Showing posts from February, 2011

Meal Plan Februar 28 - March 6th

This is where I write all of our meals for the month - just the basics not the cookbook location or even necessarily all of the sides just the main dish!
Writing it down in a visible spot allows me to glance up and see if meat needs to be defrosted or make plans for company or not.  Most importantly it keeps me reliable - how you might ask?  The Hubs looks at this almost every night and by the time he wakes up in the morning he is SET for whatever it is I have planned - he craves it - and if he wants it I make it!
Of course last Friday he did not feel like Chicken Fajita Chowder and having been sick all week I definitely was not up for cooking a laborious meal - so - we ordered pizza!
Here's our menu for this week:
Monday: French Toast, Applesauce, Peanut Butter Tuesday: Cereal & Cantaloupe Wednesday: Chorizo & Eggs with Tortillas & Salsa Thursday: Syrup Pancakes, Cantaloupe, Sausage Friday: Omelette's, Toast, Grapes Saturday: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Cantaloupe,…

Developing Handwriting

Big C is nearing four (eeek!) and we are progressing from working on her fine motor skills to specifically developing her writing skills.  Shapes, letters, numbers etc.  Big C loves drawing and writing and flexing these skills but also gets frustrated if she can't do things right the first time (gee I wonder where she gets that from). 

If she sees a paper full of even somewhat incorrect writings she will basically give up trying and write even more sloppily (and yet she asks to write! 

So enter the Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center

Big C received this for Christmas but we have just brought it into circulation (a new toy every couples days/week to help with overload issues)! She LOVES it!
It came with a bunch of different sheets - here is a completed one:

And much to my liking it is very easy to insert a worksheet or other printable and let them go to town. This will allow me to reuse many of our workbooks with Little C when she becomes of age!  Most importantly it …

Garden Update!

Last weekend we harvested some yummy broccoli and lemons.  Pictures below only show one lemon however because Justin forgot about my garden project and used two lemons without weighing them!  We will just be adding the weight of the lemons based on one we picked after (they are all about the same size). 

6 and 7/8 Ounces! The lemon was 5 and 1/8 ounce x 2 = 10 1/4 Ounces So a total of 1lb 1.125 ounces!
Now just a forewarning you can buy many different types of seeds and plants some will say "giant" and produce large produce.  Most produce grown in your backyard though will probably be a bit on the small side like our artichokes last year!  Although some will be large as we learned with huge zucchini and squash last year!
Last update is that I was able to plant my grape tomato and tomatillo seeds (indoors) this week! Now to plant some more next week!
Happy Gardening!
Ash of All Trades

Grocery Deals February 23 - March 1st!

Ralphs: Whole Chickens @ .59/lb -Stock Up Price! Cantaloupe @ 2 for $3 - Good price, will buy one! Mangos @ $1 Each - Good Price will buy! Kiwi @ 3 for $1 - Great Price will buy! Red Grapes @ .88/lb - Great Price! Eggo Waffles @ 1.19 (when you buy 10 part. items) w/coupon stock up Barilla Pasta @ $1/box - Stock Up Price - look for coupons! Chicken of the Sea @ .50/can - Great Price! Activia Yogurt @ 1.88 - Great Price with Coupons. Ralphs Sour Cream @ $1 for 16oz - Great Price Colgate Toothpaste @ .98 - Stock Up with Coupons these should be FREE Albertsons: 85% Lean Ground Beef @ 1.99/lb - Stock Up Price! Albertsons Canned Beans @ .50 / can - Great Price! Honey Bunches of Oats @ 1.99 / box - Great Price! Zatarains Rice Boxes @ $1 / box - Stock Up Price - Coupons Available! Ronzoni Pasta @ $1/ Box - Stock Up Price (especially with coupons)! Nestle Snack Trays of Candy @ $1 per 8pack - Good Price! Knorr Lipton Rice/Pasta Sides @ $1 / Side - Good Price!
Stater Brothers: Foster Farms Whole Chicken @ .75/l…

Meal Plan February 21st - 27th

Thankfully I do most of my meal planning in advance because I got caught with the stomache flu this weekend and boy meal planning would not have been fun!  Anyways here is what is planned - hopefully I will actually feel like eating this stuff!
Breakfasts: Monday: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Bananas, Milk
Tuesday: Eggs, Waffles, Oranges
Wednesday: Cereal, Mango, Milk
Thursday: Eggs, Toast, Plums
Friday: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Kiwis, Milk
Saturday: Omelets & Cinnamon Rolls, Fruit
Sunday: Cereal, Fruit, Milk

Lunches: Monday: Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Chips, Nectarines
Tuesday: Bean & Cheese Burritos, Peas, Plums,
Wednesday: Tuna Sandwiches, Carrots & Ranch, Crackers
Thursday: Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Chips, Oranges
Friday: Chicken Fries, Plums, Carrots & Ranch
Saturday: Lots of Appetizer type foods (will be at my parent's since little sis is coming to visit!)
Sunday: Hamburgers, Chips, Pineapple

Dinners: Monday:Greek Chicken, Parmesan Orzo, Steamed Asparagus
Tuesday: Canned Soup &…

Pudding Finger Painting

This a new activity for us - but one that I have read about and seen forever.  Don't ask why we haven't done it before now - I honestly don't know.
The girls loved it - they ate way more than they painted but I was able to get Big C to write her name and draw some shapes then she made me a picture of ummmm something!

So the instructions for this can be easy or hard! You can make a box of instant pudding per the directions or Make a batch of homemade pudding!
Then once it is done and set dump some out on a cookie sheet and let them go at it!  I gave some direction but not much - and even though I read that this would be messy I was shocked at how messy it was!  So I would recommend an apron or smock and lots of towels to clean up!

Little C (my eater) absolutely LOVED this one and has gone to the fridge multiple times since asking for puddin.  Yummo!
Ash of All Trades


My favorite store - by far!  I absolutely heart Ralph's!  Here is why: Double Carts - They have double carts a la Costco style - with two kids these are A-mazing! Great prices on the widest variety of products! They double coupons up to $1.00 (a .30 coupon will be .60 and .75 coupon will be 1.00).  This allows me to get many things for free! Great sales - not only is everything reasonably priced (for So Cal) but they also have awesome sales - I get more things for free or near free here than any other store! Ralph's Rewards - their rewards program is awesome I get 1 point for each dollar spent, 5 points per reusable bag I bring and there are often extra ways to earn points.  Then every quarter they take your point total and for every 100 points (not dollars because of my reusable bags!) I get a $1 reward - I usually get 7-8 dollar offs and my budget is not even that high for a quarter of groceries!  Rewards Coupons - after signing up for a rewards card you also get on their mailin…

Kale Harvest

Here is another garden update - short but sweet since we have rain again! 4.5 Ounces of Kale
I had planned to share a recipe for Kale that I was trying but the recipe was disgusting - absolutely disgusting so I am NOT going to share that with you.
Maybe a Kale recipe next week!
Ash of All Trades

California Weather

Last weekend we did this:
And wore these dresses on Sunday

Now it is raining and cold. We shall see what the rest of the weekend holds!
Good weather vibes to all, Ash of All Trades

Valentine Craft

Yes I know this is delayed but wow this rainy weather has made my mind turn to mush!  Here is a gross motor skill craft I did with the girls last week (or maybe two weeks ago).
We tore up a lot of construction paper:
Then I handed out glue sticks (very cautiously and on a day where I had many patience).  They were supposed to glue the scraps of paper to a construction paper heart (that mommy had precut) - Caylee however was in shock that I handed her a glue stick and proceeded to stab the paper then look at me with huge eyes.
The finished projects did turn out adorable!

We hung them on the bulletin board in our school room.  I hope to give a photo tour of my schoolroom soon (it is a work in progress since Chloee technically hasn't started "school") but it is coming along adorably!
For now, Ash of All Trades

Couponing & Stockpiling

So anyone who has been to my home knows I have a wonderful walk in pantry and a wonderful stand alone freezer - they would also know both are usually pretty full!  I am a couponer and frugalista at heart - seriously I feel I have found my calling in finding good deals (thanks mom for those genes)! 

Where do I get my coupons?
Sunday Paper - I only get one copy of the paper!  But I do swap coupons I won't use for coupons my mom won't use so sometimes get doubles! (I get the LA Times Sunday Edition for 9.99 for the entire year - all 52 weeks)! Sometimes my paper has double inserts! Online at sites such as other blogs such as (she has nationwide coupons and deals - mine are much more local to SoCal)From the stores themselves - after signing up for rewards cards and online with other store I started to get mail and e-mail coupons ve…

Best Grocery Deals of The Week

Hello All!  I have to say I am loving all of the new visitors I have had - if you want updates every time I update you can sign up to follow my blog and they will be emailed to you or your favorite e-reader!
The newest type of post I will be hosting is a weekly look at the best deals in SoCal grocery stores.  My post will not focus on every product but rather the prices I see that I would be willing to pay and the ones that are stock pile prices.  They will not have coupon match ups with dates but I will let  you know if I think there is a coupon available.  I will cover Albertsons, Stater Brothers, Ralphs & occasionally Cardenas plus any other rock bottom prices I might find!
So without further ado:
Albertsons: 88 cents/lb Chicken Drumsticks, Thighs or Legs (with skin) this a price I would buy one to have. 99 cents/dozen eggs - This is an awesome price even cheaper than Costco - definite buy. 1.50/6oz blueberries - this is an okay price but probably the best around for awhile. That was …

Garden Update

After much work this weekend we have added new compost to all of our boxes, finished our walkway by the boxes & even planted some seeds!  Now to figure out a few more things and we will be in the full swing of things!
Here is our recent harvest: Brocoli! All 3 ounces of it!

We also picked another lemon off of the lemon tree - but hubby picked it and juiced it in about 2 minutes so I wasn't able to weigh it.  Oh well we will just count the lemons I guess!
But let me tell you those 3 ounces were the freshest sweetest tasting brocoli florets I have ever had - it was melt in your mouth good.  Chloee & Caylee even ate their three required bites without protesting (they refused our offers of more but oh well). 
So here is to the true start of our season - boy do I love California! (and after a recent conversation with my cousin I couldn't love it anymore - I definately wouldn't want to be waiting to start my garden until May/June - eek)!
Enjoy, Ash of All Trades

Menu Planning!

Happy Valentines Day Folks!  Here is my meal plan for this week:
Breakfast: Monday: French Toast, Grapes Tuesday: Cereal, Yogurt, Pineapple Wednesday: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Pineapple Thursday: Eggs, Toast, Kiwi Friday: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Peaches
Lunch: Monday: Bologna Sandwiches (the girls will eat it with crackers and cheese), Pineapple Tuesday: Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Cheez-Its, Grapes, Yogurt Wednesday: Pasta & Sauce, Peas, Meatballs
Thursday: Tuna Sandwiches, Grapes, Veggie Friday: Soup & Grilled Cheese (its supposedly going to rain)
Dinner: Sunday: Dressed Up Bacon Burgers, BBQ Potato Wedges, Asparagus Monday: Stoeffers Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Salad Tuesday: Tamales, Beans, Rice Wednesday: Special Chicken Packets, Garlic Butter Pasta, Veggie Thursday: Lasagna Leftovers, Salad, Bread Friday: Lemon Asparagus Chicken & Potato Bake (mmmmm) Saturday: Steak & Fish (marinades to be determined), Baked Beans, Veggies
Snacks: Yogurt, Fruit, Cheese, Crackers, Popcorn, or Raisins w/c…

Homemade Pizza Recipe

My husband's family has been making homemade pizzas for quite a while now and have some even better recipes than what I am about to share - mine however is super simple!
Dough: 2.5 Cups of Flour 1tsp Sugar 1 tsp Salt 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil 1 Cup Water @ 105-115 degrees 1Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
The greatest thing about this recipe is it doesn't need rising time!
Activate the Yeast in 1 Cup of water by mixing with a fork. Combine remaining ingredients in Mixing Bowl. Add Water/Yeast. Stir until mixed. Then either knead by hand for 5ish mins or place in Kitchenaid with the Dough Hook for about five minutes. If it stays too sticky add flour Tbsp at a time.
In the meantime preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Sauce: Canned Tomato Sauce 1 Garlic Clove (minced) 1 tsp Italian Seasoning 1/2 tsp onion powder
Toppings: Shredded Mozzarella Shredded Cheddar/Monterey Jack Sausage Bacon Olives Whatever you want!
Once the dough is well doughy you can roll it out into the shape you want. Place onto a pizza stone or pan and…

Book Reviews: Steady Days & A Mother's Rule of LIfe

As many of you know I LOVE BOOKS! - that is actually an understatement.  But really I cannot get enough books (although I do take breaks from reading sometimes).  Recently I have been reading some parenting, mothering, and faith inducing books.  These I find often give me catalytic concepts upon which I can try to establish a more peaceful and meaningful life (for me and my family).

In this quest (which I think will be lifelong - instead of going to school I plan to just research all of the information I can from books) I have found two very helpful resources: Steady Days by Jamie Martin and A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot.

Both books really spoke to me - like made me cry and laugh and just plain talk to the author (in my head) - I could relate and feel normal while reading these books.  Originally I had thought they would be very similar but alas I couldn't pick between the two and decided to just read both - Boy am I glad I did.

A Mother's Rule of Life is an insp…

Ship Ahoy!

Thanks to my wonderful brother's annual Disney pass we receive Disney's Family Fun Magazine for free!  This magazine is mighty awesome and I highly recommend it for anyone who either has kids or works with them.  There are some great short articles on kids and lots of activities and crafts.  Most importantly tons of their crafts use regular household items!
So we decided to try and make the boat from the Valentines issue.  Well let's just say that this project was a little over Chloee's head and mommy spent almost 2 hours finishing it...eeek.
But we had a great time and it ended up adorable.

We started by taping a piece of swiffer box to an empty (and clean) Half Gallon Carton:

Then we covered that in construction paper (which didn't go as planned).  This is when Chloee started getting bored -so I let her color and punch out hearts.
Anywho the instructions are in the mag or here. Our finished project:

The girls are thrilled with the boat and play with it daily (we didn&#…

More Vegetables!

We had a ton of lettuce and kale double in size recently!  Good thing I like salad - bad thing no one else in our home likes salad!
But here are our recent pickings:

14 and 1/8 Ounces of Leaf Lettuce, Romaine & Kale!

And some pictures of an awesome reusable vegetable bag.

My dad picked it up at a nutraceutical conference last year and has been instructed to attend again and get more!  (The website for this bag shows they are ridiculously expensive).
That's All Folks, Ash of All Trades

Meal Plan Week of February 7-13th

So here is my meal plan  - dinners only folks (because I meal plan a month in advance hehe).  I spent the last three days making 200 pages of digital photo books for my girls and only finished at 12:20 am this morning.  Considering I am not a night owl by any means we are going with a dinner only plan this week - the rest will come to me. Right?

Monday: Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry (pic above) and chow mein!
Tuesday: Cheese Topped Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Corn (new recipe - if it's good I'll share!)
Wednesday: Mexican Casserole from Confessions of Homeschooler, Veggies, Spanish Rice
Thursday: Chicken Packets, Mac N Cheese, Salad
Friday: Homemade Pizza, Salad, Breadsticks

Enjoy, Ash of All Trades

Stater Brothers Savings!

Having been inspired by Money Saving Mom - I have been saving a ton on groceries and have even been buying specialty items for hubby and the girls!  Now in order to save so much I have a huge stockpile and never go to the store to just buy anything.  My trips are incredibly planned out and matched with coupons.
Since Stater Brother's is celebrating 75 years they are having a great sale including many 75 cent items!  This wasn't a huge stock up but I did get many things that will last us months!
Producer, Meat, Juices, Sauces, Junk Food It's All There!
Here are the potatoes.
Look at all of that food!  The receipt says I should have paid: $84.91 My actual total paid: $44.28!
Yes, I saved more than 50% and bought numerous things that will last months and some things I had to buy anyways.  Plus the buffalo chicken strips were a treat for Justin (who has been staying up until 1am daily trying to get his schoolwork done) and Pink Lemonade for the girls to enjoy as it is their favorite…

Chicken In Salsa Verde!

Yum - Delicious!
Ingredients: 10 Garlic Cloves Juice of 2 Limes 1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro 1 Fresh Green Chili - Seeded and Chopped 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin 1 Chicken (or 4 game hens) Chopped Green Onions

Instructions: Combine garlic, lime juice, 3/4 of the cilantro, green chile, and cumin in a bowl. Press onto the chicken (or hens) and marinate for at least 3 hours in the fridge. Place the chicken in the crockpot and cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8 hours. Serve with a sprinkling of remaining cilantro and green onions!  Note: The original recipe called for 4 Game Hens and included a Pepper Sauce.  It also called for the chicken to be cooked in the oven (which I tried) but seeing as how I can't get a chicken to cook all the way through in the oven (for the life of me) I just use the crockpot!
!Come`! Ash of All Trades

Garden Project 2011!

Yahoo for 2011 - a new year of gardening!  So this year we will get our garden fully set up and going (actually we just started this and planted asparagus and strawberries).  Our fall garden is fully in force and we have many things growing!

Asparagus box with 9 roots!

8 Strawberry plants here with another two in a pot!
So for Christmas I asked "Santa" for a food scale and while "Santa" didn't come through Justin used some Perk Points from work to purchase me this awesome food scale:

Isn't it a beauty!
So we are going to use this food scale for many many things (like splitting up huge packages of meat)!  But my biggest reason for wanting one of these is for our 2011 Garden Project.  We will be weighing all of the produce we pick this year!
So to start it off - a head of romaine lettuce: 
5 and 5/8 ounces of homegrown pesticide free lettuce.
And some citrus: Yep 9 and 5/8 ounces of fruit!
Stay tuned for lots more fruits & veggies.
~Ash of All Trades