Thursday, November 1, 2012

Vons Trip- Spent $27.54, Saved $35.93

Welp! I think breakfasts for November are taken care of! Here's today's trip to Vons:

I scooped up 4 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, 4 boxes of Nutrigrain bars, 4 boxes of Nature Valley Granola Bars, 2 boxes of Jingos crackers, 32oz Lucerne Coffee Creamer, and Organic Whole Milk for the boy....

All for $27.54. I saved $35.93 which is 57%

Go HERE to get all the deals and coupon info from Save At Home Mommy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Home Tour

Would you like to see my Halloween decorations? I'm not super into this holiday, but I love the Fall and couldn't resist the opportunity to get the holiday season kicked off....on a budget of course! Everything you see here was done for about $35. So, below are some pics from around my house with references for the materials shown
 This is our mantle from left to right: small faux pumpkins from Target mixed with real pumpkins from Vons; short candle holder under the pumpkin is from Dollar Tree like 3 years ago; the candle holder with extinguisher is vintage and has been in my family's home for as long as I can remember; the Trick-or-Treat signs were made by sending "newspaper-print" wrapping paper (bought in the "dollar" section of Target) through my printer and placed in frames I had lying around; the baskets on the right were $2.50 each from the "dollar" section of Target; and who can forget my fav black crows from Dollar Tree?; Grimm's Fairy Tales was in my library, but you can get it at Barnes and Noble; lace from my stash.     Total spent here: $11

  On our entryway table, I plopped down these cutie patootie owls that I snagged from the Dollar Tree. One is sitting on a candle holder I got from there about 3 years ago. Its counterpart is on the mantle. I also used some stacking coupons at Target to get a Fall-scented candle. They all sit on a owl-shaped placemat my MIL gave me. Free! Holla! Though, she bought them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond if you'd like to get 'em. The placemat lets me feel at ease burning that sage-y candle on top of my antique hutch.    Total spent here: $2.69

Isn't this afghan lovely? My Grandma Jo made it when I was very little and I've held on to it so long that chevron is back again! And in Fall colors? Thanks Grandma!

Here's a close-up of the flower arrangement on my dining room buffet. I already owned the silver vase, birds, and striped napkins so all I had to buy was the flowers and those spider-leg-looking ferns from the Dollar Tree!   Total spent here: $4

Of course, I had to have a centerpiece for my dining room table as well. Here I just threw together some things I already had at the house and plopped a wicker pumpkin ($2.50 in the "dollar" section of Target) on top with one of my little birdie friends from the Dollar Tree.   Total spent here: $3.50

 For whatever reason, I couldn't get a good shot of my new front door wreaths while outside, so here's a pic from just before I hung them. Aren't they sweet? I just used some clearance items from Michael's and a few things from my stash. Total spent here: $15

And just for a giggle, here's some pictures of my little!
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Organizing Kids' Clothes

First, let me say that I am probably the last person to give advice about organization. But, there is one area of my house that I am proud to say is always in good shape. Shockingly, it's in my son's dresser!

Ever go to get your little one dressed and spend 10 minutes shuffling through a messy drawer only to have your kiddo walk out in a crazy, mixed up outfit that barely fits? I got fed up with it, and had to put us out of our misery! Here's my tips for getting your kid's drawers looking like this:
 1. Take out all the clothes that don't fit, aren't season appropriate, or otherwise aren't going to be worn on a regular basis. This will immediately cut down on drawer clutter. Duh!
2. Sort clothes into outfits as they come out of the dryer, and clip the pieces together with wooden clothespins. You can mix up the pieces into different outfits if you want variety.
3. Lift up any outfits that didn't get worn between wash cycles, and slip the freshly clipped-together outfits under them. This will keep the clothes evenly worn.

When it's time to get dressed, you can grab an outfit without shuffling a thing! The clothespins get dumped into the diaper bin that sits on top of the dresser (or get a cute pail from Target) where they await the next laundry day.

We've been using this system for a few months and it has been sooooo easy to keep up. My boy's drawers took like this 99% of the time with zero extra effort, and Daddy no longer dresses him like a crazy person! Hope this helps!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pretend Play for Boys!

Since the Halloween season is upon us, it's time to think about Christmas! What?

Ok, I have a 2 year old boy. I want him to dress up and practice pretending. It's good for the imagination, right? Well, if you have girls, it's not hard to find pretend play items. Tiaras, mom's old dresses, and a few Goodwill fans can be found year-round. But if, like me, you have sons, you have one time of year to find a good selection of pretend play items- Halloween! Check out what I found at the Dollar Tree today:

That's 1 pirate costume (hat, eyepatch, and hook), 1 fireman costume (helmet and vest), 1 soldier costume (camo vest, helmet, and playset with walkie talkie, etc.), 1 knight costume (breastplate, sword, and shield), and a construction vest. I paid just $10 for all that!

Plus, for his birthday, his auntie gave him a bunch of play food (so I am looking for a small chef's hat) and a doctor bag which is his current obsession. Paging Dr. Cutiepants. Dr. Cutiepants, please come to the ER.

Sorry for the blurry pic. The kid hardly stands still.

I am also on the lookout for a construction helmet and a cowboy outfit. I saw some superhero capes in the party favor section at Target last week, didn't get them, and now they're sold out.  Arg! I'm sure they'll be back soon. She says hopefully.

I can't wait to stock all these cool dress-up clothes in my little guy's TARDIS that I am building to house toys in his "big boy" room that we're planning to unveil for Christmas. So, obviously, more posts to come on that!

If you have a boy, I'd love some comments on wear/what to get for dress-up stuff!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vote for Me! Please Help!

Ok, so if you haven't already heard about Vintage Revivals, yet, where have you been?!?!
There's this gal, Mandi, who does amazing Epic Room Makeovers.....and I wanna win one!!!!
All I need is a mess of people to vote for me!
Watch this funny video then scroll down for more pictures!!!

Here's why we need this:

1. Popcorn ceiling with 70's recessed lighting.

2. Mystery stain! Ew.

3. Ghetto-rigged curtain sitch-y-ation.

4. No headboard, and that's just stupid.

5. Dated, too-short bedside tables.

6. Black moulding. I'm talking black baseboards, people.

7. We have a tiny little bathroom that also needs some Mandiliciousness. It's all functional, it just needs some lovin'. I've already taken the hideous Moulin Rouge wallpaper border off so it's pretty much half done! Right?

8. There's virtually nothing on the walls. No mirrors, no pictures, no decor except hand-me downs and an alarm clock that we still can't work after 8 years of marriage.

9. Mismatched doors.

10. It's U-G-L-Y, and it ain't got no alibi!

Why hasn't it been done yet?
1. Ever try a remodel project with a feral 2 year old running around?

2. After buying this house, we sunk what little decor budget we had into replacing all the stuff the previous owners "liberated"- i.e. ceiling fans, light fixtures, fireplace mantle, the back door, etc. We had to repaint the front of the house since it was a lovely shade of "Buffalo Pee". There were also a lot of 1/2-done projects that had to be finished like "framing doors" and "changing locks". Hey, how do you type air quotes? Then we got pregnant and had said feral child. So...ya, he's kept us pretty busy. ;)

Have I convinced you yet? Please help by voting for me! Visit Vintage Revivals now!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

This week I spent $100 on groceries for a over 60 meals!!!!

Welcome! If you are new to Dahoney Designs, let me start by saying....I am no pro-blogger, or pro-photog, or pro-couponer. I am simply a SAHM who likes to share my resources with my friends and family. I post because I am asked to, so please forgive my lack of know how. That being said, I hope you'll find that I save a lot of money and time by using the tricks I write about and I hope you will benefit from being here with us.

So, let's get to the good stuff!! Now since, like a lame-o, I went shopping on the last day of a sale cycle, many of the deals I snagged are no longer good. So, I won't bore you with all the details, just the high points and stuff that you can look out for on your own, mkay? I highly recommend that you follow for all the best deals around!!!

I'll say it again....This week I spent $100 on groceries and I came home and made up over 60 meals!!!! Oh, and I did this in about 2 hours while my 22-month-old kiddo slept! Not too shabby!

Here's where the money went:

  • $8.62 (after $4 catalina back) at Albertsons. You can see that trip over at Save At Home Mommy here.
  • $22.71 at SaveMart. They are selling boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.59/lb on Tuesdays!!! And, they had some Lamb on sale that needed to be cooked or frozen within the next 2 days, so I snagged that up. Yes I did.
  • $53.33 at Winco. I like to use Winco for anything I don't have a coupon or "deal" for. FoodsCo is also a great choice, but Winco has bulk bins with healthy ingredients and they carry a greater non-processed food selection. 
  • $13.66 at Smart & Final. $0.25 for a can of Hunts Tomato Sauce. Don't mind if I do!!!

Total $98.32 + the soda I bought to keep me going (DaHubby calls this "the cost of doing business")
= $100 for everything pictured above. These deals were achieved by following I used some coupons, but mostly looked for great deals and took full advantage of them.

Now, you'll notice if you look carefully, that there are things that aren't going into my freezer meals. For instance, I do no intend to eat paper towels or garbage bags and coffee, tofu noodles, and Pringles don't fair so well in a crockpot. Well, maybe coffee. I haven't tried that. ...Hmmm.... Anyhoo! I'm not deducting the cost of these items because I want to be fair to my readers. I do pull items from my stockpile to create these meals. I count things like milk, some spices, flour, etc. as staples that you should have on hand. But, if you're new at this sort of thing, I don't want you to be discouraged that you can't really make this happen for $100. Call it my budget-padding grace to you. ;)

Here's where the food went/is going:

  • 16 Freezer Burritos from Save At Home Mommy, recipe here. (Please note that I buy rice and beans at stockup prices in like mega-quantities so I already had these on hand. Do yourself a favor and do the same, cuz once you try these burritos, you'll be making them all the time. I recommend buying them at Smart & Final or FoodsCo. I've figured this out several times, and the price per burrito is usually about $0.50 each!!! I serve them with fresh fruits and veggies.)
  • 4 (4 serving) bags of Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole from Money Saving Mom, recipe here. (She has a great series on Freezer Cooking that can be done over the course of 4 weeks that I loooo-ooove!!)
  • 1 (8 serving) bag of BBQ Chicken for Pulled Chicken sandwiches from Eating Well, recipe here.  (You won't see this in the picture because it was already in the slow-cooker!! I will be splitting this with another family and we'll still have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.)
  • 1 (4 serving) bags of Chicken n' Cherries from Mama And Baby Love, buy her Ebook here.
  • 2 (4 serving) bags of Healthy Mama BBQ Chicken from Mama and Baby Love, seriously it's worth the few bucks to get her Ebook!!!
  • 2 (4 serving) bags of Morrocan Lamb from Mama and Baby Love, ok, please just visit her darling site here
  • Smoothies- not pictured, but our favorites include Green Monster found here and the super charged Coffee Protein Shake found here
  • Sandwiches- you saw bread, one is frozen, the other is in the process of being used with the meat and cheese you see in the "grocery" picture above. My little monster loves his "butter-sanich" too, aka Peanut Butter, which is always in the stockpile.
  • Extras- I always have things like oatmeal, pancake mix, eggs, etc. on hand, and occasionally, I'll whip up some homemade protein bars from here. (So good! It's like cake!)
60 meals plus the sandwiches, smoothies, and extras made from stuff on hand and the fruits, etc in the picture up top!!!!! Since each bag contains 4 servings and most of these meals go into the slow cooker, my life is going to be pretty easy in August... well, in the kitchen, it will be easy. There's no telling what kind of other crap is gonna pop up. ;) Each night, when I dish up dinner, I put a serving on each plate for Dahubby and I, and 2 more servings into individual tupperware for lunch tomorrow. I pull out a smoothie and let it defrost in the fridge overnight. So, in the morning, all Dahubs has to do is grab his smoothie, his tupperware of lunch, and some apples, carrots, almonds, etc for snacks!! Easy. Peasy. 

Since I do this on a regular basis, I'll be adding these meals to a few I've already got in the freezer. That guessed it! I don't have to cook for the rest of the month!!!!! If you weren't motivated before, I think you might be now. Plus, I have the rest of the month's grocery budget to buy fresh fruits and veggies, milk, and stockpile items for next month. Can you say "snowball effect"?!?

Puh-leeeeaaase make sure that you gather all your recipes before you start. Plan meals and shop according to what you have on hand, what you can get on sale/with a coupon, and then what you need to fill in the gaps. 

Have fun! I hope you get a freezer full of healthy goodness!!! Love, Dahoney

Friday, May 25, 2012

More Freezer Cooking

No, I'm not a crazy person. Yes, I do like to take advantage of awesome sales.

Since today is the last day of the Savemart sale on boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($1.49/lb), I gave myself one more push to grab it and freeze it up. Today, I bought about 13lbs (2 package limit), and they had some pork chops reduced on clearance so I grabbed those too. Then, I popped by Winco to grab some canned goods and fresh stuff. I realize that to do this up super healthy, I should use organic, etc, but I'm a busy mom, and these are my baby steps. So phfffttt!!

Here is the before (not all produce is shown, sorry)....

And here is the after.....

It took me less than an hour, and here are the recipes I used...

Savory Chicken
Greek Chicken
Pork Chops with Yams and Apples
Clean Eating Slow Cooker Southwestern 2 Bean Chicken Chili

I hope you get a chance to get to Savemart today! Have a great holiday weekend!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Freezer Cooking and All that Jazz!

I love to cook, but it's not the culinary affair it once was. If I try to make dinner before the baby's in bed, I have to accept that all the potholders, 7,000 straws, and a few tupperware lids will be strewn about the kitchen floor, not to mention that my giant of a 19-month-old is tall enough to reach the water dispenser in the door of the fridge. Oh joy, a puddle. So, please don't imagine me in heels and pearls, and please don't judge me if you sometime find a dried up macaroni noodle or an onion skin stuck to your foot after walking in my kitchen.
Now, being a couponer, I've found many ways to cut the cost of my meals, and even make them more convenient by doing freezer meals and using the crockpot. Lately, I've really been focusing on "clean" eating, meaning that all our carbs are coming from plants sources like oats, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. I'm big-time upping the produce intake and virtually eliminating processed foods like breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, etc.. Sounds impossible to do on a budget with a baby underfoot, right?
Not. At. All.
It's all in the research, people. Pinterest has been a great source for me to find recipes that fit in with our eating guidelines. These are the recipes that we've tried so far and liked:
(Psst! They are all made in the crockpot! That's right, just dump it in the day of!)

Chicken Curry
BBQ Chicken
Chicken Fajitas
Savory Chicken
Teriyaki Chicken
And one non-crockpot, but still convenient....
Ground Meat Mexican Style (I make this with lean ground turkey and serve it with black beans and salad greens, but it's also great in burritos!)

It's important to note that it's YOUR family, so do make what you like, keep track of what wasn't a hit, and sub ingredients in/out as you desire. For instance, I don't care for using canned tomatoes (personal paranoia about BPA), so I chop up fresh ones. If something calls for chicken broth, you can totally use Organic, Low-sodium Chicken Broth, right? Absolutely! Duh!

So what does this look like in reality? Well, this Friday/Saturday I went shopping:

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, $1.49/lb, 3lbs or more,
limit 2 packages, every Fridays only thru May 29th
Bought 8.74lbs
Paid $13.01

Veggies- $13.47 (made a list from this week's recipes, minus what I had on hand)
Used $3/$10 produce coupon loaded to my Vons Card from's Just for U program
Paid $10.47

Total $23.47 (I already had a can of low-sodium chicken broth, onions, carrots, and the spices in my kitchen)

What it looks like to start (not all veggies present, sorry):

What it looks like 45 minutes later (or 1/2 a nap which is a better time gauge around here):

This week, I made 2 bags of Chicken Curry, 2 bags of Savory Chicken, and 1 bag of Chicken Fajitas (which will be served with either brown rice or salad greens instead of tortillas).

Each bag contains enough food for 4 servings. So, I dump it in the crockpot, serve it up over brown rice, steamed veggies, or sweet potatoes, add in extra veggies or a fruit salad, and I immediately pack the leftovers into containers for the next day's lunch- instant portion control! So what you are seeing above is not just 5 dinners, it's 5 dinners for 2 and 5 lunches for 2- that's 20 servings of food for under $25 bucks! That's just $1.17 per serving! Even if you had very few ingredients on hand, I think this could still be a bargain. AND IT'S HEALTHY! AND IT'S CONVENIENT!

Need I go on? Ok, so pleeeeeaaaaassseee share your wisdom with me. Do you have favorite freezer-friendly recipes that are also "clean" eating? More information about clean eating? I am new to this and trying to make healthy choices for my crew. Please share!

P.S. We have been loving this Green Monster Smoothie for breakfast. It's protein packed and delicious. I make several batches, pouring them into freezer bags that are propped up inside large cups. I freeze them flat and put the bags in the fridge at night. The next morning, I give them a good squish and pour it into a cup! Grab the cup, throw the pre-packed leftovers for lunch, an apple, and some almonds all into a lunch bag- BAM! I have just effortlessly packed Dahubby a healthy day's worth of food!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Today's Shopping- Spent $28.73, Saved $65.97, 70% savings!

So here's the breakdowns:

CVS- Spent $2.83, Saved $25.46= 90% savings

Transaction 1 ($2.11 Out Of Pocket)

(3) Suave Invisible Solid 1.4oz $1.00

Use 3 $0.75/1 Suave Deodorant Product, excludes trial size, from RP 3/18 (exp 4/15)= $0.25 each

(2) Carefree Pantyliners- $1 each

Used 2 $1/1 Carefree Item from SS 3/18 = FREE

(1) Honey Bunches of Oats cup- $1

Used Free Coupon from CVS Coupon Machine = FREE

Transaction 2 ($4 - $4 ECBs earned from completing Suave deal= $0.72 in tax Out Of Pocket)

(2) Mitchum $1.99, use $1/1 fm SS 3/18= Pay $2 for both

(2) Got 2 Be Frizz Serum $3.99, use 2 $3/1 fm RP 2/12= Pay $2 for both

Vons- Spent $9.00, Saved $22.61= 72% savings

(2) Lucerne Chunk Cheese, 32oz- $5.00- this deal is only good today so run!!!

Use $2.00/$10.00 purchase coupon from HERE

Final Price= $4.00 each when you buy 2

(like paying $2.00/lb)

(1) Pizza Dough (deli section)- $1

(6) Farmer John Sausage Links, 8oz- $1.00

Use $1.00/1 from 3/18 SS

Final Price= FREE

Albertsons- spent $16.90, Saved $17.90 = 53% savings

(1) Diet Pepsi, 24pk- $4.99

limit 4

like paying $2.50 for a 12pk

(10) Pepperidge Farm Bag Goldfish, 6.6-8oz- $1.00 after discount

DIY Tutorial- long-sleeve turtleneck to 3/4 boatneck

I love to get cheap tops at Target. Why? Because they always have clothes that get marked down to the $3-$4 range, and then they issue $2-$3 coupons that can be applied to those sale prices resulting in free (or nearly so) clothes. The problem is, they are often out-of-season items. What do I do if I need something new that I can wear right away? Remake it, of course!

So, here’s a quick DIY Tutoiral on how to remake a slong-sleeve turtleneck into a boat-neck, 3/4 sleeve tee. Note: I am an amateur seamstress. There are, no doubt, a thousand things wrong with this tutorial. I’m just showing you what I did, mkay?

Here’s my turtleneck that I got at Target for $0.60 after clearance sale and coupon were applied. No bueno.

First, I laid out the shirt, inside out. Then I used safety pins to mark where I want the neck and sleeves to be when I’m finished. I chose to measure up the shoulder seam about 2” so that my bra straps won’t show. You can use straight pins or chalk, but I didn't want to wake the baby sleeping in my craft room to get those so...necessity and invention and all...

Then I hacked off the excess sleeve material.

I used the first sleeve to double measure the 2nd. Don’t want lopsided arms, now do we. I lucked out to be using a striped shirt- it really made it easy to get everything straight and tidy.

I also hacked off the turtleneck as close to the seam as possible. That gave me extra fabric to play with when making my new neckline.

Once, the turtleneck was gone, I cut along the seam to reach my pin. This opened up the neckline even more. Hello collarbone!

Then I pinned up the sleeves, using my stripes to keep things perfectly symetrical from sleeve-to-sleeve as well as straight all the way around the arm. If your shirt doesn’t have stripes, a ruler or an object 1/2” or so wide will help you out a lot.

Then, I pinned open the neckline. To get a boatneck instead of a scoop, you can really just pin all the way open and keep a straight line across the neck. This will vary in appearance depending on how wide you want the neck and how much material you left when you hacked it up. Just pin until you’re happy with it!

Ok, that took you like 5 minutes? Let’s get to sewing! This will be the most time consuming part if you’re like me and have a arch-nemesis situation with your bobbin. Once I got myself set up, I sewed close to the fold in the fabric to get it all secured in place. Try not to stretch the fabric or you’ll end up with little ruffly parts.

Then, I went back and sewed again about 1/8” farther from the fold then my first stitch-up. Do you like all the super technical terms I’m using? Then I did the sleeves. This can get tricky since the sleeve holes are smaller. Don’t sew over the other side of your sleeve or your hand will get stuck inside and that’s not cute.

Lastly, I cut off any bits of extra fabric. Nothing says “hey I made this myself and I’m not that good at it yet” like hunks of extra fabric and string hanging out.

Then, I admired my work and decided that while the pictures are less than stellar, you might get the general idea and try this yourself. Oh, and my hands are so much like my mom’s that these pictures almost got me teary-like.

I hope you have fun recreating your Target Turtlenecks!! Here's one more pic for good measure- a little less Mortisha-ish. ;)