Monday, December 31, 2007

Testing 1...2...3....

We did a test run of our video capabilities the other day using the webcam on our laptop. This is mostly for the benefit of far away family members but those of you who enjoy my kids antics n a regular basis are welcome to enjoy as well.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Hi, my name is Alison and I'm a shopaholic

I am pretty sure i am addicted to grocery shopping. I didn't need to go to the store today, it is Christmas eve and i even stopped and got milk and eggs on Saturday night. I had enough food for Christmas dinner, although i did want to get a couple things for side dishes. But i went any way to 2 stores and spent $50. I cant bring my self to buy a new pair of shoes which i really need but i don't mind spending money on food. It is like the only justifiable expense. I am completely obsessed.

Friday, December 21, 2007

cute picture

At first i thought....Cindy Lou Who,but then we were watching Monsters Inc and Boo's personality just reminded me of Grace. You know that part where they are throwing fruit loops into her mouth, that is just like grace.

Monday, December 17, 2007

this week's grocery totals

So just to give you all a taste of my grocery game success I thought i would post how i did at the grocery store today. Not one of my best weeks but i am going to try to not go next Monday because it is Christmas eve. So HEB was a little higher that i had hoped with a total of $46.65. I was a little bummed because i always end up spending more than $20 at Randalls. But i would like to point out that my coupon savings at HEB were $12.18. I also bought Drano, which is a household item so it doesn't really count towards my $60 grocery budget.

On to Randalls. As i pulled in i remembered that i had a $4 off coupon from last week and that Tim had brought home some $10 off $50 that i could use. so i went a head and got what i wanted(i say wanted because i don't need caffeine free Dr.pepper) As she is ringing up my order i am trying not to look at the screen. Keeping in mind that i spent $12 on pull ups I handed her my coupons and peaked at the total.....$72.xx Yikes. So she starts scanning the coupons and all the card savings come of and my total was $39.80!!!!! the great thing about Randalls is they put your total savings at the bottom of the receipt. So i Saved $74.35 at Randall's. $86.45 was my grand total. 'But wait' I can here you saying ' I thought your budget was $60' your right it is $60 for food. If you take off the pull ups and the Drano it comes to $70.45. Not so bad for a family of 4.

And you should see how much food i bought......

Saturday, December 15, 2007

If a man speaks in the woods, and a woman is not there to hear him, is he still wrong???

Friday, December 14, 2007


I find myself reflecting a lot when i send out Christmas cards. We have moved quite a bit in our 7 years of marriage. As i collect my list each year i think about the people we know and have known. I find myself wondering about them especially the ones we haven't seen in quite a few years. I think sending and receiving Christmas cards may be my favorite part of Christmas. Now if i could just get my kids to sit still long enough to take a decent picture for the card......

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My little secret

I think it is time to let you all in on my little money saving secret. I recently discovered, through my neighbor Kari, something called The Grocery Game. Basically it is coupon clipping to the extreme. The idea is to clip coupons and hang on to them until you can use them to your advantage. Then when the coupon is 'played' you get grocery's at rock bottom prices. The website posts lists of the sales and matches them up with the coupons that are currently available. For instance, this week i got 2 packages of Wholly Guacamole for free. The coupons were in the Sunday paper about 3 weeks ago i think. Alot of the things on the list, like the guacamole, you can freeze. One of the principals they talk about is stockpiling. Some of you might call it food storage. I haven't thus far been very good at having any food storage. but now i am getting close to having a 3 month supply of food and other household goods.

I have a grocery budget of $60 per week. Pre grocery game i was spending my $60, sometimes a little more, but by the end of my week i was stretching my limits as far as having things for dinner. We would often end up getting a pizza on Saturday because i didn't quite have enough food to make meals for both Saturday and Sunday. Now i spend my $60 and come home with so much more food. Also i have been able to get some of the things that i wasn't able to afford before, like organic milk. I also had been avoiding things that i like, such as crackers, but now if i play the coupons right i can get them(I currently have 11 boxes of assorted crackers in my pantry, I think i have that many boxes of cereal too.) This week i spent $63 and i saved $51. that is a 45% savings.

Unfortunately there is no such thing as a free lunch. You can get a 4 week trial membership to the site for $1. After that it is $10 every 2 months for one store list and $5 every two months per each additional store. I have 4 stores on my list right now but i am going to drop down to only HEB soon(I'll explain why in a minute). The best thing to to if you are considering starting the game is to collect coupons for a couple of weeks before stating the trial. All the coupons come from the Sunday paper. The way o figure it the money i spend on the membership and the newspaper, i save each week.

Now the icing on the cake.......There is a free version of this site. It is called Coupon Mom . But coupon mom is not specific to the Austin area, it is out of Atlanta. It also does not have HEB but it does have Target and wal mart. It does have Randall's, specific to Texas. here is a video clip that should explain things much better than i can.

I would recommend any one who is interested in cutting their weekly food budget to at least check out the websites.

P.S. if you decide to subscribe to the Grocery Game let me know so you can put my e mail in the recommendation section.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Let them eat Cake!!!

So here are some more details about the cake i did this week. I realized that i didn't give any information in the previous post.

The 5 tier(+2 side cakes) was for a QuinceaƱera ( i had to look up the spelling for that, what a gringo i am) I the hall was beautifully decorated with her colors turquoise, chocolate, and silver. The cake was 3 tiers yellow cake with raspberry whip cream filling and 2 tiers white with pineapple filling. the 2 12 inch cakes on the side were one of each flavor.

I really did enjoy making it. i used fondant for the bows and the stripes. I haven't had a lot of experience working with fondant but i used my pasta roller and pizza cutter and things went pretty smoothly. I was up till 1 last night though, finishing it up. Also you cant really tell but each of the dots is chocolate with a silver dragee on each one. Each dragee has to be put on with tweezers(another reason i was up till 1) and the boarders are chocolate with dragees on them too.

Some of you may be wondering how a person would transport a cake like that from my house in Round Rock all the way out to Taylor??? In pieces. I stacked it on site and put the borders on when i got there. That took me about an hour. it is always a relief to be done with a project like that. I was finally able to get my kitchen all the way clean. it doesn't help that Tim has been working until at least 9 every night this week.

this is what I do with my time....

this is what i have been doing all week. i think it turned out okay.