Crazy Ad Week

I’ve been online, waiting for the new ads to go live, but it seems everyone is in a turkey coma and giving new grocery ads a pass.  I can’t blame them, I’m pretty damn full myself, and not very sprightly.

I might never be sprightly, actually, but I’m certainly not after a double helping of stuffing. Sprightly people eat sprouts and lemon zest, I’m pretty sure, not potatoes of all sorts and turkey two ways and stuffing of the cornbread and otherwise kind, with gravy. Gravy is important, and might be the opposite of sprightly.

When the stores get themselves up, I’ll post ads. At this point, I’m not certain if they’ll wait until next Wednesday, or get them up tomorrow. Or, if it’s Randalls, post some nonsense that’ll be good for 18 hours over the weekend.  I think the Black Friday invention has even grocery stores bracing and not worrying about ads as much as not being the store on the news for people getting trampled.

I implore you all: Do Not Get Trampled For $10 Off A Thing.


Happy Ad Wednesday!

Turns out Sprouts, and HEB and CM just went ahead and made an ad that went from last Wednesday to Thanksgiving! So, this week is the same for them. But not Randalls or Fiesta, they’ve got their own nonsense going on.

I’m noting Fiesta below, but as usual, Randalls is loitering around the front of the store, muttering as you go by, saying things like, “Think you got a turkey yet? That’s not a turkey,” and ” You don’t think you’re getting past this weekend with a few more boxes of crackers, do you?”

Every other store has an ad that started last Wednesday and goes until Thursday. Randalls has that. Of course they have that, they’re not going to not follow along! But they  supplemented it by also having an ad that’s just for the 23rd to the 27th.  So two days ago there was surprise ad, and I didn’t know. It’s nearly entirely the same, but next year, I’ll be ready for this weird calendar situation, in the meantime, I’ll list what I’ve got and anything new I noticed.

CM: get those apples! HEB: get sweet potatoes and green beans.


Granny Smith apples                               48c/lb (DD)

yellow onions                                            48c/lb (C15)

celery, cucumbers, green bell peppers    48c/lb  (DD)

organic celery                                          98c/ea (DD)

Imagine organic broth, 32oz box             $1.50/ea

french vanilla almond granola                   $1.99/lb

BSCB                                                         $1.88/lb

pineapples                                                $1.98/ea (C15)


What the hell, Fiesta??? I don’t even know what this means. Maybe it’s traditional for them? Maybe there’s a fiesta at Fiesta, and they don’t have time for fussy things like listing ads on a weekly basis?  I do think the kicky font they chose is indicative of a less than fully dedicated weekly ad staff, and I worry they raided the jewelry counter, ordered a bunch of corn cups at the truck outside and made for the hills.

I may read too much into fonts, for someone using the font that was the default that went with this blog template.


russet potatoes                                                      $5/15 lbs (DD)

Blue Bell half gallons, selected varieties            $3.99/ea

Central Market:

organic gala or fuji apples                                            99c/lb  (DD)


boston butt pork roast, bone-in                             $1.47/lb (whole in bag, limit 2)

Smithfield Premium shank portion ham                 $1.57/lb

sweet potatoes                                                         20c/lb  (C15)

green beans                                                              67c/lb.

All the ads being the same means the same turkey deals from last week hold. Also worth noting:

Central Market has fresh free-range turkey for $2.69/lb, non-gmo natural fresh turkey for $2.99/lb, and free range organic turkey for $3.99/lb.

Cranberries freeze well just as they are in the bag. They’re the indestructible fruit. They don’t have to just be cranberry sauce with turkey, they’re also good with pork loin, and cooked down and put on cream cheese for a simple spread, so having a few in the freezer is a handy thing.

Happy Thanksgiving, be well, and Cheep Cheep!

Cheepie Is Out and About

Cheepie is late on this week’s meal planning post.

This is due to the reasons you most likely suspected, which is this week’s meal plan is completely focused on Turkey Day, and cares for all the other days very little, indeed. A vacation week and family time is hopefully just what I need to reset and get back on the Family Dinner wagon.

I’ll still get the ad post up for this week, as usual.  Keep in mind that shopping for groceries on Wednesday is like heading to Daytona for Spring Break.  You need to be mentally prepared for the crowds, and a drink will help it all go more smoothly.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, with a giant meal shared by many people being one of my favorite ways to spend time. I love shopping for the food, making three kinds of cranberry sauce, making sandwiches with leftovers, and googling yet another turkey tetrazzini recipe because I forgot which one I made last time.

Here are two quotes from someone who saw the fun in family life: Erma Bombeck.

What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?
~ “No One Diets on Thanksgiving,” 26 November 1981

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare.  They are consumed in twelve minutes.  Half-times take twelve minutes.  This is not coincidence.

Erma was a wise one.  If you haven’t read any of her collections, this week might be a good time to give one a try, especially if you find forced family togetherness trying!

Have a great holiday, Cheepsters, and check in for the ad post on Wednesday. Cheep Cheep!

This Week’s Dinners, Week 5

I dread and love this post. I get to recap goals I set just a few days ago. It’s a chance to  evaluate how I’m doing on things that are important to me.

Let’s be happy you’re not on the list of things that are unimportant to me.

This week, I did somewhat follow the plan, but the nature of life with kids of varying ages and two adults working odd schedules shows its toll this week, with a lot of low scoring meals.

The goal:

  • Mon:  chicken fried rice, egg drop soup, steamed spinach, carrots and ranch, apples
  • Tue:  leftover ziti, caesar salad, celery and carrot sticks, cuties
  • Wed: baked fish, potatoes, peas, salad
  • Thur: Taco Thursday! quesadillas, beans, lettuce/tomato/cheese/sour cream, berries
  • Fri: potato soup, homemade bread, fruit & veg

The actual:

  • Mon:  chicken fried rice, egg drop soup, steamed spinach, pomegranate seeds. two kids ate sandwiches instead. Score: 1.5. -0.5 for sandwiches and no deduction for DH not showing because he didn’t feel well.  That is beyond Cheepie’s control, especially if he won’t eat vegetables.
  • Tue: leftover ziti, leftover meatballs, caesar salad. caesar with leftover chicken.  We didn’t eat together, but that’s what 4/5 people ate. Score:  1.5 points.
  • Wed: kid event. meant to cook, didn’t, Eldest and DH ate out. Others ate sandwiches and cereal. Score: 0 points.
  • Thur: Nursery supper: fishsticks, apples, carrots, salad. Meeting for adults. Score: 0 points.
  • Fri: Taco Friday! We made tortillas, and had a lot of fixings. All the people home ate this, but not together.  Score: 1 point.

That sums up to a rockin’ 4.0 points! That’s a new low! I’m incredibly bad at this!

I can’t believe I’m not improving even when I plan to be awful. I thought this weeks plan accommodated our activities, and it didn’t. I also thought it would work when I wasn’t there, and that didn’t happen.

This is an Internet Accountability Plan. What do you think I could do differently? Do you think my ‘meat, veg, raw veg, fruit, grain’ plan is not something I can do on a daily basis?  At this point I’ve learned I need to work with our actual life better when planning meals, but I’m not sure how to do that, and have us all at the table.  Having us all there is really not happening at all, despite our 7pm dinner time. DH isn’t home then, often, and Eldest has other priorities. Do I pull rank? I’m considering. We’ll see how the next month goes.

Cheep Cheep!

Happy Ad Wednesday

Here we are again! It’s another Wednesday, and another Wednesday closer to Thanksgiving, so lots of holiday staples are up for grabs.

Usually, I try to list only the very cheapest price point for an item. In the interest of saving us all gas and multiple trips, if prices are close on items for the next two weeks, I’ll be listing them.  We’re all trying to make our grocery dollar work as much as it can, and pennies on a can of pumpkin is not worth driving from store to store. If it is, to you? Get in touch, I feel like we have things in common!

Many of us are in stores more often this time of year, and many of us are spending more on food. I want you to pull up a Happy Ad Wednesday post and know that if you’re stopping to pick up milk, you can quickly check to see if there’s anything else in that store you want to grab, since you’re there anyway.

I want you to know when you walk into a store what they’ve got at the best discount that week, so you can make a choice about purchasing or stocking up. That’s the goal.

Notes: Pork is on sale again at HEB and Fiesta. The HEB boston butt is the milder, paler cut, and is what most people think of when they want to smoke a pork roast, or toss one in the crockpot. So if you want to stock up, hit HEB, that’s as low as it gets.

BLUE BELL! This is  the price I stock the freezer. I will likely buy a dozen, and it will last for about 4-5 months, if my husband doesn’t find it all (thank you pork butts, for hiding the ice cream in the deep freeze!).  Very occasionally over the past two years, Blue Bell is 2/$7, but I find the $3.99 price well worth stocking up at. Fiesta is ‘all rims’, which means all types, and Randalls is ‘selected varieties’, so some might be ruled out, though in the past I’ve never seen that come into play.

Happy Shopping Cheepsters!


boston butt pork roast, bone-in                             $1.47/lb (whole in bag, limit 2)

Smithfield Premium shank portion ham                 $1.57/lb

sweet potatoes                                                         20c/lb  (C15)

green beans                                                              67c/lb


8″ apple or pumpkin pies                                              $2.99/ea

granny smith apples                                                      48c/lb (DD)

avocados                                                                       48c/ea (C15)

celery, cucumber, green peppers                                48c/ea (DD)

pineapples                                                               $1.98/ea (C15)

BSCB                                                                        $1.88/lb

organic celery                                                              98c/ea (DD)

ending today:

blackberries, 5.6 oz.                                                         98c/ea

cranberries, 12 oz.                                                            98c/ea

acorn, butternut or spaghetti squash                                50c/lb

boneless skinless chicken thighs                                    $1.99/lb

bulk long or short grain brown rice                                       69c/lb

organic carrots, 5lb sack                                                    $2.98/ea


Blue Bell half gallons, all rims                              $3.99/ea

pork picnic roast                                                  $1.49/lb (Fiesta limit)

red or golden delicious apples                              69c/lb (DD)

large avocados                                                      97c/ea (C15)

BSCB                                                                   $1.88/lb (Fiesta limit)


Blue Bell selected varieties                                      $3.99/ea

$5 Friday ONLY:   family size cheese pizza

$5 gets you a large pizza that will feed 3-6 kids and let you slap a movie in for them, while you catch up on Scandal (where IS my white hat?).

Central Market:

organic gala or fuji apples                                            99c/lb  (DD)


HEB: They still have the ‘Buy a 4.5lb HEB ham, get a 12lb Riverside turkey free’.  The free amount can also be put toward the purchase of a a larger turkey. I reiterate the statement from last week that the small hams are hard to find, as well as the turkeys close to the free weight. If you find differently, please let Cheepie know! I’d love to be more confident about sending people out for this deal.

Fiesta:  Jenni-O frozen Grade-A Turkeys 10-16lbs. average, 43c/lb. Limit one with $25 additional purchase. Additional purchases are $1.23/lb.

Randalls: Safeway or Honeysuckle Turkey, Grade A, frozen, 8-24lbs. 59c/lb with an additional $50 purchase, FREE with a $150 additional purchase.  Butterball frozen turkey, 10-28lb, $1.29/lb., limit 1 w/$50 purchase. Fresh Honeysuckle turkey, 10-24lb, $1.29/lb., limit 1.

Strange Holiday Aside:

Fiesta has ‘Traditional Panettone Bread, 24oz.’, NOT in a box. I might buy this just to see what it is, since I’ve never wanted to either bake it, or eat cake that’s been in a box for a while, where that ‘while’ might be ‘back when Chef Boyardee somehow invented Italian food’.

Clearance Racks, How Do They Work?

I love checking the clearance racks. Such an assortment of old holiday items, discontinued things, and things that simply should not have been for sale in the first place.

The trick is knowing where to look for them. I’ve often been standing at one, and someone walking by sees me looking, and then stops to look themselves. It’s like when you see someone looking up, you check to see what they’re looking at, too, just in case they’re watching a big rock fall on you and aren’t the kind of person to shove you out of the way and then take you out for a drink.  Instead of a rock, though, it’s grocery deals!

Clearance shelves are often in places you don’t look, because they’re right along employee entrances, or tucked in a back corner that isn’t your usual shopping area. The Randalls on Ben White has theirs in a little hallway behind the ice cream cake case. What? You didn’t know that Randalls has an ice cream cake case? I rest my case.

So, here’s a list of clearance racks I know the location of, and a couple harvested from the Cheepie facebook page. If you have some to share, please comment. I’m hoping to make a whole page devoted to the locations of clearance racks.

And again, if you’re not following me on twitter you miss things like when I found all the Nyquill on 50% off on a clearance rack. So follow–I am no good at twitter, but still manage to amuse enough for eight bots to follow, along with about six real people!

Randalls (Ben White): racks in right rear corner. meat clearance, right side of meat case. dairy clearance, at the end of the cheese/juice/yogurt aisle.

Sprouts (S. Lamar): rack in middle of back wall, near an employee entrance door. Day old bread cart is usually in front of deli case.

Sprouts (Manchaca): racks in left rear corner.

HEB (Oltorf/Congress): cart toward the front near the magazines at one end of the checkers

HEB (Slaughter/Manchaca): corner between diapers and yogurt. This one cracked me up just to type, and I might swing by to check it out tomorrow, just to take a photo.

HEB (Slaughter/Escarpment): look for carts in the frozen section.

Thanks to the Facebook readers Janet, Janell and Debbie for the tips on locations I didn’t know about!  If you know one, add it in the comments, and I’m going to make a page for us all to check on if we’re looking for some interesting deals.

Sunday Night Goal Post

After last week’s larger fail than usual, my plan this week will be very straightforward.  I’ll continue awarding one point for sticking with the plan, and one point for everyone showing up, with half points assigned if I think it was at least half-worthy.

This week I’m using boneless skinless chicken breasts (from now on: bscb) frozen from last week’s sale, berries, carrots (also last week), tomatoes, and apples that I bought on sale.  The rice was also a sale item, but I’m not sure which week, but I know that I always buy rice on sale.

Here’s the game plan:

  • Mon:  chicken fried rice, egg drop soup, steamed spinach, carrots and ranch, apples
  • Tue:  leftover ziti, caesar salad, celery and carrot sticks, cuties
  • Wed: baked fish, potatoes, peas, salad
  • Thur: Taco Thursday! quesadillas, beans, lettuce/tomato/cheese/sour cream, berries
  • Fri: potato soup, homemade bread, fruit & veg

Because of kid activities and meetings, I shifted Taco Tuesday, and Prince Spaghetti Day (not sure what I’m talking about? Here ya go). This is part of my be-honest-about-what-you-can-get-done enterprise. I’m feeling confident this week can work.

I’m going to write a full Grocery Theory post  later in the week, but I’d like to make a quick note about desserts and snacks. I think a lot of people lose a chunk of their grocery budget to these items, with both nutrition and frugality taking a backseat, as I’ve posted about before (remember that post where I linked the music video? and wrote a lot more about popcorn than you thought anyone really could?). Last week was a poor showing, and I think part of it was I had focused on getting meals, not just dinner but all of them, as we all do, squared away, and I forgot about having snacks and dessert on hand.

Sometimes I need to follow my own advice better! Cheep Cheep!

This Weeks Dinners, Week 4

Looking back, I see the error of my ways. This week’s plan was a very pretty week, and I feel like I need to make sure my meal plan is pretty, and will be up to snuff for friends and strangers reading it.

In reality, I was pretty sure my week would look nothing like this list. I did try to take things into account–I knew Tuesday would kick my ass, so planned for a crockpot meal, Thursday I made a guess at a birthday meal for Tiny.  But with DH’s new work schedule, four (!) sleepovers, and a movie night party at the house, this was likely the worst score yet. Let’s see the box score!

Here’s the Goal Post:

  • Mon: chicken korma, rice, stir fry broccoli and carrots, raspberries
  • Tue: crockpot beef stew, green salad, peas, cuties
  • Wed:  grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and leftovers
  • Thur:  salmon, angel hair pasta, caesar salad, pears
  • Fri:  Backyard Movie Night! Popcorn and S’mores for all!

And the Actual:

  • Mon:  spontaneous date night, kids ate at home. Score: 0 points.
  • Tue: kids: grilled cheese, carrot sticks, cuties, apples. adults: grilled ham and cheese and soup. 5 people, in shifts. Score: 0.5 points.
  • Wed: crockpot beef stew. 4 people. various times. Score: 0.5 points
  • Thur: P Terry’s, at request of the birthday kid. 6pm. 4 people. Score: 1 point.
  • Fri: Backyard movie night! 6pm. 5 people + guests. Score: 2 points.

I’m giving myself leniency here, and I’m still only at 4 points! Even if the meal wasn’t correct for that day, I gave myself a half point for Wednesday, because it was in the week, and everyone home that night ate some.

Tuesday was a throwback to something I did a lot when the kids were younger. My husband works late, and usually gets home somewhere from 7-9pm. So I’d do ‘nursery supper’, which was feeding the kids earlier, and eating with him when he got home–usually in front of the tv. I gave myself a half point for all of us eating at home, if separately.

I don’t regret doing this, because it was necessary given our schedules. Well, maybe not the tv part. That might not have been strictly necessary, though we did bond a lot over My Name is Earl  (Stay rad, Crab Man!).  I do think that early pattern is playing part in how difficult it is to get everyone to the table at 7pm on a regular basis.  Getting this new routine in place hasn’t happened yet, but I am still hopeful!

The spontaneous date night was funny, because I actually brought up that I would have to give myself zero points for the day. Husband said, ” Okay, no points for you!”, and grabbed his coat. The lure of quiet, calm talk and deep fried things won over the Internet Accountability Plan. I love my Cheepsters, but I don’t turn down fried jalepenos very often.

So this is a step backward, here at the end of Month 1. That’ll happen. It was a week with three home-cooked meals, four if you were a kid living here, and that’s better than some weeks we’ve had her at Rancho del Cheepie. Still a solid fail, but it was a fail ending in style–that movie night rocked!

Lessons from this week: be more honest about what the week holds.

Week 4

  • Score: 4.0 /10
  • Plan followed?: 2.5/5 (half-point for the crockpot meal on wrong day, full points Thur/Fri)
  • Effort?: tiresome. 75%.

Tomorrow the new weekly plan will be up. Cheep Cheep!

Stupid Randalls!

Belated Randalls update (I can’t ‘t believe I’m giving them a post of their own after having me refresh for a half-hour last night!):

Sanderson Farms whole fresh chickens                 99c/lb
Honeysuckle or Safeway whole frozen turkeys      59c/lb (w/ $50 purchase, limit one)
Fall bouquet                                                           $5 Friday
Tyson twin-pack Cornish Game Hens                    $5 Friday

Seems like a good chance to cook tiny chickens, if you’d been wanting to give that a go. You could give them to the kids to cook, like small practice turkeys.

They’ve got a lot of produce on sale, but none of it is priced well enough to list here, as is common with Randalls. I’ll be getting a turkey (stocking up on tp, dairy, and personal care items to get to the $50 for the purchase) for the freezer, but other than that there’s not much this week.

Happy Ad Wednesday!

Berries! I’ve managed to stock up on berries often enough recently that there’s a good stockpile for smoothies in the freezer. Of course, my kids are now freezing due to the polar vortex.  This week is another good chance, with berries on sale at Sprouts and HEB.  These are especially easy to store, just pop in a freezer bag and get as much air out as you can. They’ll be ready to use in a smoothie or cobbler just like a sack of frozen berries from the store.

Or your 7yo can thaw and smoosh them, and eat them with her hands. No? Just me, again? Okay.

Also this week, HEB has those pork picnics I described in last week’s ad post, a bit cheaper, with a limit of two.  If you’re thinking about that purchase, please check out my advice on this particular cut of meat here.

But don’t get mixed up and think that post is this week’s ad post, just because they look similar. No? Just me, still? Okay. I’m glad you didn’t wander CM looking for kale that one time.

Also! The 5lb sack of organic carrots is on sale again at Sprouts! Maybe this time I’ll make the carrot soup I wanted to make last time.


It’s their turn to be first on the rotation, but they’re just too late getting the new flyer up. A girl can only refresh so long! So I’ll note anything worth a trip tomorrow.


raspberries or blackberries, 6 oz.                      97c/ea

organic gala or honeycrisp apples                  $1.47/lb (DD)

HEB organics celery hearts                              $1.50/ea

pork picnic roast                                                $1.27/lb  (limit 2)

vine tomatoes                                                      97c/lb


blackberries, 5.6 oz.                                                         98c/ea

cranberries, 12 oz.                                                            98c/ea

green and red bell peppers, cucumbers                          50c/ea  (DD)

acorn, butternut or spaghetti squash                                50c/lb

boneless skinless chicken thighs                                    $1.99/lb

bulk long or short grain brown rice                                       69c/lb

organic carrots, 5lb sack                                                    $2.98/ea

ending today:

many apples (not honeycrisp)                                             88c/lb

organic kale                                                                         $1.48/bunch  (DD)


chicken drumsticks, large sack (usually 10lbs or so)          69c/lb (Fiesta limit)

Yukon Gold potatoes, 5lb sack                                           $1.69/ea

A note on Fiesta! If you don’t usually go to one, it’s worth checking out around the holidays if you’ve got any European or Mexican holiday items you wish you could buy.  Not just the boxes of panettone, but British crackers, and all kinds of things show up there. It’s fun to check it all out.

The turkey deals have started. I didn’t really address them last week, but HEB has a good example this week.  They’ve got a free 12lb. turkey with a 4.5lb minimum purchase of an HEB brand ham deal this week. The ham is $4.99/lb, so that’s a minimum of $22.50 on the ham for a free frozen Riverside brand turkey.  I haven’t made an assessment this year yet, but in previous years, serious couponers are on this bargain the second it hits, and anything resembling a small ham disappears fast (yes, there are people vastly more serious about their deal shopping than I am! they have coupons, collect inserts and trade them, and follow folks like the HEB Bargain Hunter.)

I love turkey, and if I”m cooking one it’s going to be bigger than 12lbs.  I’m not going to sneeze at a free turkey, but I find just waiting for Randalls to put a turkey on sale for 69c/lb with a $50 purchase more straightforward than trying to find a small ham, and then find a turkey the right size to be free.  They will credit the cost of 12lbs toward a larger one, so if you’re a ham AND turkey family, you might be able to use this deal.

I’ll keep everyone posted about Turkey Deals as the next six weeks roll, because the deals vary from place to place.