7.31.2011

Any day

Any day when my alarm is set for a number that is in the four o'clock hour is bound to be a caffiene-filled good day.

Happy Monday???

7.22.2011

Saving Money in Med School: Coupons 101

In case you haven't realized it yet, I am a teensy tiny bit frugal.   I've always been very money conscious (probably thanks to my parents taking taxes out of my allowance as a kid!), but when we got our first tuition bill for med school, I had a minor conniption.  Since then, I've been tightening our budget as much as possible by cutting out the excess, waiting for stores to have deals and using coupons.  If there's a dollar to save, we save it.  Since many of you are wives of medical students who are in the same boat (or maybe are just looking to save some money!), I thought I'd share what I've learned thus far in a few posts throughout the next couple of weeks to maybe save you some hassle.


Disclaimer for this post: I totally don’t claim to be an expert in saving money or couponing by any means, but I have saved almost $2000 in the past nine or so months by using coupons, stacking coupons, and matching the coupons with the store sales.  We’ve also been subscribing to get the Sunday newspaper for a while now, and the cost of the subscription each week is easily compensated by the amount I save by clipping the coupons from the inserts!  I mostly save the big bucks on toiletries, cleaning products and paper goods, since the bulk of the coupons are for processed/convenience foods, which the Hubby and I don’t normally eat.  But there are some good coupons out there for certain food items we use – coffee, occasionally different brands of produce, cereal, pasta, yogurt, salad dressing, etc.


Finding Coupons
The first thing you have to do is get your hands on some coupons!  Like I hinted above, the Sunday newspaper is going to be your best source.  You can also print many coupons online (as well as find a coupon code for practically any website you're ordering from online).

Here are some of my favorite websites for printing coupons.  You will have to download their printing software once.  These are all for manufacturer’s coupons, so coupons directly from the brand:
They update these websites periodically (maybe once a week, with a big update once a month?), so there's always new coupons to print. 

Stacking Coupons
The biggest way to watch the savings really rack up is to know that you can use a manufacturer’s coupon (so a coupon actually from a company, that says “manufacturer’s coupon” on the top) AND a store coupon (a coupon you print off of a store's website, that says “Target Coupon” or “Meijer Coupon” on the top) at once on one single item.  If you have one manufacturer’s coupon and one store coupon, and the item is on sale, you are golden!  This is what to look for to see the biggest savings. 

So let’s say that Crest toothpaste is on sale for $2.00 at Target, and you have a manufacturer’s coupon from Crest for $1, and Target coupon for $1 off Crest…that means you can use the sale price and stack both coupons to get free toothpaste!

Store Coupon Printing Websites
There are two websites that I use to get my Meijer coupons (sorry if you don't live in the Midwest and don't get to experience the glory of Meijer...you truly are missing out!):

  • http://www.meijermealbox.com/ (If you click in the little box on the right hand side, the tab that says “specials” you can choose coupons there. To print them, click on the “shopping list” tab and then “print.”  You can stack these with manufacturer’s coupons).

  • https://www2.meijer.com/mperks/ (You don’t have to print these out!  Just log in with your phone number to “clip” them to your account, and then when you are checking out at the store, you just hit the mPerks logo on the credit card screen and punch in your phone number and it should automatically deduct any applicable coupons).  

And Target shoppers, you can head to this site to print coupons: http://coupons.target.com (Sometimes Target will have manufacturer’s coupons on their website as well as Target store coupons – so you just have to check to see if it says “store” on top to see if you can stack the coupons!  They will also have coupons for apparel and accessories, and often baby goods).

That's where I get the vast majority of my coupons and how I use them...Hopefully you found it helpful!  I've got a few favorite general money saving websites that I'll share with you soon. 

7.17.2011

Do you see what I see...

I was really excited for this...

Until three days later when we saw THIS!

Do you see what I see?   Not only are our plants still alive and kicking, but the tomato plants actually have blooms and [drumroll please] baby tomatoes!!  I have high, high hopes for some ripe tomatoes soon.  Thank goodness they are cherry tomatoes; I would NOT have the patience to wait for full-sized tomatoes to grow and ripen!

The "still alive" part can mostly be credited to the best-plant-parent-in-the-world (Hubby) and these super sweet watering globes (from Meijer of all places!).



Functional, beautiful, and I don't have to water the plants every day?  Win-win-win!  
How does your garden grow?

7.16.2011

A (rather) brief update

Just a quick update from this med student's wife.  I wanted to give you my advanced apologies that you won't be hearing from me very frequently for the next month or six weeks.  Work is completely crazy and consuming my every waking minute a tad busy right now.  In fact, this is the first time that I've turned on my computer in a week (thank goodness for scheduled posts, right??).  I'm going to try work on some things for you to read, but the sunshine, waves and relaxation (and laundry) are calling my name.  Just understand that I'm wicked busy, but will be back to regular posting and ranting sometime soon.  Pinkie promise you'll still be around when I'm back?  ;)

7.12.2011

Guest post from i---create!

Hi friends!  I'm so excited to have Abby from  i---create here doing a guest post today!  Abby is one super sweet talented gal with a cute-to-boot blog.  I know that you'll adore what she has in store for you today; I know I can't wait to try it out!  Be sure to head over to her blog and leave her some comment love! 

I am so excited to be here on MD School Mrs.!  On my blog I share crafts, tutorials, and recipes.  I also have a giveaway going on at my blog!

This is me!
Today I am sharing my famous recipe for making granola. Okay, okay, maybe it isn't famous, but it sure is delish!

Doesn't it look good?

Here's the recipe:

i---create Granola
Ingredients
8 cups rolled oats
1.5 cups wheat germ
1.5 cups oat bran
1 cup soy nuts (or sunflower seeds)
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut
1.5 tsp. salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (the fake stuff works, too)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 cups craisins or raisins (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, soy nuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, and coconut in a large bowl. Stir together the remaining ingredients (except for the raisins) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 20 minutes. Stir once halfway through. Cool, then stir in the raisins or cranberries before storing in an airtight container.

Tips and tricks:
*You don't have to use the exact amount of nuts shown. I sometimes use more than needed if I want to use up a bag.
*To finely chop the nuts, just stick them in a food processor! Works much better than chopping with a knife.
*Take the granola out of the oven when it is still a little bit wet.  Keep in mind that it will clump together when it is out of the oven.

Granola is perfect for snacks and breakfast.  I enjoy mine like a bowl of cereal: with milk in the bottom! I also drink a glass of orange juice.  This granola keeps me full until lunch time with all of the protein it contains.


For storing I put it in a ziploc bags. I freeze half and leave the other half out to eat.

Thank you so much for having me and I hope you can give this recipe a try!

Thanks for joining us today Abby!  We loved having you ;)

7.10.2011

The Greatest Fourth in the North Recap

Our Fourth of July weekend, spent at the in-laws house, in photos:

 We hung out at the sandbar in the lake, complete with volleyball, grilling and a DJ...
So. many. boats!

Had bonfires and s'mores...
(see the heart?  drawn for me by my cute Hubby)

Enjoyed the beautiful sunsets...
Mildly edited...I couldn't resist.

Set off these crazy lantern things that were basically mini-hot air balloons with a ball of fire inside...
My worrisome personality was paranoid one was going to end up on a roof when it floated away!

Watched the city's fireworks:
Ignore the blur ;)

And finally...we ran a 5k (which we've never ever done before!!)... 
Freezing my buns off at about 6:45am, and only 55 degrees!  And I had been worried about being too hot during our race!

I know, right?  If you know me, my lifetime motto has been to avoid running unless being chased by a bear.  Or maybe a goose.  But the Hubby and I were challenged invited by our "up-north" neighbors to run the annual 4th of July 5K.  While I might despise running, I have a very hard time turning down a challenge!  So for the past month, the Hubby and I have been training - please use that term lightly - and ended up finishing the race in 25:49.  We were super happy with our time...and it put me in 7th place for my age group.   Maybe we'll try this again?? 

7.06.2011

Happy...6th of July?

The 4th of July passed by without an opportunity for me to share with you, as I was blissfully computer-free at the in-laws lake house.  So to make it up to you, I give you a Fourth of July fireworks video, lit off by our cottage neighbor on the dock.  Way better than the city's fireworks.  This is the grand finale, filled with totally legal fireworks.  Video circa 2010-no zoom required.  Enjoy!  (If you try really hard, you can probably feel the ashes raining down on your face!)


Hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July - we sure did!  It's our favorite holiday.  The Hubby and I did something we'd never tried before, and I have some pictures to share with you...as soon as I get them from my sister-in-law!  For now, you'll have to settle for this (which has nothing to do with what we did, and isn't even from the Fourth of July):

 Stay tuned!

7.05.2011

Veggie Stuffed Pepper Recipe

I have a very yummy recipe to share with you this week!   This is a spin-off of one of my mama's recipes.  Delicious and healthy, and a great way to use some of the bounty from your garden!



Veggie Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients
4 sweet bell peppers (any color!)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 can corn (drained)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
3/4 cup quick cook brown rice
1/2 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup salsa
2 tsp. chili powder
1-2 tsp. of cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro
Cheese-optional! 

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut 1/2 inch off tops of peppers.  Discard stems and seeds; chop the tops of the peppers and set aside. 
  3. In 8" square baking dish, place pepper shells, cut side down.  Cover loosely with waxed paper; Microwave 2-3 minutes until slightly tender.  Let stand covered. 
  4. In large skillet, saute onion and garlic until tender; mix in beans and corn.  Sprinkle with chili powder, oregano, cumin and salt & pepper
  5. Add 1/4 cup salsa and rice, broth and chopped pepper; heat to boil.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes until liquid absorbed and rice is tender.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cilantro if using.
  6. Fill peppers with meat mixture.  Spoon remaining salsa over meat.  Top with cheese if desired.  (If there is leftover filling, just spoon it around the peppers).
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Tastes like summer!  Sharing the yummy goodness with some of these great blogs this week... Pin It

7.01.2011

Sometimes, it's okay to be Square

You know how you have those friends whom you've known forever?  The ones that know more about you than is probably good or necessary?  The ones that you know will be there for you, for your entire life, no matter what happens?  

These are my girls.  We have grown up together, knowing each other literally forever.  I was baptized as an infant with one of them, and grew up in church together.  Another one's grandma babysat me from about age two onward, so she was my "first friend"....my earliest memory is at her grandma's house. The third was a year younger than us in school, so we first became friends during after-school 4th-6th grade choir in middle school.  Since then, we've all been inseparable.  

We are called the Square (primarily because there are four of us) and have been known as such since our very first Square trip, which was (ohmygosh) five summers ago already.  Heading north, we went to Mackinac Island (you know, the place with no motorized vehicles other than an ambulance?) and stayed in a cabin for a few nights.  This is where we first dubbed ourselves the Square, and, as you can tell, we became Square obsessed!

My goodness we look like such babies!  Since this trip, we've had engagements, weddings, a baby, graduations, new jobs and many moves...

Another Square Trip...this one from last summer, where we hit the coast (of the Great Lakes, not like an ocean's coast) and stayed in a very swanky hotel.

Somehow I always miss the dress code memo.

Anywho, that's probably far enough down memory lane for most of you, despite the fact that I could continue forever.  We took the latest Square Trip this past Sunday-Monday, and went to a Tigers baseball game (if you know me at all, you are laughing at the thought of me watching an ENTIRE baseball game!).  There was definitely some guilt on my part for leaving poor Hubby alone during finals week - AKA without someone to make him dinner - but he managed to survive.  I don't have very many photos, which always seems to happen when there are multiple cameras.  I'm waiting veeeerrry patiently to have the rest of the photos emailed to me!  But here's what I have...

Tigers Stadium.  It was sunny out the day of the game, I promise.
In Detroit.  We tried to find Eminem but couldn't.  (kidding)
We found a lovely Italian restaurant for dinner.  Complete with Rhianna music?  They might not have set the mood very well, but man did they make a mean gnocchi.  Also: are those ladies in black not the most beautiful women you've ever seen?
We did some outlet shopping on Monday.  And by "some," I mean we shopped for longer than I've ever shopped in my life.  Beautiful Kate (aren't you jealous of that hair???) contemplated getting these camo-print flats for her wedding reception shoes.  Despite the fact that her fiance is in the Army and currently deployed (but home on mid-tour leave right now!!), she decided to pass.

The Square.  My girls.  I love them.

And here, just to make you giggle: an "old time" photograph we had taken on Mackinac Island during our first Square trip.  We. look. ridiculous!