New Shaw's List is up!

Tomorrow's matchups for Shaw's has been posted under the Shaw's page HERE ALSO have you tried the Purex Fabric Softener Crystals? I LOVE THEM - however I just cannot justify buying them even with coupons with as much laundry as I go through - so today I made my own. I must admit I find it works just as well as the Purex Crystals. I took a box of coarse Kosher salt (just get something cheap - but make sure it is coarse) then I added 8-15 drops of skin safe fragrance oil (just enough to add scent) stir it well (until no more wet spots are visible) and voila! I use 1 scoop (about 2 TBSP.) to a load. Add it at the beginning of the wash cycle.

Many Blessings!

Sneak Peak at Shaw's Matchups for 6/17/11 - 6/24/11

Here is a sneak peak of a few matchups I found while going through next weeks flyer - I have only matched printable coupons to it as of yet - but there maybe be some insert matchups from Sunday Papers.

Cape Cod Kettle Chips 4/$10
    Printable coupon $1/2
    Final price $2 ea.

Wish-bone Salad Dressing $1.49
    Printable .75/2
     Final price after coupon doubles .75 ea.

Brown Cow Greek Yogurt 10/$10
    Printable .50/2
    Final price .75 ea. (if coupon doubles .50 ea.)

Cheez-It Colby 2/$5

    printable .70/1
    Final price $1.10 ea. after coupon doubles

Powerade 2/$1
    printable $1/5
   Final price .30 ea.

Newman's Own sauce $2.19
    printable .50/1
    Final price $1.19 after coupon doubles

Wise Chips B1G1
   .75/2 printable - no longer available
    Final price varies

 I will have a more complete list posted ASAP!
Today - my mission is going to be creating a page for each store I frequently post matchups on and shop at. So be sure to check them out and if you know of a deal I have missed - post a comment and share it with us! Also for those who may have scored on the Shaw's deal (and it is not to late to score on this) Luigi's Italian Ice B1G1 (using (2) .50 coupons made this a steal!) DO NOT THROW OUT YOUR BOXES! On the inside of the box there is a .50 coupon with no expiration! I bought two boxes of the Chocolate Cherry and Chocolate Banana and those did not have the coupon but the other boxes did! Another tip for those who are new to coupon shopping - ALWAYS carry your stores coupon policy with you! If you can not find a printable copy online - go to the service desk and ask the manager. Unfortunately too many cashiers out there do not have the proper training when it comes to coupons and it can become quite a nightmare in a hurry!

Many Blessings!

So many printables!!

WOW! There are so many printable coupons that have been released since the start of June I am just about out of ink! The deals are pretty intense though! Frugal Living and Having Fun has posted a great recap of some printables on their site check it out here. Also if you are still new to the coupon concepts sometimes terminology can be a bit confusing I have posted a complete list of commonly found abbreviations and terms here.

Many Blessings!

Mission: Frugal Couponing!

So it has been since March when I posted last- I know it I am a horrible blogger - life gets crazy busy sometimes and it is just so hard to focus on the important things - let alone any added extras. So my new mission (inspired by climbing gas prices) has become coupon shopping. I do not know why I have not done this sooner! Crazy deals to be had people! I have a FB page for Mission:Frugality that I will post most current deals I come across in my adventures, as well as sharing with you other great blogs and their findings. My pantry mission is still in full swing and thanks to couponing - is doing better than ever! Here are some of this weeks current finds at Shaw's:

Peter Pan Peanut Butter 2/$4
  use  (2) printable .50 Peter Pan (enter code 74575328)
  Final price after coupon doubles : $1 ea.
Newman's Own Spaghetti Sauce 2/$4
  use (2) printable .50 Newan's Own Product
  Final price after coupon doubles: $1 ea.
Luigi's Italian Ice B1G1 free (My Shaw's has this priced at $3.19)
  use (2) .50 Luigi's Italian Ice found in 5/1 RP (redplum)
  Final price after coupon doubles: $1.19 FOR BOTH!!!
Cheez-It Colby Crackers $2.69
  use printable .70 Cheez-it Colby
  Final price after coupon doubles: $1.29
Newman's Own Salad Dressing $2.99
  use printable .75 Newman's Own Dressing
  Final price after coupon doubles: $1.49
Chicken of the Solid White Albacore Tuna $1.69
  use printable .50 Chicken of the Sea Product (no longer available)
  Final price after coupon doubles: .69 (of course this could be cheaper if purchase was for Chunk Light Tuna)
Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard $1.19
  use printable .35 Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard
  Final price after coupon doubles: .49
Idahoan Flavored Potatoes 10/$10
  use printable .75/3 Idahoan Potatoes
  Final price after coupon doubles: .50 ea.

For a complete list of deals this week at Shaw's check out Maven of Savin

I'm slacking!

Wow am I slacking! It seems like it has been forever since I posted - I apologize! Sometimes life gets in the way! So the last time I posted I suggested taking a non-toxic cleaner mission - and putting some more focus in that area before moving on - how did everyone do? I found a recipe for a floor cleaner - that I revamped some - but I must add - I love it! I have a swiffer wet jet and somehow my husband made the non-refillable refills refillable....haha that was a bit confusing! Anyway he managed to get the cap off of those little buggers and he cut the teeth off so that we can re-use it. Sooooo now I can still have the convenience of my swiffer wet jet with a non-toxic cleaner! YAY! So the recipe for the floor cleaner is very simple - 2 tbsp. liquid castille soap and 1 gallon of warm water. You can add lemon essential oil and orange essential oil to this as well - however I would do so with caution if you have young ones running around as I have read that the EO's can make it a little slippery. For a little bit of a boost and a citrus smell I added about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to the refill bottle - not to my whole gallon of floor cleaner (I seem to recall reading somewhere that the lemon juice can mildew if it sits to long - but I may be wrong - anyway I just didnt want to take the chance) I have found that Castille soap in liquid form can be quite pricey - however using it in doses like this will make it last quite some time. There is no need to rinse your floor with this mixture and I have not noticed having a soapy film left behind. I would love to hear back from you - did you switch out a chemical cleaner for a non-toxic cleaner? If so how are you making out with it? Pros and cons? Maybe you have already done the switches and would just like to give some feedback on tried and true cleaners - I would love to hear how you are making your homes chemical free! If you are still transitioning over - this week take on another cleaner switch out - one step at a time will get you there sooner than you think!
Many Blessings

Wednesday!! Mid-week chaos begins!

As most people celebrate the coming of the middle of the week - I am beginning my run of chaos! Appointments, meetings and life is coming at me fast! I wanted to take a moment though and touch on this weeks challenge - getting rid of the toxic cleaners! How is everyone doing in this area? I am thrilled with my green swiffer sweeper replacements - I have had my swiffer sweeper for years, but grew tired of buying refills, I am thoroughly impressed with my washable sweeper pads! This week I used what was on hand which happened to be an old cotton flannel sheet, works like a dream! I think the prefolded cloth diapers will be even better - AND I am going to modify some of the prefolded cloth diapers and attach velcro strips so they can be used with my swiffer wet jet. So back to my swiffer sweeper - what I have been noticing the most is I am not "fluffing" pet fur into the air with my traditional broom - and I LOVE that fact! I have 2 dogs and 2 cats and believe it or not I am allergic to the cats, so sometimes sweeping can send me into sneezing fits of fury! No problems using my swiffer sweeper! Something so simple to make green and I am just doing it now - ya that is my duh!! moment this week!
On another note - I am still on the search for an AFFORDABLE liquid dish soap - not for dishwashers but for dishes done by hand. I purchased some Dr. Bronner's liquid castille soap - thinking I would use that in a dish soap recipe, after further research, in my opinion, this would turn out to be a very expensive dish soap. I will keep you posted on this search. If you have a tried and true handmade dish soap recipe I would love for you to share it with me! 
Many Blessings!

Scatter brained!!

You know the feeling right? A million different thoughts running through your head at once? Where do I begin, what do I do next, it's overwhelming to say the least. This is the story of my life....I am always in a whirlwind of thoughts. It's like : "I'm not easily ---- OH HEY LOOK AT THAT!" I literally do that all the time, my husband has now named those moments "squirrel moments" because they remind him of the dog on UP (if you have not seen that movie it is a MUST SEE!) So I am beginning to feel I am going in a million directions on the blog also - I have got green cleaner missions, grocery missions, getting rid of teflon, microwaves etc etc. So I am going to try to "unscatter" this ole head of mine if you will and work through some missions step by step. This week I am going to get back to the beginning of my blog and concentrate on some green cleaners. 
If you have not already done so - my challenge to you is to do away with one of your chemical cleaners this week and replace it with a non-toxic cleaner. There are alot of recipes for non-toxic cleaners on Oust The Chemicals! page, and I have found some more over the weekend that I cannot wait to try out that will be added to the page too - so if you have seen the page in the past, check back during the week because new recipes will be added. One of the new recipes I have found is for disinfecting wipes - great for those times you need to wipe something quickly. It also cuts down on paper waste! (another mission I am about to embark on, as my brain says "wait slow down - one step at a time!")
So go on the Oust The Chemicals! page and check out some of the green cleaner recipes, pick one and get started. If you have already done away with chemical cleaners maybe you would like to share your experience or ideas & recipes with the rest of us, or maybe you can let me know what your favorite tried and true green cleaner is. I would love to hear from you! Also I would love to hear how this challenge went for you - are you seeing a difference in air quality, health, improved cleaning power, is it saving you money? 
Happy Cleaning!

Already Friday

In continuation of my grocery mission and updates I am happy to report that I did not have to purchase meats this week on my grocery trip, which left more money for adding bulk to the pantry. I have been fortunate enough to find a local farm with pasture raised animals where I have been purchasing my meats - and the amazing thing is - the meats are cheaper than the chain grocery store meats, and by far a much better quality. Did you know that alot of meat that is purchased at the chain grocery stores are preserved with gasses to help maintain their red color, injected with saline solutions, and sometimes other flavorings because the gasses change the taste and smell of the meat? Also alot of the time the meats we are buying in the chain grocery stores are close to if not already beyond the expiration date due to the processing, transporting and delivery times? This was enough to convince me to seek alternative options, and becoming a vegetarian was not an option for me. Check out Eat Wild to find local farms near you. 
I would have never thought a few years ago that when I started my mission to living frugally and more natural that I would be where I am today with revamping not only the household items, but our food sources as well. I assumed natural food living was an unaffordable option, how wrong I was. I was also less concerned with what was going into our bodies than by what was in the air around us. My mindset has changed a bit since then, and at times I think boy that was a pretty backwards way to go about this, however changing the cleaners, getting rid of the microwave and teflon and the other changes I made early on were affordable manageable changes, and small changes. I went about changing one thing at a time. So my biggest word of advice for someone who is on a frugal mission - take on missions that are easy for you to succeed, like replacing a chemical cleaner with a green homemade cleaner. The more successes you have early on, the better chance you will have at bigger successes in the long run. 
Many Blessings

Continuing with Frugal Groceries

I feel that this mission will be a mission that carries out for a long time, as I am writing about it as I go. This weekend thanks to my pantry starting to obtain some bulk, I was able to throw some things together that I hadn't planned on when I went grocery shopping. The first thing we threw together - I say we, because my husband actually made it - was the recipe that I posted on Friday, it was something simple and we had all the ingredients for it. Saturday I made two batches of chocolate chip cookie dough - in the quest on making the ultimate chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich - the end result: 2 10 inch chocolate cookies that were scrapped and eaten - one turning out too thin, the other I cooked to long, they were delicious but I like soft baked, and 2 perfect 10 inch chocolate chip cookies that were filled with a half gallon of ice cream. Last night we had a San Francisco treat that was not bought in a box. The rice mix was delicious, cheap very easy to prepare and you can find it on my make ahead mixes page
I am posting my pantry must haves in hopes that it may help someone else with their grocery mission. Obviously you must make this your own, only buy items that pertain to you and your family. My list is not 100% organic, but I do try as often as possible to buy organic items. There are also a few items on my list that I am in the process of "researching" and may end up being on the pantry veto list at a later date. Again if there are items that you are not comfortable with in your home, then do not stock it.
Click here for the list for my pantry must haves.
Many Blessings

February 25, 2011

I haven't added any new posts or pages for a few days and I feel as though I am neglecting you all. I promise you I am not neglecting you - I am tending to an injury on my shoulder that took place some months ago. I have a very difficult time laying low and not doing anything, however I am at a point where I am beginning to realize I need to lay low in order to heal completely, that and the dirty looks I get from my husband because he argues with me to rest my arm when I insist on doing laundry, or dishes or some other chore has made me realize I need to lay low to keep peace in the
I am honestly so grateful to have a family that is willing to pitch in a little extra in order for me to rest. 
Tonight my dear husband tried out a new recipe that my daughter picked out earlier and it was delicious and easy and cheap! It was beef and rice taco casserole (we modified it some to fit our pantry) because we have a large family I had him double the recipe, but if your family is not as large you can easily divide the recipe in half. 
2 lb. ground beef
2 cans condensed tomato soup
2 cups salsa (we used 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilis)
1 cup instant rice
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
Brown ground beef and drain fat, add soup, rice and salsa (or tomatoes) pour into a casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, remove from oven and add crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheddar, place back in oven and heat until cheese is melted. 
Garnish with sour cream and green onions if desired. 

Have a fantastic weekend, enjoy your families, and don't forget to make time to pray!
Many Blessings,

Making bread

A very special thank you goes out to Beckie for submitting to us our very first tutorial. I have always struggled with making bread and after reading her tutorial I am excited to give it a try ASAP!

How to make a perfect bread loaf by Beckie:

1.  Flour:  What do you use for flour?  Name brand?  Store brand?  Me, I always use name brand flour, preferably a bread flour specifically.  Of course we all know King Arthur IS king of the flour world and has a price to match!  But store brand flour just makes a gummy, gooey, sticky dough that falls flat.  So for frugality's sake I use Pillsbury Best or Gold Medal unbleached bread flour.  I keep it stored tightly in a sealed container to reduce the effects of humidity on the flour.  (Yes humidity will effect the way it works.  Silly, but true!)

2.  Yeast:  I buy Red Star active dry yeast at the health food store and store it in the freezer.  Never ever on a shelf.  Not even those sealed packets should be stored on the shelf in the store.  If you can't get your yeast from the refrigerated coolers, DON'T BUY IT!!  It is alive and needs the cool temps to properly maintain it's activity when you make your bread. 

Your water should never be too hot or too cold.  I don't use a specific temp for knowing when it's right.  I just run the tap water until it is warm but not hot.  Hot kills the yeast.  And dead yeast means flat heavy bread that won't rise.

Yeast has a sweet tooth!  When you add it to your water to activate it, you need to feed your yeast.  A little, like a tablespoon or so, sugar or honey will help your yeast "proof" correctly.  Proofing is the first most important step in making yeast risen breads.  Yeast is properly proofed when it looks all foamy and smells yeasty. 

To read more click HERE

New Page in Progress

I have made a page for make ahead mixes, I will continue to add to that page periodically as it will take some time to add all the content. If you have any make ahead mixes that you would like to share please send me an email at and I will add them to the page. Today I am going to attempt to make my own bisquick style mix, I will keep you all updated on whether it was successful or a big fail. One thing I have always struggled with is breads of any sort! Say a prayer for me!! (and Beckie  - would love some bread tutorials - if you ever feel so inclined to write some up for us OR even do some vlogs?) Enjoy your day everyone - the sun is brightly shining here on the East Coast this morning, going to enjoy it and seize the day!
Many Blessings

Frugal Groceries

In continuation with the grocery mission here are some keys to success:
Changing the way of thinking is a HUGE part of this, when making a recipe that you can double and freeze half you begin to save time and money. 
Make as many homemade items as possible. I understand that homemade doesn't always fit in a schedule, or what about the prepackaged foods that we have all grown so fond of? (mac & cheese, rice-a-roni, brownie mixes etc. etc.) Make your own mixes! Making your own mixes will save you money AND gives you back the control of what is going on your table. The internet is a HUGE resource when it comes to trying out recipes, I have come across a few make ahead mixes that once I have the opportunity to test them out I will share them with you. Until then try and see what you can come up with, what you come across might really impress you! Barry Farm is an organic farm that has opened an online store, I have not had the opportunity to try them out myself, but I have read some great reviews for the cheese powder (to make your own mac & cheese - similar to kraft). Do you have a favorite brownie recipe? Mix up the dry ingredients in advance, bag them(or jar them) attach recipe along with what needs to be added and stick it in the pantry - just as convenient as boxed brownie mix but ALOT cheaper! Making biscuits? Double your batch roll and cut - cook half, the other half place on cookie sheet and stick in the freezer until frozen, then take out and throw in a bag. Cook them as needed at 425 for about 18 minutes. Or if you prefer cook them ahead of time and freeze them after so they just need a quick heat up when you take them out.
Last night I made sloppy joes - A HUGE HIT, and it wasn't premade in a can here is a link to this fantastic Rachel Ray recipe:  
For the steak seasoning - I ground my own using peppercorn, dried minced onion, dried chopped garlic and coarse salt, much cheaper than buying commercially prepared! Enjoy all the blessings of the day!
Many Blessings

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday! I pray everyone had a great weekend. My weekend was a very productive weekend in my pantry mission. In order to successfully do once a month pantry shopping, organization is definitely going to be key. Organization can sometimes be my downfall!!! So this weekend I made lists of what I bought this past week for the pantry along with the date purchased so I can get an idea of roughly how long certain items will last me, and a list of items still needed for a fully stocked pantry - it really seems like alot - BUT I need to listen to myself and say one step at a time, and baby ones at that! In addition to list making I also worked on a storage and label system. I am proud to say I am making progress! 
I had a huge highlight to my weekend when I went shopping for some more cast iron pans, I have all the skillets and griddles I need, a dutch oven and a small sauce pot but I wanted more sauce pots and I would like to get a loaf pan. If you are in Maine Reny's is the place to go for cast iron - best prices I have seen so far. So I went to Reny's with my husband to purchase a few more items for the cast iron collection, I decided upon a 6 cup sauce pot priced at $16.99 and a muffin pan priced at $9.99. At the register the sauce pot rings up at (you are not going to believe this) $4.25!!!! What?? So I ask the cashier were they on sale she checks and says yes they are marked down but it was not advertised, I instantly looked at my husband and said QUICK- GO GET ANOTHER ONE!  SOOO I got 2 sauce pots for less than half of what I was expecting to pay for the one! Those were the only 2 left of "last years" shipment so they were marked down! If you are looking for some more cast iron for your collection I highly recommend checking at Reny's, and while you are there it wouldn't hurt to ask them if any of the cast iron is marked down. You just might be surprised!
If you havent checked out my Facebook Page yet you should - I have been posting some really great deal alerts and will be posting some real neat tips on occasion.
Many Blessings,

Grocery Mission: Mission Impossible?

My grocery mission has been ongoing for several years, and I think (thanks to google and other helpful blogs) I finally broke through this week with an actual plan of action that makes sense to me. I have tried the "menu planning" prior to grocery shopping - which has left me with a few problems: 
A) I DREAD SHOPPING because it has become such a time consuming task. I have to sit down plan out a menu, THEN I can make my list - THEN I can run to the grocery store. I know it doesn't sound like a time consuming task but when you have a day that you literally have 5 minutes to stop and think and plan - it is. 
B) I spend more money. I know you hear all the time go to the store with a list, plan a menu it is more affordable. If I go in there with a specific menu list I am missing out on a lot of sale opportunities - and there usually isn't any room for play with my budget and list so I cannot just throw something unplanned in my cart no matter how good a deal it is. 
C) If something happens and I cannot make it to the grocery store on my "scheduled" grocery day - I am in trouble because I have nothing to throw together to make a complete meal. 
So I have toyed with the idea for some time now of once a month shopping - now I know I will have to go more frequently to grab fresh produce and dairy, but I want to do the majority in one foul swoop. I must admit though the thought of once a month shopping is quite an overwhelming thought for me, I am left with where do I begin? Menu Planning for once a month shopping is a daunting task. I have toyed with the idea of not only once a month shopping but once a month cooking - again OVERWHELMING! I do have a Facebook friend who sent me an email and broke things down for me, thank you Paulette! You are an angel! I have steered back away (kinda) from once a month cooking, but thanks to some tips from Paulette I can and will most likely make "multiple" meals at a time when the opportunity arises. 
I am sure you are wondering what my breakthrough is then.... it is pantry shopping. I have run through the pantry and made a list of all my "must haves" googled (see told you I am an addict) what other peoples "must haves" are and read other peoples blogs about their "must haves" and I think I am on to something. I think that  if I am shopping to keep a well stocked pantry - at any given time I should be able to open the pantry and throw something together, whether it be a meal that I need to add extra to for an unexpected guest, or possibly a dessert I want to surprise the family with, or to take with us somewhere we have been invited to or just because the girls and I feel like getting our baking groove on. 
Again with this mission and any other mission baby steps is key, so going to the store and stocking up the pantry for a month is probably not going to happen, I have read to spend an additional 10% of your grocery budget to put towards adding bulk to your pantry, maybe that means an extra bag of flour, or a bigger box of spaghetti than what you would normally buy. Eventually it will be stocked and you can start saving some money. AND speaking of saving money, be careful when shopping at stores promising to save you a lot. Sometimes you would be surprised at how little if any you are actually saving. I am also currently working on price list for some of my pantry "must haves" and doing side by side comparisons, so far my findings are surprising even myself. Once my list is complete I will share that with you all too. 
Have a great weekend and remember to be thankful for the little things, the little things are usually full of the biggest blessings!
Many Blessings!

February 17, 2011

So after several months of reading blogs, googling (yes I have a google addiction - anyone who knows me would tell you its true) I have decided to start my own blog.
So let me fill you in on the mission - my mission which has been ongoing for several years now, is to live life as naturally and frugally as possible. As most of you are aware this is not an easy mission.
I have done away with all chemical cleaners in the house - and that did turn out to be a much cheaper alternative to chemical cleaners. I will post a blog about this transition and the products I use so you have all the details to take on this mission yourselves if you choose! 
I have ousted all the teflon and non stick coated pans from the house - goodbye, good riddens - adios! I use mainly cast iron now (which ladies let me tell you - clean up with cast iron is a breeze!) I occasionally use stainless steel pots and pans. For baking I have stoneware, and glass. Again I will blog about my reasoning behind this transition at a later date. 
My family was ready to oust me when I ousted our microwave this past fall.... and every once in awhile I still catch a little flack for this. Just gonna say - sometimes quicker and convenience is not always a good thing!
Years ago I ousted all paraffin candles from the house - oh I am sure you are all quite aware of the nastiness of paraffin and if not stick around kiddo - I will show you the ropes! I make my own soy and beeswax melts, along with lotion and other natural bath and body products. My website is we do not have online ordering in place as of yet - BUT we are working on it. 
So now I think I have you somewhat caught up, and my current mission is cutting down grocery costs AND eat healthier.... What do you think? Mission impossible? Well I feel that EVERYTHING is possible, this mission is just a little trickier and much more overwhelming than any mission tackled as of yet. One thing I cannot emphasize enough: with any mission you decide to take on - the key to success will always be baby steps! I hope that you enjoy the future posts, and maybe even take on some of the missions yourself, and possibly share your missions and secrets of success with me as well! Tomorrow I will post about some of my recent findings in the grocery mission, until then enjoy all the blessings God has brought into your life and savor the natural beauty of today! 
Many Blessings,