Super Stay At Home Mommy!

Adventures in the life of a stay at home wife and mom

Menu Planning

Weekly menu planning plays a HUGE part in saving money in our grocery budget. When Jason and I first got married we were terrible at grocery shopping. We walked up and down every aisle and tossed whatever looked good into the cart. Later in the week, I’d go to cook something, and realize that I didn’t have everything I needed for a complete meal. So, back to the store we’d go…. We ended up spending WAY too much on groceries.

When I became a stay at home mom, suddenly it was important to really budget our money. I needed to find a way to cut our grocery bill in half. It took some time and tweaking, but here’s what I do. (We went from spending about $150 a week for just 2 of us, to about $60 a week for all 3 of us).

To start, I go through the weekly ads from the different stores around us and see who has the best deals on meat. Typically, this is our biggest expense. So, whoever has the best meat prices is where we’ll do all of our shopping. I used to go to 3 different stores to get all the best deals from all the different stores, but I quickly realized that the time and gas that it takes to do that was not worth it. Not to mention, taking a 1 year old in and out of the car that many times is NOT fun!

Once I figure out what store I’ll be shopping at, I go through the rest of the ad and find out what other great deals they are offering. I write everything down, and then cross reference my coupons (I’ll post some coupon sites at the end of this blog to help out. I’ll also be doing a coupon blog in the near future, so stay tuned!)

Now that I know what the good deals are, I make a menu utilizing those items and whatever I have in my pantry. There are tons of menu templates out there, but I just make a list of meals I can make throughout the week. (If you need help with this part, I’ve posted a link to a great site at the end of this post!)

Now that I know what I’m cooking, I’ll make a list of whatever leftover items I still need. And, here’s the part where my OCD kicks in a bit. I then organize my entire list by aisle. Sounds crazy, I know. But when I do it this way, I insure that we only walk through the store one time (not back and forth finding everything on the list), and we’re less likely to pick up extra goodies (you know, all those traps they set on the endcaps! Those will make your grocery bill sky rocket!)

And now we’re set for the week!

If you need some more help, here’s some awesome sites I’ve found! And if you have any others that you love, let me know!

Couponing Sites:
Krazy Coupon Lady– in her blog, she matches up coupons with deals in different stores
Money Saving Mom– another savings blog
Coupons.com– printable coupons
 
Phone Apps:
Grocery Gadget– For Iphone and Android. This is an App you have to pay for, but it allows you to compare prices, import recipes, and search for ecoupons. You can edit on your phone or on the web.
 
Recipe finders:
Dinner Spinner– Also an app for your phone. You can enter what ingredients you have, and it will help you find a recipe! How awesome is that!
SuperCook– Another site that will search for recipes based on what ingredients you have
 
Paid sites:
The Grocery Game– Pay a monthly fee, and this site helps you match up coupons and deals in your area!
Plan to Eat– Pay a monthly fee, and this site helps you plan your weekly menus!
 
Lots of great menu planning templates here!
 

Happy Shopping!! 

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Easy Fabric Flowers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My friend Sara Gambino taught me how to make these great fabric flowers. (Check her out, she’s awesome! Hair By Sarah Gambino or Her Facebook Page).  When I realized how easy and super cute they were, I just had to share!

It took me about 10-15 minutes to make one– Like I said, SO SIMPLE!

 

 

 

Here’s how you do it…..

 

Pick your fabric. You don't need much (depending on the size of flower you plan on making) For this one, I made a small flower that I want to attach to the dress I made the other day.

Find a circular object to trace. Like I said, this was a small flower so I grabbed an old cup. For bigger ones, I use a bowl or a coffee filter.

Trace circles onto your fabric. For small flowers I use 3 circles, and for bigger ones I use 4.

I use a sharpie to trace, but if you have a fabric pencil or something you'd rather use then go for it! You won't end up seeing any of the ink once it's all put together

Cut out your circles

And now cut those circles in half

Now fold each piece in half again, with the outside of the fabric showing

And sew along the straight edge. You could definitely hand sew this, I just LOVE my sewing machine 🙂

Sew each piece

And then turn them right side out. Use a blunt object to gently press out the corners. These are our petals!

Now to sew them all together. We'll sew them along the curved edge

Gathering them like this

or this... I couldn't decide out which angle would best show how to sew them, so I'll post both 🙂

You'll end up with a nice little chain of petals

Pull both ends tight, and tie them together. And VOILA! you have a fabric flower. At this point you could leave it as is, or sew a cute button or rhinestone in the center

Aren't they adorable! You can attach them to clothing, put them on a hair clip or headband, the possibilities are endless!

I love these! Pretty soon all of Linnaea’s clothes are going to be decorated with flowers! Thanks again so much Sara! (And seriously, you guys need to go check out her website, she’s great!)

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Crockpot Chicken Tacos

We’ve all been there– It’s time to make dinner and you don’t have all the ingredients you need to make anything. Our old solution was to order take out, but since I became a stay at home mom that was no longer an option. So, I have become quite creative when it comes to making meals out of what I have in my cabinets. That is how this specific recipe was created, and it has become a favorite of ours. And it’s SUPER easy!!!

**Note: This dish has a mild heat!

Serves 3-4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Approximate total cost for meal: $6.00
 
Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts (or 3 sm/med)
1 16oz jar sliced pepperoncini peppers
1/3 cup Italian dressing
Salt
Pepper
Soft taco tortillas
Your favorite taco toppings! (shredded cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, etc)
 
Place chicken breast in crock pot- season with salt and pepper. Pour entire contents of pepperoncini jar on top of chicken (juice and all!). Then dump in the Italian dressing. Believe it or not, this is the hardest part- Now just set your crock pot on “LOW” for 6-7 hours, sit back, and relax!
 
When the chicken is done, run a fork through it to shred it. You now have your taco filling! **Warning** Because of the juice from the pepperoncinis, it will be a bit watery. Make sure you strain that a little before you put it in your tacos.
 
Fill taco shells with the chicken mixture and finish with your favorite toppings! My hubby loves to put some Ranch dressing and hot sauce in his- I have to admit, it’s really good!
 

The finished product... Mmmm....

 
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Sewing 2/21/2012 Dress w/ Flounces

I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to document my sewing yet, so bear with me on this. For this specific post, I think I’ll put up a bunch of pictures of the steps I took to get to the finished product. If you have any suggestions on how I should change it up, or have any specific questions on techniques, etc, let me know!

Here’s the project I did today!

 

 

I think my next blog will be for panties! I like all of her dress to have matching little panties (Because a diaper hanging out tends to ruin a whole look!) Anyways, I have a whole stack of panties that need to be made! Stay tuned….

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Sewing on a Budget

I am crazy about saving money! I’m a coupon clipper, bargain hunter, and get a thrill over finding a good deal. So, of course, when I started sewing I had to find a way to do it on a budget.

The first few projects I made I found myself spending WAY too much money. By the time you get the pattern, fabric, notions, thread, etc, it really starts to add up. I needed to find a way to make things cheaper- especially since I plan to make my daughter’s entire Spring and Summer wardrobe.

That’s when my wonderful mother-in-law stepped in and suggested “upcycling” (recycling) old clothes, sheets, etc. I couldn’t be more excited about the idea. We took a trip to Good Will and went crazy! I came home with a great stash and have been back a couple times for more. I’d say that I have probably saved at least $200 in fabric costs.

Just a small portion of what I've gotten at Good Will. I spent about $8 on all of this. I will probably get 2-3 outfits out of each sheet

It’s also amazing all of the notions you can find at the thrift store, too. I have a stash of bias tape, and am working on gathering up some buttons, zippers, and elastic too.  Many of the dresses we found to upcycle had buttons and zippers on them which can be reused too. The zippers take a little more effort, but it can be done! The savings probably isn’t as much here just yet- I’d say about $20. But every penny counts!

Patterns seemed to still be the part where I struggled and spent a little too much money…. However, searching the internet I found countless free tutorials that have been great. I also keep an eye out for deals at JoAnn’s. Just last weekend they had a deal for 5 Simplicity patterns for $5. I took advantage of it, purchased 10 patterns, and saved over $130!!!

Take a look at this score! Original prices range from $11.95-$17.95 a piece! I got them for a dollar each!

When it comes to thread costs, I keep it simple. Black or white thread can pretty much be used for any project. So, rather than buying new thread to match each and every project, I just always keep black and white thread on hand.

I’ll continue sharing tips and ideas, as well as deals I find!

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Welcome to my new blog!!

Hello everyone! I’ve decided to further my adventures in the world of blogging! As a stay at home mom, I am always doing something new and exciting, and what better way to share than through a blog? I’ll use this site to share recipes and reviews, my sewing adventures and tutorials, crafts, and other fun things I dig into. I hope you enjoy!

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