Saturday, April 30, 2011

And you could see this coming, right?

From the Associated Press:

Households reeling from gasoline near $4 also face bigger bills for everything from changing their babies' diapers to wiping their noses to treating themselves to ice cream.

Major makers of everyday consumer products and groceries say they have to raise prices to offset soaring costs for their fuel and the materials and ingredients that go into their products.

The list of companies saying this week that they are raising prices is long: Kimberly-Clark Corp. (Huggies diapers, Kleenex facial tissue); Procter & Gamble Co. (Pampers diapers, Gillette shavers); Unilever PLC (Dove soap, Ben & Jerry's ice cream); Colgate-Palmolive (toothpaste, soap); and PepsiCo Inc. (soft drinks, Frito-Lay snacks).

Same song, second verse. What does it mean? More store brands, more coupons, more loss leaders ... and fewer trips to the grocery.

To see the full story:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hey, it works for bald guys!

My gardening efforts this week have taken a strange turn --- I've been doing grass transplants.

Last year's drought and nasty winter did a number on our lawn -- lots of bare spots. Poor thing looks like one of those relief maps in a geography book. Overseeding hasn't helped a whit.

Ironically, there are places where the grass is growing happily, like my front garden and my vegetable garden plot. (I'm seeing a definite trend here ....)
So, while the ground is nice and wet from our incessant rains, I've been pulling up the chunks of grass in the gardens, and planting them in the worst-looking places in the front lawn.

Will they grow? More importantly, will they spread? Darned if I know. On the other hand, those chunks would have ended up in the trash, so might as well put them to good use.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's in your cupboard?

Over on DS, we've been talking about "Extreme Couponing," then there's the pantry challenge thread.

Both of them kind of inspired me to go take a peek in my pantry ... just to see if there's anything hiding in there that I'd forgotten about.

Er, yeah ...

1 box of grits ... oops ... I'd thought I was out, and put it on the grocery list.

1/2 bottle of corn oil. Better check to see if it's still usable.

1 box of corn muffin mix, expiration date in 2009. Not sure if it's good to use either, better check ...

2 half-used bottles of red wine vinegar ... no problem .. I'll just combine them

Not as bad as I thought, but it still means I should keep an eye on things.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Wishing a lovely day to all who celebrate ....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Frugal benefits

I've been doing the weight-loss thing the past few months. (I admit it, it's doctor's orders.)

So far, so good .. nearly 20 pounds off. (We won't talk about how much to go ...)

And I've found a frugal benefit to weight loss -- my wardrobe is expanding! I recently raided the garage-sale pile and reclaimed 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of work pants, and a couple of belts. Woo hoo!

I'm hoping to do another "shopping trip" again, soon!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Because Earth Day goes better with caffeine

If you're looking for some free java, grab your travel mug:

Both Starbucks and Caribou coffee stores are offering a free cup o'Joe if you show up with a reusuable mug on Friday... (check the sites for any restrictions/regulations).

And if you have both stores in your city, your coffee breaks should be extra enjoyable, LOL!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It never hurts to ask

A few weeks ago, I'd mentioned that we were facing some large medical bills.

After some consideration, we decided that one of the procedures wasn't billed correctly. We were thinking it should have been a screening procedure ... which would have been covered 100%

So, we asked the insurance company to review it ... and they agreed!

So our bill was cut substantially .... It's still a big gulp, total-wise, but it's better ... much better.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Menu: Tuscan Chicken

This is a recipe I converted from a microwaved version:
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 (15oz) cans white beans (Great Northern or cannellini) undrained

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon rosemary

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon lemon juice

8 oz fresh spinach (or turnip greens or kale)

Saute chicken in olive oil until cooked; remove from pan.

Add the beans (with liquid), lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes and salt to pan. (If sauce seems a bit thick, add 1/4 cup of water) Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer.

Return chicken to pan. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If sauce becomes too thick, add a little water to the mixture.

After 30 minutes, add spinach to the pan and mix into the beans. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with grated parmesan cheese if desired.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Seemed like a good idea at the time

My Esty listings expired last week, so for now, I'm out of the handicrafts business. Not that I had much of a business to begin with.

Hey, I thought there would be a market for porch goose clothes .. shows you what I know.

And part of it was my own fault; I could have done a better job of promoting it. I wasn't willing to spend the $$ to "feature" it on the site, but I'm sure there were other methods.

But it's all good. This was a low-budget operation, so I'm not out much.

And there's an upside: Goosie has a new wardrobe! .

I have an idea about other things to sell, so the shop will be back up at some point ...

Friday, April 15, 2011


Just a note: In a number of areas, eggs are -- or will be on sale -- in anticipation of Easter.

If you were able to get the 55-cents off 2 dozen coupon that recently ran on SmartSource, you can pick up a couple of dozen for an even better bargain.

I was able to snag them at 72 cents a dozen ...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So what do we do with it?

We've been updating cookware here at the casa de chaos.
Kind of fun to see those nice, shiny new pots and pans...

But we've got a problem: We can't seem to part with the old stuff.

A few things had to be taken out of circulation -- the big fryer with the peeling non-stick coating, the enameled pots that chipped, and starting to rust.

So what to do?

Well, the fryer, minus handles, became an oil pan for when DH changes oil in the mower.

The large enameled pot (which actually belonged to my grandmother) will make a cool flower pot.

Everything else goes into ... er ... storage.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Garden report: lettuce begin

Finally, something to report: The lettuce is going in!

I've been slowly planting my containers with lettuce and other salad greens. My garden soil still (after all these years) has too much clay to grow greens, so I put them in containers and use them as "microgreens."

This year's crop: lettuce, arugula and 2 "blends."

In addition, I have a bonus: volunteer lettuce. Had a plant last year that I allowed to go to seed, and it apparently dropped seeds all over my front garden.

I'm not planting anything there for the moment, so I'll let it go and see how much of a crop I get.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Whoever you are, thanks!

Lucked into a bit of good fortune during my weekly shopping trip ... once again due to someone who left their coupons behind.

I noticed a pile of catalinas (along with a pile of receipts ... that I really don't understand) sitting next to the (what else!) catalina machine at the self checkout. As I looked through them, I found a $3 coupon off any order of $40 or more.

Hey, that's me!

A couple of others I couldn't use ... then ... $1 off any meat or seafood purchase of $7 or more.

Ca-ching, says the woman with the $10 package of chicken breasts in her cart.

So, combined with the $9 in coupons I already had, I knocked $13 off my order. I'm still off budget for the week, but at least I'm $4 closer!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday menu: Paprika potatoes

Here's a quick side dish:

1/2 lb potatoes, cut into chunks

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place potatoes in saucepan, cover with water and boil until soft. Drain. In small bowl, combine butter, garlic powder, salt, paprika and pepper. Pour over potatoes, stir (gently, please) until coated.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

March freebies

A good month, helped along by some FAC deals:

1 Excedrin Migraine

1 Excedrin

1 Dawn

(FAC) 2 Country Crocks (FAC)

1 Duncan Hines brownie mix (FAC)

Miracle Whip Purina BeyOnd cat food

Purina BeyOnd dog food

Philadelphia cooking creme

1 McD's oatmeal

1 Reach toothbrush (FAC)

1 Reach floss (FAC)

Cosmetic bag from Target (with 2 shampoos, 1 conditioner, 1 lip balm, 1 lip gloss)

John Freida shampoo/conditioner