jars of blackberry freezer jam. It is SO yummy and SO easy - I can't believe I never did this before! I bought the pectin that you don't have to cook for $1.69 each (needed 2) and used a total of 2 1/2 cups of sugar for 8 cups of berries. Seems a much better ratio than some of the other pectins require.

Now the question is, how long will 8 jars last??? Probably not until next year's blackberries. Oh well, it is a great way to make the best of the harvest while it is here!

Crazy for Cantaloupe!

I don't know about where you live, but here in Phoenix cantaloupes are selling for SO cheap!! 3 cantaloupes for $0.99 or even 8 lbs. for $0.99!! I have been eating a whole one for my lunch or breakfast - they are SO yummy! But at these prices, I wanted to have some for my fruity drinks long into the fall. So I bought a bunch of cantaloupes and cut them up and froze them!! Just put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer until they are frozen, then pop them into a ziploc freezer bag and you will have yummy ripe cantaloupe for your fruit smoothies!

Baking Soda and White Vinegar Really ARE the Wonder Products!!

As you may have noticed in my previous posts, I just got a jacuzzi/spa for my backyard. Well, it was used, so came with no manual on how to care for it. So, I was reading online to find out the best chemicals and products for testing and keeping the water sparkling clean and guess what??? The best products to use for pH balance is.......drumroll, please......baking soda and vinegar!! REALLY!!! If your pH is high, you just add a little white vinegar. If it is low, you just add some baking soda. Yeah, it is that simple! You also need some chlorine, too. Dichlor is the best kind and the folks that sold us the jacuzzi gave us some with it, so we are all set for a while:-).

I am SO glad I went ahead and bought 3 of the HUGE bags of baking soda last week at Sam's. I just knew it would come in handy (besides all the OTHER cleaning uses I already have for baking soda:-). And SO much cheaper than all those pH Minus and Boost products!! Yeah for baking soda and vinegar!! AGAIN!!

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Sale

1776 was a spectacular year, and it's a smashing, save-more-money price! Grab your subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine during their four-day Fourth of July sale, and check out the craziest price on July 1 only! Receive a 2-year subscription, free Homeschooling with Heart tote bag, and five FREE E-Books for just $17.76! While supplies last. U.S. and Canadian residents. July 2 through July 4 the unprecedented savings continue. The sparks are flying at TOS Magazine . . . join in the celebration and savings! Get the details here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Jacuzzi!!

I LOVE to lounge in a large garden tub and read a book.  However, we don't have a garden tub, so the next best thing is a jacuzzi/spa tub.  This week, my dream came true!  Here I am lounging in my jacuzzi, reading a book in MY OWN BACKYARD!!

It is so refreshing and relaxing!  Now, mind you, I DON'T have the heater on at all because it is 110+ degrees here right now and I don't know if I am going to be able to keep the temp down in my jacuzzi, but I am trying:-)  Then, when it cools down, I can crank up the heat and enjoy it, too!

Just thought I would share my wonderful blessing of relaxation!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area This Week (June 23 -29, 2010)

Sorry about missing the last two weeks, however the deals weren't so great anyway after Memorial Day sales.  So this week there are some good deals,  you won't want to miss out!

Albertsons
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts  $1.67/lb
Strawberries 4 lb $3.88
Breyer's Ice Cream $1.88 w/in ad coupon
Crystal Geyser Water 24 pk 16.9 oz $1.99 w/in ad coupon
Yoplait Yogurt 4-6 oz. $0.38 w/in ad coupon
Gatorade 32 oz. $0.59 w/in ad coupon
Skippy Peanut Butter 15-16.3 oz. $0.99 w/in ad coupon
Post Cereal $1.47 w/in ad coupon
Freschetta Pizza $3.77 w/in ad coupon
Popsicle Ice Pops 12 ct. $0.88 w/in ad coupon
Cheez-It or Keebler Chips Deluxe Cookies $1.67 w/in ad coupon
Ground Round 5 lbs or more $1.77/lb
Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tune $0.44 w/in ad coupon
Heinz Ketchip 40 oz. $1.27 w/in ad coupon
Fritos or Cheetos 3/$5
Gold Peak Iced Tea $0.99 (green tea is my favorite:-)

Bashas
Split Chicken Breasts $0.77/lb
2 FREE 1/2 gallons of milk when you  buy 4 General Mills Cereals at $1.77 each
Powerade 2/$0.99
Maruchan Ramen 8/$0.99
Hot Dog or Hamburger Buns or Bar S Meat Franks $0.99
Angel Soft Bath Tissue (4 roll) or Brawny Paper Towel (single roll) $0.99

Food City
Peaches 3 lbs/$0.99
Valencia Oranges 4 lbs/$1
Jalapenos 2 lbs/$1
Chicken Leg Quarters $0.39/lb (10 lb bag)

Fry's
Fresh whole frying chicken  $0.49/lb (4)
93% lean ground beef $1.97
Blueberries 6 oz. $0.88
California Sweet Corn 5/$1
Buy 10, Save $3:
Coke 2 liter $0.69
Gatorade 32 oz. $0.49
Totino's Pizza Rolls $0.69
Capri Sun 10 ct. $1.47
Brown N Serve Sausage $0.69
Oscar Mayer Meat Franks $0.88
Breyers Ice Cream $1.77
Bounty 6-8 rolls or Scott 12 roll $5.99
Kraft BBQ Sauce $0.69
General Mills Cereal $1.99
Grands Biscuits $1.19
Country Time Lemonade $0.99
and MUCH more!!

Pro's Ranch Market
Bone-In Sirloin End Pork Chops $0.98/lb
THURSDAY:
Chicken legs or thighs $0.68/lb
FRIDAY:
Bar S Jumbo Franks $0.67
SUNDAY:
Lechera (sweetened condensed milk) $0.99

Safeway
80% lean ground beef $1.79/lb
Cantaloupes $0.88/each
Sweet Yellow Nectarines $0.99/lb
Fresh Express Spinach or Green & Crisp Salad $0.99
Barilla Pasata $0.99
Lucerne Cream Cheese $0.99
Lucerne Butter $1.99/lb w/in ad coupon
SATURDAY/SUNDAY ONLY:
Goldfish Crackers $0.88
Freschetta Pizza $3.99

Sprouts
Red or Green Seedless Grapes $0.69/lb
Asparagus $0.97/lb
Gala Apples $0.88/lb
Yellow Peaches or Nectarines $0.88/lb
Raw Almonds $3.99/lb
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts $1.97/lb

Here are a couple great books that may help you with your endeavor to reduce your grocery spending:

"Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey" is by the Krazy Coupon Lady whose blog I follow daily.

Also, The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half is another great book to assist you in reducing your spending.

And don't forget to check out Bargain Believer's blog to get more detail grocery lists of weekly deals.

And just a note, if you buy any of these books through these links, it helps me out a little, too, since I am now an affiliate for Amazon.com.  Thanks!

Happy Grocery Shopping!

Great OLD Spanish Curriculum Find

I was recently trying to find a good Spanish curriculum to use for  a co-op class that would really help the kids learn to communicate in Spanish in a short period of time.  Both of my kids are fluent in Spanish, but since they have to take 2 years of foreign language, we thought we would take this opportunity to use our fluency to help others.

Well, I was digging around at Amazon.com to see if there was anything that would help me with just that and came across an old book from the 50s entitled Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish.  I read through the description and reviews, deciding I needed to see this book for myself.  After not having any success with finding it at any libraries, I decided to purchase it.  It is very reasonably priced, especially as far as Spanish curriculum goes.

The book arrived yesterday and I have spent a great deal of time looking it over.  I have to say how impressed I am with the method and sequence of how Ms. Madrigal approaches learning to speak, read and write Spanish!  She begins by telling the student that they already know thousands of Spanish words, referring to all the words that are literally the same in both languages, plus those that are recognizable enough to figure out the meaning.  She also starts right out with a Pronunciation Key right at the beginning so that students can begin pronouncing Spanish correctly from day one.

I am very excited to use this curriculum for our co-op classes, and since it such an unknown and quite old book, I thought I would share about it with you just in case you, too, might be looking for something a little different to teach your student Spanish.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Even though the holiday is just an excuse for card companies to make extra money, I will not pass up the opportunity to honor and cherish the man who has enriched my life, loved me through thick and thin, and been the best dad to our children - Joe! He is the love of my life, my very best friend and has walked with me through over 30 years of my life!

Thanks, Joe, for all that you do for us! Thank you for working at a very boring and thankless job just to provide for us! Thank you for all the little things you do around our house that help to make it a wonderful home for us and our kids! Thank you for being the man of God He is calling you to be and transforming you into through this adventure of living for Him! Thank you for always being there for me, whether to just listen as I vent or to discuss the deep things of God (and everything in between)! Thanks for always supporting me in whatever new thing I come up with to do:-)! Thanks for being the kind of dad who wants to support his kids in whatever they do, and for being willing to take time out of your schedule to always make time for the kids.

I love you immensely and could NOT imagine life without you in it! Thanks for walking this road with me! Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area This Week (June 2-8, 2010)

Well, the deals look a little slim this week, but there are a few things you might want to pick up.

Albertsons
10/$10 Sale Mix & Match:
1/2 gallon milk
18 ct. eggs
8 oz. chunk cheese
Farmer John Breakfast links
Suddenly Salad
Hefty EveryDay Plates 50 ct.
Hunt's Spaghetti Sauce or Albertson's Pasta
Albertson's Cream Cheese
Simply Potatoes Hash Browns 20 oz.
Calidad Corn Tortillas 30 ct.
Calidad Flour Tortillas 10 ct.
Butterball Thin & Crispy Turkey Bacon 6 oz.
Yoplait Greek Yogurt
Old Orchard Frozen Juice
Ro-Tel
and MUCH, MUCH more!
Write Your Own Coupon:
$2 off any 2 lbs bagged shrimp
$2 off any Johnsonville Sausage
$1 off Classic Cake
$1 off any frozen item
$1 off any cereal item
$1 off a pound of any slicing lunchmeat or cheese
$0.50 off a pound of any fresh deli salad
$0.50 off any shampoo, conditioner or hair care product

Bashas
Sanderson Farms Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts or Tenders $1.67/lb
Strawberries 16 oz. $0.99
1/2 gallon milk $0.88
Dozen eggs $0.88
Classico Pasta Sauce $1.49
Buy 4 boxes Kellogg's Cereal for $10 and get 1/2 gal. milk, sandwich bread and eggs FREE!

Food City
Beef Back Ribs $0.99
Bananas 3 lbs/$0.99
Tomatoes 3 lbs/$0.99

Fry's
Pork Sale 50% off
Kroger Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts 3 lbs bag $4.99
Cantaloupes $1 each
Hot House Grown Tomatoes on the Vine $1/lb
Milk Gallon $1.68

Fresh & Easy
F&E OJ $1.99 64 oz.

Pro's Ranch Market
Potatoes 10 lbs $0.79
Manila Mangos 5/$0.99
Jarritos Sodas 1.5 liter $0.79
Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce $1.99
THURSDAY ONLY:
Marinated Chicken Fajitas $0.98/lb
FRIDAY ONLY:
Romas 4 lbs/$0.99
Cherries $0.79/lb

Safeway
BUY 8, SAVE $4 PROMO:
Hunt's Pasta Sauce or Anthony's Pasta $0.88
2 liter Pepsi products $0.83
Tostitos Tortilla Chips $1.77
and MUCH, MUCH MORE!!
Rancher's Reserve Boneless Beef Round Steak $1.57/lb
Chicken Leg Quarters $0.69/lb
Dole Juice Blends 100% Juice $1.88 w/in ad coupon
Snyder's Flavored Pretzels $1.50

Sprouts
6 oz raspberries or 4.4 oz. blueberries $0.99
Navel Oranges $0.49/lb
Mangos $0.49
Romas $0.69/lb
Bulk Granola $2.49/lb
Peanuts $1.79/lb
Oats 2 lbs/$1
Honey 3 lbs $7.99
Vitamins 25% OFF

Happy Grocery Shopping!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area This Week (May 26-,June 1 2010)

This week the deals are all about Memorial Day picnics: BBQ Sauce, paper plates, cups, napkins, hot dogs, buns, etc.

Albertsons
Pork Baby Back Ribs or Petite Sirloin Steaks Buy 1, Get 2 FREE ($6.99 lb)
Sweet Corn 6/$1
Dreyer's Ice Cream $1.99
Lay's Potato Chips or Nabisco Snack Crackers $1.77
Hefty Plates, Cups, Bowls 4/$5
Ground Round 5 lbs or more $1.77/lb
Kraft BBQ Sauce 2/$1
Hebrew National Beef Franks Buy 1, Get 2 FREE w/in ad coupon ($5.99)
8 piece Fried Chicken $3.99
Bulls Eye BBQ Sauce $0.75 w/in store coupon

Bashas
Kraft BBQ Sauce $0.99
Lay's Potato Chips or Nabisco Snack Crackers $1.77
4-DAY SALE:
White Corn 8/$1
80% lean Ground Beef $1.67/lb
8 piece Fried Chicken $3.99

Fresh & Easy
Mixed Grill Pack, or Quarter Pounder 80/20 Beef Patties or Chili, Citrus & Cilantro Chicken $5.99
Milk $1.68/Gallon
Hot Dog or Hamburger Buns $0.88
Hansen's Soda 6 pack 2/$4

Food City
Chicken Leg Quarters $0.39/lb 10 lb bag
Hefty Plates 50 ct. $0.99
Avocados and Green Bell Peppers 4/$1
Mangos 5/$1
WEDNESDAY ONLY:
Red Potatoes 5 lbs/$1
FRIDAY ONLY:
Watermelon $0.10/lb
Rosarita Refried Beans $0.99
Big G Cereals 2/$3

Fry's
Bar S Franks $0.58 (first 4)
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce $0.88
Popsicles $0.88
Split Chicken Breasts or Whole Chickens $0.77/lb
Nabisco Snack Crackers $1.88
Lay's Potato Chips $1.77
Dixie or Solo Tableware 2/$4

Pro's Ranch Market
Watermelon 7 lbs/$0.99
Cherries $0.99/lb
Romas 3 lbs/$0.99
Green Onions 4/$0.99
Apricots $0.89/lb
Muenster Cheese $1.98/lb
Powerade $0.38 when you buy 15
Kraft BBQ Sauce $0.79
WEDNESDAY ONLY:
Avocados 4/$0.99
Cucumbers 6/$0.99
Oranges 5 lbs/$0.99
THURSDAY ONLY:
Boneless Chicken Tenders $0.98/lb

Safeway
93% lean Ground Beef $1.99/lb
Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts $1.88/lb
4-DAY SALE:
Johnsonville Bratwurst or Italian Sausage $2.99
Lay's Potato Chips $1.77
8 piece Fried Chicken $3.99

So stock up on your BBQ Sauce, hot dogs, potato chips and other items that are good deals this week! And have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Happy Grocery Shopping!

My Mexican Sink

Last week we were in Mexico doing some work at Hope House, our mission in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico. Hope House is a home for teen girls and single moms where they can find refuge in time of crisis, or to stay for an extended period to learn skills by which to support themselves and their children. A group came from Bedford, PA, to do some work that needed done at Hope House. They poured a concrete pad/porch for the washing machine, taped, spackled and painted the ceiling, and helped tile one of the bathrooms. It was a great week and we got even more accomplished than we had hoped.

While we were down there, we took the group to Algodones, which is a town on the border that has vendors of every sort for tourists to buy "souvenirs" from. One of the things I was interested in looking at was a Talavera sink for my Master Bathroom. Next year we are planning to remodel it and I was curious to see if they had any sinks that I would like for my bathroom. I have seen some with sunflowers or calla lillies, but the backgrounds were always blue. Blue is not my favorite color:-) So I was curious to see if I could find something with green that I would like. I had looked at these online and they were very expensive. So I thought perhaps if I found something I liked and the prices were better, then I could get it on another trip to Mexico in the future (closer to when we are planning to remodel).

Well, I found ONE sink that I really liked. I was NOT prepared to buy that day, but if you know anything about these vendors, if you like something, they will NOT let you get away if they can help it. The starting price was $180!!! There was NO way I was going to pay that much, even if I did really like the sink. He kept coming down on the price because I kept telling him I couldn't buy it today anyway. When he got down to $80, I told him I had to get my husband to talk to him. He followed me all the way to where my husband was waiting for us. By the time we got back to the sink, he had gotten his boss involved. My husband made an offer of $60 and they took it!!! So, we bought a sink. It is a very large sink and that is a really good price! I really like it and now I am hoping to remodel part of the bathroom a little sooner:-) I will just have to keep my eyes open for a good deal on a vanity or antique chest.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area This Week (May 12-18, 2010)

This week I am also going to link to Bargain Believer's links for each store - she has a great new blog with coupon details that will help you in your shopping! So just click on the PURPLE name of each store to see more details on the deals from Bargain Believer.

Albertsons
93% lean Ground Beef $1.77/lb (5 lbs or more)
Hormel Pepperoni or Canadian Bacon $1.88

Basha's
80% lean Ground Beef $1.39/lb
Chuck Roast $1.39
Tomatoes on the Vine $0.97/lb
Green or Red Leaf or Romain Lettuce $0.97
Basha's Milk $1.68 gallon
Ocean Spray Drinks $1.99 64 oz.
FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY ONLY!
Kraft Singles $1.99
Land O Frost Deli Shaved Meats 10 oz. $1.99

Food City
Cucumbers 5/$1
Valencia Oranges 5 lbs/$1
Kiwi 10/$1
Beef Back Ribs $0.88/lb

Fry's
93% lean Ground Beef $1.97/lb
Yoplait Yogurt $0.40 when you buy 10
General Mills Cereal 2/$4
Milk gallon $1.79

Pros Ranch Market
Oranges 5 lbs/$0.99
Romas 3 lbs/$0.99
White Onions 2 lbs $0.89
Cucumbers 6/$0.99
Kiwi 6/$0.99
Carrots 3-1 lb bags $0.99
Green Onions 4/$0.99
Chicken Leg Meat $0.88/lb
WEDNESDAY ONLY:
Manila Mangos 5/$0.99
Pinto Beans $0.39/lb
California Cherries $1.29/lb
10 lbs Potatoes $0.89
THURSDAY ONLY:
70% Lean Ground Beef $0.98/lb
FRIDAY ONLY:
Bananas 4 lbs/$0.99
Avocados 4/$0.99

Safeway
Cereals (General Mills, Kellogg's, Kashi, Quaker select varieties) buy 4, Save $4
Dial Liquid hand Soap $0.99
Bar S Franks $0.99
In Ad Coupons w/$10 Purchase:
Kraft Singles $1.99
Arm & Hammer Scoop Litter $5.99
Palmolive Dish Detergent 10 oz. $1.99
Yellow or White Corn 5/$1
Extra Jumbo Raw Gulf Shrimp $6.49/lb
Lucerne Shredded or Chunk Cheese $0.99/8 oz.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY ONLY:
Cheetos or Fritos $1.29
Breyer's Ice Cream $2.29
Frozen Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts $1.79/lb

Sprouts
Blackberries 6 oz. clamshell $0.88
Romas $0.88/lb
Apricots 2 lbs/$3
Mild Cheddar $1.99/lb
Organic Beef 40% off

According to Bargain Believer, you can get FREE Corn Flakes and Fruit Loops at Safeway this week using coupons and a catalina deal. But the catalina ends Friday, so don't wait too long to check it out!

Happy Grocery Shopping!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

My Mom

In honor and loving memory of my mom, I thought I would share a poem that I wrote about her way back in 1989.

The Things My Momma Taught Me

When I was young my momma taught me all the things a momma should.
But as I grew and watched her life, the lessons really began.
I watched my parents dedicate their lives to God in everything
And stand for Him and teach of Him to others every day.
I learned that every decision, whether critical or small,
Was placed in God's hands, for ours are far too small.

When I first fell in love and thought my heart was gonna break,
My momma taught me how to love in spite of circumstance.
And when that love had blossomed and was nurtured by a man,
My momma taught me how to be a woman in love.
She taught me how to "fight a good fight" and come thru more in love,
And momma taught me how to love when emotion isn't there.

When my daddy died, my momma taught me how
To be strong in God, to reach out to others when your world seems to fall apart;
To love so deeply and cherish the memories that no one can replace.
On the brink of losing everything, my momma still gave anything she could.
She provided refuge for another family in need,
While all around her things were crumbling down.

And when she lost the house that she and daddy built,
My momma taught me how to trust in God for everything -
To lean on Him, not earthly things, for my security.
And still my momma always kept on giving of herself.

When I ventured out in life, became a married woman,
My momma taught me how to really find myself.
She taught me how to be who I really am deep inside,
To show the world the "real" me, no matter what the price.
She taught me and encouraged me to follow God's leading no matter what others said,
And trust my heart when decisions became too hard to make.

And through adversity or calm, smooth sailing, my momma taught me how to laugh.
No matter the circumstances around us, she always had joy in her heart.
So many silly times we spent giggling and laughing together -
Enjoying life, God and others with all our hearts - together.
Together - that's what really counts in this life.
The time that's spent together is the most precious time of all.
No matter whether good times or bad, we were always there for each other.
Together - that's what mattered.

Much too soon the lessons started coming to a crescendo
As disease attacked and weakened momma so.
But still she stood stronger than anyone I know,
And faithfully served and shared her God to any who would listen.
As people came to visit as her body lay in bed
She touched their lives and ministered to them, not they to her.

Not many people understood her strength and hope in God,
Some people even criticized her faith - how small their God!
I know my momma's God and He is greater than we can imagine.
He planned her life, her every hour, He even planned her death,
As she followed His footsteps one by one by one.

Her eyes never strayed from His face as her strength began to ebb away.
I couldn't always be by her side in person those last days,
But it was OK for my momma and me, our love kept our hearts entwined.
My thoughts are never far away from the things my momma taught me,
I use theme very day I live - a living dedication,
To a lady who lived totally for God and loved completely.

In the final chapter of her life on earth (only the beginning of eternity, though)
My momma taught me the greatest lesson, the hardest lesson of all -
My momma in her quite, strong and loving way -
My momma taught me how to die to live with God for eternity,
To leave behind a legacy in family, friends, and love ones,
A banner to a single life lived wholly, totally for God!

I love you, Momma! And I miss you so very much!!
Your loving daughter,
Erica

Friday, May 07, 2010

Blackberries!!!

God is so awesome - He even cares about our little desires! I LOVE blackberries and we even talked about getting some blackberry bushes and planting them at our new home. But it takes a couple years before they start producing, so it would surely be a delayed pleasure. And I have a friend in Yuma whose dad has a blackberry farm and would let the homeschool families come and pick several times in May and get to keep 10% of what they picked for helping. I have done that for several years and LOVED it, but this year it doesn't seem as though I will be able to do that.

So....God planted a little surprise (well, a really big surprise really) in our backyard long before we moved into this wonderful new home!! There is a huge blackberry bush in our backyard that is full of unripe berries!! There are going to be a bunch of berries in a few weeks! My husband discovered it while he was trimming back the overgrown vines around our outdoor fireplace to get it ready for the teen game night we are hosting tomorrow evening. He called me out there to see and I was SO excited!!! God is so amazing and cares about even the littlest things! This is a great Mother's Day present for me - directly from God!! I love Him SO very much! And I know He loves me more than I can imagine! (You, too, BTW).

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area This Week (May 5-11, 2010)

There are some good deals this week, especially if you use some of the recent coupons. I will try to note some of them for you, but I recommend that you visit Grocery Smarts to help you find exactly the right coupons to match with the deals. There is a great deal on juices at Safeway, especially with coupons. Also, a great Kellogg's deal at Albertsons with coupons and catalina. So here are the best deals as I see them:

Albertsons
Effective through 5/11/10, Albertsons will double manufacturer coupons with values up to and including .50, triple manufacturer coupons up to and including values of .33, and quadruple manufacturer coupons up to and including values of .25!
California Sweet Corn 5/$1 (limit 10)
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts $1.77/lb
London Broil $1.77/lb
Albertsons Gallon Milk 3/$5
Simply Juice 59 oz. $1.99 (limit 2)
Breyer's Ice Cream 1.5 qt. $1.99 (limit 2)
Lay's Potato Chips $1.99

Basha's
Bashas' doubles up to 3 like coupons every day. This means that any coupon is doubled, with maximum value equaling $1.
Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts $1.69/lb
T-Bone Steak $3.99/lb
California White Corn 4/$1
Doritos, Ruffles and Herr's Chips $1.99
Yoplait Yogurt $0.40 each when you buy 10 w/in ad coupon
Old Orchard Healthy Balance Juice $2.00
Boulder Canyon Chips $1.79
FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY ONLY:
Milk Gallon $1.68
Tomatoes on the Vine $0.97/lb
Hamburger Buns 8 ct. $0.99
80% lean ground beef $1.69/lb
Basha's Buck Coupons:
Breyer's Ice Cream 2/$5 and $1 off 2 coupon
Klondike Bars 2/$6 and $1 off 2 coupon
Ragu Pasta Sauce 2/$4 and $1 off 2 coupon
Skippy Peanut Butter 2/$4 and $1 off 2 coupon
Lipton Tea (includes 40 ct. green) 2/$5 and $1 off 2 coupon
and more....

Food City
10 lb potatoes $0.88
Key Limes 3 lbs/$0.99
Avocados 5/$1
Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce $1.89
FRIDAY ONLY:
Malto O Meal Cereal $0.99 (limit 2)
Hunt's Tomato Sauce 8 oz. 4/$1 (limit 8)
Valencia Oranges 5 lbs/$1 (limit 10 lbs)
SATURDAY ONLY:
Hot Dog or Hamburger Buns $0.89
Guerrero Flour Tortillas 10 ct. $0.99

Fry's
All Manufacturers' Coupons worth $1: .10 coupons and above = $1.00.
Fresh Chicken Sale Buy 1, Get 1 Free
Cook's Spiral or Half Ham $0.99/lb
Blackberries $1
Farmer John Bacon $1.77
Gallon Milk $1.68 (limit 2)
Pepsi 2 liter $0.84
Kroger Peanut Butter 18 oz. $0.99
Fry's Macaroni & Cheese $0.39
Kellogg's Cereal $1.97
Mini Peeled Carrots $0.88/lb

Pro's Ranch Market
Watermelon 8 lb/$0.99
Manila Mangos 4/$0.99
Avocados 4/$0.99
Cilantro 5/$0.99
Baby Carrots $0.89/lb
Cabbage 4 lbs/$0.99
Shamrock Cottage Cheese 16 oz. $0.99
WEDNESDAY ONLY:
Corn on the Cob 5/$0.99
Cantaloupe 4 lbs/$0.99
Roma Tomatoes 3 lbs/$0.99
Potatoes 10 lbs/$0.89
Oranges 6 lbs/$0.99
THURSDAY ONLY:
Sliced Cooked Ham $0.98/lb
FRIDAY ONLY:
Bananas 3 lbs/$0.99
Strawberries $0.89/lb

Safeway
Strawberries $0.88/lb
Fresh Express Spinach, Shreds or Green & Crisp Salads $0.99
Dairy Glen Milk Gallon $1.68
BUY any 5, Save $5 Juices:
Tree Top, Mott's, Capri Sun $1.49
V-Fusion, V-8, Welch's $1.99
Lucerne Large Eggs 18 ct. $1.49 w/in ad coupon
Safeway Frozen Potatoes $1.99 w/in ad coupon
Jimmy Dean Bacon or Breakfast Sausage Rolls Buy 1, get 1 Free
Safeway Peanut Butter $0.99 w/in ad coupon
Lay's Kettle Cooked Chips $1.88 w/in ad coupon
Ziploc $1.49 w/in ad coupon

Sprouts
White Corn $0.19/each
Blackberries $0.99
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs $1.99/lb
Chicken Sausage $2.99/lb
Colby Jack Cheese $1.99/lb
Chicken Tenders $1.88/lb

Happy Grocery Shopping!


Monday, May 03, 2010

When Life Gets Busy

The month of May is a rather busy month for us. Spring football practice begins for my son (and continues through the fall with only a few weeks off here and there). The band that my kids are in has their first concert the end of this month, so there are extra practices and the stresses that go along with that. We are taking a 4-5 day trip down to Mexico to work with a group that is coming from Pennsylvania to help out at Hope House (our mission work in San Luis Rio Colorado).

I had a very hard time trying to fit in a few teen homeschooling group activities like roller skating and game night, but we did get a few squeezed in. We are still running full speed with school and will be going until sometime in June or July (we take our breaks in the winter when it is nice outside, rather than during the brutal heat of summer:-).

But, still, I don't like to be "busy". I don't mind having a lot of activities and for my kids to be involved in lots of fun stuff, but I believe "busy" is more an attitude of the mind than a state of your life. I have found that so many homeschool moms are "busy, busy, busy"! Too busy to take time for relationships and relaxing with a friend over a cup of tea. Too busy to plan an evening out with a friend. Too busy to handle the pressures that come with living life.

If my 6 years in Mexico taught me only one thing (and it taught me many), it is that I NEVER want to be "busy". I always want to be flexible enough to take time for a friend. I always want to have time for a cup of tea and a good book. I always want to spend time each week with girlfriends. I always want to be able to have a casual conversation with each of my children when THEY feel like talking. It is true that I don't fill up our schedule needlessly with lots of stuff to do, but even when our calendar and schedule look "busy", I never want to feel "busy". I never want to be too busy to accept an offer of going to yard sales with a friend. I never want to say "I don't have time right now" to a friend in need when she calls. I never want to be too busy to cook from scratch and make healthy foods for my family. Sometimes that means planning ahead and even cooking ahead and freezing some casseroles or dishes, but that is ok. I never want to be too busy to sit down at least once a day with my family at the dinner table to share a meal together. Many times this has to be breakfast since my husband works most evenings, but that is ok.

I want to challenge you, especially those homeschool moms out there, to take time spend with a friend. Make sure you are not "too busy" to be there for someone, especially your family. Even when your schedule and calendar are full, make sure that your attitude is not "too busy" for the things that really matter!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Best Grocery Deals in Phoenix Area This Week (April 28 - May 5, 2010)

Now that things have settled down a bit, I am ready to resume my grocery helps postings. So here are the best deals I see for this week:

Albertsons
Cantaloupes 10/$10
Mission Soft Taco Flour Tortillas or Tortilla Chips $0.99
Blue Bunny Ice Cream $2.50 each when you buy 4
Fritos or Cheetos 4/$5 with in ad coupon
Tony's Original Pizza $1.57 with in ad coupon
Donald Duck OJ $1.27 with in ad coupon
Kraft Mac N Cheese $0.39 with in ad coupon

Basha's
10 lb bag of Russet Potatoes $0.79
Dole Classic ICeberg Salad $0.79
Kellogg's Cereal, Fruit Snacks or Pop Tarts $1.99
Mission Soft Taco Tortillas or Tortilla Chips 10/$10
Barilla Pasta or Hunt's Pasta Sauce 10/$10
Challenge Butter $1.29 8 oz.
Milk $1.99/gal.
Hansen's Soda 6 pack $1.99

Fresh & Easy
Guerrero White Corn Tortillas 30 ct. $0.99
Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce $1.99
Sangria Senorial or Jarritos Soda $0.99

Food City
Chicken Leg Quarters 10 lb bag $0.37/lb
Cucumbers 5/$1
White Corn 5/$1
Watermelon $0.10/lb
Bartlett Pears 2 lbs/$1
Iceberg Lettuce 4/$1
Kiwi 10/$1
Lemons $0.50/lb
Boneless, Skinless chicken breasts $1.69/lb
FRIDAY ONLY:
Bananas 4 lbs/$1
Juicy Juice White Grape Juice 46 oz. $0.99
Mazola Oil 40 oz. $1.79

Fry's
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts $1.77/lb
Red Seedless Grapes $0.87/lb
Freschetta Pizza $3.99
Mini Seedless Watermelons 2/$3
Gatorade 32 oz. $0.79
Kroger cheese 2/$3 (6-8 oz shredded, bar or sliced)
Mission Flour or Corn Tortillas $0.97
Green Giant Vegetables w/ sauce in box 10/$10
Kroger Cream Cheese or Bagels 10/$10
Kroger Cottage Cheese 10/$10
Kellogg's Cereal 2/$5
Yoplait Greek Yogurt 10/$10
McCormick Grill Mates Spices 4/$5

Pros Ranch Market
Bananas 3 lbs/$0.99
Tangerines 2 lbs/$0.99
Cucumbers 6/$0.99
Grapefruit 3 lbs/$0.99
Celery 2/$0.99
8 oz. Mushrooms $0.99
Green Onions 3/$0.99
Chicken drums or thighs $0.48/lb
Tilapia Fillets $1.98/lb
Bar S Franks $0.69/lb
Powerade 32 oz. $0.38
Blue Ribbon Rice 5 lbs/$1.50
WEDNESDAY ONLY:
Oranges 7 lbs/$0.99
Limes 4 lbs/$0.99
Romas Tomatoes 2 lbs/$0.99
Green Chiles 4 lbs/$0.99
THURSDAY ONLY:
Beef Shank $0.98/lb
Marinated Chicken Fajitas $1.29/lb
FRIDAY ONLY:
Avocados 6/$0.99

Safeway
Avocados 3/$1
Mangos 4/$1
Yoplait Yogurt 10/$5
SATURDAY & SUNDAY ONLY:
Whole Seedless Watermelon $2.99
Tropicana Pure Premium 89 oz. $2.99
Cheez-It Crackers $0.99 (limit 4)
Kraft Salad Dressing $0.99 (limit 3)
Papa Cantella's Italian Sausage 16 oz. $1.99
Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna 2 cans/$0.88
WITH IN-AD COUPON AND $10 PURCHASE:
A&W or Sprite $0.69
Mission Soft Taco Flour Tortillas $0.99
Sargento Shredded Cheese $1.69
Deli Counter Salsa $1.49
Kleenex Facial Tissue $0.99

Sprouts
(will be added later - online ad not working)

Well, it's a great week for Mission Tortillas and Chips!! Stock up if you like them - you can freeze the tortillas. Also, don't forget to check out Superstition Ranch Market for the best prices in produce on Main Street between Greenfield and Higley. I got artichokes last week 3/$1!! And much more!

Happy Grocery Shopping!

I'm Back!!!

Now that things have begun to settle down and I am feeling more normal (after moving, etc.), I am ready to get back to blogging. So look for the regular weekly grocery helps, as well as other posts about family life, homeschooling, cooking and frugal living.

And let me just say again - I LOVE MY NEW HOUSE!!! It is such a huge blessing and we are feeling very "at home" here!