january service… “be thou an example”

The kids took bread to a few families in the ward that are good examples to us (for different reasons). It was so fun watching them unexpectedly deliver some joy on a Monday night. The best part of serving is watching the children “get it” and love doing it. We’ve set a goal to do one purposeful service activity per month this year within our family. I think that for the month of February we are going to host a dinner for a few families from church that we would like to get to know better. The kids will serve them dinner and treat them for the night. We’ll see how it turns out.


what has happened to me?

We are now in our second two-week dinner menu. I would say that my husband is VERY happy. Why? Because I am not only “cooking” more, but also adding sides to our meals. I grew up with sides on the table. We always had a salad on the table and fruit or vegetables or rolls. I, however, am a one dish woman!

With a growing family, however, I see the great need to help stretch our main dishes by adding easy sides to the mix. And, honestly, it is yummier. And I have cultivated great little chefs in the kitchen to help me. So, I am RESOLVED!

This week’s menu:

Cheesy Chili-Mac
w/garlic bread and corn

Turkey Jo’s
w/ sweet potato fries and fruit salad

Baked Potato Bar

w/potatos, green salad, and dinner rolls

Chicken Kebobs
w/ rice and peaches and pears

w/ rice-a-roni, applesauce, and green beans

w/ chips and salsa and corn

………and so and so forth. See, nothing spectacular. Just yummy staples that everyone loves. But I’m sticking to it. And that is the very best part. Well, I’m off to boil pasta for our Chili Mac.

day 2


*No diet coke craving. Although, I did have some crystal light toward the evening.

*I did much better drinking more water. Although, now I have to pee a lot more.

*I ate 1350 calories today. Much better than the meager 800 yesterday. I added a small amount of walnuts, which helped boost my calories…and sustained me through the morning. I also had double the soup portion this evening…but it was soooo good, and soooo low in calories.

*kudos to me for not breaking the rules even though Adam came home from China today, and we went out to eat. Oh, and I made him homemade bread that I have yet to taste. I will be a bread making fiend when this is over. :)

Day 2–easier.

cleanse, shmeanse

How did I let my sister talk me into a 10-day Fruit/Veggie CLEANSE? Seriously! Totally not me! And I am totally doing it! And I will plot it out here on the blog so that I can remember that although it’s 10 days, it’s ONLY 10 days! And it will be worth it. Or so they say! :)


I have only consumed 800 calories so far, and that is really really trying. I’ve already eaten dinner so how am I going to get to 1600? I need to have a bigger breakfast tomorrow. I only had a banana today. That will help.

I’m dreaming of caramelized apples drizzled with cinnamon, green peppers dipped in salsa, and plain air-popped popcorn. Which should I have tonight?

Overall, Day 1, not hard!


I have many family members and friends out there that not only love to cook, but are really really good at it. My sister, Jaimee, started a family/friends food sharing site. There are multiple contributors, which I am one of. Yes, you heard me correctly! And, no, I have not contributed yet. However, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve–not many, but I do have a few.

Anyway, here is the site: http://fromourkitchenstoyours.blogspot.com/

I am sure that Jaimee would welcome more contributors to share yumminess with.


grocery tips and tricks

First of all, I am a total novice at this whole saving money, being frugal, cutting costs deal! So please take this information for what it is worth. In one short month, I have culled nuggetts of information from hundreds of money-saving websites putting into practice the best ideas for my own family. There are quite a few of you who have asked for more info and pointers. Here is what I do each week.

1. Grocery Sales!

Every Wednesday morning I go to www.grocerysmarts.com and pull up the Nevada sale lists for Smith’s and Albertson’s. If you live in Utah or Nevada, you are in luck. Grocery Smarts is totally free!!! A lot of people use www.thegrocerygame.com, which is the same idea, and more well known, only I don’t think it is free. But if you are in a state that doesn’t offer a free site like GS then it is definitely worth the few dollars a month to subscribe–IMO. These sites match the weekly sales and promotions with existing coupons….Priceless!!!

The other great thing about Grocery Smarts is that it is on a rating system so if the on-sale item has three stars then it is comparable to a Wal-Mart price. Four and Five stars mean deeply discounted, beyond anything you could find at a discount store.

2. Coupons!

First, I print as many online coupons as I can. Grocery Smarts links to the major online printables. But you can get them from www.coupons.com or you can sign up for other sites like www.couponmom.com. It just depends on how  you want to go about it.

Second, I subscribe to www.shortcuts.com and www.upromise.com. These two sites upload coupons to your grocery store club card account like Smith’s and Albertson’s. So when you purchase the item, all you have to do is swipe your card or put in your phone number and it automatically discounts it.

Third, I subscribe to the Sunday only paper. But I get five subscriptions–the maximum allowed for Sunday only delivery at the rate I receive. If you are serious about saving, bite the bullet and subscribe. It will pay you back in your first trip!!! The key is to have as many coupons for an item as you do members of your family. What good does one box of fruit snacks do my four kids. But when I can buy five or ten at once…all on sale and all with a coupon. Hello, score! That also goes for the printable coupons. You are allowed (for most things) to print online coupons twice. We have three computers, so I am able to get six–and that’s just at my house.

Fourth, I faithfully read mommy blogs that have tips and tricks. Although I subscribe to many, right now www.moneysavingmom.com is my favorite. I am always finding extra deals on her site like my recent Kashi, Ocean Spray, Yoplait score. They were all in different posts on her site. I combined them into one Target trip–saving a ton of money for our family.

3. Planning Meals

My two favorite sites right now are www.5dollardinners.com and www.crockpot365.blogspot.com But there are so many more out there that I look at.

I will not lie, it takes me some time to look at the sales, print off, match up, and organize online coupons, and plan our meals ahead of time–but it is so worth it. Did you see my Target post? Cranberry juice has never tasted better. And it is my job as a SAHM to be a responsible steward of the income that Adam earns for our family. So I also feel really good inside. *insert sappy smiley sigh* Now that I am getting the hang of it, navigating the lists and matching up coupons doesn’t really take that long.

I have added a few of my favorite new sites under Be Prepared and Frugal Moms over on the side bar. I’ll add more as I deem them actually worthy of the side bar. :)


A personal talent that I posess is the ability to wade through lots of information and pull out the best of the best, and to leave the rest behind. Adam and I have had a lot of practice at perfecting this skill with our fertility and adoption options. So learning the way of the frugal has been relatively easy for us. And it is seriously so much fun–I mean who wouldn’t smile when they walk out of the store spending significantly less than they saved.

The biggest grocery skill I’ve learned so far is to Pay Attention. I went to Albertson’s the other night with no coupons, and I still scored some amazing 10 for $10 deals. I came out saving over 50%, and I felt really good because I know I got the best deal for the situation I was in. Paying attention also stopped me from buying a few things that I normally would’ve picked up like bananas. But they were outrageously priced, and I actually knew that they were because I have started to engage. Instead, we are finishing up the oranges that I got on sale a couple of weeks ago. :)

We budget our food and gas from the 15th to the 15th, so I will report our first full month’s accounting in a week or so.

rockin’ it @ target

I told my mom the other night that once again I was amazing, explaining that I purchased nine bottles of Ocean Spray Juice for free. She responded, “Of course, you are amazing, duh. But I am not sure what kind of coupons you are finding. They surely didn’t exist in my day.” :)

Target had the juice on sale for $1.99 (average regular price of $3.99 depending on where you shop). They also had web coupons for a $1.00 off. I printed off a bunch. Also, Ocean Spray was offering $1.00 off coupons. So once I combined the coupons I actually made $0.01 on each bottle. I also had great success with yogurt this week. After combining the Target sale and coupons and the Yoplait coupons, each container worked out to about $0.23.


Total Value: $131.79

Total Saved: $110.76

Total Out of Pocket: $21.03

Percentage Saved: 84%

#of Items: 87

Price/Item: $0.24

The kids L-O-V-E yogurt so we are already making a dent in our stockpile. (there is more juice and yogurt than what is in the picture) I bought all of the chocolate whips they had so that I can freeze them in muffin tins for some frozen dessertish yumminess. Juan P. thinks that frozen gogurts are the best thing ever.

Oh, and the kashi bars are way too expensive for us to splurge on these days….but lovely Target had them on sale for $2.75. I had Kashi coupons for $2.00 off making each box only $0.75.

My newbie tips and tricks are coming. (I promise, girls) That will be my next post! :)