Saturday, January 31, 2009

January Budget

Total spent: $155.84
Total saved with coupons/sales: around $30

We really lived off our stockpile this month. Between the ice/snow storm, Brandon being sick, me being sick and getting back into the swing of things at work- I really slacked on couponing. But, that's ok. That's what a stockpile is for!

I'm ready for spring- for fresh fruit & veggies and to fire up the grill!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WFMW re-run: Wonderful pumpkin bread

A WFMW re-run from 10/29/08. I'm going to make this bread today (since I'm home, again, for a snow day) and freeze an extra loaf, so I thought I'd share.

This recipe is absolutely wonderful, thus it works for me.

DownEast Maine Pumpkin Bread (from AllRecipes)
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (I used 1 cup applesauce)
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar (1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white and 1 cup splenda)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I didn't have this, so I didnt add it)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (ditto)
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
4. Poke holes in the top of the bread, drizzle a melted butter/cinnamon/sugar mixture of the top.

This bread is better when it sits overnight. I made 2 loaves and 6 muffins out of this recipe.

Check out more WFMW posts over at

Monday, January 26, 2009

You know you're in Oklahoma when.....

Everything in the state is pretty much cancelled, OSU actually calls off class as of 2pm (unheard of in my college days there!), yet the bedlam basketball game goes on.

Not only are they playing the game as scheduled- anyone who shows up to the game will be admitted!!!!
Directly after making the announcement on the 5 o'clock news, the newscasters immediately reminded people it's not safe to be out driving. Classy.

So, we're using/creating another 'snow day' at work. I don't really mind as it's pretty slick out there. But just once, I'd like it to actually SNOW. Crazy notion, I know. Ice is just no fun.

I'll post some photos tomorrow- it's beautiful outside.
Stay warm!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I feel like I've been a big slacker lately. It's been difficult to get back into the swing of things at work and at home. I'm back on my game at work, but once I get home I have no desire to cook or scrounge up dinner. Thus, we've been grabbing take-out and having alot of pb&j nights. I blame it on the cold weather and tutoring 2x a week after school. And, just being lazy :)

It helps that I finally went to the grocery store on Friday, but I still feel like I need a better plan. I like the meal planning challenges, but I still only make 4 of the 7 meals I listed.

So, I started thinking about it and asking around here's what I've come up with:

1.) Buy ground beef in bulk and cook it.
I went ahead and cooked most of the ground beef that I bought on sale this past week ($1.69/lb), and divided it up into 1/2lb and 1lb increments, into freezer bags. I labeled each bag w/ the weight, date and contents. I went ahead and seasoned 1 lb of ground beef with taco seasoning.

2.) I'm going to try and have a cooking day- probably a Sunday afternoon, to make at least 4 dishes and freeze them for my less-inspired days. Over Spring Break, Karen and I are going to try to make multiple meals and breads this way.....hopefully making life a little easier for both of our families. I'm going to scour my recipes to see which ones will freeze the best. Here's what I have in mind so far:
1 loaf banana bread
1 loaf pumpkin bread/muffins
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Chicken tortilla soup
Spicy Mexican Chicken (in the crockpot- freeze enough for 4 meals)
Philly Cheesesteak (in the crockpot)
Chipotle Chicken (in the crockpot, add rice later)
Dice up onions, cilantro, etc. and divide it up for future recipes
???- any other ideas?

3.) I wanted to double check the 'freezer shelf life' of meats, etc. and make sure these plans weren't in vain. I found this chart on USDA's website:
Freezer Storage Chart (0 °F)
Note: Freezer storage is for quality only. Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely.
Item Months
Bacon and Sausage 1 to 2
Casseroles 2 to 3
Egg whites or egg substitutes 12
Frozen Dinners and Entrees 3 to 4
Gravy, meat or poultry 2 to 3
Ham, Hotdogs and Lunchmeats 1 to 2
Meat, uncooked roasts 4 to 12
Meat, uncooked steaks or chops 4 to 12
Meat, uncooked ground 3 to 4
Meat, cooked 2 to 3
Poultry, uncooked whole 12
Poultry, uncooked parts 9
Poultry, cooked 4
Soups and Stews 2 to 3
Wild game, uncooked 8 to 12

So, that's my game plan. I hope to have a baking day before Valentine's :)

Have you ever done anything like this? If so, what works/what doesn't?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Grocery Shopping- finally!

Last night, I finally got around to grocery shopping. Homeland has some good deals, but a cold-front was moving in and Brandon offered to go with me. So, we went to Wal-Mart with the grocery ad's in hand.

Total OOP: $73.28
Money saved with coupons/price comp-ing: $28.06

My best find was ground beef on sale for $1.69 at Homeland. I picked up 7 lbs- saving over $16! I also used my Kashi breakfast bar coupons from Vocalpoint, getting 3 boxes for $0.97 each and one for free :)

It felt good to be back into couponing :) I always stink at couponing in the winter- I'd rather be at home where it's nice and warm.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Speech Lab

I learned about Speech Lab from another SLP in the district back in the fall, and I've just now successfully implemented it within my school. So, I thought I'd share what it is. This is mainly for my own giggles (so I can look back at this and tweak it later) and for my SLP readers.

This is how it works:
Lab occurs 4 days a week for 10 minute sessions.
Only my articulation kiddos participate, and they are divided by grade (6-8 kids in each grade).

The kids come in, pick up their speech folders, check the white board for their activity number, and go to that activity.

Within their speech folder, they have a:
* Calendar (they mark their attendance right away)
* Copy of their IEP goal sheet
* Weekly response recording sheet (I fill this out)
* List of phoneme specific words/sentences/short paragraphs to practice while completing their daily activity

The kids have my permission to correct each others speech errors, and so far they've done really well with this. Each kiddo has a partner for the week. They travel through the activities together. They aren't partnered based on sound/production level- it's random.

Before each 'turn' at the said game/activity, the child must read a line off their phoneme page. After each correct production, the kiddo puts a checkmark next to the line. I can go back and see how many times they were able to practice their specific sound in a session. Most of the kids are getting in at least 20 correct productions in 10 minutes!

Here are some of the activities we've done so far:
- tic-tac-toe
- reading AR books aloud
- Apples to Apples
- Rhino Rampage
- Connect 4
- Themed worksheets from
- Uno
- Go Fish
- writing on the white board
- online articulation games

Also, I should mention that I response record for each child 1x a week. While the kiddos are busy with their activities, I walk around the room, response recording and making sure everyone is playing fairly and following the speech lab rules.

I'm sure I missed something, but that's the basics of Speech Lab and how it works for me :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm glad.....

I'm glad that I'm a Speech Path.
I'm glad that today, I didn't have to go with the 5th graders to the boys in one room, girls in another, Growth & Development talk. :)

I'm just not cut out for that. I'll stick with speech, language and a little bit of fluency/voice thrown in.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Well, I haven't really done anything frugal so far in 2009. Brandon and I have been hanging around the house and I've been trying to get back into the swing of things at work.

I started feeling bad over the weekend, but I thought it was just a cold. I caved and went to the doctor today, and it turns out I have an ear infection and the start of strep throat.

So, I'm taking my 1st sick day. ever. It feels strange!

Have you gotten any good deals/done anything frugal thus far in '09? I promise I'll be back to my couponing soon!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Guess what came in today....

....My speech class photos!

I can't post them on here, cause that'd be all sorts of illegal, but let me just tell you- these pictures rock. The 'silly' one cracks me up! Some children are pretending they are choking, one is on his knees, hands up in the air, looking at the celing. Others are doing the classic bunny ears and kid-friendly hand gestures.

I love it. My job rocks.

(ps- if you don't remember the beginning of this story, go back in my blog and look at the December post titled 'just a picture' )

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Semi-disappointing start

I just got back from Wal-Mart.
I spent $40 on groceries.
I didn't use a single coupon.


But, I got exactly what we needed for the week grocery wise. AND- Homeland's ad came early, and I will definitely be heading there on Wed. when this next sale starts.

Today after church, I really wanted to stop somewhere for lunch. However, Brandon refused, reminding me we could make sandwiches and save $ by eating at home. What a great husband :) It's been a wonderful 2 weeks off work, but I'm ready to get back and work with my speech kiddos. I missed them!

I'm starting a new program tomorrow with my 4th & 5th graders: Speech Lab. I'll post more details about the program later......

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 savings and spending

I plan to continue my monthly couponing savings/spending total posts in 2009, solely for the fact that it makes me keep track of my spending. In December, I didn't even step foot in Homeland, but I did go to Aldi's twice for most of my baking goods. I really don't know how much I saved at Aldi's, but it was sure nice to run in and get what I needed.

Total OOP: $204.79
Total saved with coupons/sales: $173.87
Rebates earned? $2.20 @ Walgreens

Total spent in 2008: $2,541.45

Total saved in 2008: $2,364.87

If you average it out, I spent about $49 a week on groceries and household/beauty items!