Friday, May 29, 2015

Groceries getting you down???

I know some of this may be redundant to some of you followers, but I feel as though this is a struggle that I have weekly.  Grocery store shopping/using what you've got/organizing meals...blah, blah, blah...I'm getting nauseated just typing it.  It never goes away, you always have to do it, and you get burned out.  At least I do.  Especially lately since it seems like we have SOMETHING going on every single night; meetings, games, practices, get togethers (ok, that's a fun one but still requires you to plan a little bit).  Thanks to a lot of things:  Pinterest (still a dirty bitch), Aldi, Walmart (I'm NOT thanking their carts because they suck the big one and I've called headquarters to alert them to this crime...why can't they take a page out of Targets book and get the super nice plastic carts that seem to roll like they've had a tune up each and every time I go in there...sigh, I love Target), Sams Club, Costco and a new found co-op thanks to my Sister-these things are made a little easier.  I'm going to keep this simple by mapping out what I like, where and why:

1.  Pinterest (why I'm putting a photo with it, I'll never know):

I love getting recipes off of here.  It's quick, easy and most of the time, the recipes are decent.  I'm making one for tonight's dinner called Mississippi Pot Roast:
-1 roast (I used an arm roast that we have from a huge beef purchase we made last week)
-1 packet of dry Ranch (purchased at Aldi for $.59)
-1 packet dry onion soup mix (purchased at Aldi for $1.19 for 2 packets)
-1 stick of butter (purchased at Aldi for $1.99 for 4 sticks)
-Pepperoccini peppers (guess where? Aldi again for $1.29 for a jar) you add as many or as little as you like
Crock pot for 7-8 hrs on low.  I also threw in there some "weird carrots" that I received in my co-op purchase from last weekend.  They're orange, yellow, white and purple (my nose is crinkled just thinking about them but my sister assures me they're delicious...we shall see dear sister). 
 All sorts of recipes you can look up...I also have about 8 limes that I have no idea what to do with...guess what?  Pinterest has a solution for those too...anywhere from a foot scrub to a pie...Pinterest has an idea.  Surprise, surprise.

2.  Aldi:

I'm in love with this little store.  They are priced for a family that wants to save.  It's convenient and has loads of products (many gluten free products as well - side note:  I was going to type glaucoma free just now).  I'm partial to quite a few things so I'll type what I don't like instead:
-Bagged onions (almost half are rotten-not cool)
-Chips (we are Lays and Doritos people, yes, there are certain things we are food snobs about) We WILL purchase their tortilla chips - you can't mess up corn and salt.
-Cereal (we've actually never tried these, we're just partial to Malt-O-Meal bagged cereals at Wally World AKA Walmart)
-Beef (we're those people that purchase a third or half of a cow to save money, the whole chickens there are inexpensive and great for crock potting and shredding for later meals)
-Ice cream (we just haven't had great luck with it)
Produce is very good there as well as the "stock up" items one may need: canned items, baking items, snacks for the kiddos...just check it out, you may just love it.

3.  Walmart:
I just like their prices.   I'm a Target fanatic...if they sold a t-shirt with the Target symbol on it, I'd buy it and wear it much like people do with their favorite sporting team.  I don't have one of those, but I love Target, so why not have a tee...million dollar idea?  Probably.  While we're on the subject of Target:  while I love it (like, I should marry it), I've recently be3en keeping away from it because of the prices and because of their clearance items.  I seem to think that if they're on clearance and I COULD use it someday, then I must have it.  Sound like a personal problem?  It is.

4.  Sams Club and Costco (sorry no photo):
Mi Mamma has a membership to Sams so I got there to purchase items like Folgers coffee, produce, boneless chicken boobies, Gatorade in the squat bottles (perfect for littles) and the other random items - I purchased tp and paper towels there this last time - so far, they're great for the price!  My friend has a Costco membership and sweetly takes me when I need to purchase my absolute favorite beverage, Tazo concentrated chai.  They have a 3 pack for about $7.50 - if you purchase one carton at Target it's $'re saving $4.50 by purchasing the 3 pack.  Why am I telling you this info?  Because that stuff is delectable!  I also love their salsa, it's $5 and fresh and the whole family likes it.

5.  Co-op:
My sister recently introduced me to a co-op she had been ordering from.  It's all fresh produce and for $17 I received two weeks worth.  The only downfall is you get what you get.  BUT, it's also made me try a few new recipes AND has also broadened our produce palate.

Random info for saving money with the groceries:
-Try a "use what you've got" week.  I had found that I had some stuffing mix (I HATE stuffing/dressing as a side dish itself-that's just a little personal tidbit) from a previous recipe so I decided I needed to use it rather than throw it away:

I put it in our little blender thingy and made crumbs.  I used said crumbs for a homemade meatball recipe.  It was delicious and made me feel like I was resourceful.

-Don't purchase pre-packaged items like little bags of Goldfish crackers, or cookies.  Buy them in bulk.  If it's for a kids lunch, purchase reusable baggies and pack them in those instead.  It's worth it especially if you pack your kids lunch daily (like I do).  Not buying disposable baggies saves you money and the planet.  Now, I get having to purchase pre-packaged stuff for school snacks, sometimes you have to but you can also cut down on some things.

-If there's a sale, stock up.  Yes, I have a deep freeze full of shredded cheeses, beef and tater tots. 

-Don't take your kids...I'm laughing at this one...I always have a child or childs with me every time I got to the store.  But, if you're like me, you practically jog through the aisles grabbing what you need.

-Make lists and stick to it.  I've done this the past few times and if I forgot to write it down, we go without.

-Pick a day to make a weekly meal plan.  Mine is Sunday.  I ask the family if they have ideas (very rarely they do), check my cupboards/pantry/fridge/freezer and make my meal plan from there.

-Write down your meal plan in a central place.  If you've got a significant other/partner that is up for helping out with meal making, having a central location for the meal plan can get the ball rolling quicker in the evenings.

-Prep ahead of time.  Use already made shredded chicken, cut up veggies the night before, use meat from another meal to create something new (you had roast beef? Now make shredded beef tacos with the leftovers)...there's always a way to get it done...but you have to be ambitious and sometimes it's hard to do.

-Don't eat out.  We eat out as a family maybe twice/month.  We are lucky to live in a town that doesn't have any restaurants, so we're forced to make something at home.  At first (10 years ago) it was hard, but now it's just second nature to whip something up OR we have those "every man for himself" nights.  Usually consists of the kids eating a sandwich, chicken fries, or a bowl (or two) of cereal.

-Have a "bring whatcha got" potluck.  We do this A LOT with neighbors and family on those nights you just don't feel like cooking but have a ton of leftovers...

-Eat your leftovers!!!  We eat nothing but leftovers for lunches.  Period.

That's all I have time for now!  I'd love to hear some grocery store saving ideas!  I know I've forgotten quite a few, but I have to scoot!

Have a great weekend!!  Until next time...

Side Note I:   Sweet Pickle is singing "Royals" by Lorde and it's pretty awesome...she's 3.
Side Note II:  I'm not reading before posting this so if it doesn't make sense, get creative.
Side Note III (this is the last one I promise...for today):  What would you like me to report on?  Ideas are always good!!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

I've Missed This...

I've started to write this post 3 times already, not quite sure where to start.  After a 7 month hiatus, I'm ready to get back into the swing of things - blogging here and there without a set schedule.  I found that I was treating this blog like a job instead of something fun to share - so, I got burned out...and I got into a rut.  I've dug myself out of said rut and am ready to tackle some new projects.  Not to mention my inspiration from family, friends and the dirty bitch named Pinterest.  Yes, I said it.  Pinterest is a dirty, time sucking, inspiring bitch.  Now that I've got my excuse for my absence out of the way, let's dive in.

It's closet time.  I know I shared about Peanutty's closet months ago...well, that's been re-vamped as well.  Here's that post:

My (notice how I don't say "our"...let's face it, I take up about erm 80% of the closet so I'm not even attempting to fool anyone here) closet needed an overhaul.  Bad.  As did my dressers...yes, I said dresserS...again, I'd say Hubs owns about 10% of those.  I'm just now realizing that I need to downsize all of my clothes again...hmmm...OK, back on point here.  Here are the befores:

My Closet

Peanutty's Closet

The drawers worked great in his closet until they didn't.  He got bigger, so did his clothes.  Only so much could fit in there.  As for my closet, I have zero excuses other than I adore shopping and have an addiction...come to think of it, I have a lot of those:  washi tape (yep, still obsessed), organizing (duh), Target (gulp, this will be a whole other post...I've recently become they're #1 customer and they know me and Sweet Pickle by name - drat) burying my face in my kids cheeks with smooches until they get know, things like that.  I need to go through my clothes again (I did this closet re-do a few months ago and could have gotten rid of a lot more...and I may or may not have added to the hot mess that is my closet).

Aaaah.  This gem is from college, which was purchased 13+ years ago to accommodate a different closet which happened to be a beautiful, expanse of space called a "walk-in".  It was truly dreamy.  Well, for 10 years it has been in my closet serving its purpose but not utilizing the full space.  I decided to make Peanutty's closet the newest victim to this crime.  Annnnd because we already have it so let's make use of it.  I cleared out my closet and put in two shelves that went from wall to wall.  Huge thank you to my husband that installed these without my help and without me asking.  Good man that is!!!

I truly did gain a LOT of space here.  It may not seem like it, but I actually have 3/4 of the top shelf empty.  They say "when you have a lot of space, you end up filling it with more junk".  Who "they" are, I don't know, but they're right.  I am happy to report that I haven't filled that space up with a lot more clothes because I have a brainstorm in the works for my room that includes getting rid of one of the dressers. 

Pants on the top shelf, sweats (my FAVE) on the bottom shelf, and bags/purses/backpacks underneath.  Works out great.  Originally I had belts on a hanger - that was annoying SO:

In the back of our closet is a whole board that supports the upper shelves.  It's wasted space back there so I added a few 3M hooks (I'm going nothing but posh and fancy here-and because I didn't want to put holes in the wood-and because I did this when Hubby was at work and I'm not the best at using a screw gun).  Ta-da!  They're hung up, out of the way and easily accessible.  I'm still fighting with my scarves but I'll come up with something some day.
Sigh.  Just looking at these make me happy.  I not only love washi tape, but a label maker puts a smile on my face.  The combo of the two?  Mind. Blown.  Categories include:  t-shirts, long sleeves, sweatshirts, Medium and Large.  If I see something on clearance that I know Peanutty will get good use out of later, I buy it.  Like $1.00 sweatshirts at Walmart?  Yes, please!  So, I made a category for the larger clothing he will wear later.

All of his bedding goes on the shelves up top.  I wish I could say it looks like this all the time...but it doesn't.  Looks more like someone beat the ever loving crap out of the clothes and left them for dead. 

That's it for my first post back at it.  I hope everyone has a spectacular weekend!!!  Until next time!

Side note:  I am not revising this.  I have a couple hungry kids and need to start cooking.
Side note 2: Thank you to the strangers that sent me emails stating that they loved my blog.  It put a huge smile on my face.