Apr 22, 2010

Planet Earth on DVD or Blu-Ray - 60% off!

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day Amazon.com is offering the award-winning BBC series Planet Earth on Blu-Ray or DVD for 60% off!

You can pick up Planet Earth, the BBC series on Blu-Ray for $37.99 or on DVD for $31.99, and both are eligible for free shipping! This is a fantastic series at a great price, and only good for today.

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Apr 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Apr 19th, '10

Happy Patriots Day to my fellow Massachusetts residents! And good luck to those running the Marathon :)

Last week was a definite menu WIN! I *thought* I had made the quiche wrong (and I think next time I would make two regular pie-sized quiches, this time I poured all the batter into a casserole dish and made a big thick quiche) but it actually turned out really good! The mango chutney that went with it was divine...even though I julienned my finger while chopping the cilantro :) Our biggest success was the Crockpot Kielbasa Dirty Rice - super easy, and so good my toddler asked for seconds! Definitely going on the family favorites list.

This week's menu I am DETERMINED to get the Pork Roast cooked! Every time I try to put it on the menu I either forget to thaw it, or our plans change. We're both working this weekend too, so the menu will include stuff that makes for easy leftover dinners.

Here's our table this week, don't forget to visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for tons more great menus and recipes!

monday - Black Bean Salsa Chicken over rice - OAMC ($5.32 for 6-8 servings)

tuesday - Pork Roast with Apples and Pears, peas, rice - OAMC ($5.37 for 4-6 servings)

wednesday - Homemade Pizza, salad ($2.95 for 6-8 servings)

thursday - Honey Balsamic Chicken on the grill, baked sweet potatoes, veggies ($6.95 for 4-5 servings)

friday - Dinner with friends (free!)

saturday - Both of us bringing leftovers to work (free!)

sunday - Dinner at the in-laws (free!)

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Apr 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Apr 12, '10

I am SO ready for the good weather! We had a little rain last week but enough good days to rev me up - I love being able to spend the day outside, watching my toddler play. We're getting ready to put up our square foot garden, I'm pretty sure we're finally beyond the frosty nights and my hubby should have a day free this week to build the raised bed :) I found out that I can get FREE leaf compost from the town! Mixed with some of the manure from my mother-in-law's horses, and that should give us some good, rich, FREE planting soil!

The menu last week went really well! The Tandoori Chicken was SO GOOD and EASY!! My toddler was scarfing it down, and we even let the baby try some of the curried couscous. We never got to the Pork Roast, so that's making a return appearance this week. I'm also going to try a few new recipes, I've got kielbasa to use up and I scored some REALLY fresh tilapia for $2.99/lb - it pays to live in a fishing town!

Here's our table for the week, don't forget to visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for tons more recipes and menu ideas!

monday - Quick Curry Quiche (using leftover Tandoori Chicken) with mango chutney(from The Once a Week Cooking Plan), canteloupe slices (cost tbd)

tuesday - Crockpot Kielbasa Dirty Rice ($4.40 for 6-8 servings)

wednesday - Dijon Crusted Tilapia, green beans, rice (cost tbd)

thursday - Pork Roast with Apples & Pears (from The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook), peas, rice - OAMC ($5.37 for 4-6 servings)

friday - Sloppy Joes on homemade rolls, green salad ($4.62 for 4 servings)

saturday - leftovers (Free!)

sunday - Dinner at the in-laws! (free!)

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Apr 9, 2010

Walgreens photo deals - FREE 8X10 today!

Wags is at it again, with a free 8X10 friday! Go to Walgreens Photo center and upload the photo you want, choose an 8X10 print, and use the code BIG8X10 at checkout - this is good for delivery OR in-store pickup! (shipping charges may apply for delivery).

If you'd rather go to a store, click here for a printable coupon. This is ONLY good for today, April 9th!

If you still have a ton of Easter photos to print up, you can get 50 prints for $5 until tommorrow, April 10th! (additional prints are also only 10 cents each, you just need to order a minimum of 50!) Just use the code BUNNY5 at checkout! These are for the 4X6 photos but do not include collage prints.

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Apr 6, 2010

Wacky Wednesday at Trucchis!

Attention Southern MA peeps - it's time for another Wacky Wednesday at Trucchi's TOMORROW 4/7! This month is the "breakfast" edition - here's what I'll be picking up:

Plumrose Bacon 1lb - $1.99
Bananas - $0.33/lb (banana muffins at my house!)
Trucchi's English Muffins - 3/$1 (last time this was a limit of 9)
Post Cereas (Raisin Bran, Cocoa Fruity or Cupcake Pebbles) - $1.69
use $1/2 off any Pebbles cereal from 3/14 SS
Dozen eggs - $1.29

MYSTERY ITEM - Trucchi's Raisin bread - $1.39

The last time this WW deal came around, I made Bacon & Egg McMuffins for the freezer for SUPER cheap! Butter is on sale for $1.99 at both Shaw's and Stop & Shop so this is a great time to make quick freezer breakfasts! Here's how I do the muffins:

-Scramble 1 egg per sandwich, fry 1-2 pieces of bacon for each sandwich as well. (I do these in batches of 12)
-Slice and toast the english muffin, butter both sides lightly with 1 tbsp pat of butter (hey, I never said these were health food!)
-Layer a 1/2 cup scoop of eggs, bacon, and 1 slice of cheese on the bottom half of the muffin, top with the other half.
-Wrap individually in plastic wrap, store in gallon freezer bags.

To heat: Thaw, then wrap in a paper towel (keeps the muffins moist) and microwave for 30-40 seconds. I usually take a couple out the night before and put them in the fridge!

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Apr 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Apr 5th, '10

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy Easter weekend! We did a lot of running around, but we managed to see both sides of our family and the kids were sufficiently exhausted by last night :) I'll share some photos later this week!

Menu planning went OK last week, things got a bit messy mid-week and we had to shuffle a few things around. We did FINALLY get to the Chicken Ranch Pizza and it was GOOOOD! My hubby was a little reluctant to try it because it uses ranch dressing in place of tomato sauce - he's a believer now! I never got to the Sloppy Joes or the kielbasa dish, we ended up eating out of the house unexpectedly one night, and just did leftovers another night. And I STILL have a bunch of leftovers to weed through!

This week I'll be trying a new dish, and working on emptying the rest of the leftovers. I think I have been counting on my husband bringing some to work, but he's been making PB sandwiches instead...will have to see if I can prep his lunches ahead of time to make it easier.

Here's our table, don't forget to visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for tons more menus and recipes!

monday - Leftovers (free!)

tuesday - Sue Sue's Casserole - OAMC ($4.62 for 6-8 servings)

wednesday - Tandoori Chicken with Couscous (from The Once-a-Week Cooking Plan) ($6.60 for 4-6 servings)

thursday - Homemade pizza, green salad ($4.50 for 6-8 servings)

friday - Pork Roast with Apples and Pears (from The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook, peas, rice - OAMC ($5.37 for 4-6 servings)

saturday - leftovers (free!)

sunday - dinner at the in-law's (free!)

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Apr 2, 2010

Going "Au Naturale"

I promise, it's not what you think - heck even I don't want to see that! :)

I've been making a real effort over the last year to make a lot more from scratch, both for the sake of my budget and for the health of my family. When it comes to food, I balk at how many ingredients are listed on pre-made meals and sides - I like knowing what is going into my family's bodies and if I can't pronounce it or identify it on the periodic table, I get worried. And so many things are cheaper when you take the time to make it yourself! I talked a little about this in this Bricklaying series post along with some helpful links.

Over the last couple of months I've been branching out to homemade household cleaners too - and kicking myself for not trying this sooner! Here are my new household must-haves:

Vinegar is my new best friend...my husband will make jokes about the house smelling like an easter egg, but actually once vinegar dries there is no scent left behind...just clean! Vinegar is also a natural antiseptic. I use it for:

  • General household surface cleaner - mix 2 cups water, 2 cups vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle - voila! All-purpose cleaner for LITERALLY a few pennies per 32 oz
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner - I sprinkle baking soda on the dry surfaces and in the water, then pour about a cup of vinegar into the water. My bowl stays much cleaner and mold-free than when I used the Clorox with Teflon stuff...AND there's no chemical residue for the kids to get into...not that my kids EVER touch toilet water...really.
  • Window Cleaner - an alternative to rubbing alcohol - use 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water.
  • Drain deodorizer - pour baking soda down the drain and chase it with vinegar till it bubbles. I swear it gets the drain moving faster too!
  • Fabric Softener - Yes, you read that right...I haven't bought dryer sheets in FOREVER, I put 1/4 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle and my clothes are fine. A bonus - fabric softener can reduce the fire-retardant in infant clothes, something you don't need to worry about with vinegar!

Baking Soda

I NEVER KNEW you could clean with it - until one day I saw my mother-in-law sprinkle it on her stovetop. Now I buy the jumbo bag from BJ's! See above for the many ways vinegar and baking soda make great cleaning partners, PLUS:

  • Mild abrasive cleaner - just sprinkle baking soda on the surface, let it sit for a little while, and then gently scrub with a dampened sponge. It's great for countertops with buildup, stovetops (even glass ranges!), sink surfaces, bathtubs, etc. (a bonus - if you clean your sink with baking soda then rinse with vinegar, it'll disinfect and deodorize the drain too!)
  • Grease spot remover - if you've spilled something greasy on a surface, even a fabric surface, sprinkle baking soda on it - the granules are grease sponges!
  • Carpet deodorizer - skip the stuff with perfumes in it - just sprinkle plain baking soda on your carpet, let it sit for a little bit, and then vacuum it up.

Here are a few other natural options I've used to replace commercial cleaners:

Wood furniture polish - combine 2 cups olive oil with about 1/4 cup lemon juice in a squirt bottle. Pour a small amount on a soft cloth and buff your furniture gently - wipe clean with a dry soft cloth. Works great and smells fresh!

Silver tarnish remover - line a bowl with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Add 3 Tbsp baking soda and 1 Tbsp salt. Pour boiling water in the bowl and toss in your silver - make sure it's touching the tin foil! Let it sit for about a half hour (or go clean something else!), rinse with water. No rubbing, no tarnish! For bigger jobs, use a baking pan and use 3 parts baking soda to 1 part salt depending on how many/what size items you're cleaning. Use enough water to cover the items you're cleaning.

What's you're favorite frugal cleaning solution?

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