Save Money on Groceries Without Coupons

I must admit, I have a secret obsession with Extreme Couponing…the one problem…most of the items that have coupons are processed foods I don’t buy often. Ok there are some more problems…such as I noticed that since having my daughter I sneak to the store whenever I can…often forgetting my coupons and I just do not have the time to search for and clip coupons like I use to.

Luckily I just found two apps that have solved most of these problems for me.

The first one is Ibotta. For this app you complete small tasks such as watching a very short video or answering a poll question to unlock your coupons. Then, you take a picture of your receipt and money is added to your account (which will be transferred to your paypal account). It is so simple and best of all you can complete the task after you go shopping (since I always forget before going to the grocery store…it just needs to be in the allotted time frame) and fruits/vegetables have coupons as well.

Checkout51 is another one. I don’t see as many fresh fruits and vegetables on this one but there have been a few. This one again you are just required to take a picture of your receipt and you will be paid cash into your paypal account.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Since Mother’s Day is just around the corner I thought I would share some of my favorite Mother’s Day gift ideas. Last year I got to celebrate my first Mother’s Day and I am looking forward to another one…especially now that Grace is giving the sweetest hugs.

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1. Bobeau One-Button Fleece Wrap Cardigan – This might just be one of my favorite pieces of clothing in my whole closet (my other favorites are my Bobeau cardigans in other colors). It is very comfy to wear lounging around but also can be dressed up. Warning: you might just become addicted to this once you buy it!

2. Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay Collection – This scent smells so good and I love that the collection includes a candle.

3. Illesteva ‘Leonard’ Sunglasses – I love the shape and style of these sunglasses.

4. Tory Burch ‘York” Buckle Tote – Once your a mom I feel like you have a ton of extra items to carry around with you automatically. This tote is big enough to fit it all in style. I also love that there is a divider to separate items.

5. Kendra Scott ‘Susanna’ Line Bracelet – I love Kendra Scott Jewelry – it is always a safe bet for a gift. This mint and gold bracelet will look lovely for the spring!

6. Tory Burch Fit Bit Leather Wrap Bracelet – Fit Bits are everywhere now and a great way to keep track of your physical activity….however wearing the rubber bracelet throw off outfit. This one is so cute.

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Starting Solids

Starting solids with Grace was a big production for me since I am a Dietitian or at least that is what I am going to blame it on. I brought out all my old textbooks and notes from my infant nutrition classes. I remembered how important it is to expose your infant to many different textures and flavors before they become picky toddlers. I wanted her to be an adventurous eater so I could continue to cook the foods I liked and would enjoy (I did not want to have a family that has ‘kid meals’  EVERY night – although it is great in moderation and I do enjoy it now and then) . Most of all I wanted to her to be exposed and learn to enjoy healthy foods. I decided to skip the rice cereal since I didn’t think it had enough of a nutritional value to be her first food…I mean it is not even a whole grain! I spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME on deciding what her first food should be. I wanted it to be a green vegetable, not something too awful where she would refuse to have real food and never try it again (like that would happen), not something orange (not really sure why this one was on the list but it was…I guess it went along with “too sweet” and it tends to be favored more than green vegetables), not something too sweet (you would have thought I was deciding on her first dessert) and definitely not a starchy vegetable. After typing that out (and even before typing it) I realized I put WAY TOO MUCH THOUGHT into it.  I finally decided on green beans. At first she gagged a lot and made funny faces like all kids do, but after 2-3 days she seemed to enjoy them. Although once she tried other foods she did not like green beans anymore :).

So here is my chart of Grace’s first month of solid foods

Green Beans Green Beans Green Beans Avocado Avocado Avocado Carrots
Carrots Carrots Blueberries Blueberries Blueberries Cauliflower Cauliflower
Cauliflower Apple Apple Apple Oatmeal Oatmeal Oatmeal
Sweet Potato Sweet Potato Sweet Potato Broccoli Broccoli Broccoli Zucchini
Zucchini Zucchini Asparagus Asparagus Asparagus Banana Banana

These foods worked out so well and led to great combinations that I could make. I will continue to post more advanced foods and combinations for you to try!

If I had to redo my introduction of foods – I think I would have started with zucchini – it is still green, however it purees very nicely for a baby transitioning from milk to solids. It has a very watery consistently so you need less milk for other liquids to thin out the puree and has a mild flavor. I also used fresh blueberries in my blueberry puree. I think I should have cooked the blueberries first because my puree seemed to have a weird consistency due to the skins. I should have cooked them for a bit first.

Grace really loved all of these foods. I think her favorites were cauliflower, sweet potato, carrots, asparagus (which shocked me), apples and zucchini.

Bananas and avocados are nice to introduce early so that if you are running late on time you can just grab one and mash it with a fork – no cooking required.

Hope this helps guide you on what to feed your little one!

To make my food I use the Beaba Babycook. My lovely sister was nice enough to let me borrow hers. It has worked really well and when I feel more ambitious and make bigger quantities – I use a steam pot on the stove. If I was buying one for myself I would get this newer model where you can cook two different options at one time – anything to save time!

When storing my food,  I first portion it out in to this multiportion container and freeze it. When I need food I take it out of the freezer – put it in this container or these glass containers – let it thaw overnight – and then heat before serving.

Valentine’s Day Gifts

Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner I thought I would share some of the cute gift ideas that I have seen around.

1.  Bright Pink Heart Anywhere Chair – The perfect size chair for your little one and the simple heart decorations make it perfect for a Valentine’s Day gift but still alright to use year round.

2. Pottery Barn Kids Blocks –  These blocks are so cute and have different animals/items pictured for each letter than you typically see – for example acorn instead of the typical apple. They are also very sturdy and a good weight.

3. I Love You Through And Through Board Book – A very cute book to tell your little one you love everything about them no matter what.

4. Heart Shaped Crayons – Make your own using this mold. Simply fill the heart cavity with broken crayons  and bake at 230 degrees for 15-20 minutes. It is a fun and festive way to create some Valentine’s Day art projects!

 

Sorry if there is a random letter or mark in this post. I had a little one that woke up from her nap and wanted to add her thoughts to this post before I uploaded it 🙂

Amazon Diaper Deal is BACK!!

My favorite diaper deal is back. If you have not signed up for a trial offer for Amazon Mom in the past 12 months – take advantage of this deal! You can get 150+ diapers for 10-15 dollars depending on type and size.

The deal is for NEW Amazon Mom members that sign up for accounts between January 27, 2015 and February 10, 2015 and buy Huggies diapers  by March 10, 2015. Sign up for Amazon Mom.

Once you sign up for a FREE 30 day trial of Amazon Mom, add one pack of Huggies Diapers (the bigger the better) to your cart and 50%  off your first purchase will automatically be taken off. If you add the subscribe and save (where you will receive automatic shipments) you will save an additional 20%. You can cancel your membership and the subscribe and save at any time through the online website (they make it very easy).

 

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Snowman Breakfast

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Check out this blog for step by step directions to create this winter spread. So cute! The site even has the printable signs for you.

Tips:

Try using chalk markers instead of sharpies, the chalk can be removed so the glasses can be reused!

Supplies:

4 pack of glass mugs

Chalk Markers

Paper Plates

Christmas Activity Placemats– I like these activity placemats to add another activity for children to do

Blue and White Striped Straws

Starbucks Deal

Go to Starbucks website and buy an eGift for someone for $10 or more (or yourself just use two different email addresses) and pay with a Visa card (must be a visa) and you will receive an extra $10. I just bought one…paid $10 and received an eGift of $20. Hurry because it is only for the first 100,000 people!

*the extra $10 will not show up during the check out process, it will show on the emailed receipt and emailed eGift.

This deal sure did brighten my work week!

**Looks like the deal is now expired – Hope some of you got it in time!

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Crock Pot Chicken- A Perfect Mid-Week Meal

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I love roasted vegetable that are cooked with a turkey or chicken. They are definitely high up on my favorite food list…but I would never roast a chicken or turkey on my own. I was at shopping at Whole Foods and the butcher convinced me to buy a small (4-5 pound) whole chicken. After keeping in my freezer for quite some time, I finally decided to tackle the bird and prepare a meal with it. Thanks to Pintrest, which taught me you can make a chicken in a crock pot and a cute little old lady patient of mine, that taught me how to prepare a whole chicken….I found a recipe that I love.

What you need: – 4-5# chicken (or just make sure that it will fit in your crock pot)

– 1 orange

– 1 lemon

– 4 cloves garlic

–  carrots, potatoes, celery or whatever vegetables you would like to roast and in whatever quantity you would like/ fits

– 1 teaspoon black pepper

– 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

-1 teaspoon garlic powder

Steps: 1. Prepare and cut your vegetables and place in the bottom of your crockpot

2. Next combine your spices and rub them into the cavity of the chicken and on the outside skin

3. Add 2 cloves of garlic inside the cavity of your chicken and 2 cloves with the vegetables

4. quarter your lemon and orange and place inside the cavity of the chicken and place chicken on top of vegetables in crockpot

5. Cook on low for about 6 hours or until the internal temp is 165 degrees

You can save your left over chicken carcass and vegetable scraps to make a delicious homemade stock as well. Recipe to come!

Homemade Bread

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Homemade bread fresh out of the oven is one of my favorite foods! Plus it makes your house smell amazing in the process. The only trouble….I am terrible at kneading the dough, getting the bread to rise etc. I finally found a fool-proof way to make delicious bread….just use a KitchenAid Mixer!

What you need:

KitchenAid Mixer or other stand mixer with a bread hook

Thermometer

– 3 cups flour

– 1 packet active yeast

– 2 tablespoons sugar

– 1/2 cup skim milk

– 1/2 cup water

– 1/4 cup canola oil

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1 tablespoon Butter – melted

 

Steps:

1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in the mixing bowl and mix on low (setting 2) until mixed (using bread hook)

2.  Combine milk and water in a microwave safe bowl and heat until 110-120 degrees  Fahrenheit (see your yeast packet for exact temperature)

3. Add milk and water mixture to mixing bowl and beat on high (setting 8 or 10) until dry ingredients are moist and liquid is mixed in…. then add oil and salt.

4. Continue mixing until the dough forms a dough ball – this steps takes a while (about 8-10 minutes) – it seems like it takes forever and that the ball will never form – then out of no where it happen 🙂

5. Take the dough ball and put it in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap – let sit for 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size

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6. Knead the dough on a floured surface and then shape into a rectangle (make sure the length of the rectangle is a bit shorter than your loaf pan. Then roll the dough into a log and place in to your loaf pan.

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7. Let the dough set again covered until it doubles in size – about an hour

8. Once the dough has risen, brush the dough with melted butter and bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

The best part about this recipe is that by using the KitchenAid Mixer – it is a very “hands off” recipe requiring very little time that you actually need to be actively doing something and (best of all) everything can be put in the dishwasher when you are done!

Check out this blog for really great step by step pictures.