Turkey Cooking Adventure

>> March 31, 2009


We had an impromptu turkey dinner for family (7 adults) a few days ago. I made 2 turkey breasts (15 lbs total) that I had purchased at $0.99 a lb. I cooked it using a modified recipe that I found on A Year Of Crockpotting. Basically when I roasted my 1st turkey breast (yes this year..) I had intended to cook it in the crockpot, because I equate crockpotting as easier and less work.

However, my 7ish lb turkey breast wouldn't fit into my crockpot. Anyway, I still used the crockpot recipe to prepare the turkey breast, before following the oven directions on the turkey packaging. Basically, I rinsed and dried each breast, stuffed a chopped onion, garlic and stick of butter into each breast. (oh and salt and peppered them of course).

Anyway, Peter loves the way the turkey turns out. So it works for me. :-)

Anyway, I also made free steam fresh veggies and free mashed potatoes. The turkey breasts come with a little packet of gravy, so that was "free" as well.

I also made stuffing for the first time. And of course I did it in the crockpot! I again found the recipe on A Year Of Crockpotting. I only slightly modified this recipe, by leaving out the parsley because I didn't have any and I toasted the bread in the toaster, because I was afraid to mess with the oven with the turkey breasts cooking in it. Anyway, it turned out pretty great. Next time I will let it cook longer than the 2 hours listed (it seemed too moist).

My costs for the stuffing:
Loaf of bread: $1
Apple: $0.25
Celery: $0.30
Onion: $0.25
Butter: Free :-)
Broth: $0.79
Spices... negligible
Total cost: $2.59

Cost analysis: My 5 QT Crockpot was full of stuffing and it was enough for everyone at dinner to eat. However there were no leftovers, so the next day I stopped in at Walgreens to grab a box of stove top stuff. It cost $2.69 (although free since I used my walgreens gift card), it made far less stuffing than the crockpot recipe and of course it didn't taste as good.

Summary: Our turkey meal for 7
+ left over turkey meal the next day for 4
Total Cost $20.28

(Our guests did bring some french bread and cupcakes/cookies for dessert).

Another 1st time recipe adventure we took on was to make turkey broth out of the turkey carcasses. We basically followed this recipe. It made a TON of broth and made the house smell SOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOD!! I froze about 10 cups of it (we will see how I manage to use it...) and the rest made a HUGE pot of turkey soup.

Peter is pretty good at making turkey soup. Basically it included the following:
Left over turkey
Brown rice (cooked in rice maker)
1 onion (diced and sauteed)
Green onions (diced and sauteed)
Mini carrots (diced and boiled)
Celery (diced and sauteed)
Clove of Garlic (diced and sauteed)
2 cans of diced tomatoes

While the carrots were boiling, Peter sauteed the other veggies and then dumped it all into the turkey broth with the last of the left over turkey, salt and pepper. It was super yummy!

This cost us about $4 for the extra veggies/rice to add to the broth and leftover turkey. We will be eating this delicious soup for several days! It is so flavorful and Yummy!!!

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Unemployed? Free Medical Clinic Visits....

Take Care Recovery Plan at Walgreens Clinics


Walgreens is offering free visits to their Take Care Clinics to the recently unemployed and uninsured. It seems to only cover "sick" visits and not their vaccination/wellness/regular physical visits. However, it may be quite useful to avoid an expensive OUT OF POCKET visit to urgent care if you do find yourself sick.
My family has used both the Walgreens Take Care Clinics and CVS Minute Clinics for evening/weekend health care visits to avoid going to Urgent Care. They take most insurance, so it may just be a copay (it is for us), otherwise its ~$60 a visit with no insurance. I am happy to have the services available at several nearby stores. I LOVE avoiding Urgent Care, because usually it's full of "sickies!"
Hopefully you haven't or won't lose you job soon, but if you do and aren't feeling well, perhaps this Walgreens Recovery promotion can benefit you. Check out the details and pre-qualifications on their website.
Taken from their website....
"Q. What is the Take Care Recovery Plan?
A. The Take Care Recovery Plan is an offer for free health care services at Take Care Clinics
throughout the remainder of 2009 for all current and future Take Care Clinic patients and
their families that suffer a job loss after March 31, 2009 and have no health insurance
benefits."

Click HERE for more information. Here is a link to their FAQs.

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Free Redbox Code

>> March 30, 2009

Here is today's free redbox code: 89ZQJ3
Peter is out right now picking up a free movie. We have a new redbox right up the street from us and have been using it a lot more often. So if you don't have a Redbox dvd rental near you, keep checking! The movies are $1 a night (unless you have a free night code) and can be returned to ANY redbox location! :-)

Oh I don't always post these, but typically there are free movie codes every Monday and other days of the week depending upon the current promotions. Check out Inside Redbox for more complete free movie code listings!

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Home improvement Freebies!

>> March 29, 2009

Hey look at these two projects we were able to do for almost nothing!!!


Window Replacement:
The 1st one is a window we needed to replace for a long time. We had an older double pane window there, that had a crack on one of the panes. Luckily it was double pane, so we were not exposed to the elements. However, obviously the efficiency was not good, plus we always had condensation in between the panes, which was so annoying!

Well, we managed to snag this window from my brother's new house. The previous owners had started to convert the garage into an extra room, and my brother decided he would rather make it back into a garage. The new window that they had installed, was ALMOST the right size for our "broken" one. YAH us! We have been meaning to replace the window for awhile, but I am glad we waited, we saved several hundred dollars. It took a little extra work (provided by my husband, step dad and brother) to install it and of course some caulking and painting, but we are so happy with the result!




Landscape Fencing:
We also were able to snag this great outdoor decorative fencing for our backyard. It was removed and going to be tossed in the dumpster at work, but my husband managed to SAVE it! The only cost, beyond some hard work (provided by my husband and FIL) was a few bags of concrete. It created a nice separation for our upper and lower backyard levels. It also provides me with more sanity with Quinn running around and exploring all the time out back!

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Petting Zoo Anyone??

>> March 28, 2009


We hit up a fun little petting zoo set up behind the Foothills Mall. It is only open until tomorrow (sunday), but worth checking out if you are nearby. Its only $1 a person and they have feed available to purchase ($1 dixie cup, $5 red solo cup). You could also ride a camel for $5, but we didn't see anyone doing it. Anyway.. a super fun, little adventure for a Saturday morning!


And I guess Quinn was hugging the goat? I am not sure, I was busy snapping photos, Pete was in charge of supervision. :-)



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Tucson on the Cheap!!

I just ran across this great local website for deals (via Savvy Savings Tucson)! Its called Tucson on the Cheap, great for us locals!! It has great dining, and local event deals. Go check it out HERE! Oh and they have other cities on the cheap linked to them. Other cities of interest for me would be Phoenix and San Diego, since we visit both places, I will keep my eye on both of those websites as well.

Edited to add **** They do have a Manhattan on the Cheap!! Just going to explore it now. Hopefully it will help us save some cash on that trip as well!!

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"For GOD'S sake, I have a nickel"

>> March 27, 2009


So.. I had a great run at Walgreens today. I had to stop in an exchange some diapers and decided to see what deals I could find. I also had several $10 RR that I needed to use. I will explain my crazy blog title in a bit... :-)

4 Glucerna Cereals - (3) $5 IPs = $4.96 for all 4

3 Hunt's Sauce= $.39 each

2 Chicken Broths = $0.79 each

St Patrick's Day Plates= $0.84

5 Pediasure Nutripals, clearanced to $2.69- $2 WAGQ-$1 MQ= $0.31 overage each!

1 $25 Shell gas gift card

-$30 RR

-.05 (from annoyed customer, see below...)

Total $1.00 OOP & earned $7 RR for 4 Glucerna cereals

Ok. So... my order went well, except for the Nutripals, the $2 WAG Q wouldn't scan. So the clerk had to void all 5, and then re rang them up at $.69 each. I did have a large order, but the clerk was efficient, so even with the coupons, it wasn't too crazy of an order. However, when my total came to $1.05, I pulled out a $20 and then searched for some change, my mom was standing right there and I asked her for change as well. She didn't bring her purse in, so she didn't have any... Anyway, seriously this whole "looking for change" situation took under 60 seconds, maybe under 30 seconds.....
But the guy behind me.. (who had walked up right as I started to check out) sighs LOUDLY and goes "For God's sake, I have a nickel". I started to say that's ok, I will just get the change (cause I had a $20 recall...) but he was huffing and puffing and throwing his change down on the counter... so I just sort of exchanged a look with the cashier and she grabbed his change. Anyway, sort of amusing, and annoying at the same time, but I only paid $1.00 for my order :-)

Actually my order cost me $1.00 cash + $30 RR and I bought a $25 gift card and also a $7 RR... so everything else was free + I will get another $4 back for the glucerna cereal through caregivers marketplace.

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Shopping today..

>> March 26, 2009

Frys

2 Tropicana OJ $2.39- $1 MQ= $1.39 each

2 Kroger Sour Cream = $1 each

1 Kroger Cottage Cheese =$1

4 Life Cereal $1 each (wyb 4)- $1.00/2 MQ= $0.50 each

4 Quaker Oat Squares $1 each (wyb 4) - .50/1 MQ= free

8 Kroger Yogurt = $0.50 each

4 Pillsbury Pizza Crust (-$1 wyb 4)= $0.75 - $0.40 MQs= $0.05 overage each!

Grapes (.77/lb)= $1.87

2 bakery cookie packs= $1 each

Total $14.45 OOP


*** edited to add... I totally spaced picking up a few more free cottonelle TP packs, we are actually getting quite low and I am hoping another TP deal comes along.. or a really good coupon! I am running out of the cotonelle IPs! ***


Walmart

2 Large Pace Salsa $2.98 each - $4 IPs = $1.01 overage each

2 Johnsons Buddy Bars $0.97- $1 MQs= $0.03 overage each

3 Avacados= $0.78 each

Cascade Rinse- Free MQ= Free :-)

Total $0.55 OOP

Plus I found these Fruit of Loom Superman 3-packs for $0.99 at the 99 cent only store! They only have 4T, but of course Quinn is a ways off anyway from Potty Training... I will put them up in the closet for later.

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New York Trip Update

>> March 25, 2009


I mentioned this a few months ago... we have a sort of "last minute" trip planned to NY in June. I consider it last minute because we didn't find out about the wedding we are attending until January, which is plenty of wedding notice, but for a big cross country/expensive trip, I would want to plan a year in advance.

Hotel Costs:
NYC
Anyway... some of you know that I actually managed to get 4 nights for free in Manhattan via a contest through lastminutetravel.com. Although, we might end up having to pay taxes on this "win", it will still be way cheaper than I expected to pay. This contest came along within a few weeks of us deciding to take the trip. It was great timing and I was very lucky to "win".

Catskills
We are staying one night in the catskills for the wedding. The wedding is at a beautiful B&B type property, but it required a 2 night stay. In fact the only nearby places are B&B's that almost always require a 2 night stay on the weekends. Luckily, I found ONE that will allow a one night stay. Our friends might have sweet talked them into this, to accommodate other wedding guests that will be there for only one night as well. Its $155 + $4 gratuity for the included breakfast + taxes = $170.50.

Airfare:
I managed to snag a great airfare deal with some searching and patience. I actually bought a new phone from T-mobile on black Friday last year, because some of the keys on my old razor has stopped working. I actually scored a great camera phone (motorola motozine) for FAR (I did pay $11 for shipping), and it happen to include a B1G1 companion airfare deal. Just booking through T-mobile's travel site, showed "ok" prices, but not truly B1G1 compared with the fares I could find on aa.com. Anyway, the great news after doing some searching, is that they have a price matching program, which requires some hoops to jump though, but in the end...

I managed to snag 2 tickets for $482.77 TOTAL round trip from Tucson to LGA!!

My husband has never flown 1st class, so we have splurged on that as well. We sweet-talked my dad into giving us the miles to upgrade our tickets as birthday presents. Unfortunately, American airlines now charges a $50 copay each way per ticket to upgrade, so we added another $200 to our ticket price. So really its costings us $682.77 round trip, 1st class for both tickets!

Rental Car:
We really need to find a smoking rental car deal to drive to the Catskills. Part of the cost may be that we will need it for just over 1 day, which ends up costing us 2 days. At the moment priceline seems to be the best bet. However, I am searching for deals online and am open to suggestions. Hint, Hint!

Meals:
We plan on eating as cheap as possible in the city. We will have 4 dinners, 5 lunches and 4 breakfasts to pay for. (We have meals on the planes, dinner at the wedding and of course breakfast at the B&B already). We plan on finding cheap pizza, hot dog and Chinese food places in the city. I did enter the Ted's Montana Grill contest that gives each entrant a free burger! So that makes for a cheaper meal in the city. I am looking for other ideas as well!

Airport Transfers:
After reading lost of advice online, I am leaning towards the bus/subway to get from LGA to Grand Central (our hotel is super close to Grand Central). This would cost us $2 each, or "less" if we ended up with a Metro Pass for our visit, which is likely.

Transportation:
Again, I am leaning towards buying a 7-day Metro pass for $24 each. I am sure we will get lots of use!

Fun Stuff:
We have come up with this list of must sees

Statue of Liberty: Via the Stanton Island Ferry = free
Central Park: Free
John Stewart or Jimmy Fallon Show: Free
Brooklyn Bridge: Free
Natural History Museum
Top of the Rock or Empire State Building

Again we welcome any other ideas :-)

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I Love Freebies!

>> March 24, 2009


I received this AWESOME sample today from general mills. A full size box of Fiber One Chocolate Mocha bars. It also included TEN $1.35 off Qs. I received this from PSST a survey and sample site that general mills runs for feedback from customers. There is no cost to join, so what are you waiting for??? Go Join!!!


I also want to mention that I have earned enough for another $5 Amazon gift card from SwagBucks again! This also doesn't cost anything to join. There are several ways to "earn" SwagBucks, but the easiest way is to just use their search engine. I try to remember to go there instead of google to search and will usually win 1-2 SwagBucks each day. I plan on using my Amazon gift certificates for xmas presents, and this is the best time to get started... you need time to "earn" them! So go HERE to join!



Also I sign up for any free magazines I can, even if I am not that interested in the topic. I trade the free magazines in to our local used book store and use the credit to buy other magazines, books or electronics. In fact we used it to buy an extra WII controller last weekend. It was $35 in trade, not a huge discount compared with new prices, but I had plenty of trade credit, so it was FREE for me!
Startsampling has 6 free issues to SEVENTEEN magazine right now. If you aren't a member, go ahead and join. There is no cost and they have other free samples as well! I can refer you to join if you want... but its not necessary.

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Vacation Planning Update!

>> March 23, 2009

Here are my current savings totals.

I received a mystery shopping check, a rebate from windex and my airborne settlement check today in the mail. That gives me another $107 to add to our vacation fund.

In addition, I am adding $30 in gas gift cards, $10 from a chevron giveaway a few months ago and $20 in exxon gift cards my husband had forgot about in his wallet.

I also have another $26 in disney reward funds from using my disney credit card. And my mom gave me another $26.41 on a safeway gift card that I will use with the $80 I already have. I plan on using this to buy a disney gift card for our trip.

What we need.
Type $ Needed $Have $Still Need
Gas $100 $55 $45
Cash $436.40 $189 $247.40
Disney GC $100 $106.41 $0
Disney Rewards $250 $231 $19
Albies GC $30 $0 $30

Total still needed is..... $341.40

Click HERE for my previous posts about my vacation deals.

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Quick CVS trip.

>> March 17, 2009


Summary of my 2 CVS Orders:
2 Irish Spring - $0.50 MQs
2 Colgate Toothpastes - $0.75 MQs
2 Boxes Junior Mints (for the movies of course)
2 Dry Idea Deodorant - $2MQs
Sunscreen (50% off at $5.50)- $1 CVS Q
-$14.95 and $5.98 ECBS
Total $2.45 on a gift card
Earned $9.98 ECBS (irish spring) +$4 ECBS (dry idea) + $5.98 ECBS (colgate) = Total of $19.96 ECBS back

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Another Great Outdoor Find!!

>> March 16, 2009


Look what I scored today at Savers for $7.99. ($30 online!!) We bopped in there today just on a whim and found this there! Luckily Quinn just received a mini ball set (including a basketball) for Valentines day from G&G H!
Peter hasn't even seen it yet, so he will be thrilled this evening to start Quinn on his b-ball lessons. :-)

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Huggies

>> March 11, 2009


There are some awesome huggies deals this week with the $3.00 and $5.oo IPs available. However, I am pretty well stocked on CVS and Walgreens brand diapers. I am sort of "low" on wipes and also need night time diapers. We have no problems using generic diapers for Quinn, but I do find that we need night time diapers, which means Huggies since Huggies is the only brand I can find in night time diapers. Walgreens has their Diapers and Pull ups on sale for $10 this week, and you get $10 RR when you spend $25.


I bought 3 packs of night time pull ups for $30 - (3) $2 MQs for a total of $25.83 and earned $10 RR. I plan on trying to do this a few more times if I can find 3 packs at another store.


I used my $5 Huggies Gentle Care Product Qs on Huggies wipes at Target, but I am not sure if I got the best deal. The large packs are $5.99- $5 Q= .99 + tax (tax on the $5.99). I bought 3 packs and my total was $4.43


I usually snag wipes at CVS using ECBs so there isn't typically any OOP cost for me. These packs are essentially 2 regular wipe packs. So 6 boxes for 4.xx seems like an OK deal, not fabulous.


I also have $3 Natural Care Huggies Qs to use, but I am not sure what sort of deal I will work with those.

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Getting back into the game...

>> March 10, 2009


I hit up Bashas tonight for a last minute run of last week's ad. I did pretty good, spent $5.78 OOP and left with a $3 OYNO!

Order #1
10 hunts tomato sauce
$2.80 OOP & earned $3 OYNO Q

Order #2
10 hunts tomato sauce
2 dz eggs .99 each
2 Nature's Own Buns $1.50 each - .55 MQs
-$3 OYNO (from 1st order)
Total $2.78 OOP & earned $3 OYNO Q

I was gone over the weekend and was a bit preoccupied prepping for the last minute trip. I hope to get back into the deals this week. I definitely want to hit up Walgreens for a diaper deal this week!

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SWAGbucks....

>> March 07, 2009

So I joined SwagBucks less than 3 weeks ago and I already cashed out for a $5 Amazon gift card. I really like it and its easy to use. Whenever I need to "google" something, I use Swagbucks to search instead for a chance to earn Swag Bucks... You don't win every search, but I usually pop in and search several times a day and it ads up fast. There are other ways to earn Swagbucks.. but the easiest/cheapest way is just to search! I hope to keep it up and build up a good amount for Christmas! There are other giftcards and prizes available, but Amazon seemed like the best for me!



Anyway, here is a LINK to join, I don't get a bonus for you joining. I do win swag bucks if you win, So get out there and search! :-)

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It's getting warmer around here....

>> March 03, 2009


Sorry for my lack of blogging, but I have been feeling a bit under the weather. I have done a bit of shopping lately, but just haven't gotten around to posting about it lately. I am feeling better though.. although I am working on last minute travel plans for a weekend Guatemala trip to see my dad.
Anyway...

I wanted to share our backyard/play area deals! We have had a play yard on our to do list since the fall and while I was in SLC a few weekends ago with Quinn, Peter decided to surprise us and complete the project in a weekend!

We already picked the best location in our yard, which allowed us to use just one stretch of fence/gate to connect from our house to the block wall. It makes a nice sized little play yard complete with 2 citrus trees! In addition, the wall actually gives Quinn a few feet of shade (you can see it in the pictures!)

The 2 big purchases we had to make was the fake grass. Its 7 1/2 X 11 1/2 (I am pretty sure) and cost like $350... which is a BIG chunk of money (at least for us!). However, we wanted some soft play space and wanted to avoid the maintenance/water issues with real grass. We do live in the desert after all. The grass is quite nice and requires little maintenance. The other big purchase was the fence, which was about $150 in materials. I am sure we could have accomplished both of these projects cheaper somehow, but the end result is worth it to us. I loved coming home to an awesome play yard for Quinnie!




Now we definitely had some DEALS in this project.
  1. The Froggy Sandbox was free- a yard sale left over from a friend of my grandma's that my mom snagged for us!

  2. The Climber- technically a b-day gift from Grandpa, but it was purchased on craigslist for half of the new price and is in perfect condition.

  3. The slide was 75% off and only ~$10 at target during the January toy clearance.

  4. Patio set- It was a hand-me-down from my mom and step dad many years ago. It was our 1st patio table even after we "upgraded" to a fancy target one (75% off of course), we kept dragging this one to each house. So there is also "adult" seating.
Here are some additional pictures.






I have another outdoor FANTASTIC "deal" to share with you as well. I will try and post it tomorrow, we really lucked out with this deal as well!! Quinn is soooo lucky. :-)

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