Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back In The Saddle, As It Were

Today I got back in the saddle.  While I wish I were talking about riding a horse, something I enjoy doing, alas I am not talking about horseback riding.  I'm talking about the drug store coupon game.  

Back before I was pregnant with Liam I would hit up Walgreens, RiteAid, and occasionally CVS and come away with a nice haul.  I was, by no means, a shelf clearer, but I did pretty well attempting to be frugal with the money God blessed us with.  While I was pregnant I just seemed to be too tired to trek from Meijer (for regular groceries) to Walgreens to McCords (for great produce and meat!) to RiteAid so I quit the drug store game and stuck to two stores.  I didn't do nearly as well but it wasn't that bad either.  Once Liam was born I thought about starting up again but lugging his car seat in and out of stores was rather cumbersome and annoying.  Plus car seats don't really fit on the little carts often used at drug stores.

Recently a friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook of her excellent trip to Walgreens and it made me miss finding those deals.  Not only that, but as we live on one income I realized that we could stand to benefit from the free and almost free items you can often find at drug stores.   One of the drawbacks for a lot of people (especially since gas pole vaulted from $3.82 to $4.09 today!!!!) is the cost of gas to travel to different stores.  Thankfully for me RiteAid and Walgreens are both on my way to Meijer so it doesn't really take extra gas to stop there as long as they coincide with my trips to Meijer.  Plus now that Liam is riding in a cart like a big boy I no longer have to lug his car seat in and out of stores!

So yesterday I decided that I would join in the fun again and I did some serious coupon clipping.  Today I headed off to RiteAid (and Meijer) and I came back with this:

I know it doesn't really look like much but I was pretty happy with my first trip.  I paid $7.53 out of pocket for all of this and then got $6 in +UP Rewards to use on my next purchase.  Sigh, I love it!

As I mentioned on Facebook earlier, I am a Fantasy Football Draft Widow tonight so I'm off to dig into my ice cream (I had a coupon so I got Breyers Mint Fudge Brownie instead of Moose Tracks) and start up Pride and Prejudice!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Happy Accident

Tuesdays are my crazy day.  That's not really saying a lot since I have a 7 1/2 month old who is a wiggly, giggly little guy but still...  On Tuesdays I do some volunteering from 12:30pm-4:30pm  and usually don't get home until 5:30.  Plus I also give a piano lesson from 6:00 until 6:30.  So on Tuesdays I like to go the "easy dinner" route. 

I had some leftover cooked chicken that I decided to use in a Mexican Rice Bake.  I've made this dish a million times in a variety of manners (rice cooker vs skillet, from scratch vs pre-packaged, etc) and all with great success.   Tonight I decided to use up a pre-packaged rice/spice mixture that I had gotten free at Meijer.  I started getting the rice going around 7:00 and figured, based on experience, that it would be ready for consumption around 7:30.  Not bad, all things considered!

Fast forward 20 minutes and I heard the tell-tale click of the switch on my rice cooker ticking up to "Keep Warm" from "Cooking".   I walked into the kitchen, lifted the lid and immediately knew there was something wrong.  The rice still looked small and when I gave it a taste test, sure enough it was still hard.  I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt, added more water, and flipped the switch back down to "Cooking".  Fast forward another 20 minutes and the rice was still small and still hard and I was annoyed because it was 7:40 and all I had to show for my (minimal) effort was a rice cooker full of food that could potentially crack a tooth. Sigh...

The Offending Rice

Trying to quickly flip through my mental cookbook and check the results against what I knew I had in my cupboards and fridge I decided that I would fry up some bacon and we would have BLT's instead.  I was pretty excited by this prospect because I do love BLT's.  But just then (Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles!  Anyone?)  I happened to glance over to where I store my produce and realized to my immense excitement that I had the makings of one of our most favorite meals: chicken, bacon, avocado quesadillas (courtesy of this blog)!!  Sweet goodness I was excited!  I went out to the garden, pulled some green onions to cook with the chicken and got to work. 
I added some ranch dressing to combat the lack of sour cream, it was pretty tasty!

I also added some garlic to the bacon grease when I fried the quesadillas, mmmmm!
Regrettably this meal isn't for the faint of heart clogged of artery because you're supposed to cook the chicken and onion in the bacon grease.  You also use it to fry up the quesadillas.  I'm sure there are healthier alternatives, but I haven't explored them yet because these are SO good as is!  So needless to say around 8:15 we finally sat down to dinner.  Despite the fact that I actually ended up making two dinners I was quite pleased with the delicious result!  Unfortunately I now have to go clean up my kitchen which looks a little like a disaster zone...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

No-no Liam, no-no

I can scarcely believe that my little guy is 7 months old!  The time has absolutely flown and I'm sure it goes exponentially faster the older he gets.  There has to be some mathematical equation for that right? 

Look at that face, purely angelic right?

So recently Liam has been getting super curious about EVERYTHING.  I know this is the way of babies everywhere and in general I think curiosity is great, but it has forced me, in some circumstances, to bring out that word that is the bane of a child's existence.  NO!  "No Liam you can't eat the magazine.  No Liam you can't eat the bow from Grammy's birthday present.  No Liam you can't eat the kitty's tail." On and on it goes.  And the kid isn't even mobile yet!  I'm certainly going to have my hands full when he can actually crawl. 

Having to use the word "no" isn't easy.  What parent likes telling their "no"?  I know I don't really care for it and I certainly don't want to be a kill joy but the Bible says in Proverbs, "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Prov 29:15) and "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Prov 13:24).  Time and time again in the Bible parents are instructed to lovingly discipline their children. 

"But he's only 7 months old, he doesn't do anything wrong yet" you say.  Ha!  If I didn't believe that that people were born with a sin nature before (which I did) I certainly do now.  When Liam was 6 months old he had his first play date with an adorable little guy around the same age who is the son of a friend of mine.  We sat them on a blanket outside and gave them each a toy.  Immediately they were stretching and grasping for the other one's toy.  And just this last Wednesday night at church in the nursery Liam was taking toys away from a sweet little lady sitting on the floor near him.  Now you tell me how he learned that, without any siblings or examples of that sort of behavior?  Yeah, that's what I thought.

I love my little man to pieces, and I want him to grow up to be an honorable, respectable, and respectful man who loves God, like his father.  That's going to take a lot of love as well as a fair dose of discipline and guidance.  There is this false idea perpetrated on parents today that it is wrong to set boundaries for your kids and wrong to say "no".  More and more often I am seeing the results of parents who never say "no" and to be honest it's scary.  What's going to happen when that child becomes an adult and someone finally tells them "no"?  They are going to be completely unequipped to handle that!  

That doesn't mean I'm going to be Mean Mama and tell Liam "no" all the time because, again, there's no joy in that, nor is it Biblical.  There's a fine line and it takes a lot of prayer and seeking God to walk that line and I intend to do just that.  God willing my son will learn that I tell him "no" because I love him and because I want God's best for him!