Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

Finally, I am starting to feel better (I have been sick for the last week), so today I am planting my garden. We have had two weeks of cold rainy weather!!!! It is promising to be a nice day today, so I am going to try to get as much planted as possible! I'll be posting pictures and ideas on gardening this week! Have a Happy Memorial day!!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happiness 101

Happiness is a good friend, and my dear friend at has been kind enough to award my blog the Happy 101 award.

I would like to thank her for her thoughtfulness. Stop by Jayaycee's blog soon; you'll love it. It is full of recipes, ideas, reminisces, and food for thought. She has quite a sense of humor, too. I thoroughly enjoy each visit.

Now to fulfill the requirements. The recipient must do the following things:
  1. Copy and paste the award into their blog.
  2. Tell the rest of blogdom all about the lovely person who passed the award on you, and provide a link to their blog.
  3. List ten things that makes you happy
  4. Pass the award on to other bloggers, and visit their blogs to let them know about their award.
Ten things that make me happy......
  1. Diet Coke; enough said.
  2. New dish towels. My favorites are colored flour sack, and homespun plaids. My kitchen feels all pretty and new when I hang a new dish towel on the oven door handle.
  3. New dish rags. It is so refreshing to wipe a counter clean with a rag that is not stained and full of holes. Dear Hubby thinks I'm insane, but I ask for new ones every year for my birthday.
  4. Hugs from my children. It is sad to say as my children get older hugs become more sporadic. Therefore, I treasure each one.
  5. Sitting in the sunshine. I love to sit in the sunshine and enjoy a quiet moment (though, most sun sitting sessions involve my children, so they are rarely quiet).
  6. A good book. I am an avid reader. I still like to learn (I' m hoping it will keep my brain from turning to mush), so I read lots of nonfiction. Don't get my wrong, though. I'm always in for a good fluffy novel or mystery.
  7. My garden. It is a love/hate relationship sometimes, but mostly love. I derive great pleasure in providing fresh veggies for my family and friends.
  8. Canning. I know this sounds insane (and it probably is), but I am a happy little camper when I am in the throws of preserving fruits, veggies, pickles, jams,and jellies. I love looking a the rows of full jars lined up on the basement shelves (and hopefully,my family doesn't mind eating it).
  9. Baking. Baking is a stress reliever for me. You can gauge my stress level by how many baked goods are in the house. Thank goodness there always seems to be a few teenage boys hanging around my house willing to help keep inventory in check!
  10. Antique kitchenware. Just love them. I have them decorating all the nooks and crannies in my kitchen. They are a constant reminder of how hard my female ancestors worked to raise their (not so little families), so I had better buck up and get to raising my own little brood!
Now, to pass The Happy 101 award along to a few blogs that always make my day! Check out these great blogs soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ridley's (Associated Foods) Deals 5/26 - 5/31

Excuse that lack of posts recently! Dear hubby gave my is cruddy head/chest cold. That's what I get for thinking...."Wow, nobody has really gotten sicks this winter"! Lesson learned!!!!! Anyway, it looks like Ridley's has some great deals for Memorial Day!

Corn on the cob 4 for $1.00
Seedless watermelon 4 pounds for $1.00.
Cluster tomatoes $.99 pound
Cucumbers 2 for $1.00
Radishes or Green onions 2 for $1.00
10 pound bag Russet potatoes $.99 each
Grimmway 2 pound packages baby carrots 2 for $4.00
Pepsi products 4 for $10.00
2 liters Coke products $.99 each
Shasta soda (24 packs) $2.98 each
3 liters Shasta soda $.94 each
Lay's assorted potato chips $1.87 each
Farr's (4 quart) assorted varieties of ice cream $3.88 each
W.F.(8 oz) cream cheese $.99 each
W.F. (16 oz) sour cream $.88 each
W.F. (18 count) large eggs $1.29 each (this is a super deal)
Kraft assorted varieties BBQ sauce $.97 each
Super saver pack lean ground beef $1.99 pound

Check Ridley's ad again on Friday and Saturday for extra savings on produce. Happy shopping!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

This Week's Bountiful Basket and A Handy Tip

Here is this week's yumminess! We were very excited that the 9 grain bread was offered this week! It is totally delicious, and very good for you! I just read the ingredients list on the bag. They are: Wheat flour, Organic Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Water , Honey, Rye Flakes, Barley , Oats, Vital Wheat Gluten, Cracked Wheat, Corn, Rye, Millet, Flaxseed, Sea Salt, and Yeast. Absolutely no preservatives (yeah!!). Each slice is: 50 calories, .5 g fat, 75 mg sodium, 10 g total carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 5 g protein. This week we got:
  • a big head of leaf lettuce
  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples
  • 3 pounds bananas
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 1 coconut
  • 5 avocados
  • 1 (6 oz) container blackberries
  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 8 tomatoes
  • 2 yellow summer squash
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 8 peaches
  • 5 loaves of 9 grain bread
Total cost:
$15.00 for basket
$10.00 for bread
$1.50 handling fee
$26.50 total

Now for my handy tip that is totally unrelated to Bountiful Basket's, but just popped into my head, because I am having Dear Hubby's whole clan over for a BBQ tonight. When you are making punch or lemonade for a crowd freeze part of the punch/ lemonade in ice cube trays, or empty Cool Whip containers. Place the ice in the punch bowl or beverage dispenser, and pour the rest of the beverage over it. It will keep the punch cold without diluting it. If you are serving it in gallon pitchers; fill the pitcher 1/3 full of punch/lemonade and freeze. Then add the rest of the beverage in the pitcher before serving. Both ways will keep your punch cold for hours. If you are serving lemonade in a pretty bowl float a few slices of lemon on top. It will look like a gourmet concoction (and no one will guess it's just Country Time drink mix) .

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Crystal Light Salad

In keeping with ideas related to summer picnics, I thought I would share my families favorite fruit salad recipe. I got this recipe during a T Ball game several summers ago. It is very easy to throw together, and you can use whatever fruit happens to be on sale. The Crystal Light acts as a preservative (citric acid), and it keeps the fruit fresh (even sliced bananas) for a week (if it lasts that long).
I have even tried this out on extended family and friend. Everyone loves it! Word of caution though, if you have little kids in the crowd stay away from red colored Crystal Light (unless you like taking your kids to church with a semi permanent, bright red mustache!).

Crystal Light Salad

1 personal sized water melon, cubed
1 cantaloupe or honey dew melon
1 pound container of strawberries; hulled
3 - 4 cups grapes
3 - 4 sliced bananas
1 (15 oz) can pineapple chunks or 2 cups fresh pineapple
1 packet of Crystal Light (the one you add to make 2 quarts of punch)

Add fruit into a LARGE bowl. Sprinkle packet Crystal Light over fruit. Toss to coat fruit. Refrigerate overnight to let the flavors blend.

  • You can use Wyler's or generic brand in place of Crystal Light
  • Pink Lemonade, Strawberry, Strawberry Kiwi, and Raspberry are all yummy.
  • I have also added in raspberries, blueberries, peaches, kiwi, and plums.
I keep a bowl of this in the fridge all summer long for snacking, or a quick addition to any meal.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ridley's (Associated Foods) Deals 5/18 - 5/25

I only saw a few sale items at Ridley's that jumped out at me this week, but they are worth the trip. Here's what I saw:

W.F. (10 oz) pickle relish $.89 each
Farr's (4 quart) buckets of ice cream; assorted varieties, $3.99
Coke Products (12 packs) 5 for $13.00
W.F. (28 oz) baked beans; assorted varieties $1.32 each
W.F. large eggs for $.97 each
Harper's Homemade bread; assorted varieties 4 for $5.00 (this is the every day price)

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Keeping Food Cold In A Cooler

I got to thinking yesterday after I posted my (not so famous) Potato Salad recipe, that Memorial Day is just around the corner. At our house that is the official start of summer. So, I thought, it would be fun to post a few more ideas and hints to get the summer started.

If your lifestyle is like mine, summer means an endless entourage of church picnics, family get togethers, family trips, camp outs, and block parties (maybe I am a party animal and I just don't know it). It seems like I am constantly dragging around a cooler full of perishables and beverages. I hate, hate, hate filling my cooler with crushed or blocked ice (especially if things have to sit for awhile). It's no fun so stick your hand in icy water to retrieve an item (not a fan of soggy paper and plastic packages, either).

I have an endless supply of half gallon and gallon plastic juice containers (filled with water for an when Dear Hubby turns the water off to fix the dripping shower problem, and breaks the faucet cartridge off in the wall. A fifteen minute repair job that took six and a half hours. Of, course everyone has to potty, and is dying of thirst five minutes after the water is shut off.). Every spring I take a few of the jugs, wash them out, and fill them 3/4 full of water (remember water expands as it freezes. If you fill your jug to full the ice will split it open.). I put them in the freezer in the garage (this is a double bonus, because by now my freezer is starting to empty out. The jugs fill it back up making the freezer much more energy efficient). When they are frozen they make the best ( and least messiest way) to keep food and drinks cold in your cooler. Plus, as the ice melts you have ice water to drink, and/ or wash sticky faces and hands (because you forgot the baby wipes.....again). After you have used them; simply rinse them out, refill, and freeze for next time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How To Make Potato Salad

My friend brought my faux paus to my attention; I did not post the recipe for Potato Salad in my previous post. I didn't think about it at the time, because I have never made potato salad from a recipe. Now I really know that I am my Grandmother's granddaughter, because she never made salad with a recipe either. She may have started out with one, but it snowballed quickly! Plus, I have a confession to make! I have only started making decent Potato Salad in recent years (quite frankly, it scared me). It was only after my Mother in law (who IS the reigning Queen of Potato Salad) literally walk me through the process step by step that I was willing to claim my own creations. After much brain racking I have pinpointed down the ingredients. So, here is my official written recipe for Potato Salad:

Potato Salad
(this recipe will make enough for a moderate size gathering)
4 large potatoes, cooked
6 - 8 large eggs, boiled and peeled
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 - 4 large pickles (to make 3/4 cup)
2 cups mayonnaise (more or less)
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 - 3 tablespoons pickle juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cube potatoes in medium size pieces and place in a large bowl. Chop eggs and pickles; add to potatoes. Mince onion and add to bowl. Add in mayonnaise, pickle juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir ingredients together until well combined. Sprinkle paprika over the top of the salad. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Helpful tips:
  • Start out with a larger bowl than you think you will need. Potato salad increases in size rapidly. A large bowl also makes stirring ingredients together easier.
  • Boil the potatoes whole with the skins on for 20 -25 minutes until tender. Let them cool until you can handle them comfortably, then peel the potatoes. The skins will slip right off.
  • Boil potatoes and eggs the day before you make the salad. Refrigerate overnight. It makes them easier to cut up.
  • If you have a food processor use it to chop the onions, pickles, and eggs. Just pulse until the desired size is reached. Chop the eggs last in the processor; they are the messiest.
  • Leftover baked potatoes are great for making potato salad.
  • The more boiled eggs in potato salad the better. The cooked yolks help give the salad it's texture (Grandma said: the rule of thumb is 1 1/2 eggs for every potato used in your salad).
  • Potato salad is forgiving. You can add more or less of any ingredient to suit your tastes.
  • Potatoes absorb the mayo as it sits. If your salad looks dry (like there is not enough sauce to coat the potatoes well) add more mayo. It's better to have to much than not enough; in this case.
  • Potato salad is best if it has time to chill (and the flavors blend). At least two or three hours. Overnight is the best.
  • If you are going to serve your salad outside in hot weather. Bring a bowl larger than the salad bowl with you. Fill it half way with crushed ice, and place the salad bowl on top of the ice (replenish ice as necessary). It will keep the salad cold (nobody like food poisoning).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My First Bloggy Award

Oh, my goodness!!!! I have received my first "bloggy" award


I have Jayaycee @ Jayaycee Blog to thank for this honor. Go by and visit her blog soon; it's delightful! She always brings a smile to my face. With this award come some obligations (all good things come with responsibility.....right?).

First: I must thank the lovely person who honored me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Jayaycee, I am thrilled with this honor, and your faith in me; hopefully I can live up to it.

Second: I must share SEVEN things about me. Here goes......

1. I love aprons. Frilly, utilitarian, garish, old, new, it doesn't matter. I have half a dozen; one for every mood . Whenever I slip on one of my beautiful aprons I am ready to tackle any culinary challenge placed before me. I even have a black ruffly one for when I'm feeling swanky!

2. Cookbooks rule! They are my favorite bedtime reading (and sometimes I do have visions of sugarplums...or better yet, double chocolate brownies dancing in my head). I also collect them. Dear Hubby bought me a bookshelf last Valentine's Day so I can proudly display my collection (Honestly, I think he was just tired of tripping over piles of cookbooks and cooking magazines every night!). Unfortunately, it is almost full!

3. My name is Tightwad Mom...... and I am a Diet Coke aholic (step one down, eleven more to go). Diet Coke is my not so secret guilty pleasure. I have a stash of 12 packs (I don't want to be caught unprepared) in my basement storage room (bought on sale with coupons, of course). If I'm feeling wild and crazy I will crack open a Cherry Coke Zero ( I am such a party animal!).

4. I am banana challenged. They are the bane of my existence. In my 2o years of marriage I have not been able to balance the quantity to demand ratio. I am forever being stared down by a few rogue black bananas. Hence, the endless banana recipes than end up on my blog.

5. Hanging laundry outside on a clothesline is like free therapy to me. I love the smell of clean, wet laundry when I hang it on the line. There is something very satisfying in seeing lines of freshly laundered clothes fluttering in the breeze. Not everyone in my family feels this way, though. To quote Child #3 (who was nine at the time, and standing outside on a step stool in his underwear at 7:45 am, between two lines of laundry) "A man should not have to NOT have to go outside to get his pants!"

6. I love a bargain. I am a coupon clipping, thrift store perusing, yard sailing, clearance rack shopping fanatic. My palms get sweaty and my pulse starts to race when I find a hidden treasure at the thrift store, or match coupons with sales for cheap or FREE groceries.

7. My mantra is "Use it up! Wear it out! Make do or do Without! I am a product of my childhood. I was raised by a Mother, two Grandmothers, and one Great Grand Mother who were great examples of this wonderful quote. They made sure I was well versed in the arts of sewing, canning, crocheting, gardening, and thrifting. I have to admit, I did not appreciate their efforts at the time. That came later..... much later (and it has been my salvation ever since)!

Third: I must pass "The Versatile Blogger" award on to 15 other blogs that I have recently discovered and think are FABULOUS!!!! And the award goes to.......

Fourth: I must contact each of these ABOVE AVERAGE BLOGGERS, and let them know of their achievement. I guess I have my work cut out for me!

I would like to thank all of my bloggy friends who come by and visit often, you make my frugal forum such a fun place to be. I love to read all your comments and appreciate your support!

This Week's Bountiful Basket

This week's Bountiful Basket haul was fabulous! Since I picked it up this week, I photographed our entire basket. I wasn't kidding when I said it filled a large laundry basket! I have very impressed with the quality of the produce. Most everything lasts a week or longer in the fridge. Our $15.00 ($16.50 including the handling fee) bought us:

  • 1 giant head of leaf lettuce
  • 3 pounds of apples
  • 11 peaches
  • 5 mangos
  • 3 pounds of bananas
  • 10 limes (hello Diet Coke with Lime )
  • 13 brussel sprouts (I am so excited to cook these)
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 pound package of baby carrots
  • 2 small butternut squash
  • 7 ears of corn
  • 1 personal sized watermelon
If you live in Wyoming, Washington, Utah, Texas, Nevada, Idaho, or Arizona check Bountiful Baskets blogspot to see if there is a location near you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Holy Moses, I've Become My Grandmother and A Handy Tip!

Tonight I have been making potato salad for our church's annual father/son camp out. I will gladly do this because the testosterone level at my house will drop by 2/3 for 24 glorious hours! Every toilet seat in the house will remain in the prone position during this time! Dear daughter (child #2) and I will be able to watch "chick" flicks, and/ or have control of the remote. We will not have to watch sports or the Outdoor Channel. We can eat chocolate and feel zero guilt.Oh, the joy in small things! Anyway, I have been making salad for the last 30 minutes. I always worry when I cook for family/ neighborhood/ church parties that there will not be enough food (I have never actually been to any of those functions when there wasn't oodles of food leftover), so I always make a little extra (just in case). Well, I just finished, and as I lifted the bowl I realized it much weigh at least twenty pounds (this IS NOT an exaggeration)! Take a look for yourself:

I really had to laugh about this, because the Tupperware bowl that the salad is in was my Grandma's. I inherited it when she passed away last year (that's not the funny part. I miss my sweet Grandma). The funny part is that my Grandma could not make any salad unless it ended up feeding an army (which is why Grandma's salad was always called "Army Salad"), and it usually ended up in this bowl. All of my growing up years this bowl brought macaroni or potato salad to our family parties. Leftover's (and there were always leftover's) went home with assorted relatives (in five pound cottage cheese containers she would save for just such an occasion). I must be her posterity (or channeling her spirit), because I just realized I do that exact same thing (except I save three pound sour cream and Cool Whip containers for just such an occasion). Heaven help us!

Now, for the handy tip. I scored squeeze bottles of Kraft Mayo for dirt cheap at the grocery store last month (because they were at their sell by date). I was using these to make the potato salad. I used one up completely, but the neck of the jar was not big enough to put a rubber scraper inside to scrape it clean (also a SIN!). I always add pickle juice to my potato salad, and because this salad weighs a ton, I need about 1/3 cup of pickle juice. I put a funnel in the neck of the jar, and poured the juice into the empty mayo container. Then, I put the lid back on tightly (this is important if you don't to wear the pickle juice/mayo concoction), and gave it a good shaking. It cleaned the side of the jar and the mayo was thin enough to pour out of the jar into the salad. If you are not a pickle juice lover a little milk will do the same thing and not change the flavor. Now, I can sleep tonight. The salad is in the fridge chilling, and I didn't waste an once of mayonaise. Grandma would be so proud!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Pretty Pot and Cream of Garbage Soup

I have a confession! I have been coveting this enamelware coated, cast iron dutch oven for quite a while now. I have gone so far as to go "visit" it numerous times at the store. I would envision how beautiful our dinner casserole or soup would look as I lovingly set it on the dinner table, while my appreciative family oohed and aahed; clamoring around to devour said culinary masterpiece. Oh wait..... that was just a dream (HA! HA!)!!! My only hang up with this delightful piece of cookware, is it's price tag. It costs as much as I normally spend on a weeks worth of groceries. Since most of my cookware has been purchased at thrift stores, salvaged from Grandma's shed, or is a hand me down; I could not bring myself to spend that kind of money on a dutch oven (no matter how swanky it is)! Anyway, my Dear Hubby knowing of my inner struggle on the subject, surprised me with it for Mother's Day! I was so excited I set it on the back burner of the stove (after a gave Dear Hubby a great big SMOOCH...or two) so I could admire it every time I'm in the kitchen. Who needs jewelry when you have a pretty pot?

This morning when I opened the fridge door to retrieve the milk I started counting the numerous plastic containers filled with odds and ends of veggies, meat, and pasta that have stacked up in my refrigerator. Heaven forbid, I can not throw them away (that is a SIN). Looks like it's time for a big old pot of Cream of Garbage Soup (loving named by my four delightful children. Don't get me started on their second favorite - Craperole). I have been dying to try out my new pot, so it seems like this is meant to be. This recipe is a great way to use up assorted leftovers, and since you use different leftover's each time, you could make it every week; it will taste different every time.

Cream of Garbage Soup

1/2 cup chopped onion (I mince mine fairly fine, so the whiner's don't know it is in there)
1/2 cup chopped celery (if you have it on hand)
1 cup leftover baked potato, pasta, or rice (if you have it, if not leave it out)
2 cups leftover vegetables, chopped up (this week it is cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and corn)
1/2 tablespoon garlic (if you like the taste, if not leave it out)
1 teaspoon dried basil (rub it between your palms as you add it to the soup to refresh its flavor)
1 tablespoon chicken bullion
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 - 2 cups leftover meat (chicken, pork roast, ham, bacon, or sausage are all yummy)
6 - 8 cups water (the water should be an inch above the ingredients)
1 (12 oz) can of evaporated milk (or 1 3/4 cups leftover half and half or heavy cream); divided
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Shredded cheddar or Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Combine the first nine ingredients in a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until onion and celery are tender. Add butter and stir until melted. Add in 1 1/4 cups of milk. Heat to almost boiling. Combine cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup of milk until smooth. Stir into soup and continue stirring until thickened. Serve. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. (You can leave out the meat and add some cooked split peas, lentils, or canned beans for a vegetarian soup)

I like to serve my soup with a loaf of garlic bread, or these tasty BREAD STICKS from One Crazy Cookie's blog. A warning though, make those bread sticks once, and your family will be addicted!
Bon appetite everbody!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ridley's Ad 5/11- 5/17

Here are this weeks deals (in my opinion; of course) at Ridley's . Check your local Associated Food stores for similar deals. For any of you who are wondering, Western Family products are excellent. I have tried most of them, and have not had any complaints. Don't forget that the Pocatello Ridley's has Harper's Homemade bread (all varieties) 4 loaves for $5.00. That is their everyday price. This bread freezes beautifully; so stock up.

W.F. (64 oz) apple juice $1.18 each
W.F. cake mixes (assorted varieties) $.78 each
W.F. (11 oz) mandarin oranges $.32 each (this is a great deal)
W.F. (8 oz) tomato sauce $.32 each
W.F. boxed macaroni and cheese 3 for $1.00
W.F. (15 oz) cans specialty beans or tomatoes $.48 each (also a great deal)
W.F. (5 oz) cans albacore tuna $.98 each
W.F. (15 oz) cans of chili (assorted varieties) $.78 each
W.F. (26 oz) jars of spaghetti sauce $.98 each
Pasta Lougi (16 oz) packages of assorted dry pasta $.48 each (a fabulous deal, stock up for sure)
Big Buy bacon (16 oz) package $1.49 each
Hillshire Deli Select (5-6 oz) lunch meat, assorted varieties, $1.59 each
W.F. (16 oz) cottage cheese $.94 each
W.F. (6 oz) yogurt, assorted varieties, 3 for $1.00
Fresh broccoli and cauliflower $.79 pound
Cucumbers 2 for $1.00
Seedless watermelon 3 pounds for $1.00
W.F. (96 oz) bleach, assorted varieties, 4 for $5.00
W.F. (6 double roll) pack of toilet paper $2.38 (this is good toilet paper. It got a two thumbs up from my hubby, who is a toilet paper SNOB!)

Happy shopping everyone!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Taste of Home Cooking School

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my dear mother took me to theTaste Of Home Cooking School, sponsored by our local newspaper. It was the best Mother's Day gift ever! I have been to one years ago, but I must say they have improved over time. I am a fan of their cooking magazines. I subscribe to both the Simple and Delicious and Taste of Home (what do you expect from a gal who reads cookbooks for bedtime reading?) I love to cook, but I occasionally hit a brick wall and find myself making the same five entrees over and over. That's when I pull out my trusty magazines and save my family from one more Meatloaf Monday. Anyway, I digress... let my share some of the highlights of our evening:

We received this nifty gift pack at the door. I'm a sucker for a grab bag, so I was like a kid at Christmas. Digging through my treasures. It was filled with two magazines, a mini cookbook, coupons, samples, and fun kitchen gadgets.

After getting my fabulous goody bag, we perused the many booths set up by local vendors (scoring more samples, info., and yummy treats). I was so giddy at this point, I splurged and bought a cookbook ( did I mention that cookbooks are my weakness?). In my defense, it is full of healthified comfort food recipes. Naturally, I was thinking of the well being of my family when I bought it! Oh, and it was a frugal deal because it came with a coupon good for a free year's subscription to TOH Light and Healthy magazine ( a $17.98 value) (I just love a freebie!).

I even ran into my good friend, so we all set up camp together to enjoy the show! The cooking demonstrations were amazing. The cooking school is taught by TOH home economist. It was two fun filled hours full of handy tips, delicious recipes, and the best part; prize drawings. They gave away cookbooks, gift packs provided by the cooking schools sponsors, grab bags from Walmart, Wii consoles, a big screen television, and the grand prize... a stainless steel stove. It must have been my lucky night because my name was drawn! I am now the proud owner of............

All of this fun came for the bargain price of $10.00. I can hardly wait until next year show!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the great women in my life, and all my blog friends, too!
You are all lovely people! I wouldn't be who I am without you! Enjoy your day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Frugal Friday Fun At The Shabby Nest

I was so excited to show off my corsage making project that I decided to be brave and join Frugal Friday over at the SHABBY NEST! Wendy's blog is always full of fun ideas and projects. She inspired me to create my own mini mudroom! Go check out all the other fun projects other Frugal Divas have done!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A New Bloggy Friend!

My dear sweet mother took me to The Taste Of Home cooking school tonight (but more about that later). While we were perusing the booths I met a lovely gal who has set up a FABULOUS blog full of local (the Pocatello, Idaho area) and Internet deals. I loved it so much I've added her blog to my bloggy list. So, welcome my new blog friend! Check out her BLOG, it's a winner!!!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Making Your Own Corsages

When child #1 decided that girls no longer had cooties, and that maybe it might be fun to take one to a school dance, I was a little bit excited (and a little bit anxious... I almost had to breath into a paper bag for a minute or two). Then he actually did ask a very nice little gal to the Homecoming Dance. I happily got on line to order a corsage, and about wet my pants when I saw the price attached to a very simple wrist corsage! The cheapest one, which consisted of two flowers, a half a yard of ribbon, and a ton of greenery was $24.99. The the one I really wanted to order was $44.99. At this point, I really did need to breathe into a paper bag. I was hyperventilating, because the lion's share of the dance budget was going to purchase flowers. In my frugal little mind there had to be a better way. So, I went online and started searching websites. I came across this very informative SITE that gives step by step instructions on how to make your own corsage. After hitting Joann's Fabric Store (but any craft supply store will have everything you need) for the necessary supplies:

  • a wristlet (that is the base of the corsage, and the elastic wristband)
  • E-6000 adhesive
  • 1/2 inch gauze ribbon (if you can find wire ribbon that works best)
  • floral wire
  • small needle nose pliers
  • an assortment of fresh flowers (the cheapest option was to buy flower bundles at the local grocery store. I got mine at Fred Meyers.)
If you are also making boutonnieres you will need:
  • green floral tape
  • decorative straight pins
Next, I gathered together some of the other mother's in the neighborhood who had children attending the dance to share the fun. After, an afternoon of socializing and chit chat I had produced these:

Here's a couple of handy tips I learned to make it even more economical.
  • Split the cost of the flowers with other people if you can.
  • Check out your yard or a neighbors for greenery (the ivy came from my dear sweet neighbors yard, plus she gave me a start so I can grow my own.)
  • Watch dollar stores for ribbon, wire clippers, and floral wire.
  • Go online and print off a picture of a corsage you like to use as a reference.
  • Dollar Tree has gold and silver embossed gift boxes. Add in a sheet of tissue paper or shredded paper (or better yet a few Hershey's kisses) and the corsage, and you have a professional looking result.
  • You can get clear plastic containers from the bakery to put your corsage in, too. Add some shredded paper (and a few Hershey kisses, of course) along with the corsage.
I was surprised how easy they were to make (and I DO NOT have any floral arranging skills to speak of). I just followed the tutorial above. The best part is that my fabulous floral creations only cost about $4.00 each. This is a definite must try!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fred Meyers Strawberry Deal

I know! I know! I have strawberries on the brain lately, but they are just so darn tasty (and good for you)! This week Fred Meyer's has 4 pound containers of strawberries for $4.58 each (for your first two. To buy more you have to purchase them in separate transactions.). That is a fabulous deal! Go stock up, and check out my LINK below on freezing strawberries!

Ridley's Ad 5/4 - 5/10

Here's this weeks great deals at Ridley's. Check out your local Associated Food store for similar deals. Happy shopping everyone!

  • 10 pound box of individually frozen boneless skinless chicken breast $15.99
  • Ridley's hot dog or hamburger buns $.74 each
  • 2 liter bottles of Coke products $.85
  • 1 dozen W.F. large eggs $.97 (great deal, stock up eggs keep forever in the fridge)
  • W.F. (1/2 pint) whipping cream $.67 each
  • W.F. (16 oz) sour cream $.74 each
  • W.F. (32 oz) bags of shredded cheese $5.99 each
  • Grimmway (16 oz) organic baby carrots $.98 each
  • Fresh pineapple $.89 a pound
  • Seedless watermelon 3 pounds for $.99
  • Speed Stick deodorant $.88 each
  • Colgate toothpaste $.88 each
  • Soft Soap pump soap $.88 each
  • Soleil (4 pack) disposable razors $3.98 each
  • Tide (100 oz) laundry detergent $9.84 each

Monday, May 3, 2010

Antiques, Glorious Antiques!

I am in love with antiques! My palms get sweaty every time I go to a consignment shop, thrift store, yard sale or flea market and come across a "deal" on some vintage treasure. I have been lucky because I am related to (and married into) a generation of pack rats. I have found tons of treasures in basements and storage sheds. My kitchen is loaded with vintage antique canning jars (some purchased; some "inherited") that are storing bulk kitchen staples; like pasta, dried beans, cornstarch, baking powder, etc.. The jars in the picture above are holding odds and ends on my kitchen window sill. They remind me of my hard working fore bearers; that whiled away many hours filling those jars with garden produce to sustain their families through the winter. My philosophy is that if they have lasted this long they are probably more durable than a comparable item I could buy at Walmart. The great thing is you can nab old canning jars very inexpensively.

Another of my favorites are old stoneware crocks ( I think of them as pioneer Tupperware). I have them all around the house. I have a large one holding firewood by the fireplace, another holds dog food. In fact, you can find vintage things in all sorts of places! My dear hubby surprised me with these earlier this spring.

Our local feed, seed, and pet supply store has stored their bulk garden seed in these crocks for as long as I have been married (and that would be 20 years.... HOLY COW!). In fact, one of the reasons I would buy my garden seed there is because I could admire the collection of crocks on the shelves while I bought my seed. Well, this year when I went to buy my seeds they were sitting in a row on the top shelf with price stickers on them. I about had a stroke! In my tightwadishness I could not justify buying the whole stash; so I only bought two small and one large. Unbeknownst to me, my dear hubby secretly sent my son (the one who can drive) back to the seed store to buy the rest!

My hubby and I have a running joke that whenever we surprise or do something nice for each other (such as buying a much needed diet beverage, or a chocolate bar) we are giving each other "flowers". This may sound bizarre, but when we were first married my husband spent money (a precious commodity for two newlyweds) on a flower arrangement to surprise me. I appreciated the thought, but I hated that he spent grocery money on buying flowers that are were over priced and would die. A total waste of money, in my book. After (kindly; we were newlyweds after all) explaining my stance on the subject, we now find ways to show our appreciation that are free, cheap, or that will last longer than a few days. I still get real flowers, but now they are a hand picked bouquet delivered with a kiss and an "I love you" ( Okay, I'm getting back on subject now). Imagine my surprise (and joy), when I came upstairs from the laundry room later that night to find six more glorious crocks sitting on the kitchen counter (and a big cheesy grin on my hubby face)! This little surprise is the equivalent to a dozen roses in my book!!! Now the large ones hold cooking utensils in the kitchen. The small ones hold cotton balls and q tips on the bath vanities. Another holds pens and pencils on the computer desk.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bountiful Baskets

My dear friend and neighbor, Stacy and I have been participating in Bountiful Baskets for about a month now, and I have to say it has been one of our greatest finds! Every Monday night (log in times vary by state so check the site for your time. Idaho's time is 8:00pm.) we log on to the Bountiful Baskets website, and place our order for a basket(actually two small laundry baskets worth; one of fruit and one of veggies), which costs $15.00. In addition to fruits and veggies, there are other items that can be purchased. Usually, there is 9 grain bread (5 loaves for $10.00). I was worried my family wouldn't eat it, but it has been a hit. It is very tasty, and freezes well. There are also seasonal items that can be purchased. So far (since we have been participating), there has been flats of strawberries, packages of salsa vegetables, (7 dozen) assorted tortillas (also freezes well), and gallon cans of extra virgin olive oil. Bountiful Baskets co ops with small farms to purchase in bulk, and relies on local volunteers to keep the costs down. On Saturday, with laundry basket in hand (You have to bring your own container to bring your food home in. I would recommend a Rubbermaid tote or laundry basket. Cardboard boxes got heavy, and were hard to hold on to!), we go to our designated site at the time appointed (for us it's 8:00 am) and wait in line (for about 15 or so minutes). When it's our turn we show our voucher (which you print off of the computer from an e mail you receive on Friday), and sign the log book. Then we get our basket (if you signed up for extras you go to a second table to show your voucher and sign a second log book). Since, Stacy and I, split a basket and whatever else we purchase (which feeds two families, one with six and one with seven,for one week) our average cost is about $13.50 each. For instance this week we got:

  • A BIG head of Romaine lettuce
  • A BIG bunch of Spinach
  • 3# of bananas
  • 3# of apples
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 1 honeydew melon
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 8 tomatoes
  • 8 kiwis
  • 2 small bags of radishes
  • 3 (6 oz) containers of blackberries
  • 2 artichokes
This would definitely have cost much more than $15.00 at the supermarket! Each week brings a different variety of fruits and veggies. It has been kind of fun for me because of the variety of produce we get. I wouldn't usually buy blackberries, kiwis or honeydew right now because they aren't really in season, and I have never bought fresh artichokes in my life until now. In fact, I have a blackberry/ strawberry pie in the oven (and it smells HEAVENLY!). I have also been very impressed by how fresh everything is, and how long it keeps in the refrigerator. So, THANK YOU to all the great people who have worked hard to bring Bountiful Baskets to our area!! I have to give them a two thumbs up for sure!!!

P.S. Pie anyone?


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