Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Saved 99% at Publix!

I really only half planned this trip, but it turned out better than expected. I actually just needed the milk and wanted the bacon since my kids love it. I also had a $5/$40 Publix coupon that I wanted to use. I read about there being $1/1 blinkies for Life Saver candy at the store but didn't really expect to see them. However, they were there!

OOP: .61 (just tax, saving 99%)

2 Vitamin Water, 1.25
-(2) .50/1 Whole Food Printable Qs
Final Price: .75 ea

5 Yakisoba Noodles, .99
-(5) .50/1 MF Qs, doubled
Final Price: Free

2 Emerald Almonds, 3.09 BOGO
-(2) .50/1 IP Qs, doubled
Final Price: .55 ea

2 Sugardale Bacon, 2 for $6
(2) .55/1 MF Qs blinkies
Final Price: 2.45 ea

4 Think Thin Bars, 1.50
-(4) $1/1 IP Qs
-(4) $1/1 Whole Food Printable Qs
Final Price: Free+

8 Life Saver Candy Bags, $1.00
-(8) $1/1 MF Qs blinkies found this trip
Final Price: Free

4 Kotex, 1.49
-(2) $1.50/2 MF Qs
-(4) $1/1 Publix Qs from Green Flier (exp 6/1)
Final Price: Free+

Publix Milk, 2.99

-$5/$40 Publix Q from homemailer

Total before sales/coupons: $55.19
Sales: $13.48
Coupons: $41.10
OOP: .61 (just tax, saving 99%)

Actually, I think she may have rung up a couple of my coupons too many times because the total should have been around $3.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Quick Dinner Recipes for the Super Busy Mom

I wanted to share a little bit of my wisdom as my younger sister embarks on nursing school. (I am meddling that way.) She is on a fast track course that meets for six hours every day Mon-Thurs. She is also married and a mom of two young children ages three and under. If she is not in class, she is studying or changing diapers. Not an easy time in life.

When I decided to go to graduate school, it was probably not the best timing choice in my life. However, I wanted to improve our lifestyle opportunities and continuing my education was a way to do this. I was married, had young children and I worked. It was a benefit to have a supportive husband on board, and who was great with the kids. I wanted to do this with the least disruption to them, mainly for selfish reasons since I still wanted to be liked and married when I finished. I took two classes a semester (usually meeting one night a week and two weekends per month) which made it a long haul, but didn’t make me crazy, and eventually I finished. Another way to ease the stress was to come up with some super easy recipes that required little to no time to create but looked and tasted like home-cooked meals. My husband and I both worked and shared household responsibilities, but I was generally in charge of food. The recipes also needed to be frugal as grad school was not cheap. Being quick to make, it gave me more time to study, write, etc. Here is a shopping list and seven super easy recipes.

Tips: Instant mashed potatoes and frozen steamed vegetables are your best friends. Just pop them in the microwave for a few minutes and you have a quick side dish. Also invest in a good crock pot that has a timer on it so that it will turn to warm when the time is complete.

Shopping List:

Canned or Bottled:

2 cans of whole cranberry sauce
3 (15 ounce) cans whole kernel corn
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
2 cans cream of potato soup
Apricot jam - 8 ounces
Salsa - 12 ounces
Bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce

Dairy Department:


Orange juice
Shredded cheddar cheese

Dry Goods:

Dry onion soup mix
Bag of mixed dried beans
Italian seasoning
1 package taco seasoning mix
2 envelopes of Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
2 packages instant potatoes
tortilla chips

Fresh Vegetables:

Garlic cloves
2 Onions
Bag of baby carrots

Meat Department:

1 pot roast that fits your slow-cooker
Package of ham pre-cut into cubes
2-3 packages chicken or turkey breast/legs (2 crockpot’s worth)


4 packages steamed vegetables
Bag (or two depending on the size of your family) of frozen meatballs


Crockpot Cranberry Barbecue Meatballs


My kids beg for this dish. I threw in a can of cranberry sauce one time just as an experiment and the kids will now only eat it this way.


Can of whole cranberry sauce
Bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
Bag (or two depending on the size of your family) of frozen meatballs


Add all ingredients into the crockpot, mix and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Serve with vegetables of choice.

Six Can Chicken Tortilla Soup

"Delicious and EASY zesty soup recipe that uses only 6 canned ingredients! Serve over tortilla chips, and top with shredded Cheddar cheese. Throw away the cans and no one will know that it is not from scratch!"

1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 ounce) can chunk chicken
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (rinse)
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, drained

Open the cans of corn, chicken broth, soup, chunk chicken, black beans, and diced tomatoes with green chilies. Pour everything into a large saucepan or stock pot. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is heated through.

Chicken Corn Chowder


This is one of my family’s favorites!


2 cans cream of potato soup
2 cans milk
2 cans corn
2 large cans boned chicken (or diced leftover chicken or a packaged of precooked grilled

Shredded Cheese (optional for topping)

Combine all ingredients and heat over medium heat until warmed through. Serve topped with shredded cheese (optional).

Cranberry Chicken (or Turkey)

I don't remember where I originally got this from (probably online), but it has become a favorite. It's easy and tasty.

Chicken or Turkey Breast/Legs
1 can of whole berry cranberry sauce
1 pkg of dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup of orange juice
salt and pepper to taste

Put turkey in crockpot, mix rest of ingredients and pour over turkey. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. I fill the crock to the top with meat and double the mix and we have leftovers to put in freezer. I also make gravy out of the sauce and put over mashed potatoes.

Crockpot Bean Soup


1 lb bag or 2 cups mixed beans, soaked overnight
7 C water
Package of ham pre-cut into cubes
1-2 pressed cloves
garlic salt, celery salt, and pepper to taste
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning


The hard part is remembering to soak the beans the night before! Drain soaking water the next day and then put all above ingredients into your crockpot and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

Sweet Salsa Dump Chicken


1 (1 1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
8 ounces apricot jam
12 ounces salsa
1 1/2 lbs chicken pieces (4-6 pieces)


Mix all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours (8 if you start with frozen chicken).

Slow Cooker Pot Roast


1 pot roast that fits your slow-cooker
2 cups of water
2 envelopes of Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
Vegetables (optional – chopped onion, baby carrots, sliced celery, etc)


Put pot roast in slow-cooker. Add vegetables. Mix water and onion soup mix and pour over. Cook on high for four hours or low for 8.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

For the Locals: Muster on the Trace

Here is a cool free event to take the kids on Saturday or Sunday! It is a reenactment of a call to arms just before the War of 1812 and is sponsored by the National Park Services. The event takes place 12 miles west of Columbia, TN at the Gordon House Historical Site. Here is a short clip on the event and the information:

Muster on the Trace: Prelude to the War of 1812

Saturday, May 26, 9:00 am-5:00 pm and Sunday, May 27, 9:00 am-1:30 pm

Gordon House Historic Site (milepost 407.7)

This event, the first in a multi-year series of programs to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812, will be a reenactment of a muster day--a day when both regular and militia troops came together to train. It will be held at the Gordon House Historic Site (milepost 407.7 on the Natchez Trace Parkway), approximately 12 miles west of Columbia, Tennessee.

Over 150 reenactors will be on hand to recreate the atmosphere, with military drills, historical weapons demonstrations, historical political debates, military and civilian living history camps, and sutlers. While there, you may "enlist" in either the militia or regular army, visit a Chickasaw camp, and enjoy the music of the time. Then visit a representation of tavern of the era, where men would typically gather to get news and discuss politics, or purchase period goods from a sutler. Watch an 1800s sawyer, blacksmith, and engineer as they plan to improve the Natchez Trace, and hear how Gordon's ferry was operated. Children may be surprised to see people their age with the army--there will be two units of fife & drum corps, who could be children as young as ten.

In addition to the ongoing activities, there will be special events each day.

Saturday, May 26 program schedule:

9:00 Site and parking open
10:00 Opening Ceremony
11:30 Special Lecture: Jim Parker. "Borderland Background: An Overview of Emotions and Conditions Along the Gulf Borderlands."
12:00 1812 Music Concert, Lewis and Clark Fife & Drum Corps, 7th USI Field Music
12:30 Special Lecture: Clay Williams and Mike Bunn. "The Smoldering Tinderbox: Prelude to the Creek War and the War of 1812"
1:00 Period Comical Play: "The Blue Devils"
1:30 Special Lecture: Dr. Tom Kanon. "Indian/Settler Tensions on the Tennessee Frontier: The Martha Crawley Incident of 1812"
3:00 Historical Political Debates
4:00 Mustering of the Troops

Sunday, May 27 program schedule:

9:00 Site and parking open
10:30 Camp Meeting (period church service)
11:15 Lunch on the Lawn
1:00 Closing Ceremony

To print an event schedule, click here.

The event is free to the public, and is sponsored by the National Park Service, the 7th US Infantry Living History Association, the Natchez Trace Parkway Association, and the Tennessee War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee. For more information, please contact the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center at 1-800-305-7417, or visit a partner website:

7th US Living History Association (see a commercial for the event here)

Natchez Trace Parkway Association

Tennessee War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Link Love: Free movies for students at Franklin Theatre this week

Check out the post by Ms. Cheap for information concerning free movies at the Franklin Theatre for students this week! It's a great way to start summer!

For the Locals: Rare Astronomical Event Viewing Party on June 5th

Here is a great summer activity for you and your kids:

"Rare astronomical event won't happen again until 2117!

On June 5, starting at 5:04 pm in Nashville, the planet Venus will pass across the face of the Sun as seen from Earth. Known as the Transit of Venus, this rare phenomenon will not happen again until 2117.

Join Adventure Science Center and local amateur astronomers to view this spectacular event at a free viewing party from 4 to 8 p.m. in the ASC upper parking lot. Members of the Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society will have telescopes set up, and members of the ASC staff will instruct visitors on how to view the sun safely with special solar shades that may be taken home.

Plus, enjoy a variety of fun activities for the whole family! Turn yourself into a human sundial or experiment with solar beads. If the weather turns cloudy, a live feed of the Transit from Hawaii will be available. Our on-site Subway will be available for dining throughout the event.

All Transit of Venus activities are free and open to the public. For more information on the Transit or on activities at ASC to celebrate, click here."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Monkey Bread Recipe: A Sleepover Favorite!

Whenever my kids have friends over I make this in the morning. It is super easy and the boys claim I am the best cook ever! It is a big time kid pleaser - sweet and messy.

Monkey Bread


3 (12 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9 or 10 inch tube/Bundt pan.

Mix white sugar and cinnamon in a plastic bag. Cut biscuits into quarters. Shake 6 to 8 biscuit pieces in the sugar cinnamon mix. Arrange pieces in the bottom of the prepared pan. Continue until all biscuits are coated and placed in pan.

In a small saucepan, melt the margarine with the brown sugar and water over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over the biscuits. This can be done in the microwave as well.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 - 45 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. You do not have to cut! The bread just pulls apart

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Regal Theaters $1 Movies Summer Schedule

Moviegoers of all ages can climb aboard to enjoy a great selection of films. During this 9-week festival, select Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards Theatres will offer selected G or PG rated movies for only a dollar on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00am. Check here to find your local Regal Theater.

Here are my local Nashville theaters and a list of dates and movies which are the same for both:


3815 Greenhills Village Drive
Nashville TN


570 Opry Mills Drive
Nashville TN 615-232-5014

Dates and Movies:

6/5-6/6 (10am)

6/12-6/13 (10am)

6/19-6/20 (10am)

6/26-6/27 (10am)

7/3-7/4 (10am)

7/10-7/11 (10am)

7/17-7/18 (10am)

7/24-7/25 (10am)

7/31-8/1 (10am)

Harris Teeter Triples Trips

Here are two trips this week to Harris Teeter for their triple coupons. Check out the previous post for links to sites for coupon match-ups. Also, if you have odd coupons like blinkies and coupons sent to you from Kroger or Publix, you may be able to get a few great deals that are not typically described on the sites. Sales are good through Tuesday.

Trip 1:

OOP: $16.16

Trip 2:

OOP: $8.72

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Harris Teeter Triple Coupons Begins Tomorrow!

Harris Teeter will have triple coupons starting 5/16 and running through next Tuesday! That means, all coupons 99¢ or less will be tripled in value, up to 20 coupons per day per card. Here are some sites to visit to help you make your list!

Southern Savers List 1
Southern Savers List 2
Southern Savers List 3
Madame Deals
Hot Coupon World
My Coupon Teacher
Moola Saving Mom

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: 5/14/2012

Monday: Mexican Pork and Sweet Potato Stew
Tuesday: Hawaiian Drumsticks & Steamed Vegetables
Wednesday: Cranberry Barbecue Meatballs, Creamed Spinach & Cucumber Salad
Thursday: Turkey Chili
Friday: Chicken Wings & Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake

Would you like to put your DVDs on your IPAD or Tablet?

This is kind of specific, but if you travel a lot you will know how valuable this info can be. Recently, I bought my husband for his birthday a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. He will be traveling to Poland soon for business and wanted something small for entertainment and communication back home. We have many DVDs and wanted a way to put some of them on the Samsung so he can watch something on the plane, etc. (without an internet connection). That is when I came across this site and software for burning DVDs to your computer and then transferring them to your tablet/iPad/etc. We tested it in the trial version of the software and when it worked we purchased the full version ($28). It is totally easy and cool! Just to be able to burn your DVDs to your computer to watch when you want rather than to keep track of the disc will be great! Here is the information:


HERE is a site that discusses how easy it is to operate.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Publix Shop 5/10/12

OOP: 9.25 (Saving 86%)

Since I splurged on stocking up on meat this week, I only went for the really great deals at Publix! Prices are good through Tuesday.

10 Sun Drop Sodas, 1.76
-(5) Publix BOGO Qs Spring Gatherings Booklet
-(10) $1/1 Sun Drop, any 2-Liter bottle - 05-06-12 SS
Final Price: Free+

2 Pepsi Next Sodas, 1.69
-(2) $1/1 Pepsi Next, any 2 L (Publix Coupon) - Yellow Adv Buy Flyer "Happy Mother's Day"
-$1/2 MF Q Pepsi Next, any 2-Liter Bottle - 04-29-12 MTS
Final Price: .19 ea

10 Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals Crisp, 5.8-8.5 oz, 1.74
-(10) .50/1 MF Qs SS 5/06, doubled
Final Price: .74 ea

Vitamin Water, 1.50
-$1/1 MF Q (husband brought home from work)
-.50/1 Whole Foods Coupon
Final Price: Free

Hidden Valley Dressing, 3.29 BOGO
-$1/1 MF Q from Publix Spring Gatherings Booklet
Final Price: .65

Total before sales/coupons: 63.74
Sales: 19.04
Coupons: 45.45
OOP: $9.25 (Saving 86%)

Food Saver Meat Sale!

Now is a good time to stock up on meat at Food Saver. Through Sunday, pork loins are $1.38 per lb ($1.52 with 10% added). Also, fresh drumsticks are .97 per lb ($1.07). I have previously purchased their pork loins and they are really good.

I knew I was going to stock up, but serving whole pork loins over and over did not appeal to me. So it dawned on me that Food Saver has its own butcher, and they will cut a piece of meat up for you for free. So I purchased six and had two cut up for stew meat and two cut up in chops. Just so you know, boneless pork chops are over $4 per lb and having a pork loin cut is so much cheaper. One pork loin cut up into stew meat will fill three Ziploc bags. Each pork loin had an average cost of $6.27. Chicken leg packages averaged $4.53 ea. What you see is 27.3 lbs of pork loin and 14 lbs of chicken. Total OOP was $61.40.

Picture below is after separating the meat out into storage bags for freezing just to show how much one pork loin produces.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Guest Post: Ten Ways to Keep More Money in Your Wallet!

Here is a great refresher on saving money by guest poster, Jay Manning.

Ten Ways to Keep More Money in Your Wallet!

Do you work pay check to pay check? Are you constantly spending more than you earn? You are among the millions of Americans who are feeling the burden of a fallen economy. Here are ten ways to keep more of your hard-earned cash in your wallet!

1. Take your own cup of coffee to work in the morning.
Just by making coffee at home, you can save yourself over $30.00 a month. I understand the need for a latte or a cappuccino once in a while, but you can buy delicious creamer alternatives at your local grocery store. Make it a special treat once a week to stop at your favorite local coffee spot and spoil yourself.

2. Get out your recyclable lunch bag and take your lunch to work. You won't believe how much money you will save just by taking your lunch three to four times each week.

3. Make a list before you go grocery shopping. Stick to your list and avoid impulse buys at the grocery store. Try to keep within a set budget and buy in bulk whenever possible. Sam's Club is a great example of where to go for some of your bulk-buying needs.

4. Take back your cans. You can help save the environment and put the money back into your wallet at the same time. Invest in a recycle bin just for your cans and use it all year long.

5. Do your coupon homework. Keep your coupons organized and make sure you bring them with you when you shop.

6. Compare prices. Whether you are shopping for groceries, clothing or toys, you need to compare prices. You can do a lot of comparison shopping in your very own home. Utilize the internet and price shop ahead of time. This is a great way to save yourself time, money and gas.

7. Limit nights out. It’s fun to take the whole family to the movies for a great feature and refreshments, but limit this to special occasions (once a month, at most) and save yourself a boatload of money. To take a family of four or five, you are going to spend at least $60.00 in tickets and refreshments. Furthermore, going out to eat before the show can prove just as costly. Instead, try eating an early lunch where everyone shares generous appetizers and entries, then hit a matinee and skip the refreshments (or buy some candy at the grocery store beforehand, that everyone can share).

8. Cancel your gym memberships for the spring and summer. You can get an amazing amount of exercise by going to your local parks, biking, and swimming. You can save a ton of money and inspire your children to exercise with you. Take them to the park and play soccer, Frisbee, basketball, or tag and enjoy some fun family time together.

9. Cancel subscriptions. You can use the internet to review and retrieve the latest news and information. Some magazine, like Entertainment Weekly, provide almost all the content in their magazines on the their website too.

10. Carpool. With gas prices rising to a possible $5.00 a gallon this summer, you may want to think about carpooling to work or school. Don't be afraid to ask around and I bet you will find there are a lot of people willing to carpool with you.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Clean Out My Pantry Cookies Recipe

I found this cookie recipe in 2007 and have been making them ever since. I would love to give credit to the original cook but I can no longer find her online. Every time I make them my husband and kids swear that they are the best ever. I have never made them the same twice. This recipe allows for multiple variations, basically whatever you have in your cabinet. I have used different kinds of sugars, different types of flour, thrown in a mashed banana, and used whatever chips or leftover candy that I had, and it still turns out great! Make sure you coat the outside of the dough ball with sugar as the recipe instructs. I think that is key to making this cookie fantastic.

Cleaning Out My Pantry Cookies

Great for rainy days with the kids when you don't feel like going to the store!

1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar (for rolling)

1. Cream the butter and sugars(brown and powdered) together, about 3 minutes. Add in eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl using a spatula.

2. Add vanilla and mix for one more minute.

3. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.

4. Add the various chips and dried cherries and mix until incorporated.

5. Roll cookies into a ball and roll in granulate sugar.

6. Bake at 375F for 9-10 minutes.