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!

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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!!

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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.