Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

We're diving headfirst into Christmas events this week. It all kicks off with a cookie exchange I'm going to this evening and each of our weekends before Christmas have something going on. Tomorrow, we start reading The Advent Book, which is one of my favorite traditions. I love going through the Christmas story every day in December and enjoying the beautiful heirloom-quality book. I'm so thankful that my mom got us a copy last year before our first Christmas together!

Soon we'll be drinking eggnog and driving around looking at Christmas lights, and before you know it, we'll be in Chicago for a proper white (cold, at least) Christmas. :)

So tell me - what specific events or activities are you particularly looking forward to before Christmas?

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Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

If you're on my Facebook, you know that I roasted my turkey yesterday. It's the 13-lb Butterball that I picked up for 58 cents a pound a few weeks ago.

Growing up, my mom was always up early on Thanksgiving morning working on the turkey. I always thought that roasting a turkey was such an intimidating, difficult process. Last year, with great trepidation, I did my research and roasted my first turkey and it turned out amazing. Now this year, I was able to do it with very little hands on time, no fear and trembling, and once again we got a perfectly roasted turkey. I had no idea how easy it could be! Of course a 13-lb turkey is a lot easier to handle than the big birds my mom always had to cook to feed our whole brood.

Some of the tricks I learned (online, mostly) for the yummiest turkey is to stuff the cavities with quartered apples, onions, lemon and fresh herbs and roasting the turkey upside down so that all the juices run into the breast and stay there. You end up with the most flavorful, juiciest turkey breast! What are your favorite tricks and tips for Thanksgiving morning?

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A Word About My Grocery Budget

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

I just want to start by saying that I'm very thankful for how God has provided for us. He has given me a job that (almost every day) I enjoy and the health and energy to do it. He also has placed David and me in an area where coupon deals are abundant and kept our coupon-printing equipment working.

Today I want to give you a little peek into my grocery budget and how it works.

1. David keeps our budget on a very complex, but easy to use Excel spreadsheet. He keeps track of every penny and has really done a great job figuring our budget out.

2. I try to spend $20 or less a week for groceries.

3. We get nearly all of our produce along with some other food from the food bank at the school. David volunteers at the food pantry often and although we aren't financially strapped enough to be dependent on the food pantry, they are often trying to get people to take the food so they don't have to throw it away.

>>>>>This explains why you rarely see produce in my grocery trip posts!

4. Our budget is really a monthly and yearly budget. I can spend $20 for 52 weeks in a year (this takes care of the 5-week month problem). In other words, if I go over my budget one month, I can just spend less the next month to make up for it so that I stay within my overall grocery budget for the year.

5. We budget eating out separately than the grocery budget. Often when I splurge and get a Starbucks or another treat, I may mentally take it out of my grocery budget and simply spend less on groceries that week, when in actuality, David puts it under Eating Out in our budget.

6. Drugstore purchases are separate from the grocery budget, but our drugstore/toiletry budget is $0. While playing the "Drugstore Game", we rarely pay for more than tax and are able to get all of the razors, shampoo, body wash, and feminine products that we need.

7. I do like to serve food as healthy as possible, but our downfall is snacks and desserts :) Right now I would like to change to organic and local foods, but it is not a change I am able to do at this time. Once David gets out of school and I'm at home, this will become a priority to me and I'm looking forward to it. I've told him before that when our grocery budget expands, this will be the first thing I will change. It doesn't make much sense now to buy organic produce, for example, when I can get my produce for free.

There you have it! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

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Grocery Deals 11/3/10

Posted by: WoodElves / Category: , ,

Happy Birthday, Mom! I celebrated by getting lots of freebies at the store today. You can have any of them that you want, ok? :)

First we hit up Harris Teeter's super doubles to use the $5 catalina I had to use this week from some deal a few weeks ago. I walked away with these groceries, paying $1.76 out of pocket and got another $3 catalina (from the Grands biscuits) to use next week :) :) :) Oh and the Garlic powder? I just ran out and it was on sale. Sweet deal. The Coupon Challenge has great matchups HERE.

Then we went to Farm Fresh to see what was going on there.

Why yes, yes that is a turkey. When you spend $25 (before coupons), you can get a Butterball for 58 cents a pound. The only problem was that WHERE ARE WE GOING TO PUT A WHOLE TURKEY!?! I didn't really plan ahead for a turkey sale today. David rearranged the freezer while I took the picture. Turkey is safe.

I also did the deal on the back page of the ad - buy 10 participating products, get $5 off at the register. That explains almost everything else in this picture. Oh by the way - I spent $15.83 on all of this. Including the turkey. Thankfully, the people in line behind me were impressed rather than impatient. As always, you can find the matchups at The Coupon Challenge HERE.

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