$60 Weekly Grocery Challenge – Harris Teeter Super Doubles – Spent $12.73 for $73.33 Worth of Groceries

Have you heard? Harris Teeter is doing Super Double Coupons this week! From Nov. 3- 9, Harris Teeter will  double coupons with a face value up to $1.98. There is a limit of 20 coupons per day day.

For example, if you have a coupon with a face value of $1.50 off, it will double to $3.00 off.  This means a lot of freebies and bargains this week and personally, I will be making multiple shopping trips throughout the week. Of course, I will be reporting in and passing along the deals to you! Since I will save so much money during Super Double Coupons, I am skipping the drug store deals, as well as Food Lion to only focus on Harris Teeter for this week’s $60 grocery budget challenge.

This morning, I spent a grand total of $12.73 (plus tax) for $73.33 worth of groceries (pictured below).  Here are the items that I purchased, as well as coupon match-ups:

Colgate Toothpaste – $1.99
Coupon = $1.00 X 2 (from a recent Sunday newspaper coupon insert)
Total – FREE

Zone Perfect Nutrition Bar – $1.25
Coupon – $1.00 X 2 (from a recent Sunday newspaper coupon insert)
Total – FREE

Seventh Generation Paper Towels – $ 1.50
Coupon – $1.00 X 2 (from a recent Sunday newspaper coupon insert)
Total – FREE

Seventh Generation Napkins – $2.29
Coupon – $1.00 X 2 (from a recent Sunday newspaper coupon insert)
Total – $.29

Campbell’s Select Harvest Soup – $1.25
Coupon – $1.00 off 2 X 2
Total – $.25 each

Dixie Crystals Sugar – $1.79
Coupon – $.75 X 2
Total – $.49

Kashi TLC Crackers – $2.50
Coupon – $1.00 X 2 (from a home mailer)
Total – $.50

Quaker Instant Oatmeal – $2.50
Coupon – $1.00 X 2 (peelie from the actual Quaker Oatmeal box)
Total – $.50

Wheat Thins Chips – $2.99
Coupon – $1.00 X 2 (from store coupon tearpad)
Total – $.99

Muir Glen Organic Canned Tomatoes – $1.25
Coupon – $.75 X 2 (Internet printable – no longer available)
Total – FREE

Muir Glen Organic Canned Tomatoes – $1.25
Coupon – $.1.00 off 2X 2 (peelie from can of Muir Glen tomatoes)
Total – $.25 each

Doritos – $2.00
Coupon – $1.00 off 2 X 2 (from store coupon tearpad)
Total – $1.00 each

Pringles – $1.50
Coupon – $1.00 off 2 X 2 (from a recent Sunday newspaper coupon insert)
Total – $.50 each

Nabisco Snack Sacks – $2.59
Coupon – $1.00 off when you purchase Nabisco cookies and milk X 2 (Facebook promotion – click here to print)
Total – $.59

Old Orchard 100% Apple Juice – $1.99
Coupon – $.50 X 2 (click here to print)
Total – $.99

Sara Lee Bread – $1.99
Coupon – $1.00 X 2 (from store coupon tearpad)
Total – FREE

Pillsbury Sweet Moments Brownies – $3.25
Coupon – $1.50 X 2 (internet printable – no longer available)
Total – $.25

You may remember that last week, I went about $18 over my budget challenge and said I was fine with that.  Like I thought, I still have plenty of meat in the freezer AND even if I go to Harris Teeter multiple times this week, I most likely will come out spending less than $60, which will offset last week’s overage.  This type of scenario is what I was referring to last week post when I said it all seems to balance out over time.  Happy Shopping!

Print FREE Grocery Coupons at Home

Trick-or-Treat! Festive Halloween-Themed Party Foods

Halloween Rice Krispy Treats

Make Rice Krispy Treats using the recipe on the Rice Krispy box. Next, make a batch of orange colored icing, heat it to make the color darker, and drizzle it over the pan of Rice Krispy Treats. Cut into sections and then put candy corns and candy pumpkins in an alternating pattern on each square.


Jack-o-Lantern Cheese Ball

Take a sharp cheddar cheeseball and roll it in finely crushed Doritos to make it orange. Next, drain a can of black olives and pat them dry. Create a jack-o-lantern face with the olives, put a small piece of celery for the “stem,” surround with crackers and you are all set!

“Spider Deviled Eggs”
Make your deviled eggs with your preferred recipe. Then, cut black olives in half to make the spider body. Create “legs” by cutting strips of olives. Another EASY, festive addition to your Halloween party table!

Scrumptious Saturday – Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

These pumpkin chocolate chip muffins need to come with a warning label – seriously!  They are SO good and I am having to exert major will power to stay away from them!  Here are the step-by-step instructions to make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for your family:


3 cups all-purpose flour (I personally went the self-rising route)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (or substitute 1 1/2-2 cups homemade)
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (you can substitute raisins, if you prefer)

Step 1 –  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin cups with liners or spray the the muffin pan with cooking spray.

Step 2 – Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a large bowl.

Step 3  In a separate bowl, stir the sugar, butter, and eggs together.
Step 4 Stir in the pumpkin puree, milk, and chocolate chips and pour into the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened; do not mix any more than necessary.


Step 5 Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup, scoop the batter into the muffin tins. Bake the muffins on a center rack for approximately 20 minutes, until the tops of the muffins spring back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning them out. Serve immediately or cool on a wire rack.

Countdown to Christmas Kick-off


I just noticed that Christmas Eve is only nine weeks from today! Sounds like plenty of time, doesn’t it? Maybe for some, but I have fallen into that “plenty of time” trap before. Last year, I found myself out with the masses on December 23 trying to decide on gifts for a few hard-to-buy-for people….with two little ones in tow. I vowed then after an exhausting afternoon that I won’t pracrastinate like that EVER again!

The fall always seems to melt for me with Halloween, birthdays, Thanksgiving, children’s ball games, Christmas parties and all of the other things that keep my family on the go. So, today I am sharing some information and ideas to help all of us get organized, stay within our budget and have a fun, low-stress Christmas season. Personally, with three kids, a spouse, two large extended families, teachers and others I like to “gift,” my shopping list is very lengthy and every year I tend to go WAY overboard on my spending. Buy, hey, I love Christmas and like to have fun with it. This year, I will do just that, but hopefully with a better plan from the start! 

Start planning now!

I ran across a free, quick-read e-book that helps simplify Christmas planning. Click here to view its tips for budgeting, baking, organizing and much more! Also, for those of you who want to be super organized about the process, here are some free printables from the website, Life Your Way: 

Budget Worksheet

Gift List Worksheet

Master To-do List

Ways to Start Making Money for Christmas Shopping

Sell on Ebay
I mentioned in a previous post that from now until Christmas, anything that I sell on Ebay, I will put into a “Christmas” account.  Since then, after paying ebay fees and shipping costs, I have put in approximately $30.  Hey, it is a start.  I sold a pumpkin child’s Halloween costume, two of my shirts (J. Crew/Abercrombie & Fitch) and a baby boppy pillow cover. I plan to keep at it and grow this number as much as I can. Plus, this strategy also helps me clear items from my home that I no longer need. Click here and here to check out my post about How To Sell on Ebay. 

Start Swagging
I posted a detailed description about Swagbucks here. In a nut shell, you win points for doing your usual searches on the internet through their site.  Then, you can redeem these points for gift cards, magazines, electronics and much more! I ALMOST have enough points for a Starbucks gift card. Sign up for your FREE swagbucks account by clicking the banner below! 
Search & Win 
Redeem Reward Points
Have you accumulated reward points this year through MyCokeRewards, Pampers, Huggies or your credit card’s rewards program?  Many of these rewards (especially gift cards for the hard to buy for people) are great gift ideas! Now is the time to start browsing the reward’s catalogs to see if any rewards match up with one of the gift recipients on your list.

Cash in Your Spare Change
Start rolling your change to take to the bank or visit one of those good ol’ noisy Coinstar machines found in many grocery stores.  Put in your change and get dollars (a.k.a. Christmas shopping money) in return! Just keep in mind that the machine takes a cut of what you cash in (not sure what the amount is these days although I have used these machines in the past). 

Use Any Unused Gift Cards
Check your wallet to see if you have any gift cards you have not used and probably won’t use. Maybe you have someone on your Christmas list who you could find a perfect gift for at that particular store.  Just a thought… 

Today’s Inexpensive Christmas Gift Idea: 

Use Your Inexpensive/Free Drug Store Items & Toiletries For Stocking Stuffers
As I have shown in posts about my drug store shopping trips, just about every week, you can purchase toiletries, candy, coffee and many other items very inexpensively or even FREE at drug stores. How about using these items to fill stockings for others (as pictured above). For your spouse, it might mean including their favorite shampoo/body wash, for your kids, this could mean their favorite candy/chapstick/character-themed toothbrush, for the grandparents, this could mean their favorite coffee/chocolate. You get the idea.  It doesn’t have to be the sole “theme” of the stocking, but these items can serve as fillers and give that person items they specifically like and use.

This is only a start to the MANY Christmas ideas I will have coming your way! As much as I love shopping for bargains, I love giving to others much, much more! I get so excited to give out gifts and see the reactions of the recipient, as I do try hard to taylor gift ideas to the person and their interests. 

Over the next two months, lets share our ideas to enjoy the season and happily give plenty, but not still be paying for it well into 2011! As always, I would love to hear from you!  Post any creative Christmas ideas and money-saving tips in the comments section.

Getting Started with Couponing – Organize to Maximize Savings

Since I recently started this site, I have been getting a lot of questions from readers and friends who want to get started with couponing and are curious how I personally go about it. While I am no expert, I am happy to share the method I have used over the past ten years.

Step 1 – Acquire Coupons
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I get the majority of my coupons from the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts. I typically get 1-2 copies per week. Recently, I have also started keeping an eye out for good internet printable coupons. Click here to view the list I compiled of where to find grocery coupons!

Step 2 – Get Organized
On Sundays when I get the newspaper, I go ahead and clip the coupons I will use. Then, I file them in two basic accordian style coupon organizers (pictured below) by category based on the type of food. I purchased these at the Dollar Tree years ago.

Here are the filing categories I use:

-Canned Goods (soups, veggies, fruits, etc.)
-Dairy (yogurts, icecream, cheese, etc.)
-Baby Items (diapers, wipes baby shampoo, etc.)
-Frozen Goods
-Beverages (juice, coffee, etc.)
-Cleaning Supplies
-Breakfast Items (Cereal, Oatmeal, etc.)
-Junk Food
-Paper Products

This step doesn’t take very long and is so important because it saves a lot of time later when you are trying to find the coupons that you are looking for. If you clip coupons and just leave them in one big stack, it can feel overwhelming and time consuming when you are trying to do your coupon match-ups.

Step 3 – Match Your Coupons to Grocery Store/Drug Store Sale Ads
After the coupons are filed, you are well on your way to saving your family big bucks! My next step in “couponing” is matching the coupons to the store ads PRIOR to stepping foot in the store. On Sundays, I check out the drug store ads and plan my shopping trip(s) based on what is on sale that week matching it to coupons I have in my organizers. I make a list, pull the needed coupons and place it in my coupon holder (pictured below). For you, it could be an envelope. Just anything to have your coupons together, organized and ready to shop!

On Wednesdays when the new weekly grocery store ads come out, I go through the same process, just on a larger scale since I will be using many more coupons at this time. I look at the grocery store ads online (as well as the website SouthernSavers.com and a few others), pull coupons, print any good internet printables that match-up with the items on sale, make a list and as shown in my $60 Weekly Grocery Challenge posts, try to stick to a $60 weekly grocery budget. I used to spend more ($75-$80 week which still wasn’t bad for a family of five), but now that I am staying home full-time, I found I could easily get the amount down even more by staying organized and planning ahead.

Step 4 – Always Have Your Coupons Accessible When Grocery Shopping
Below is a picture of my “coupon bag.” Lovely isn’t it? When I venture into the grocery store, I take this bag with me. It has both of my coupon organizers, the coupons I have pulled for my shopping trip, etc. Then, if I am walking along and happen to spot a great deal, my coupons are right there with me and readily accessible!

My husband says grocery/drug store shopping is like a game to me, and I guess it kind of is. I love saving my family money and I love grocery shopping, so this is something I truly enjoy. I hope you have found this information to be helpful! I will have many more tips coming your way as this series progresses. It take a little effort and time to coupon, but really not too much once you have your system down. Good luck!

On a parting note, I just had to share the picture below! Evidently couponing has become a family affair because my 5-year-old recently made me a homemade coupon organizer featuring one of his favorite foods, D’animals Coolision Tubes! I love the creativity that went into this (notice it even has a nice pocket that he filled with coupons for me)! I love that kid!

Conquer the Clutter Challenge – The Junk Drawer

Today is the day…I will procrastinate no longer! I am kicking off my Conquer the Clutter Challenge here on the homefront. Let me start by saying my house isn’t a total mess…contrary to how the title of this challenge sounds. My house is actually on the neat-side. I would say most days if someone dropped by unexpectedly, the house would be in overall good shape, other than a few toys scattered about. Other days, it may look like a tornado came through, but that is just how it is with young children and a family that lives busy lives.

However, as far as “clutter goes,” if you looked around my house, I don’t have a lot of knick-knacks and items on dressers, countertops, mantles and that sort of thing. Yes, some decorative items, framed photos of the family and that is about it. I feel like I have a good handle on keeping most areas of my house picked up, organized and looking nice.

But, what I am challenging myself to is to work on what lurks beneath…the closets, drawers, cabinet, garage and basement are all on my to-do list. My kitchen, for example, is where I plan to start today with my junk drawer (don’t we all have one those?). It is actually my only problem spot in the kitchen, but boy is it a trouble spot (see below)! Yikes – who knows what is in there! It has become our catch-all for basically anything small we didn’t know what else to do with it. My other kitchen drawers and cabinets are very well organized, but something went bad wrong with this one!

Now that I have publicly posted about my “Conquer the Clutter Challenge,” I feel like this will help keep me accountable and motivated to report back about my organizational progress.

Here’s my plan:

Go through my house, room-by-room and reorganize any needed areas. I will divide items in the following categories:

-Give to Others
-Throw Away
-Sell on Ebay
-Sell of Craigslist (bulkier items)

…and, I will report in on how I am doing and share any ideas that I come up with that I feel you might be interested in. I love an organized house -it just makes life easier, saves time and makes me more relaxed. I hear a junk drawer calling my name…time to get started!!!

Frugal Friday – Chicken Parm on the Cheap

Tonight I made dinner for my family of five for right at $5.50! Yes, that is right, only $1.10 per person! We had chicken parmesan, salad and garlic bread, so it was a tasty, filling dinner – definitely not a meal that seemed like it was lacking. Below is a breakdown of the costs.  You will notice most of the items from my recent $60 Weekly Grocery Challenge purchases. 

My strategies for saving money on food include purchasing groceries at deeply discounted prices through sales and coupon match-ups (which you have now seen me do through the $60 weekly grocery challenge) and then follow that up with creatively coming up with meal ideas. Of course, there are times that I want to try out a new recipe and have a specific list of needed items, but the majority of the time I guess I plan backwards. I work with what I have on hand.

This is what I used to feed five for $5.50:

Boneless Chicken Breast – $2.83 (Purchased on sale last week at Food Lion)
Spaghetti Sauce – $.50
Mozzarella Cheese – $.65
(Purchased this week at Food Lion, part of the Kraft promotion)
Ronzoni Garden Delight Multi-colored Pasta – FREE (Purchased this week at Food Lion)
Lettuce – $.50 (Used 1/2 of the Dole Lettuce purchased this week at Food Lion)
Tomato – $.30 (Used 1/2 of the large tomato purchased this week at Food Lion)
Pecans – Free from my father-in-law
Bread – $.60 (Used 1 large sub roll, sectioned it off and flavored it with butter and garlic salt)

Grand Total – $5.33
Now, after adding in the cost of a little salad dressing, a few pickles, garlic salt and a little butter, I would say the total came in right around $5.50! $1.10 per person…this resourceful gal was happy with that!

Thursday Time-Saver – Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Last night, I needed a quick dinner idea and I decided on a recipe I have made for years – EASY Chicken Pot Pie. My wonderful mother-in-law made me a booklet of many of my husband’s favorite recipes and gave it to me at my bridal shower (along with other cooking tools and items) ten years ago. I am certainly not a cooking expert now (having a great time learning as I go, though!). But at that time, I REALLY needed all the help I could get! 

This recipe is super simple and takes only a couple of minutes to prepare and place in the oven.  It is filling and gives you a meat, veggies and bread all in one. 

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

1 can chicken (10 oz.)
1 can veg-all (15 oz.)
1 1/2 cans cream of chicken soup (or go ahead and make it 2 cans if you want it extra creamy)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the ingredients listed above in a 9 X 9 pan.


1 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Stir together and pour over the chicken mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Be sure not to over bake it because that can make it taste a little dry. Been there, done that! 

The recipe calls for veg-all, but last night I used a bag of frozen vegetables and as for the chicken, I had recently cooked the split chicken breast that I bought on sale a couple of weeks and used a little of this for the casserole.

I hope you and your family enjoy this quick, simple recipe…that doesn’t look so quick and simple when it is placed on the table at dinner time!

Tasty Tuesday – Make Homemade Eclairs

Guest Post by Amy Schroeder of Mixed Up Cupcake Creations in Denver, NC.

Today, I am excited to share with you my homemade eclair recipe! There are several steps, but the end result is well worth the effort. I suggest making a double batch and freezing some for a later date or for when you need to take food in a pinch to a gathering. For example, this would be a great idea for holiday get togethers on your horizon!

Amy’s Eclair Recipe

Prep: 30 min
Oven: 400 Degrees
Bake: 30-35 min
Cool: 10 min
Makes 12 puffs


1 C water
1/2 C butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 C all-purpose flour
4 eggs
3 C whipped cream or pudding (personally, I use jello’s vanilla pudding)

1. In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter and salt. Bring to a boil. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture turns into a ball. Remove from heat and cool approx. 10 min. Add eggs, one at a time beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition (don’t try to sidestep this; I tried two at a time and it was not a good idea).

2. Fill a pastry bag w/ a large tip attached (if you don’t have a pastry bag, don’t fret. You can fill a large ziploc bag and cut one of the corner edges off; viola, a pastry bag!). Pipe your shells on a non-stick pan (I still spray mine with a little cooking spray). Cook 30 -35 min. Don’t worry if they start to brown, keep baking! If you don’t, the inside will still be gooey. You want the shell of an eclair to get golden brown, firm and dry.

3. After baking, remove and place on a wire rack to cool. Cut slits on the top of each…long enough to get the filling inside (I cut all the way across, but be careful to lightly cut the tops, don’t go all the way through the puff or your filling will leak out of the bottom.) Make your pudding or get the whipped cream ready.

Chocolate Glaze:

Melt 4 oz of coursely chopped semi-sweet chocolate and 3 TBSP of butter over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from low heat.

Beat in 1.5 C sifted powdered sugar and 3 TBSP of hot water until smooth. Add additional hot water if necessary to reach a drizzling consistency.

Fill your eclairs with the filling of your choice. Add chocolate glaze on top and you now have delicious eclairs to enjoy!

Important note: I don’t fill until ready to serve to prevent the pastry shell from getting soggy. However, for the eclairs you plan to freeze for a later date, go ahead and fully prepare prior to freezing.

Thank you, Amy, for today’s guest post! Click here to check out her other many tasty culinary delights!

Friday in the Fall – Get Crafty with the Kids

Last fall, my sister and brother-in-law made candy corn flower pots (pictured above) with my kids. They had so much fun working on this fall project!

Here are the steps to make your own:

1. Use painter’s tape to cover sections of a 12-inch terra-cotta pot.

2. Paint the rim white, the middle section orange and the bottom section yellow.

3. Be sure to let each section dry before removing and reapplying the painter’s tape to cover other sections.

4.  Spray the painted pot with a coat of exterior polyurethane.

Your kids will have a great time painting and creating and you will have cute pots to display your fall flowers.  It’s a win-win!