Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's A Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. . .

. . . even without brown sugar.

It's been snowing most of the day, with much more forecasted for tonight.  It took me almost 45 minutes to drive the 6 miles to work because of the snow.  And my son has been full of whines, pouts and "no"s all day.  So, yes, chocolate chip cookies sounded like a good "pick me up."

Only after I started mixing the batter did I realize that I was out of brown sugar.  Grrr!  But Betty Crocker came to my rescue and told me I could substitute white sugar and molasses.  Cookies saved! And they turned out pretty well, all things considered.  They seem a little darker and sweeter than normal, but they definitely hit the spot.  Here's my recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 4 dozen

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (OR 3/4 granulated sugar and 1 1/2 T molasses)
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz (1 bag) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.  Beat sugars, butter, vanilla and egg until creamy.  Stir in flour, baking soda and salt.  Sitr in chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Cool 1-2 minutes and remove to wire rack.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Deals - January 24

I had another good week of grocery shopping - saving over $18 at Giant (about 43%).  I only saved $7.50 at Walmart (about 27%), because I got "caught" and ran out of a few things that we had to have.  Yes, well.  My goal is to not shop again this month, which would bring me $5.22 under my goal for January.  I'm off to a good start!

Scotch Brite sponges (4)
-(2) $1/2
=$1.36/4 (or $.34 each)

Old Spice 
$4/2-pack deodorant
$3.50/1 body wash
-B1G1 free
=$4 for all 3

Purina Cat Chow (3)
 $3.89 each
-$3 off instantly
=$6.67/3 (or $2.23 each)

Pillsbury brownie mix (2)
$1 each
=$1/2 (or $.50 each)

I also used the coupon for a free gallon of milk that I got last week.  The milk cost $3.38, but the coupon rang up as the maximum value of $4.50!  What a blessing!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Deals - January 17

I did pretty well this week on both toiletries and groceries.  I saved almost $16 at CVS (about 60%) and over $35 at Giant (about 36%).  Here are some of the deals I found:


Dawn dish soap (3)
=$1.71/3 (or $.57 each)

Bounty paper towels
-$3/1 (CVS coupon)
-$3 ECB
=$2.99 (about .37/roll)

General Mills cereal (4)
 $2.59 each
-$.55/1 (doubled)
-$6 off total purchase instantly
=$2.36/4 (or $.59 each)
plus I got a catalina for a free gallon of milk with my next purchase!

Quaker oatmeal (2)
2 for $5
-$1/1 (2)
=$3/2 (or $1.50 each)

McCormick pepper grinder
-$.75/1 (doubled)

Progresso soup (4)
$1 each
=$3/4 (or .75 each)

Prego sauce (2)
3 for $5
-$.35/2 (doubled)
=$2.63 (or $1.32 each)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Old Navy Clearance Deals

Jeremy and I had a "date" tonight at Old Navy and came away with some great deals.  They're currently running a sale of 40% off clearance items and I had a coupon for an additional $10 off a $50 purchase.  Here's what we came away with:

3-n-1 winter jacket
thermal shirt
polo shirt

moleskin blazer

cardigan wrap sweater
(4) tops

. . . and a lunchbox

The best deal by far was Noah's winter coat (for next year).  It's original retail price was $39.50.  It was on clearance for $14.99.  The 40% discount brought it down to $8.99.  And then because it had a small tear on the sleeve (easily repairable), it was marked down an additional 50%.  So we paid only $4.49!  Now that's an ordinary miracle!

Our combined total was $44.51.  The original retail price for everything came to $265 (without tax).  That's a savings of over 83%!  Even at clearance price, we saved more than we spent ($49.50 or 53%).

Great Resource!

I just found a great couponing resource that I have to share!  It's called A Full Cup and its a huge coupon database that lets you search for and print coupons online.  So in addition to "clipping" coupons from the paper and sites like or, I've been searching this database to see if there are any coupons I've "missed" that correspond to the weekly sales.

Maybe everyone already knows about this but me, but I'm very excited to finally know!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 Monthly Goals

OK, so I made a lot of New Year's resolutions this year.  But I honestly don't think any of them are unrealistic.  Many I've broken down into monthly goals to help keep me on track.  For instance, my two "big goals" are to memorize 20 Scripture passages and read 11 books in 2011.  I'd also like to have at least two dinner guests a month (good friends don't count - you know who you are!).

I created this simple list that folds easily into a little booklet.  At the beginning of each month, I'll fill out my goals for that month and set to "work."  Feel free to adapt and use the list.  Let's see how we do!

2011 Monthly Goals

Out of the Mouth of Babes

We've recently started "teaching" Noah to pray.  Before meals and bedtime we try to have him repeat after us as we pray. 

Last night before dinner, Jeremy asked Noah if he wanted to pray for the food.  He said "yes" and before Jeremy could start, Noah began praying on his own.  It went something like this:

"Dear Jesus,
Chee-toe (thank you) Daddy, Papa
Chee-toe Mommy, Coda (my parents' dog)
Chee-toe Nanny, Uncle An-doo (my brother Andrew)
Chee-toe Miss Sara and Molly (the two most recent guests at our house).


(with Jeremy's prompting)
Chee-toe dis food
A-nem (amen)."

Needless to say, it melted our hearts.  :)

Deals - January 12

Another one of my New Year's resolutions is to get back to couponing and better track my savings.  I found a very helpful tool from The Coupon Project.  I've set monthly "budgets" for groceries and household items (including toiletries) and am back on track for 2011.  So far, I've saved an average of 24% on groceries and over 30% on household items.  Here are a few of my most recent deals:

Jergens lotion (2)
$3.29 each

Dove soap
=$3.29 (about .82/bar)

Reach floss
.97 each

Suave shampoo
.84 each

Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers (2)
-$1/1 (2)
=$3/2 or $1.50 each

Scotties tissues (5)
.79 each
=$2.95/5 or .59 each

(this one's from last week, but it's such a good deal, I had to share!)

Starbucks coffee
$6.99 each
-$3 ECB

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Sales & Resolutions

For many reasons, Christmas was very busy and yet not very purposeful this year.  The season seemed to fly by without me being able to enjoy or appreciate much of anything.

Reflecting on that at the start of this new year made me "resolve" to not repeat the Christmas of 2010.  I have purposed to have a purposeful Christmas this year.  For me that means, among other things:

- Finalizing the church's Christmas program by the end of the summer
- Doing all my holiday baking Thanksgiving weekend
- Creating and using an advent calendar (complete with a Scripture passage and a family activity for each day)

- Sending out Christmas cards (complete with family picture) at least two weeks before Christmas; and
- NOT hosting a three-year-old's birthday party two weeks before Christmas!

I've gotten a jump start by shopping all the after-Christmas sales this year.  I already have our cards and the supplies I'll need to make my advent calendar as well as a bunch of new ornaments for our tree.  Here's what I was able to get, all for less than $55 (I only paid $35, thanks to a gift card from a friend):

By God's grace, this Christmas will be different - less stress and more purpose.