holdingdownthehome

Life as a military wife and mother

Quick Coupon Trip September 30, 2011

Filed under: Couponing,Extreme couponing,Frugal living,Price Chopper,produce,shopping cheaply — holdingdownthehome @ 15:02

Hi everyone! Yes, I have been neglectful of this blog lately! But, I will tell you that I am working on some great stuff for it, and hoping to expand to a networked blog soon. Hang tight with me!

So, I am going to leave you with my quick run into Wal-Mart today for a few items.

Please excuse the quality I used my phone to make it faster.

My total for this trip was $25.94.

I had $14.00 in coupons (made $1 on each of the razor packages). = $11.94

Plus there is a full product rebate for the puppy pads so that is minus $6.94

So at the end, this cost me $5! That is a savings of about 81%!!!

I also ran to Price Chopper quickly, did 2 transactions totaling $41.51. Ended up paying $19.62. Savings of  about 50%.  How would you like to save 50% or more every time you hit the grocery store. Subscribe to my blog and I’ll be showing you how!

 

OAMC Tuna Noodle Casserole July 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — holdingdownthehome @ 12:52

Ok I admit it, I HATE tuna noodle casserole… in fact I HATE tuna fish period! Seriously, I don’t know how anyone can eat something like smells like cat food. But my husband loves it. So, of course, I make it for him. But here’s the great part… I freeze it in portion sizes, and feed it to him when I’m not going to be around for dinner. Works out perfectly for us all.

Here is a great Weight Watchers recipe, full of flavor and good for you!

12 oz uncooked egg noodles ( I up the fiber by using whole wheat noodles)

12 oz water packed tuna fish, drained

2 cups sliced mushrooms, any kind will do

1 cup frozen peas, thawed (or broccoli chopped)

16 oz fat free sour cream

1/2 cup fat free mayonnaise**

2 tsp Dijon mustard (I have used Dijonaisse too, and it doesn’t affect the points)

2 tsp parsley, fresh, chopped (yeah right, we use dried)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup shredded reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese (I have made this with a ton of different cheeses and it all turns out good, use what you have!)

**(Just a note on the fat free mayo, we don’t use it on sandwiches and such but it’s awesome in casseroles! )

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Cook noodles according to package directions without added fat or salt; drain and transfer to a large bowl. Fold in tuna, mushrooms and peas.
  • Whisk sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, salt and pepper together in a separate bowl; fold into noodle mixture. Transfer to a 4-quart casserole dish; top with cheese. Bake until top is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

That’s it! Soooo easy and you can make a TON of it! It’ll freeze for a few months if you wrap it tightly.  Let it cool completely before freezing. Easy way to freeze the whole thing is to cook it in dollar store loaf pans then wrap in foil and put in freezer. When you are ready to eat it, let it thaw, and put it in the oven to warm it up. If you freeze in portions, wrap each potion in foil, then put in freezer containers. When you are ready, take one out, let it thaw, and toss it in a covered microwave dish until it’s heated through.

 

How can I not? July 22, 2011

Filed under: Army life — holdingdownthehome @ 18:30
Tags:

How Do You Do It?

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. I have been asked this question innumerable times the last eight years, and more and more every year that passes. And even more since I started this small blog. It’s a really loaded question because there really isn’t just one answer.  If I had to pick one I would end up answering, “How can I not?”

Thanks to my parents, my Dad especially, I grew up respecting the heck out of the military (even though he didn’t necessarily like me dating them LOL). Now, having been “married to the military” for 8+ years, that respect has grown to overwhelming proportions. No matter the season my marriage was in, an up or a down, I have always been able to look at my husband in his uniform and be awestruck at the noble, courageous image of him. How could I ever go to that amazing man and say, “I don’t want you doing this deed for your home and country”? I couldn’t. Not ever.

As for how I do it… I have a very clear understanding that while we are an Army family, the Army oftentimes has to come first. The system wouldn’t work if it didn’t. My career and life are secondary to my husband’s. I have learned to accept and more recently to appreciate this.  I suppose not every woman or man would be okay with this. For me, I have realized this is God’s plan. I am a helpmeet to my husband. When I realized this, at first I was pretty put out. I mean, shouldn’t God have an awesome plan for my awesome self? (LOL) He does! And right now, this is it. Not very enlightened, huh? Oh well. Enlightened is over-rated. The only people I have to please are God, my husband, and my son. No boss, no co-workers. No reports, or deadlines, or phone calls. Just my family and my home. As for that opportunity? “How can I not?”

Does that mean that every minute of every day I am completely strong and put together? Not a chance. As a military wife we usually are expected to be strong all the time (or at least we feel that’s what’s expected). To put away the “bad” facts of this life. Often that’s what we do, but sometimes it catches up with us making for a bad day, or at least a bad few minutes. When we’re laying in bed the night before they leave we think “Will this be the last night we get to lay like this together.” When we drop them off and say goodbye, “Will this be our last kiss, the last time I’ll see him.” When he kisses our child, “Will our son remember him if he doesn’t come back?” When we argue on the phone or computer when they are gone we later think, “What if that’s the last conversation we have?” When we get word of a friend’s husband or wife being killed, “How would I be able to go through that?” I admit, it can make you feel very heavy sometimes when the worry and doubts creep in.

But God always lifts me back up. Sometimes he will just show me my son, who has a hero for a daddy. Or a stranger will come up to my husband in the airport just as he gets home for R&R and hand him money to take his family to dinner as a thank you for what he’s doing for this country. (yes this happened) Or my husband will send me an email just to tell me he loves me and is thinking of us. That is how I do it. I do it because God has asked it of me. Because my Husband has asked it of me. And they are both worth everything I can give them no matter what they ask of me. So, “How can I not?

 

What to freeze? July 6, 2011

The great thing about freezing food, is that almost ANYTHING can be frozen if you do it right. Here is a website with a lot of helpful tips on freezing different foods.

One of the things I’m starting to freeze more of are eggs! Eggs can get mighty expensive so when they are at rock bottom prices I buy a ton of them. Not to mention, hopefully in the fall our chickens will have started to lay and that will yield about 6 eggs a day.

You can check that website for how to freeze them but they want you to add sugar and stuff. You don’t really have to do that. I actually crack the eggs that I want to freeze into a big bowl. Mix them gently and pour into ice cube trays. Once frozen transfer cubes to a marked freezer bag. One cube is 1/2 an egg or 1/8 of a cup of egg. These are so great for cooking and baking. Having meatleaf? Put the egg cubes over night in the fridge to thaw, then use in the recipe! I don’t use the frozen eggs just for like, scrambled eggs.

Speaking of Meatloaf! Here is a great recipe that Weight Watchers friendly:

3/4 c Ketchup
1/4 c Minced onion
2 tbsp. Chopped fresh parsley (dried)
1 tbsp. Brown sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
2 Large egg whites (1 egg white and 1 egg, to bind better)
1 1/2 lb. Ground round
1/2 c Quick-cooking oats
Cooking spray

Combine 1/2 cup ketchup, onion, and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Add meat and oats; stir just until blended. Shape mixture into a 8×4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.

Brush remaining 1/4 cup ketchup over meat loaf

Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until done. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Cut into 12 slices

-OR-

I LOVE to freeze meatloaf. Use a disposable loaf pan (like from a dollar store). If the meat had been frozen before, then go ahead and cook it. After it is COOLED, Put on some Glad Press and Seal (so that it is touching the meat in the pan, then wrap in foil tightly. Put in the freezer. When you want it. Take it out in the morning to thaw and warm in the oven for dinner.  Another option is to portion the meatloaf into servings, wrap individually in plastic wrap or foil and put in the freezer (label them of course). Now you have individual portions to take to lunch or feed the husband when you are out of town.🙂

If the meat has not been cooked you can freeze it uncooked and just bake when you are ready to eat it, letting it thaw first of course.

** NEVER REFREEZE UNCOOKED MEAT ONCE IT HAS BEEN THAWED**

VOILA! Go ahead and make three or four. Easy dinner for you when you need it or an easy when to get a meal to someone else when they need it.

 

Once a Month Cooking for Weight Watchers June 25, 2011

Filed under: Dinner Bell is Ringing!,Frugal living,Organization,Uncategorized — holdingdownthehome @ 19:46

I’m still new to blogging so I’m working on narrowing down the scope of this blog. One focus I would like to have that fits into frugal, organized living is the idea of Once a Month Cooking (OAMC).

The basic idea being take a couple days out of the month (or even one day a week), and doing lots of cooking and freezing it.

This works for me because I CAN cook and am pretty good at it, I just DON’T LIKE to cook. So, when I get in the mood to cook I better take advantage of it. Another plus to this is that I am on Weight Watchers® and MUST have healthy options at all times. I find if I get in a mood where I want to eat but don’t have something healthy to grab, I will grab something bad because it’s easy.

Another plus? Less processed food. I am trying very hard to stay away from “boxed” food as much as possible. So, while I could pop a Smart Ones® type meal in the microwave for a low point meal, it’s much better for my health to have something I prepared that’s not full of junk.

In this section of my blog I will be posting recipes that can be frozen for later use. Most of them will be Weight Watchers® friendly and I will try to have the nutrition information and Points Plus® values posted with the recipes.

So to get us started, here is a recipe I posted a few months ago for Pineapple-Honey Glazed Chicken. When I make this, I double, triple, or even quadruple the marinade. Then put each portion in a freezer zip bag and toss in the freezer. When we want to have this meal, in the morning I grab the marinade out, and my thawed chicken, put them all in a container in the fridge and let them go all day. Then just cook them for dinner.

The rice in this recipe can also be frozen, either in bulk or in individual portions. Then I just toss them in a bowl with a spoonful or two of water, put in the microwave just until warm through. Easy, peasy dinner!

Stay tuned for lots more freezer meal ideas!

 

Making Deployment A Not-So-Bad-Thing June 18, 2011

Filed under: Army life — holdingdownthehome @ 17:56

Deployment. That dreaded word that makes our hearts ache and our mind spin. I get asked all the time, “How do you get through it?”. My answer, “I DO SOMETHING!” Your life will not stop when your spouse leaves. Yes, you still have to take care of the house, the kids, the cars, etc. But, deployment can actually be a great time to do something for YOU! How often do we complain there isn’t enough “ME” time? Well, for one year you have one less person to take care of, so use some of that time to do SOMETHING!

What have you always thought about trying, but never had the time? What is something you want to do for YOU, but were always so busy taking care of others you could never seem to squeeze it in?

To get you started here are a few ideas:

Learn to Scrapbook

Take Guitar lessons

Try a new workout class

Take an adult education class like learning French

Start a garden

Take art lessons

Learn to Salsa!

Seriously the list is endless! Don’t wallow in those “half-missing” feelings. Use this deployment to do something great for yourself. I promise it will make the time go by much faster, and make you a much easier person to live with. Turn this really sucky situation into a time of self-discovery. You DESERVE it!

 

Chest Freezer Organization May 23, 2011

Filed under: Cleaning,Frugal living,Organization — holdingdownthehome @ 10:54
Tags: , , ,

I love, love, LOVE my big chest freezer. That thing comes in so handy when I find a great deal and have to by a ton of something.

What I don’t like is wondering if that blue shade my fingers turn while I’m searching for something will go with my outfit that day! Holy cow, I feel like sometimes I need to climb in it just to find what I need down at the bottom!

So, how can you organize a chest freezer. Well I tried crates, they just crack in the cold temp. And they are a PAIN to lug out. I tried just stacking stuff in general areas. That lasts about three days. Then a few weeks ago I was shopping and bought a bunch of the same thing (veggies I think). So I brought home a reusable shopping bag full of them and really had to hit the potty (because who can shopping without grabbing a giant Diet Coke?). So, I tossed them bag and all into the freezer. I went back a little later to grab the bag and thought, “wait a minute! HOW PERFECT!” They were all contained and easy to grab out to look for something else. So I found a few more shopping bags and put all my chicken products in one, all my bread products in another, beef in another, etc. And voila! How easy (and CHEAP) is that?! I used different colored bags for each catagory… I mean you can get them for $1 or less at most places!

And that’s it. Now my freezer is pretty organized, I know what item is in what bag and just pull it out, shut the freezer while I get what I need out of the bag, and then toss it back in! So simple and no more blue fingers! And when the freezer needs defrosting I can grab the bags in a just a couple minutes, defrost the freezer very quickly with a fan, and throw the bags back in! If it’s easy and cheap I like it!

 

 
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