Friday, June 29, 2012

Fast Times at the Sadlers

Life the past few weeks has been like this picture, crazy. I promise I will be back soon.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Warner, Month One

I just could pick a favorite, or three, from the pictures I took this afternoon so here are five of the littlest Sadler. What a little cutie!

Grocery Groove, part 1

When time is of the essence, I try to get as much in from the van as possible each trip, I can definitely relate to this :)
I would have to call myself the "official" grocery shopper of our family so I had to learn how to read sale flyers, navigate the isles of grocery stores and shop for an ever growing family. Along the way I have learned many things through trial and error, especially shopping with little ones in tow. I am going to do a multipart series on how I save a few dollars at the store starting off with the largest money saver of them all...

Plan, Plan, Plan
Before I ever leave for the grocery store I have a grand master plan and this is what works for me.

  • Look at the sale flyers for the three major grocery stores in my tiny town 
  • Compare prices on basics I know the price of from my store of choice to see if I can get a better deal from another place 
  • Write down great sale items
  • Check specific deal blogs that show deals matched with coupons to make it an even better deal is one of the sites that I use to find out the best deals at Fred Meyer 
  • Write down the basic specific items we are out of that I want even if I don't know they are on sale. 
  • Organize my list by type (dried goods, produce, meat, dairy) that way I don't wander all over the store looking for things. 
  • Go through my list and estimate the prices so I have an idea of how much of my budget I will be spending and I also leave a little wiggle room for clearance and forgotten items. 
  • On my list I also have a column that reminds me what items I have a coupon for and what type of coupon it is (such as an e-coupon or a manufacturers coupon)

Fred Meyer Super One
 Price  Grocery Item  Coupons  Price  Grocery Item
 $3.00 Lunch Meat  $4.50 Blueberries x 3
 $1.50 Pop Corn  $3.00 Raspberries x 2
 $2.00 Canned Tomatoes/Beans x 4 in-ad  $1.50 Black Berries
 $4.00 Rtiz and Wheat Thins
 $1.67 Sour Cream
 $1.67 Cottage Cheese
 $3.00 Gold Fish Crackers x 2
 $3.50 Creamer x2 mc
 $2.00 Hand Soap
 $1.00 Bananas
 $6.00 Trail Mix
 $4.00 Granola Bars

 $2.00 Grapes
 $3.00 Lunchables w/ fruit mc
 $3.00 V-8 Smoothie mc
 $4.00 Yogurt c, yoplait
 $2.50 Ice Cream e-c
 $1.00 Popsicle e-c
 $2.00 Raisins e-c
 $2.00 Pretzles
 $2.50 white sugar
 $3.00 pancake mix

The above is a sample of my grocery list from last week. I don't normally type it out but thought it might help keep things organized. In theory it was a cool idea but it took me way too long between breaking up wrestling matches and nursing a tiny baby. Apparently we were running low on snacky things at this point in time.

  • Plan out the path I am going to take through the store (this sounds wild but it really helps me)
  • Grab reusable bags because my grocery store will take off $.05 from my total for every bag I use. Hey a quarter is still a quarter!
  • When I get to the store I also try to park near a cart return because it's so much easier to just roll at cart a few feet when your groceries and kids are all tucked away in the vehicle. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hello June Eats

Welcoming summer, can't wait for ice cream faces again!
June is going to be a wacky and wild month for us. May was crazy busy but we got through it, so now it's June and I'm ready to settle down, or a least have a plan. May brought the birth of sweet baby Warner and made me realize how much I don't have under control. I've let the boys go wild, become sleep deprived and definitely unorganized. We had some meals delivered to us from friends and family, some out and some from the freezer. I made a couple from scratch but cooking with a new born and a whiney toddler under foot is definitely more challenging. My stir fry with noodles was a giant hit. (maybe it was the "fancy" ramen noodles I used, or the homemade teriyaki sauce, but everyone raved about it, yippee) Chicken piccata from the crock pot, not so much.
So here are tips and things I am going to be doing this month:
1. Use up those freezer meals! I spent time and money making them so I might as well make things easier all around and use them up. Less clean up usually too. Just make sure they thaw properly so you don't end up eating dinner at 7 pm, when the kids are supposed to be getting ready for bed.
2. Nap Time is your friend. I've pretty much given up on the idea to sleep when the baby sleeps. I want to, I really do! But the older baby only takes one nap a day now and somehow the time flies by too fast. When else am I going to shower, fold laundry or empty the dish washer? I have also started to use this time to prep, throw something in the crock pot, or even entirely make dinner to bake or serve later. This has helped cut down on spending time in the kitchen at the witching hour.
3. Take advantage of community events. We have a senior in our house this year which means tons of end of the year BBQ's and parties. My MOPS group is also having a family BBQ. There was a Memorial Day community BBQ last weekend at the park. Do you see I don't have to make a full dinner for any of these events?
4. Eat out of the pantry. My sister and I are taking a road trip with all of our kids down to California this month so we won't be home for a week. I'm going to make sure I don't leave anything that will spoil while we are gone, and hopefully save some money too. Shane will be home but he's on his own creative diet, eating lots of BBQ'd chicken, tuna, salad and hard boiled eggs. Luckily he can fend for himself this way well.

So anyway here we are June Eats for the Sadlers...
1. Random day. I had a MOPS retreat and left home early.
2. Stir Fry with veggies and ramen noodles
3. Chili from the freezer, cooked in crock pot
4. Chicken Piccata from freezer, cooked in crock pot - w/ mashed potatoes
5. Porcupine Meatballs from freezer, cooked in crock pot - w/ pea salad
6. Sloppy Joes from freezer with corn and black bean salad
7. Mexican casserole from freezer with rice and left over corn &bean salad
8. Senior BBQ
9. MOPs Family BBQ
10. Pulled Chicken Sandwiched from freezer, homemade baked beans, zucchini sauté
11. Graduation Party
12. Beef and Bean Burritos from freezer, cheesy rice
13. Grilled Vinaigrette Chicken from freezer, grilled garlicy potatoes and veggies
14. Moroccan Stew from freezer in crock pot, served over garlic mashed potatoes from last night
15. Pizza! It's officially summer vacation!
16. Chicken Divan with rice and salad
17. Father's Day, Dad's choice!
18. Trip
25. Lentil Casserole
26. Stuffed Meatball Sandwiches
27. Tacos
28. Curry Chicken from freezer, with rice
29. Chef's Choice
30. Family Choice

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jar O' Salad

I first saw this idea when my cousin pinned it on Pinterest. I haven't caved to the phenomenon yet because I am being stubborn about it but apparently it's a place where you can see other people's ideas and save them and share them with others. Anyhoo... I saw this picture of salad in a jar. Yes you can make them for the week ahead and as long as you keep the dressing away from the lettuce part (or other soft ingredients) they can last up to a week in the fridge. I haven't actually tried eating one yet, but I made one for my secret sister at MOPS. Since she knows who I am now, I can finally post on this awesome idea. In the bottom I put a layer of prepared raspberry vinaigrette, then a layer of chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, sliced strawberries, leftover quinoa, and baby spinach. My layers aren't as pretty but I think it still looks yummy, is healthy and is a fun, portable, cheap gift for a friend.

Yummy Layers! Reusing a throughly washed spaghetti sauce jar.

Salad with secret sis note attached.