Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pancakes and waffles...yummy weekend breakfast.

One of my favorite things to do weekend mornings is make breakfast. Our family's favorite breakfast is by far my sausage gravy and biscuits. (Someday I'll share the recipe.) One of my favorites to eat is pancakes or waffles.

Last fall I was on a mission to find the perfect pancake recipe. The pancakes at The Old Hamlin restaurant in Ludington, MI are sinfully amazing. Dense, yet fluffy, with a wonderful malty flavor. I'm sure the seasoned grill has a lot to do with it, but I really wanted to try my hand at making something similar at home.

I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. They are pretty darn delicious - and as close to Old Hamlin's as I've found. I use the same recipe for both pancakes and waffles.

Malted Pancakes or Waffles

2 large eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup malted milk powder

Whisk the eggs and milk until light and foamy. Stir in the oil. Whisk dry ingredients together. Gently and quickly, mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Let the batter rest for 10-15 minutes (it will thicken slightly). Drop 1/3 cup of batter onto hot griddle for pancakes or waffle iron for waffles. You're on your own from here...


Friday, February 27, 2009

Cold morning, inside and out.

If you wake up in the middle of the night and think, "Wow. It's freezing in this house!" Don't just snuggle deeper under the covers. Go investigate.

I woke up this morning with the same thought I had at 2AM. But this time it was even colder! When I walked down our stairs I immediately felt a draft and saw that our front door was standing wide open. This is a great way to get fresh air blowing throughout your house during the winter, but a very inefficient way to heat your home.

We've been having strange winter weather lately; snow, rain, wind, thunder and lightning. Unusual. I'm guessing the wind blew the door open in the middle of the night. Either than or we were robbed, but the burglars didn't find a single thing worth taking.

I'll be snuggled under a blanket or two with the girls this morning until the house heats back up. It's 52˚ right's going to take a while. That's OK though. Robin Hood the Clean, the new Backyardigans movie, is debuting this morning. We've been waiting for it all week. Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A sweet movie. No punn intended.

If you need something really great to watch this Waitress. It's not too funny, not too romantic. Just right!

The only problem is, you'll want to eat pie when your done. Trust me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A dying breed.

For a few years our school board has threatened to close our township's small country school. Benona elementary is the school I grew up in with my brothers and cousins. Now my niece and nephews attend school there. It was one of the bigger reasons for our buying a house here.

Now, after years of discussion, closing the school seems to be inevitable. There was a meeting last night, and another one next Tuesday. We'll certainly be there Tuesday to voice our opinions and show support for Benona. It's caring teachers, small class sizes and close-knit feel will be hard to duplicate in a larger school. If it closes, students will be bussed into town to a much larger elementary and divided into classes with 25+ students per class.

I'm really sad about this. I wanted Ellie and Josie to experience grades 1-5 the way I did.

Kyle and I made the decision to send Ellie to the local Christian preschool because of it's intimate, small class and warm, caring environment. Our original plan was to keep the girls there until first grade when they would be able to attend Benona. Sending both girls to the Christian school for their entire elementary education has been a topic that we've been discussing almost daily these past few months.

Next Tuesday is the meeting about Benona's closing. Next Saturday is a meeting at the Christian school discussing K-8 education there. These should make for an interesting week. Of course, Eleanor is only 3-1/2 so we have a few years before we need to make such a significant decision. However, it still makes me sad to see such a wonderful part of my childhood shut it's doors. Just another cold, empty building dotting our country's landscape.

We'll see...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Antenna or Piggies?

Mmm...since her nickname is "Dozie-Bug" would these be piggy tails or antenna?

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Happy Little GIVEAWAY!

In the theme of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" I'm giving away a set of magnets that used to stick to our old fridge. It's a set of popular works from a number of famous artists. It includes The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer, Freda Kahlo's Self Portrait, and Ellie's favorite...Mona Lisa by daVinci.

If you think you'd like these holding up your notes, pictures and artwork, post a comment telling me what the craziest thing you've ever done is. I need a good laugh!

I'll draw a name from the comments on Sunday. Good luck!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A good day for second place.

This is a picture of the outhouse my brothers, cousin and their friends built. My brother Ben is the one pushing on the left, his friend Rodney is on the right. My brother Phil is pushing from the back. Jen and I are inside. See my naked legs? Yep, we stripped down to bikinis and held ice-fishing poles. Everyone got quite a laugh when the guys threw open the outhouse door before running to reveal two half-naked girls inside. Cold? Heck yeah!

Here is a photo of the second place winning group. L to R: Ben, Jen, Rodney, Me, Phil. I think we would have won first if they didn't have our dead weight to push. It was definitely the best looking outhouse I've ever seen!

This is a picture of the two pies I baked. I entered the top one with the lattice crust.

When I got home from the outhouse race I received a phone call that I had placed in the pie contest. This is Ellie holding my second place award!

The funniest part of the day was that the photographer from our local paper took photos of me at the outhouse race, then took a picture of me at the pie contest. He asked me where I was headed next.

It was a very good day for second place.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cherry pies and outhouse rides.

At 9AM I'm dropping a cherry pie off at the 40th Annual New Era Chamber of Commerce Pie Contest.

At 9:30AM my brother's girlfriend Jen and I are sitting in an outhouse - in bikiini's - for an outhouse race and parade.

How redneck can you get?

By the way...there is a winter storm warning today and it's 16˚ this morning.

I told you the girls had sent me off the deep end!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Parenthood - it can really mess with your emotions.

Last night my children took me on a roller coaster ride in the emotions department. This happens daily, but last night was wilder than most.

For starters, Thursday was a really hectic day. Kyle left around 6AM to drive to Chicago, so I was on my own for the day. I usually don't work on Thursdays, but it's my busy time of year and I have a pile of work that I'm trying to get done. By the time bath time rolled around I was worn out. My body was going through the motions of motherhood – dinner, cleanup, bath time etc. but my brain kept reminding me of how much I didn't get done yesterday.

I popped both girls in the tub and ran across the hall to catch up on some laundry. They were fine for about 5 minutes until somebody pulled somebody's hair, or somebody dumped water on somebody else. Who knows? I pulled Josie out of the tub and left Eleanor to play by herself for a while. This is our routine. While I'm drying and dressing Josie, Ellie is in the tub behind me playing with the bath toys. Suddenly, I hear Ellie stand up and say "Mommy. I'm done. Get me out!!!" I turn around to see not only toys floating in the water, but poop.

Is it just my children that do this? What is the fascination with bodily fluids these days? In the past 6 weeks Josie's pooped in the tub three times (once for Aunt Luann and Uncle Denny. Sorry about that!). Ellie's 3 years old, she's way too old to be doing that type of thing.

I quickly dressed them both and put them in the living room. As I was cleaning the bathtub and pulling the toys out to soak them in bleach, I was ranting and raving how disgusting this was. I could hear Josie crying in the other room. Once everything was clean, I walked into the living room and this is what I saw:

Pardon the terribly photography, but I tried to sneak a picture before they moved. Eleanor was hugging her sister and telling her "It's ok Bugga-bugga. I love you Dozie-bug."

Emotions: From crazy, lunatic mother to heart-melting, watching my little baby comfort my littler baby.

Fast-forward to 4AM. Josie's been waking up 3-4 times a night since last Saturday. She was running a fever last week, but now she's stuck with a stuffy nose that makes it hard for her to sleep. All she wants is to be rocked for a minute, then she'll lay back down and fall right back to sleep. So really, I don't have much to complain about. However, after almost a week of this, I was exhausted. At 4AM I wanted to cry as I dragged my tired butt out of bed and down the hall. I picked her up, half-heartily, and collapsed into the rocking chair, sighing. What happens? She mumbles "Momma." and snuggles into my chest. The smell of sweet, sweaty baby in my nose and my warm little girl in my arms.

Emotions: From exhausted, irritated mother to there is no place I'd rather be at this exact moment.

Really. I don't know how I'm going to handle another 18 years of this. Ok...I know I'm kidding myself. It's never going to end is it? They'll drive me to the edge only to pull me right back. I sure love these little girls. I hope they love me...they're turning me into a nut case.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

One year ago today...

It began with this, my first post. My intentions were to keep a blog so our out-of-town family and friends could keep up with Eleanor and Josephine. Soon I realized my blog was so much more. A way for me to release some of that parenting frustration, meet so many neat people and read their blogs. But most of all, maintain my sanity.

One year ago I was experiencing our first winter in our new home, raising a 2-year old and breastfeeding a 2 month old. Running my graphic design business and struggling to keep our home in order while trying to be a good wife and mother.

A year later, it's winter again - and I love it here. Our house has gone through a few mild renovations. We've built a new pole barn to house Kyle's cars and business. Ellie is 3 and in preschool two days a week. Josie is one–a mischievous little angel. Heidi is an important part of our family and watches the girls three or four days a week so I can work. My business is doing very well, and the Automatic Shower Cleaner is helping me keep the house clean (at least some of it). As far as being a good wife and mother - I try my very, very best and I think everyone is happy.

Thank you so much for experiencing this year with me. I look forward to reading all of your comments in the year to come!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The front of our refrigerator has always been a bit of a "home base". There is our family calendar, the dry erase board with messages and "to-do" lists. A pad for writing down grocery items that I'll need to add to my shopping list. Pictures of the girls, my nieces and nephews and friends' kids. Lots and lots and lots of artwork from Ellie. Suddenly, this has all come to a screetching halt.

The new one is stainless. Magnets...don'

I've managed to pull everything back to just the most important things. Here they are, just in case you were wondering.

It is kind of liberating seeing a blank fridge. (The front at least.) Would that be full-frontal?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Things you find in your fridge...

First of all, it's wonderful. Last night I went downstairs to get a glass of water, just because I wanted to be able to open the fridge in the dark. It's our first refrigerator with a working light.

Second of all, I had no idea we had that much stuff shoved to the back of our old fridge. Ellie's comment was "Mommy, we have a LOT of sauces!". Yeah, sauces and not much else.

Actually, I found two bottles of ketchup, four bottles of mustard, two bottles of pizza sauce and five bottles of hot wing sauce. I think we'll be having a lot of wings these next few months. (That's fine with me, I love the things.)

My favorite part came this morning. I was able to get the milk out without taking out four or five other items first. Milk on the door – what a concept!

So that's our new refrigerator. (I might be the only one excited here.) I'm waiting until the other appliances arrive before sharing before and after pictures. Oh, what you have to look forward to!

Monday, February 16, 2009

On your mark, get set, GO!

Happy Monday! This week is a busy one. I have four large projects to get done in three days. Tomorrow we're getting our taxes done. Kyle has a load of work in the shop. Can't complain though. Some exciting news, our fridge is being delivered today. (Oh, if only it was the dishwasher...) Friday, our friends Rebecca and Aleksy are coming over for dinner. I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Anyway, off to work. Have a great day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day - Part 2.

Both Ellie and Josie woke up in better moods yesterday afternoon. Therefore, the remainder of our Valentine's day went very well. Here's a summary (in pictures)...

Kyle reading his Valentine gift from me, a Tapas cookbook.

A self-portrait of Josie and Mommy. (That's Josie's "cheese" face.)

Ellie's "cheese" face, and fancy dinner attire.

Our dinner. Rib eye with rosemary, bacon-horseradish mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach stuffed tomatoes topped with blue cheese. So very, very delicious.

A daddy and Ellie snuggle.

The aftermath of making dinner, my kitchen in absolute disorder. (See the fridge and dishwasher? Their days are numbered!)

And as planned, our evening ended by relaxing on the couch with a beer or two. A perfect evening despite the questionable start!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day.

This morning our girls slept in until 7:30AM. Kyle went downstairs with them to make coffee and get breakfast started while I took a quick shower. I remember standing under the hot water thinking that this was a wonderful start to a great Valentines day. I took an adorable picture of the girls this week kissing–the perfect picture for a sweet Valentine's day post on the blog. Then life intervened...

Kyle knocked on the bathroom door and when I opened it, handed me Josie and said "Ellie pooped, it's everywhere, I've got to give her a bath. Here." (Please note: Eleanor has been completely, 100% potty trained since before Christmas. Pooping in her pants is not typical behavior.)

As soon as I shut the bathroom door, Josephine started coughing a loud, deep croup-like cough. She also had a runny nose, runny eyes and what felt like a low-grade fever.

Once I was dressed, Josie and I went downstairs and found Kyle and Ellie finishing up with the bath. I walked into Ellie's room and saw...pardon me here...poop smeared on her windows and on her wall. (This again, is not typical behavior. Neither of my kids has ever done the "smearing" thing until this morning.)

After breakfast Eleanor tackled Josie to the ground, sat on her and bit her on the chest. A few minutes later she pushed her off the bed and hit her in the face. I shut Ellie in her room for a time-out and took Josie into the livingroom to console her.

Once I got Josephine settled down, I went in to talk with Eleanor about her actions. She was sitting in the middle of her bedroom with peed pants. And a grin on her face.

That was all before noon. It's 3:30PM now and I'm finally getting the opportunity to sit down. The girls are both napping and I'm trying to prepare myself up for what I'm sure is going to be an exhausting evening.

I seem to remember our Valentine's days pre-kids. They involved getting dressed up, a nice quiet dinner, and a bottle or two of wine. If you are going out tonight, please share your plans in the comments section. I'll have to live vicariously through your stories. Tonight I plan to sit on the couch, drink a beer or two (or three) and watch a movie with my husband in my pj's.

As for that sweet picture of Josie and Ellie kissing? I couldn't bring myself to post it. I thought I'd give you a taste of what our happy little Valentines day was really like.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Vanilla cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

This month's Parents magazine gave suggestions for "healthier cupcakes". (I think that's an oxymoron.) One of the suggestions was to swirl Nutella into the cupcakes before baking, in lieu of frosting them. I love Nutella, I love cupcakes. This sounded like a great idea. I tried the Parent's magazine version, but the Nutella sank to the bottom of the cupcakes and burned. Not so good. For the next batch, I waited until they cooled and spread a teaspoon of the hazelnut butter on top of each one. Perfection!

For Valentines day, here is my recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes along with instructions for making them a little bit "healthier".

Vanilla Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

1-1/3 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter - room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs - room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
About 1/4 cup of Nutella hazelnut spread

Preheat oven to 350˚. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt–set aside. Mix together the milk and the vanilla–set aside. In a stand mixer, or bowl using hand beater, beat the butter for three minutes. (Yes...three minutes. This is very important as it makes the cupcakes nice and fluffy.) Add the sugar and beat until creamy. Add one egg and half of the milk mixture. Beat for one minute. Add the other egg and the rest of the milk. Beat for another minute. Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until the flour is completely incorporated.

Drop the batter into a paper-lined cupcake pan. (This should make 12 cupcakes.) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely. Once cooled, place your jar of Nutella (or 1/4 cup spooned into a bowl) in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to soften it a bit. Spread about a teaspoon of Nutella onto the top of each cupcake. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to kiss like a Disney Princess.

This weekend Eleanor was giving me kisses. The following are her "favorite kisses" and their descriptions:

Smooch - a standard kiss on the lips.

Butterfly Kiss - brush your eyelashes against the other person's eyelashes.

Eskimo Kiss - rub noses together.

Princess Kiss - grab the other person's face with both hands, tilt their head to one side, tilt your head to the opposite side. Open your mouth really wide and put the other person's chin in your open mouth.

Yes...put your mouth over their chin. I asked her where she learned this and she told me "Mom! All the Disney Princesses kiss like that!"

Let me know if any of you give that one a try. I'd love to hear how the kissee responds!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The worst job I can possibly imagine.

Last night Kyle and I were watching the show Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe on Discovery Channel. I happen to find Mike Rowe really nice to look at, the show is usually pretty interesting as well.

The premise of the show is that Mike works for a day doing the dirty jobs around the USA. The jobs are sometimes gross, always dirty, and quite intriguing. Last night was the worst job I have ever seen - I wouldn't last five minutes.

The show was about a couple who gathers, feeds and milks spiders. Black Widows, Tarantulas, the typical deadly spider varieties. I hate spiders...they make me scream and shake like a little school girl. When I was in high school I slept on the couch for a week after finding a spider in my bed. Honestly...I chose my parent's scratchy, hard couch over my warm, cozy bed because of a spider.

Anyway, the spider part was bad. Really bad. (I screamed at one point when a spider jumped out of the cup Mike was trying to put it in.) But it got worse! This crazy couple has to feed the spiders. They have an old camper-trailer that they use as a maggot nursery. The thing is full of flies and maggots. This put me over the edge.

If you are working today, and feel like you have a lousy boss, annoying co-workers, or a really bad job. You don't. You could be collecting maggots to feed to spiders that are just waiting for their chance to escape their little cage and scamper up your arm and across your back.

See...not so bad, huh?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Everything in moderation.

I've always been a strong believer in the saying "Everything in moderation." Everything that is, except dishes.

When Kyle asked me what I'd like to do for the upcoming Valentine holiday, I responded "Buy a new dishwasher". That's exactly what we're doing. We're also replacing the rest of our 30+ year old appliances. My oven hasn't maintained a consistent temperature since we moved into the house – that makes baking kind of a challenge. One of the burners on the stove top only works when it wants. The refrigerator is falling apart. It's time to bite the bullet and buy new, energy efficient models. I'm very, very excited.

Before you post comments referring me to my penny pinching posts, please read the following line again..."Everything in moderation." I'm trying to be a little more frugal, I have not halted all spending for our household.

For example, Kyle and I drove to Ludington Sunday to grocery shop and take my brother Phil out for lunch. Again, I saved 50% off my grocery bill by shopping sales and using coupons. Since we saved money in that area of our budget, we took Phil to the local brew house for a nice Sunday dinner vs. sharing a pizza at our favorite pizza joint/bar. Using coupons doesn't mean stop spending money. How is that going to help the economy?

That being said, here are a few other areas of our life where the above rule applies:

1. I recycle. Our trash that's picked up curbside has gone down by 1/2. I'm proud of that. However, I'm not going to tear our old appliances into bits and take them to the scrap yard.

2. I feel better cleaning my house with chemical-free cleansers. I also have no qualms about using the chemical-laden Automatic Shower Cleaner to clean our upstairs bathroom. I'm also not afraid to completely disinfect the house with harsh chemicals after we've been sick. Moderation.

3. I enjoy making my own purses, clothes, and anything else my little mind dreams up. But there is no way I'm giving up my favorite designer bags and clothes – I've got to mix it up a bit.

4. Even though I canned and froze fruits and vegetables this summer/fall, I still buy fresh fruits and veggies at the store. I know they've traveled a long distance to make their way to the cold north, but my girls love bananas for breakfast, and fresh bananas don't grown in Michigan...ever.

I realize that I have been blessed with so much more than I deserve. Every day I'm thankful that we live in a country that allows us to make choices. The stories posted on this family blog tell the choices that we make, they are not a guide to life.

I am also thankful that you choose to read these stories. Hopefully they are entertaining, informative at times, possibly inspiring. Thanks for reading.

Now, I've got to finish washing the dishes.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Potty training? She's got the concept down.

Josie was playing with Eleanor's doll potty this weekend. Even though her actions are quite convincing, I've learned my lesson. I'm not touching this potty training opportunity with a ten foot pole!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My baby's curls.

What's better than soft, silky baby curls, the smell of clean, warm baby and those sweet wrinkles at the base of her neck?

Almost nothing. I need time to slow for a while...I'm going to miss this part of my baby most of all.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ode to my cousin Shelly.

My mother tells a story about my cousin Shelly. One Sunday morning, when Shelly was maybe 6 or 7, she was sitting next to my Mom and my Aunt Luann in church, quietly putting orange lip balm on her lips. After a few minutes of this, she looked at my Mom and Luann and whispered "Are my lips orange?". The two of them almost had to leave church, they were giggling so hard. Shelly's lips and half of her face were coated with a thick layer of orange.

I'm guessing she looked something like this...

This time it's Ellie and Coco Zum lip balm.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Knock-knock jokes. Please help.

I've heard the same knock-knock joke (sort of) for the past week. Ellie hasn't perfected her delivery yet. I've told her the two knock-knock jokes that I know, but were in desperate need of new material.

Can you help? Please post a comment with your favorite knock-knock joke. Don't have one? Ask the nearest preschooler...I'm sure they'll have a doozie for you!

Thanks, and have a happy Friday!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The apple thief.

A few weeks ago, my brother Ben noticed a few of the apples in our fruit bowl had small bites in them. I was sure that Ellie was the culprit. I found it a little strange that she wouldn't eat the entire apple, choosing to take a few bites and put the apples back instead. Now I know why. It wasn't Ellie, it was Josephine, our apple thief.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A few miscellaneous thoughts.

1. Our dishwasher died Sunday night. Thankfully after I washed all of the Superbowl party dishes. It's the first dishwasher I've ever owned. I miss it terribly!

2. Kyle's dad is here for a few days. He lives out of state and doesn't get to see the girls very often. They are attached to him like a couple of baby opossums. I'm enjoying the break.

3. I enjoy winter, the quiet solitude. Life slows down for a few months compared to the constant activity of the other three seasons. Looking out my office window and seeing nothing but white fields and bare trees fills me with an immediate sense of calm. However, it's 7˚ degrees today. I'm really looking forward to spring.

4. I'm procrastinating this morning and keep staring at one of my tattoos. It's on my wrist and needs to be filled back in. It's going to hurt like a son-of-a-gun though. My procrastination is so bad that I'm actually considering driving to Muskegon to have it taken care of instead of sitting here and getting my work done. What could I possibly have to do that is worse than having needles poked into the soft skin on my wrist? Taxes. I have to pull our tax information together. Keep in mind we have three small businesses!! Three businesses and our personal taxes. Yuck.

5. Ok, I'd better get back to work. I have cute pictures to post tomorrow. But for now, Uncle Sam's calling.

FREE PATTERN - Coupon Organizer

I'm whole-heartitly trying saving money on groceries by using coupons these days. (We've got to pinch pennies somewhere!) I couldn't put them in an ordinary envelope, and buying a coupon holder when the point is to save not spend seemed a little strange. So...I made my own. Feel free to download the PDF here. Maybe you'll be inspired as well.

Oh, and if you sew one, please send me a photo! I'd LOVE to see it! (You can email me at

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl at the Kirker house.

We're not a big football family, but like all good Americans, we watch the game anyway. Mainly for the good food and great company. My brother Mike came over with his daughter Natalie and girlfriend Jen. My brother Phil, my mom and Kyle's dad were also here last night to watch the Steelers vs. Cardinals.

Josie and Natalie are old enough to really play together now. They fought over the Cozy Coupe, stole each other's blankets and sippy cups.

They also learned how to climb onto Eleanor's bed and discovered the art of bed-jumping. Stinkers.

Ellie had them drive her around for a while. She's way too young to be hitchhiking, if you ask me.

Uncle Mike was elected to give airplane rides. He's kind of outnumbered here.

Once Josie and Ellie went to bed, Natalie and I got a little snuggle time.

It was a fun night. Despite going to college in Pittsburgh, I was sorry to see the Cardinals lose in the end. Gotta cheer for the underdog! (Go Lions?)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Clipping coupons.

I've never been a coupon clipper – ever. Last fall, my friend Wendy told me about a website called Savings Angel. According to Wendy she's been saving 50% off her grocery bill since joining the website. Savings Angel coordinates grocery store sales with the coupons that have been printed in the past few months Sunday inserts. A pretty great concept...if it really does what it promises and helps you spend 1/2 as much as you would without the website.

Well, it does, and it has. Here's proof...

Receipt #1. Total sales: $8.75 / Total spent: $4.50 / Total saved: $4.25 (48%)

Receipt #2. Total sales: $30.54 / Total spent: $15.01 / Total saved: $15.53 (50%)

Receipt #3. Total sales: $81.48 / Total spent: $38.86 / Total saved: $42.62 (52%)

The part I was most skeptical about was buying things that we don't normally use or shop for. But that's not the case. I only bought items that I would have shopped for without the coupons. And I saved 50%.

Thanks Wendy!!!

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