Friday, November 25, 2011

It's Officially Christmas Season!

My sister Diane made this cute turkey cupcake was yummy!
Today is the day after Thanksgiving and now it is on to the Christmas season.  I love this time of year!  Our lights are up, I am making a list for things I need for cookie baking, every weekend until Christmas is filled with activities and I am just about done with my Christmas shopping.  My favorite youngest daughter and I were one of the idiots that went out shopping at midnight on Thanksgiving.  We started at Target in Lake Stevens where the line wrapped down the front, down the side and down the back of the building.  We were able to get everything we wanted even though we were far from being first into the store.  We waited in line for 58 minutes to check out...but we had a good time chatting with the folks around us.  After Target it was on to the Everett Mall to visit Macy's.  I only needed one thing...even though I ended up buying two things.  We got home just after 3:00 am and by that time my husband and son-in-law had already left to run to a farm and garden store in Burlington.  Both my hubby and I feel like we are recovering from a bad hangover...even though not one drop of liquor touched our lips.  I guess sleep deprivation at our age is not a good thing.  It was a fun time being with Cassidy but we both really missed having Kelsea and Jenna girl with us!  That's what happens when those darn kids get a life of their own.  Here is a recap of my week...

Albertson's was having a great deal on gift cards.  Buy $100.00 worth of gift cards and get a $20.00 coupon to use towards your next Albertson's grocery trip.  There was limited information on which cards this applied to so I talked to the manager.  The manager was also unsure if there were any limitations so she told me if any of my cards did not create a coupon...she would issue me an Albertson's gift card.  I bought $500.00 worth of cards and walked out with (2) $20.00 coupons and (1) $60.00 Albertson's gift card.  I do not believe that all the cards I purchases were part of the promotion but Albertsons did honor their word. 
Albertson's...last day of using my double coupons.  Retail would have been
$59.60 ~ I paid $11.09.  An 81% savings!
We took advantage of a beautiful Sunday last weekend and got the lights up.  They officially were turned on tonight for the first time ~ the day after Thanksgiving!  This was the first time in years that I had to help with the lights...usually the girls' helped their dad...but this year one daughter is married and the other was at a slumber party. 

My hubby smoked two big pork butts for about 10 hours this last weekend.  We shredded it up and put in the freezer for a party that we are having in a couple of weeks.  Part of our menu includes bbq pork sandwiches...yum!

Now for some pictures of my family enjoying Thanksgiving together.  I have recently been accused, by my favorite oldest daughter, of taking more pictures of food than I am trying to make up for that right now:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Coupon High!

Today was a GREAT couponing day.  Albertson's had double coupons...for the third week in a row.  This week the doubles will last for 5 days instead of the normal 3 days.  Albertson's was out of the 20 boxes of potatoes I plan on buying...but I was told they will be back in stock tomorrow.  Here are the deals I got today:!  Only paid SST.
Albertsons ~ 2 boxes of juice, 2 packs of gum and 2 cans of cranberry sauce.
How much did I pay?  Only a $1.00! ~ a 90% savings!
Rite Aid.  4 dishwasher tabs and 3 boxes of Kleenex.  Full retail would have been $24.53 but I paid $1.08 and one dollar of that was SST.  Score!
Fred Meyers ~ Farmland Bacon was on sale for $3.99 each but using a Fred Meyers coupon and manufacturer coupons...each pack cost $2.25!  I got the tater tots for a buck and then got quite a bit of veggies.  Number wise, this didn't seem like my best deal.  However, basically it was like paying full price for the bacon and getting everything else for free so that is not too bad!

Wahlgreens...full price would have been about $19.00...I paid $2.98!

Albertsons ~ 6 bags of chocolate chips...$4.45 total!  These normally cost $3.79 a bag and I paid just 74 cents each!  Yahoo.  BTW ~ one bag was donated to the Lake Stevens Food Bank (along with a few other things) so that is why only 5 bags are in the picture.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shopping Deals!

Couponing has taken over my entire game table.  This weekend I vow to contain the clutter.  Couponing does take doubt about that but so far the payoffs have been worth it.  I am still stocking a lot to get a head start for next year...when I plan to only spend $250.00 a month for all groceries...including all food, toiletries and paper goods.  It is a challenge that I am going to work hard to achieve.  Here are some good buys from today:

I LOVE Swagbucks!  By earning Swagbucks, I am able to trade them in for gift cards.  I recently earned $25.00 worth of gift cards from  By using $10.00 of those gift cards towards these six containers of peanut butter...I only paid $2.21 out of pocket for all this peanut!  I LOVE free or nearly free food!


Target had this dog food on sale for $6.17 and $6.49 each...and I had a $4.00 coupon so I only paid $2.17 each for three of these bags and $2.49 each for the other two.  This will feed my two yorkies for 4 to 5 months...and cost just over $11.00 which is about a 60% savings...not too bad!

Here is a perfect recipe for the holidays...this past week I baked 100 cupcakes and today I frosted them for the gals I work with.  They are delicious.  When I made them for the first time, my favorite youngest daughter made a face of disgust when I told her what they were...but one bite was all she needed.  My entire family loved them. is the recipe.  These would be great to make for a holiday gathering.

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes (courtesy of

1/2  cup finely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons sugar
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4  eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
 Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.  In heavy 8-inch nonstick skillet, cook pecans and 2 tablespoons of the sugar over low heat about 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted. Spoon and spread pecans onto sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar; toss.
In large bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full). 
Bake 19 to 24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack.  Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tblsp. butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tblsp. meringue (optional)
Whip all ingredients until light and fluffy.  Note:  I would use Philadelphia Cream Cheese.  I tried this recipe with a store brand cream cheese and it was not as firm.
Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the candied nuts.  Note:  I used sugared walnuts...and yum!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Recap Of October 2011

Jeez...again, no blog activity in October.  I should start blogging more very soon because life is slowing down.  However, the Holidays are coming here ~ so maybe life will NOT slow down for a while longer.
  1. A quick recap ~ I canned quite a bit which made me happy because I didn't expect to.  My mom and dad went over East of the Mountains and brought us home some pears and apples towards the end of I canned. 
  2. Also this month my hubby went both deer and elk hunting...and no luck.  I was hoping to fill the freezer but that didn't happen this year. 
  3. My sisters, mom, daughters, nieces and one nephew walked the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Walk in Snohomish county.  This is the second year in the row we have walked this event in support of my sister who is a breast cancer survivor.  It was a wonderful day! 
  4. Also this month my favorite youngest daughter had a halloween party and I made the most perfect cake pops ever...and I didn't even take a dang picture.  
  5. After being on the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover for two months...we paid off our first of my school loans.  Yahoo!
  6. I am working towards another big goal to begin January, 2012 which is to only spend $250.00 a month on groceries...including food, toiletries, paper goods, etc.  WHY?  Our insurance premiums are going up and I don't want to take away from my Dave Ramsey "snowball" amount so I am cutting back on grocery money. 
Here are some pictues from October to share:

My mom, myself and two my sisters at the breast cancer walk.
Cinnamon Pears...first time canning these myself but my mom
used to can these when I was younger.  My mom was a great
canner and I can remember our hall closet being full of her homemade canned goods.
This is the display I created by my front door for this fall season. 
The larger pumpkins are not from my gardent but the corn stalks, the
marigolds and some of the small pumpkins are from my garden!
I planted garlic bulbs this fall for the first time.  They are
already sprouting out in the garden.  It is fun to see things
still growing in this cold dark weather.
I have been much better about couping and I did pretty good
during the month of October...all the pop was FREE!
Apple Pie Filling!  I must admit that I overfilled the jars but
most of them seemed to seal just fine.  I will be wrapping a
pretty ribbon around these along with a recipe for apple pie!
What a fun Christmas present!