Weekly Housewifes’ Report 1/31-2/4

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Hi everyone!  How was your week?  I hope it was fabulous! 
My week was great, I feel like I really got a lot done!  The best part is that I was able to maintain a clean house but still had time for extra things too!  Gotta love that! 

This week for my Shopping/Couponing, I am happy to report that I found some GREAT deals at Fry’s!  (Kroger)  They are still having some great sales and deals going on thru the weekend and lasting thru Tuesday so check out your local Fry’s/Krogers and see what they have for you!  You can see their sales at their website!  ALSO, if you didn’t know, Fry’s is having a great deal with Coupons this week!  They usually always double coupons anyways, so if you have a coupon that’s worth 25 cents it’s good for 50 cents at Fry’s.  BUT THIS WEEK, ALL COUPONS are worth $1.00!!  If it says 25 cents off, it’s worth $1.00 off!  If it says 40 cents off, it’s worth $1.oo off!  Not sure how long this deal will last so check with your local store!  When I combined this coupon deal with some sales, I ended up getting A LOT of things for under 50 cents!  I brought down my total from $163.33 to a total of $87.04!  I had a total savings of $76.29 – almost 50% off my total bill!  That’s like paying half price for Everything I got!  (Or like getting half of the stuff for FREE!) So this was a great week for that!  I’m planning on shopping again on Monday so I should be able to do that again!

This week’s Cleaning Zone (FlyLady style) was the Front Entrance/Front Porch.
I got some GREAT cleaning done in my front entrance, and of course I took some Before & After pictures for you all!

My Front Porch, BEFORE
(obviously)
I don’t know how it got this way. 
Oh, yeah I do.
It’s called, “we just walk past it and never stop to pick anything up”

But then… I rescued it!  Ta-Dah!
Much better, wouldn’t you agree?

My Front Entrance is like a Formal Livingroom.  We have a couch, bookshelves, etc.  We also keep the bikes in here  rather than keeping them outside.  It isn’t used as a Livingroom really, because we have the main couches and TV/Wii in the other Livingroom.  This is just usually known as “The Front Room”.  But I was happy to have a week to work on it, it needed a good rescue and now my home feels more Company-Ready than ever before!

Here is part of the Front Room BEFORE.  This is just to the right of the front door, and where we have been keeping the bikes.  There is a bench there, but it wasn’t being used.

And here’s the AFTER picture.  I moved the bench to the other wall to make more room for the bikes.  Also, cleaned out that magazine rack and re-organized the top of that bookshelf.  Much more inviting!  But now I am inspired to get a bike rack and some bike chains (locks) so we can keep the bikes in the back yard!

Here’s another angle of the same area, Before & After;

Okay, on to the next section of the Front Room!
Here we have a Wicker Bookshelf with books, photos, and miscellaneous crap.  And I mean, even I was suprised at the crap I found here when I was cleaning it out!
BEFORE & AFTER;

And a close-up/different angle on the Wicker Bookshelf;
Before…..

 


And After……
*Massive Sigh of Relief*

Oh, and guess what?  Aside from clearing away the clutter and re-organizing this whole room, I also got some great cleaning done!  The walls, doorways, lightswitches and doorknobs have all been wiped and scrubbed, the floor has been thouroughly swept and mopped, and yes, I even stood on a chair to deal with this….

Eeeeeewwww!  Dust encrusted ceiling fan!

But don’t worry, now it looks like this; shiny and white!

I can hear the
“Ooohs” and
“Aaahhhs”

Thankyou, thankyou.

*takes a bow*

So, another succesful week, wouldn’t you agree?  And like I said before, I was able to maintain the house, do this extra cleaning in the Front Room, and STILL have time for more.  I went to a Yoga Class this week.  Yep, just me!  Out of the house, on a week night, doing something just for me!
AND, Xander and I have picked up Preschooling again.  I mean, I realized there are only about 6 months before he starts Kindergarten, so I might as well try to get him used to doing some school work now and then.  Here is Xander’s work for the week!  We learned about the letter A and the sound it makes in words, Upper case and Lower case, and practiced writing it.  We also read some great books like “The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat”, and he is doing great with recognizing letter sounds and beginning to sound out words!

Last Week in my life :)

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Just a little bit of bragging and some Before & After pictures from last week!
Last week, FlyLady’s Zone of the week was the master bedroom.  
 My bedroom was in serious need of some TLC. I’m a bit ashamed to show you these, but I think many of you can probably relate!

Uhm… yeah, that’s my Master Bedroom. This room can quickly become a disaster in my life. It’s not a place that needs to be “company ready”, because Company, if any is had, would have no need to go in there. It becomes the “Stash and Dash” area. To busy to put laundry away? Stash it in the bedroom. Not sure where to put something, or too lazy to put it away? Stash it in the bedroom. As you can see, this hasn’t really worked out!  Also, I couldn’t even GET to my closet!

So anyways, I set to work on my bedroom. I took on a “no pressure” type attitude, letting go of perfectionism and just accepting that ANYTHING would be an improvement on what it was. And guess what? It only took about 2 hours to get the majority of that mess cleaned up! Afterwards, I wondered why I had put it off for so long!   Look! I can see the floor!! AND I can get to my closet! The clothes are all hung up and/or folded and put away. The boxes are back where they belong! The top of my dresser is now a perfect place to do my daily devotions or meditations.

FlyLady helped too! With her zone projects and “Fly Missions”, I was able to get more done than just cleaning up the mess. She had some great suggestions that only took 15 minutes (or less) a day and really helped me Bless my Bedroom!
On Monday I cleaned out under the bed and vaccuumed the whole room.
On Tuesday I cleaned out my sock drawer, threw away old socks and organized it. I even bought myself new socks and did the same with hubby’s sock drawer!
On Wednesday I spent more time clearing away clutter on the night stands and tops of dressers.
On Thursday I dusted the room, even wiped down the tops of the door jambs, wiped the doorknobs, windowsills, etc.
On Friday I pretty much had my bedroom nice and clean, so I focused on the small bathroom that is adjacent to the bedroom. I gave that room a good scrubbing and put stuff away that needed to be put away. Now when I go in my bedroom I really feel like it is a relaxing area, both for begnning and ending my day!
My bathroom, before –
and about 30 minutes later…. after putting everything away, taking out the trash, scrubbing the toilet and shining the countertops and sink;
It’s funny the things we take for granted, and the way that we minimize the importance of having a clean, sacred space to rest. This week, the work I did here in my bedroom was not just a cleansing of the room where I sleep, but it was a major blessing for myself! Giving myself a peaceful environment to sleep, read, rest, get dressed, etc, was a HUGE affirmation of self-love. It gave me a major boost that I really needed!
On another note, I also had a great time using my coupons and checking the sales papers this week!  I brought my grocery bill for the week down by about $30.oo by watching sales and using some coupons.  I also went to Walgreens and picked up a few things ….

I got all this for $16!

Walgreens Coupon Trip 1/25/2011
Subtotal $38.17
Total paid – $20.91
plus Walgreens Register Rewards $4.00

(If you calculate in the $4 they gave me back in Register Rewards then my actual total was $16.90!!)

2 boxes Honey Nut Cheerios, sale plus coupons = $1.50 each
2 Red Baron pizzas sale plus coupon = $2.00 each
Mens Socks $6.99 buy 1 get 1 Free
Kleenex sale .89 each
Kraft Mayo, sale plus coupon = $1.24
Jello sale plus coupon = .50 cents each
Bowl Fresh sale plus coupon = .50 cents each
Pediacare sale $5.99 plus $4 back in Register Rewards = $1.99
Soda & Chips for Xander – not on sale LOL but he was a good boy while I was shopping🙂

Coupon Savings – $8.46
Register Rewards used froms last week $9
Walgreens Sales Savings – $20.05

Total savings $37.31

A Coupon Adventure, and a recipe

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Yesterday I finally broke down and got the ink cartridge refilled for my printer.  It’s been… IDK… a YEAR or more since I have had ink in my printer!  I was tired of not being able to print things out; especially coupons!!  I found a place about 2 miles from my house called Cartridge World and they do ink cratridges cheap!  A new cartridge of black ink for my printer at OfficeMax would cost about $36.00.  I got my cartridge refilled yesterday for $16.49!!

So, last night I found some coupon websites and bookmarked the websites of the places that I shop the most often so I can start looking for coupons before I go to the store.  I already printed out a few coupons from www.coupons.com that I thought I might use this coming week.  This morning I decided to check the Walgreens website, since there is a Walgreens within walking distance of my house.  I found some GREAT coupons, and decided to go ahead and use them today.  (Most of them expire tomorrow, and I’ll be at work!)  So I printed out about 6 coupons and made a list of what I wanted from the sale items.  A tip for if you shop at Walgreens; check out what sale items give you Register Rewards too… these are items that when you buy them, they print you a coupon that’s as good as cash fr your next shopping visit!

The result of my couponing adventure?….

Walgreens Couponing 1/7/2011
Subtotal – $32.77
Total Price Paid – $15.42

Coupon Savings – $13.57
Walgreens Sales Savings $3.78
plus a $1.00 Register Rewards coupon for my next visit!

I Got;
Clorox Wipes 2/$5, plus $1 Register Rewards Coupon (Store Sale)
Chips Ahoy Cookies 99 cents each (Coupon)
Hunt’s Tomato Sauce 3/$1 (Coupon)
Goody’s Asprin $2.99 ($3 off) (Coupon)
Household Cleaning Gloves 39 cents each (Coupon)
Aquafresh toothpaste $1.99 (Store Sale)
Papermate Mechanical Pencils 5 pack 19 cents each (57 cents total for 3 packs) (Coupon)

A total savings of $17.35!
In other words… the $16.00 I spent yesterday on ink for my printer has already paid for itself with ONE day’s savings in printed coupons!

Wahooooo! 
I’m actually looking forward to grocery shopping on Monday to see how much more I can save with coupons!!

Okay…. back to the grind!  Time to do some more housework!  I’m going to put a roast in the crockpot for the family to eat while I’m at work.  A favorite crockpot recipe of mine…so I’ll share it with you!

—————————————————————————

Rio Grande Pot Roast
1 beef eye of round roast (approx. 2 lbs)
2 jars of your favorite salsa (about 36 oz total)
1 packet of Ranch Dip Mix

Mix together the salsa and Ranch Dip Mix.
Put the roast in the crockpot and pour the salsa mixture over the top.
Turn the crockpot on low and let it cook for about 6 hours.

Slice or shred and serve!  Goes good with Spanish Rice.  You can top the meat with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream if you like.

Fresh Bread, fresh New Year

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Happy New Year, friends!  I hope 2011 has begun well for you!  These first 5 days of the year I have undertaken a couple projects; mostly the house-keeping type projects.   The result?  A relatively clean house, a clean desk (organized!) and fresh bread to taste!

A few months ago a friend of mine gave me a jar of sourdough starter.  I’ve been expirimenting.  It’s been hit and miss, as I was not really one for bread baking, but I was determined to make it work.  The great thing about the sourdough starter is, you put some aside for your next batch – and as long as you keep it going, your supply of starter can be endless!  Which is great for someone like me… because things are bound to happen!

I had a couple times the bread turned out good, and a couple times it did NOT.  The week of Christmas I made 3 small loaves, and I THINK they turned out good, but I ended up giving all three away… so I don’t know!  Last week I started making some sourdough again, the dough looked PERFECT and I was so exited!  I turned the stove on to pre-heat while I watched a movie with Kenzi.  After the movie, I put the bread in the stove, set the timer, and left to do other things… came back and….. well… something wasn’t right.  The perfet dough in it’s perfect pan loaves hadn’t risen, and was still gooey in the middle.  Then I realized the stove was OFF.  Hey… who turned off the stove?  The husband denies any responsibility, of course.  *sigh*

So I waited another week until I knew I would have time to start again.  After all, this process takes about 27 hours…..

Step 1 – 1 cup of the starter dough.  I store it in the fridge, so I took it out and let it sit for awhile until it was room temperature.  This was around 8 pm Monday night.

Then I added 1 cup of flour and 1/2 a cup of lukewarm water ———————–>>

….and covered it and let it rise overnight…..

Until it’s nice and fluffy and bubbly.
Here it was Tuesday morning.
<<———

Then I stirred it (which makes it smaller again) and transferred it to a larger bowl so I could repeat the process.  (added another cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water)

Tuesday night it was all fluffy again, and I could have made it into bread at that point.  But instead, I took 1 cup of the starter dough out and gave it to a friend, added yet another cup of flour, 1/2 cup of water to what I had left, covered it and let it rise a third time!

Today (Wednesday morning) it was nice and fluffy again and ready to go!  So I got together the rest of the ingredients I needed and grabbed my book to double check that I had the right amount of everything.  As I did this I decided to look thru my book, and I stumbled upon another recipe… and realized I had what I needed for it right in my cabinet!

Yep!  Raisin Bran Cereal Sourdough!  Yummy!  I hesitated…. should I really try something new?  I mean afterall, my last bread attempt was a failure… but that was a technical failure.  And the time before that… well I didn’t taste any because I gave it all away.  So who knows?  But…. this was just too tempting to pass up!

<— going for it.  Mixed the raisin bran into the dough as directed.

….. and formed it into two beautiful little loaves.   —->>>

And then there is more waiting.  Covered the loaves and let them rise for another 2 hours.  Then, FINALLY, around 1:30 pm, they have doubled in size and I’m ready to put these babies in the stove.  Of course, I double check to make sure that my pre-heated stove is still ON.  Hubby’s not here to turn it off, but since he denies turning it off last week I guess it could have been faulty electric wire.  Or a Ghost.  No Ghosts today… so into the stove they go!

<— 1:30 pm

                                                            2:45 pm ————->>

                         YUM!

And… finally…. 44 hours after taking my starter dough out of the refridgerator….

Delicious, warm, fresh bread!

I can sleep tonite with a sense of accomplishment!
The first loaf is almost gone, since the girls came home from school just in time to have fresh bread with butter for their after school snacks.  The second loaf will make great toast for breakfast in the morning, and maybe great sandwiches for lunch tomorrow too!!

—————————————————————————-

And for you bakers out there… if you have some sourdough starter dough (or can get your hands on some) here’s the official recipe.

Raisin Bran Cereal Sourdough

2 cups culture (sourdough starter)
4 &  3/4  cups Flour
1 & 1/4 cups water
1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups raisin bran cereal.

1.  Mix liquid culture (starter) with 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup water.  Cover and let proof (rise) for 10 – 12 hours.

2.  Punch down (stir).  Add 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup water.  Cover and proof for 8 – 10 hours.

3.  Punch down (stir).  In a separate bowl, dissolve the sugar and the salt in 3/4 cup of water.  Then mix in the 2 cups of raisin bran cereal until well moistened by the water.  Mix the cereal/water mixture into the dough.  Mix in 1 cup of flour.  Mix in another 3/4 cup of flour.  Leave the last cup of flour on the board, and transfer the dough here when it is too stiff to mix by hand.  Knead and fold the remaining flour on the board into the dough. 

4. Split the dough in half and form two pan loaves and put them in your loaf pans.  Cover with saran wrap and let proof for another 2 – 4 hours, at least until the dough has risen and doubled in size.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove from pans and let cool.

Morning Fog in the City

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Happy Holidays!

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Happy Holidays from our Family to yours!!

Just a quick update…..a Holiday Letter.

I’ve been running around trying to get ready for Christmas.  I actually did Christmas Cards this year!  I had them all ready to go to the post office yesterday, but hubby was late from work because of a meeting so I didn’t make it there.  Gonna try again today.  I had forgotten how time-consuming it can be to send out cards to everyone… stuffing the envelopes, filling out the addresses… no wonder I haven’t sent out cards in the past few years!!  But as I was doing it, I thought of my grandma, and how she ALWAYS sent out cards for Christmas, and every other holiday and birthday.  With 19 grandkids, I don’t know how she did it…. but I do know it meant a lot to me.  I miss getting her cards and letters, but it’s something I can take and learn from her… send out those cards!  I didn’t get everyone.  After making 48 cards I just don’t have the energy, or the stamps, to do any more.  So if you don’t get one from me this year, I apologize!  Know that I thought of you and I wished I could have sent cards to everyone in my address book!!  So, here’s a blog post and photos for the rest of my friends and family!!  Merry Christmas!!!

Me & Hubby – we’re both still working.  Husband works full time, cooking.  I work part-time, waitressing.  When I’m not working I’m at home with the kids, cleaning house and trying to do the FlyLady thing, or reading books, playing on the computer, etc.  I volunteer at the elementary school once a week with the PTO.  All in all I keep pretty busy!
Mackenzi – She is in Middle School.  I can’t say she really likes it… she “tolerates” it.  Seems like at her age, everything in life is just barely tolerable.  But she has her friends, she enjoys reading and art, and if I catch her in just the right mood…. she might even enjoy spending time with ME. 
Alyssa – Alyssa is in 1st grade and she enjoys school.  She loves her teacher and her friends.  Sometimes she has problems at school because kids pick on her.  I’m trying to teach her to not let what other kids say get to her… and to stand up for herself if she needs to!
Xander – He WISHES he were in school!  His late fall birthday meant he couldn’t start kindergarden this year… but he’ll be ready for it next fall!  He stays home with me during the week and keeps me very busy!  He always has something to talk about, something to learn about, something to share. 

I can’t believe my kids are getting so big!

We’re looking forward to the holidays.  The kids will be out of school, husband will be off of work, and I’m sure we will find lots of things to keep us busy!!  My parents will be joining us at our house for Christmas this year and it’s sure to be a wonderful time for everyone.  Hope yours is just as wonderful!

A busy October

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Wow.  It’s been awhile since I have posted a blog here.  I know there have been several times over the past couple months when I have thought, “I should blog about this”, or “I really need to update my blog”, but I just never seemed to find the time or proper motivation.  October turned out to be a very busy month for me.  It included a hospital visit, three birthdays, and Halloween…. among other things.

Here’s the synopsis of the last 2 weeks of October, as told and recorded by my Facebook status updates;

Oct. 17 – Just got home from the emergency room with Alyssa😦 The kids broke a window and she got cut very badly around 8 pm. She got 12 stitches on her right arm and 2 stitches on her left wrist. She was very brave at the hospital ♥
Oct. 18 – Awww, Alyssa wants to help me wash the dishes but she can’t because she can’t get her bandages and stitches wet yet.
Oct. 18 – What’s for dinner? I’m making baked potatoes with everything on them! Cheese, bacon, chives, tomatoes, and sour cream, yum yum!! And fresh salad too. Mackenzi’s friend is staying for dinner, he keeps complimenting me on my dinner, and it’s not even ready yet! LOL! and he also helped me wash the dishes🙂
Oct. 20 – A cool rainy day here in the desert. And you know us desert creatures are so wimpy… I’m looking for my jacket so I won’t get the shivers while walking to the store… and it’s 65 degrees out!
Oct. 20 – Worked off my frustrations with some yard work. Found all kinds of creepy critters living under the pile of old cardboard boxes (which should have been thrown out months ago). Found a nest of geckos and several hatched gecko eggs… cool! Now I need a shower.
Oct. 21 – “As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world.” ~Terri Guillemets
Oct. 21 – Click “Like” if you have ever gone to clean a child’s bedroom and felt like you were going to have a heart attack because you were so *MAD* at the state of their room and belongings! Or had to bite your lip to keep from yelling and cursing at them… LOL
Oct. 22 – “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”  -George Washington Carver
Oct. 22 – Feeling domestic… made eggs and biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Changed Alyssa’s bandages, gave Mackenzi some tea and vitamins (she’s feeling icky), Started laundry, gave Xander a bath, and have been listening to kid’s music and folding laundry with Alyssa!
Oct. 22 – Had craft time with the kids🙂 You remember those little plastic beads and pegboards that you melt together with an iron? We made those, it was fun! Now back to the housework….
Oct. 25 – Had “game night” with the family… played Yahtzee with hubby and the kids. In the middle of the game Xander fell off his chair and we all had a good laugh… wish I had it on video!
Oct. 26 – Today volunteering at the school; Coloring! That was fun! (Colored some pictures for some word games for a 1st grade class) Now I’m home, I’m tired, and not very motivated… I think I’ll just read for awhile….
Oct. 26 – Mmm.. hubby’s birthday dinner; Grilled NY Steaks with bleu cheese butter and carmelized onions. Green Beans and Salad with ranch & bacon bits & more bleu cheese. Chocolate cake for dessert, if I’m not too stuffed!!
Oct. 27 – Happy Birthday to my son Xander!! You are amazing! Can hardly believe you’re 5 years old today!!
Oct. 28 – Xander needs a haircut!  Where are those clippers??  C’mere boy!
Oct. 30 – Sooo tired, but so excited! Tomorrow morning going to my parent’s house to celebrate my dad’s birthday with my aunts and uncles! Then after spending time with the family it will be time for trick-or-treating and Halloween!!
Oct. 31 – Scaring kids is FUN!

All in all, October was busy, but fun.  Other than the trip to the emergency room with Alyssa… that was NOT fun!  She’s doing fine now, BTW.  Her stitches were removed on Nov. 1st and she has no infection and minimal scarring.  Xander had a great birthday; I still can’t believe he is 5 years old now!!  On Halloween we went to my parent’s house for the day and several aunts and uncles from dad’s side of the family came in from out of state to suprise dad for his birthday.  It was so great to see everyone again!!  Then we came home and I took the kids trick-or treating while the husband stayed home and handed out candy and scared a bunch of little kids silly!  I was home for the last hour or so of kids coming to the door, so I got to watch my husband lurking and lurching through the yard dressed as a zombie and sending some kids running and screaming down the street!

Anyways, I just thought I would give an update, attempt to make some sort of blog post.  I’m gonna try to get back into my blogging again… it just depends on if my November is just as busy as October was!

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