My Blog

My blog has morphed over the years into different things. It is a place to learn about saving money, product reviews, cooking, gardening, and homesteading. It can take you to whatever has my attention at the moment and then back to the day to day. I hope you will learn something here and come back often.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ready to continue?

No, I am not ready to continue yet.  I keep looking at my "deal" emails and I cannot seem to make myself read to the bottom.  I threw my sales papers away without even looking at them.  My coupons lay unopened, uncut, and uncared for.  No, I am not ready to continue with "life" yet.

I will tell you the truth.  I woke up this morning and saw the headlines about the earthquake in Chili.  My first reaction was "God, you are coming soon".  He is trying to warn us to be ready.  Are we listening?  My second thought was "I will get to see Grandmother soon".  One of the last things that I told her was that we will all be in Heaven with her soon.  I believe it. I long for it.

I was supposed to be leaving for Greenville, South Carolina this Wednesday for the FOCUS Children's Conference.  I went last year and had a great time and I learned so much.  This year I cannot bring myself to go.  I am exhausted from all of the driving and riding... about 1200 miles this week.  I have been fighting a sinus infection since the day of the funeral.  I think at this point the infection is winning.  But the main reason I can't go is Mom.  I can't leave her right now.  Even she will admit that she is still numb from the past 2 weeks.  It has not hit her yet but I will be here when it does.  She told me today that she has been having chest pains for over a week now.  It is from the stress.  Stress of losing her beloved Mother, stress of dealing with friends and family, stress of going on and moving forward.

Changing the subject, it is interesting to see the traits that death brings out in people.  Some people must cope in quiet and solitude...I am one of these people.  Some cope by being the life of the party even when it's not party time.  Some cope by not dealing with reality at all. We all cope differently.  The hard part is allowing someone to grieve without judging or taking it personally.

I am still learning to grieve.  I am trying to learn to allow others to grieve as they need to too.  It's harder than you would think.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Down the Road

What a busy life!  You would think that a homeschool Mom would have a quiet, peaceful life...unless of course you are a homeschool Mom!  If you are, you know better!

Last week we had 2 days where my husband was in Chicago.  He got home Thursday and we left Friday afternoon headed to Jackson, TN.  We went to see Lee University's Campus Choir in concert.  They were awesome!  We spent the night in Jackson with our JBQ (Junior Bible Quiz) team and were up early Saturday morning for a long day of quizzing.

This was the last sectional quiz meet of the year.  We will head to districts on March 20.  We had our awards ceremony for the section Saturday afternoon.  Our team came in FIRST!  All 4 of our quizzers were in the top 10.  Josh, my oldest son, came in FIRST in individual points.  He even beat the Advanced league.  I am so proud of him.  He has worked so hard!  The thing that I am most proud of is the Word of God that they have placed in their hearts.  I know it will follow them throughout their lives.

Tonight I am packing to go see my Grandmother tomorrow.  It will be about a 5.5 hour drive.  She now has a blood clot in her leg where they did the hip/leg surgery.  She also now has pneumonia.  I know that she won't be with us much longer but it's ok.  I know where she is going. 

I won't be posting while I am gone.  Hopefully life will get back to normal soon and we can talk about coupons and saving money again.  In the meantime, things of much greater importance have my undivided attention.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I have very intentionally avoided CVS since their recent influx into the Memphis area. I was a little aggravated that they chose to build on every corner opposite Walgreens. I’m not sure why I took this so personally but I did

I have looked over their ads every week but nothing convinced me to go in until they had the BOGO Hellman’s mayonnaise a couple of weeks ago. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back!

Since my first purchase I have ventured into CVS on multiple occasions. This week I find myself going there more than Walgreens. In fact, I MAY have a new favorite store!

I am going to quickly tell you about some of the deals that I got this week. They are awesome! Remember the way to shop at Walgreens and CVS is to buy things that earn you Register Rewards (RR) or Extra Care Bucks (ECB) and then use them on future purchases. Try to make sure that your future purchases will earn RR or ECB’s so you keep “rolling over” your savings.

You will see my previous purchase from CVS on my post “How to Roll Over Your Register Rewards”. Yesterday this is what I got:

Aussie Shampoo $2.99 - $1/1 coupon= $1.99

Cottonelle TP $12.88

2 Purex Detergent Buy one get one $.01 so 2/$6.50 - $1/1 coupon PLUS BOGO coupon from yesterday’s mail means I actually made $1 on this purchase

My total purchase was $21.90 My coupons and ECB’s were $22.49. I MADE $.59 on this transaction AND earned $6 in ECB’s. Now did they pay me?? No. Blake decided that he needed to buy some modeling clay with his money that he got from his Grandparents for Valentine’s day so his transaction was included in mine.

Today I went to CVS again and bought:

Cottonelle TP $5.99

Planters mixed nuts 4 @ $1.37 each (clearance)

Planters DigestiveHealth Nuts 2 @ $1.62 each (clearance)

2 Purex Detergents same as above

1 coke zero (so I could use a $2 off coupon!)

Total price $24.29 Coupons and ECB’s $16 total cost $8.29

The reason that I paid $8?? I found out when I got home that they did not credit my Purex coupon which is $6.50 off. I have called CVS and they said they would make it good if I can get back up there tonight. Lesson learned – Watch everything they key in! Do not let your kids distract you! 

I also earned another $3 ECB on this transaction!

Ok...I walked out to the truck to head back to CVS.  When I opened the door, something fell out.  It was my BOGO coupon for Purex!! I guess I am the one that made a mistake!!

I also forgot to tell you about my great deal from Target.  Remember I told you we are collecting items for missionaries in Mexico that work at an orphanage.  Well, one of the items they needed were flip flops for the kids to wear in the shower areas.  Target had theirs on clearance!! Kids sizes were $.25 and adults were $.70!! Don't bother looking for them at the store in Olive Branch.  I bought 40 pair!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Today's blog is not about coupons or saving money.  It's not about the menu or how to grow a garden.  Today is just a day to talk.

Some of you know that my 92 year old Grandmother fell and broke her hip Saturday night/Sunday morning.  They had to perform two surgeries on her Sunday evening.  The first was to remove and then replace a rod that was in her leg from a break several years ago.  The second surgery was on her hip. We were greatly concerned about her being able to handle the surgery at all..not because of her health but just her age.  Her health, as a matter of fact, is excellent.  She's the only 92 year old I know that takes NO medication!

She did make it through the surgery and has since been in ICU.  They had trouble stabilizing her blood pressure and managing her pain yesterday.  This morning I have found out that they are giving her morphine every 2 hours to manage the pain.  They are trying to reduce the medicine that is keeping her blood pressure stable to see if it will regulate it's self.

I cannot go see her because she is 5 hours away and my son has the flu.  I have no way to leave him here and go on my own.  I would still wonder if I would carry flu germs to her just because I have been the one caring for my son.

Regrets?  No.  I have had a wonderful relationship with my Grandmother.  As a teen we wrote letters back and forth.  As an adult we have spent hours and hours talking and visiting.  As she aged and her memory declined, I spent time with her as much as possible. When the decision was made to place her in nursing home I thought my heart would break but I saw that is was best.   I have visited her there often and so have my children.

I will cherish forever the last time that I saw her.  We took food and had a birthday party for her.  My youngest son was able to go with me.  As was our custom, we had prayer together.  My Aunt asked Grandmother if she would pray for Blake.  Grandmother laid her hand on his head and prayed a prayer of blessing upon him.  This, to me, is priceless.

I know she is not gone yet.  God may still choose to heal her but I am trying to prepare myself if he chooses not to.  I know she will be better off in heaven.  There is no doubt in anyone's mind that that is where she will be. Even now in her semi-conscious state she can be heard praying.  No, I don't doubt where she will be.  I just don't know how to go through this grieving process.  I'm hoping that writing about it will help.  How do you grieve for someone that has meant so much?  How do you let them go?  I'm not sure but I am trying.  I want what's best for her.  She deserves the best!

Monday, February 15, 2010

How To Roll Over Your Register Rewards

How to Roll Over your Register Rewards (Walgreens) or ECB’s (CVS)

I bought several things at CVS for our church missions project. The best deal that I got for me was on Covergirl. I bought 2 pressed powder compacts for $6 each. I used a BOGO coupon plus one $1 off coupon. This made it 2 for $5. This is $5 out of pocket. Next, I got an ECB (extra cash back) of $5. This made both of them free!

I am going to go back to CVS and use my $5 ECB on Aussie hair products ($2.99) and Colgate (2.99). I will pay $1 + tax out of pocket and receive $4 in ECB…so I am basically making $3 on this transaction.

Through this transaction I have received $18 worth of products for $6 + tax out of pocket + I have $4 to roll into my next transaction. If you look at the whole picture I have $18 products for $2.

Did you follow that? It can be kind of confusing until you do it a few times. The thing to remember is that you will pay more out of pocket on your first transaction but you will receive “money” to spend on your next purchase. Once you have your money to roll over you can start really saving!

I found a great post today on Common Sense with Money. She does a MUCH better job at explaining than I do!

Walgreens is a drugstore and general merchandise store that sells health and beauty items, as well as office supplies, toys and grocery items. These are the terms you need to become familiar with when shopping at Walgreens:

• Register Rewards: It’s a coupon for a discount of your next purchase order that prints at check out.

• Monthly Coupon Booklet: This is a small coupon booklet that contains Walgreens store coupons that can generally be found next to the weekly sales circulars.

• Megasaver: It’s a term that denotes items that are on a special sales price for a one month period.

• Instant Value Coupons: or IVCs are Walgreens store coupons that can be found in the monthly coupon booklet or any other coupon booklets available.

• 7 Day Coupons: These are Walgreens store coupons that can be found in the weekly sales circular.

• Fillers: These are small and inexpensive items that are sometimes needed in order to be able to use a register reward on your transaction (read more about how the register treats register rewards below)

How to Get Free Stuff at Walgreens

1) The first way to get free stuff at Walgreens is by taking advantage of Register Rewards promotions. These register rewards usually require you to buy items, pay for the item and at checkout a coupon (register reward) prints that allows you to save on your next shopping transaction.

Register Rewards Facts:

• You CAN use manufacturer coupons when taking advantage of register rewards promotions. The use of manufacturer coupons will not prevent the register reward from printing.

• Register rewards can not be rolled: this means that you can not use the register rewards you received from purchasing one item to buy more of the same item on a future transaction. If you do this the second register rewards will not print.

• Register rewards offers are usually one per transaction. For example: If the offer is buy one Bottle of Pantene Shampoo for $4.99 and receive one $4.99 register at checkout, only one $4.99 register rewards will print if you buy two or more. You need to do separate transactions if you want to take advantage of the register rewards offer more than once.

• Register Rewards are manufacturer coupons. This means that they need an item to attach to. This is often referred to as a the coupon/item ratio. The coupon/item ration pertains ONLY to manufacturer coupons and the rule is: You need to have as many items as you have manufacturer coupons. Please note that manufacturer coupons that read” $x off two or more items are considered two coupons.

• Register Rewards generally expire within 2 weeks, so make sure to use them before then so as not to lose the money savings they provide.

2) The second way to get free or cheap stuff is by combining Walgreens store coupons with manufacturer coupons. Even though Walgreens store coupons may be labeled as manufacturer coupons, they are store coupons if their bar code starts with the number “0″ instead of the number “5″ that generally precedes the bar code of a manufacturer coupons.

Things to Remember When Shopping at Walgreens:

1) The key to a smooth shopping experience at Walgreens is planning your purchase in advance or develop “scenarios.” This plan of attack will help you maximize savings.

2) The secret to minimizing your out of pocket expense is by breaking off your transactions and using register rewards from the first transaction on the second and so on. Please remember to be polite and let others ahead of you if you have more than two transactions planned.

3) There is a right way to hand your coupons when shopping at Walgreens: First hand Walgreens dollar off transaction coupons, then manufacturer coupons, then Walgrens store coupons and finally your register rewards.

4) Before you leave the store make sure to check your receipt and register rewards to verify that all register rewards and discounts you expected were awarded. It is easier to correct situations right after you complete the transaction.

Walgreens FAQ:

• My Register Rewards didn’t print, now what?

There are a few reasons why your RR didn’t print: you bought an item that was not eligible for the deal (type or size), the catalina machine was off, the RR deal had ended already or not started yet. If you bought the right item, the catalina machine was on and you bought during the correct offer period then you can do two things:

1) Contact the Catalina company at 1-888-8 coupons. Explain your situation and they should be able to send you the information you need to get your RR in the mail.

2) Return the product and surrender any RRs that may have printed. Then rebuy the item at another register.

• I had a horrible shopping experience, what do I do?

Your best course of actions is to call Walgreens Consumer Relations Toll-free (800) WALGREENS (800-925-4733). 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday and calmly explain what happened.

• I let my Register Rewards expire, what can I do now?

The first thing you may want to do is ask your cashier if they accept expired register rewards. However, it is very likely that they don’t and you are unfortunately out of luck. Make sure to keep register rewards visible in your coupon holder to make sure you use them before they expire.

• Does Walgreens have an official coupon policy?

Walgreens does not have a public coupon policy. However, there’s a Policy FAQ document that has been emailed by Walgreens Corporate to customers. Post by: Common Sense with Money

Sunday, February 14, 2010

FREE Community Coffee

Anyone that gets the Sunday Commercial Appeal - check out page A7.  There is a coupon for a free bag of Community Coffee.  If you don't like this coffee let me know.  That's all my Dad drinks.  I'll be happy to send you a stamp for you to send it to me.

CVS Deals This Week

Here are some CVS deals -
Buy 1 Crest Pro-Health Enamel Shield Toothpaste or Rinse at $3.50, Get $3.50 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $0.75/1
Free plus up to $2 overage after coupons and ECBs

Buy 1 Aussie Conditioner, Shampoo, or Styler at $2.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $1/1
Free after coupons and ECBs

Buy 1 Colgate Advanced Toothpaste at $2.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $1/1
Free after coupons and ECBs

Nature’s Bounty Vitamins and Supplements–on sale Buy One, Get One for $0.01

Buy 2 and use 2 $2/1 printables here
Free or almost-free after coupons and sale
Buy 2 select CoverGirl products, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use BOGO coupon + $1/1 coupon

I have not found any great deals for Walgreens yet.  I will let you know when I do.  BTW - if you don't need the toothpaste or vitamins from CVS this week, we are collecting these to take to missionaries in Mexico that deal with abused and abandoned children.  If you can get these items for free or pretty close we would love to have them.  I will be taking the items to them the first weekend in March.

Ready to Eat Healthy?

Happy Valentine's Day! Did you overdo it with the rich foods and indulge in too much chocolate? If so, begin with me on this journey for the next 3 weeks. We will be following a healthy eating plan that I have put together from various books that I have. We have used this program several times and have had great results. It is also rather easy on the pocket book once you have a few staple foods. I get really frustrated with these diet programs that have you eating expensive food the entire time.

I will give you the menu for the first week. It will vary slightly from week to week. You will be eating 4 small meals a day.


1. 1 egg + 1 pc fruit

2. 1 c. sliced fresh fruit

3. Small salad w/ 2 T. dressing

4. ½ c. beans, lentils, or chickpeas, 2 servings vegetables

Exercise – 20 minutes of cardio


1. 6 oz. low fat yogurt (be sure to watch the sugar content in yogurt!) + 1 fruit

2. Small salad w/ 2 T. dressing + 1 c. fruit or vegetable juice

3. 4 oz. chicken or turkey, ½ c. beans, chickpeas, or lentils

4. 1 c. brown rice + 2 servings vegetables

Exercise – 30 minutes of cardio


1. 1 c. cooked oatmeal (you can add sliced fruit, ½ t. sugar or ½ pat butter) + 1 c. fruit or vegetable juice

2. 1 small fruit smoothie or 1 small whey protein shake

3. 1 c. beans, chickpeas or lentils, 1 c. brown rice, 1 serving vegetables

4. 4 oz. fish, chicken or turkey, ½ sweet potato, 1 serving vegetables

Exercise - 30 minutes cardio


1. 6 oz low fat yogurt + 1 pc fruit

2. 1 small fruit smoothie or 1 small whey protein shake

3. 1 large vegetable salad + 3 T. dressing

4. 1 small veggie or lean beef burger (No bread), 1 c. brown rice

Rest Day


1. 1 egg scrambled with veggies + 1 pc fruit

2. Small salad w/ 2 T. dressing + 1 c. fruit or vegetable juice

3. 4 oz. chicken, ½ c. beans

4. 2 servings vegetables + 1 c. brown rice

Exercise- 30 min cardio


1. 1 c. oatmeal + 1 c. fruit or vegetable juice

2. 1 small fruit smoothie or 1 small whey protein shake

3. 4 oz. tuna + small salad

4. ½ c. brown rice + 2 vegetables

Exercise - 30 min cardio

Some notes – I buy whey protein from Walmart. I pay about $15 for a huge container. It is great for the whole family. Our favorite is 8 oz milk + 1 scoop protein powder + 1 frozen banana. Blend for about 30-45 seconds. You can also add peanut butter and/or any fruits that you like. I keep fruits in the freezer so we just grab a handful and throw them in.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Coupons and Deals

I am trying to find the energy to head to Kroger. I got up this morning feeling better. I took a shower, got dressed and then my energy bombed. I changed clothes again and went to bed. I slept for about 5 hours. I really want to go and buy something to cook for a Valentine's dinner since we are not eating out anymore. I just don't know if my body will cooperate. So, here I go. I'm going to try. I'll let you know how it goes.

Here you can print Kellogg’s coupons.

Ok, I made it to Kroger. I hate going on Saturday! It is so crazy in there. It was not the best time for me to shop anyway because when I got about half way through I felt my energy draining again. I had a hard time focusing on what I was supposed to be buying. By the time I left I didn't care if I had coupons or not! After I finally checked out and got out to the truck, I found that my neighbors in the parking lot had parked so close that I couldn't load my groceries. I had to put them in the back of the truck. This was not a big deal except my receipt blew out on the way home so I don't have an exact count of how much I saved.

This shopping trip was mainly for things that I don't normally buy because it was our Valentine's meal. I did get a few good deals that I will tell you about though.

Bic Razors - Kroger has BOGO and I had a coupon for BOGO so I got 2 packs of men's razors ($6.99 each) and 2 packs of women's razors ($3.99 each) for FREE! Savings $21.96

1 Kroger coupon for free salad dressing - savings $1.99

Discounted loaf of sourdough bread to go with dinner (we usually don't eat white bread) $.99 savings $2.00

Broccoli and cauliflower sale $.99 each

Rosarita refried beans on sale $1 minus $.50/2 coupon doubled= 2 for $1.

OH...I almost forgot! I got the same deal on the Mahatma Yellow Rice that I got the other day PLUS someone was nice enough to lay a coupon down in front of the rice! So, I bought 6 bags for $1.25.

Since I don't have my receipt I can't tell you exactly what I saved but I know it was over $30. My final bill was $40 and some change so I would say it was a good percentage saved!

Be sure to get a Sunday paper tomorrow and cut out the coupons! There's no better time than now to get started!

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Wonderful Morning!

Today's blog was written by my Mom.  My son has the flu and I have several of the beginning symptoms so I really don't feel like writing today.  I think you will enjoy this though!

The snow and ice were pretty to begin with but after seeing it for several days, they are both getting old now. Sure, the sun is shining today.....right on the snow and ice! It is so cold, there is little chance of either of them going away very soon. So I am still cooped up inside......unwilling to venture out to shop or do anything else in this frigid temperature.

I decided to relieve my boredom this morning by making homemade bread. Since I am trying to eat healthy, I chose a nice oatmeal bread recipe made with fresh buttermilk and only a couple pats of butter. I carefully measured the ingredients, fully aware that a bread maker is unforgiving with variations in the recipe.

While the bread was baking, I decided to organize and file a vast pile of recipes I had cut out from various newspapers and magazines. They were pretty interesting to begin with, especially the lovely desserts. But after two hours of sorting through a multitude of recipes, however, I sternly imposed a rule for myself: If I cut recipes out, I must file them immediately! No more collecting and tediously sorting through stacks of recipes!

Now the aroma of the bread was wafting deliciously throughout the house. Nothing smells better than fresh, hot homemade bread! I was looking forward to my lunch of black beans with rice (cooked the day before), fresh mozzorella cheese topped with red pepper relish, and fresh bread! I continued to steadfastly work on my recipes. Occasionally I glanced at the timer on the bread maker and after quite a while, was delighted to see that it would be ready by noon.

I wearily continued organizing and filing the recipes while wondering why I ever started the entire process.

Shelly called to update me on Blake who has the flu and tell me she called the doctor regarding her own symptoms. Yes, flu-like symptoms! While we were talking, I noticed a strange odor and realized the bread smelled very different. In fact, it did not smell like fresh bread at all. More like a horrible burning stench! I ran to the bread maker and did the unthinkable.....lifted the lid before the time was up! I groaned as I saw the almost baked bread with a black coating all around it! I immediately asked Shelly, "How do you burn bread in a bread maker?" Of course, she did not know either. Now I've baked bread for years and I've never had a burned loaf! I've had loaves that were a little on the raw side, but burned?? I've even baked loaves of bread that tasted like sawdust, but never burned! And this bread maker is the top of the line! Perhaps I should have kept my cheap one....

Disappointed, I fixed my bowl of beans and arranged the rest of the meal. Just before I sat down, I thought, hmmm, hot sauce with the black beans sounds good. I reached in the fridge and viewed the assortment of hot sauces. There was the standard hot sauce, green hot sauce, Louisiana Gold but I finally decided on Texas Pete. I removed the lid and began to shake it. Too late, I realized it did not need shaking! Instead of dripping out like most ordinary hot sauces, to my horror, it poured out! Liberally! I looked helplessly as a small red pool of Texas Pete formed in the middle of the bowl of beans.

Now my mouth has just recovered from a long bout of breaking out from the chemo therapy that I take daily. Large portions of hot sauce was the last thing it needed. But by then, I was just exasperated and too tired to care so I just decided to eat it anyway....uncomfortably aware that my stomach would be the next part of my body to rebel!

I slowly ate my beans drowned in hot sauce followed by lots of cold water. I dined with the revolting smell of blackened bread in the kitchen. In fact, now an hour later, it is still permeating the house...even upstairs. Nauseating smell! The exhaust fan on the cooktop was very little help.

The snow and ice are still on the ground. The sun is still shining. Yes, it is still cold outside. But I may go for a walk, anything to take a break from the results of my morning! Yes, I will go outside....just as soon as I send an emergency email to the manufacturer of my bread maker and I find a bottle of Maalox!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Savings at Kroger & Walgreens

Last night I had to run by Kroger and grab some milk.  I buy 2 gallons at a time because we go through it quickly!  I decided to go to the Kroger at Goodman and Getwell because they seem to have better clearance items than the Olive Branch Kroger.  Well, it paid off!  I bought my 2 gallons of milk for $5.16 and then they had Corn Flakes w/Honey on clearance for $1.09.  I had a coupon for $1/2.  I bought 4 boxes for $.58 each.  They also had Quaker Oatmeal w/ cinnamon on clearance for $1.49.  No coupons for this one but I saved $1.40 off of the regular price and my kids love it. My favorite deal of all was on Mahatma Yellow Rice.  We love this rice.  It was on Kroger's regular sale for $.75.  I had a coupon for $.75/2 so it's like getting one free.  I also had a coupon for $1.00 off any Mahatma rice so I made money on that coupon.  The final cost for rice was 2 bags for $.16 each.  My final Kroger bill should have been $22.97 but after clearance price and coupons it was $10.67...if only I had coupons for milk!

Now to Walgreens!
Dove Men's Body Wash $5.99 rec'd $5.99 register reward minus $1.50/1 coupon = $1.50 profit
Hefty One Zip Bags BOGO (buy one get one free)  $3.29 minus $1/1 coupon = 2 for $1.30 each (Always try to buy the largest quantity allowed for that coupon.  I bought the box containing 22 bags each)
Gillette Deoderant $3.99 rec'd $1.50 register rewards minus BOGO coupon minus $1 coupon= 2 for $.75 each
Kotex Tampons 2/$6 rec'd. $3 register reward minus $1.50/2=  2 for $.75 each
The total amount I paid was $9.02 (I did use a $10 register reward) and I received $14.50 in register rewards!  Bottom Line $5.48 profit!

Walgreens Friend's and Family Coupon - 15% off most products and 20% off Walgreens brand products. FRIDAY ONLY
Walgreens Coupon

I have also added a link to Swagbucks on my blog.  This is a free search engine.  You earn "bucks" for searching.  These "bucks" can be used for money in their store.  Check it out.  It's a great way to earn free stuff just by doing what you normally do!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Coupons & Freebies

Did anyone watch Andy Wise last night on the news?  He went grocery shopping with Susan Samtur.  She bought $144 worth of groceries and paid $16.33!  She has her own coupon website,  I looked at it briefly but I'm planning on studying it a little more.  I'm not sure about paying $40/year to get coupons.  It was interesting to see all of the free coupons that she had during the interview.  Those are not things you find often!  If you can get those on the site it may be worth it.  Let me know if you check it out.

Here are some links for you to try today. 

Free Dayspring Greeting Card from Lifeway Christian Stores.  Thanks to
Free Card

A great source for printable coupons -
Print Your Own

More Printables

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

House Party 4 U?

Have you heard of  If not, go to the website and check it out.  You first sign up with  This puts you on their e-mail list.  If you see a party that you would like to host, you fill out the survey and submit it.  You will find out in a few days or weeks, depending on the date of the party, if you are selected as a host.

I received notification today that I was selected for an Arnold & Arowheat Sandwich Thins party!  I am really excited because we LOVE this bread.  In fact, it is about the only bread I buy (except for my free bread last week).  We use them for breakfast and lunch.  If you are interested in coming to the party let me know.  It will be Feb. 27 at 11:30.  You will get free coupons, reusable grocery bag, kitchen note pad, recipe cards, and  Sandwich Thins® Nutrition Guides and Healthy Living Tips.  Oh, and did I mention free lunch?  Ok, and it's a good excuse to get out of the house for a little while!

This week may be a little slow on the coupon deals because I am working on using foods from the freezer and pantry before I buy more.  But if you still have to do your weekly shopping, take a few minutes to sit down and plan out your meals.  You should receive your local grocery store ads in the mail today.  See what they have on sale and plan your menu around it.  Be sure to check for coupons on any items that you have to buy.  There are several places online to print coupons if you don't have them on hand.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sugar High or Low??

I have mentioned before that the family and I are eating healthier this year.  This includes cutting WAY down on sugar.  I still have a little sugar in my coffee every morning but that is about it.  Well, last night I was asked to bring dessert to a Super Bowl party.  I made these wonderful Chocolate Chess Squares.  I tried one while hot because I had never made them before and didn't want to take them if they were bad (good excuse, huh?) and then I had one at the party.  We had 4 leftover that wouldn't fit on the platter so I had one with my coffee this morning.  I know, but it was so good!  The family went out and played in the snow for a while this morning and then...CRASH!  I am so tired and so grouchy!  I have felt so good while eating healthy and my energy level has been great.  I've been working out almost daily and didn't feel worn out by mid-day anymore.  So, is sugar the culprit?  I could blame it on something else... long weekend with little sleep, hormones, whatever but my final answer?  Sugar!  Therefore, I have a new resolution. I will do my best not to feed my body sugar.  I am even going to work on removing the sugar from my coffee but that may take a while.  Are you going to join me?  If nothing else do a little 1 month test.  Remove sugar from your life for 1 month and then go back on it.  If you cannot tell a difference in how you feel go ahead and incorporate sugar back in your life.  If your results are like mine let's kick the habit for good!

BTW, during our first month of healthy living I lost 12 lbs and 12.5 inches.  Josh lost 11 lbs and 7.5 inches.  Blake lost 6 lbs and 5 inches.  Doug lost about 10 lbs but has not measured yet.

Now on to the weekly menu.  You have probably noticed that we do not mind eating leftovers.  In fact, I always try to cook enough for the next day's lunch.  It is just much easier on me and more cost effective.  I will include some notes and recipes for you this week.  I hope they are helpful.

Weekly Menu

1.  1/2 c. grits and 1 egg
2.  Yogurt & orange  (make sure to watch the sugar in yogurt!)
3.  Turkey Soup
4.  Homemade pasta sauce w/ whole wheat pasta
For the sauce, I am using ground turkey and spicy Italian sausage that I got on sale last night.  I saute onions and garlic then add the meats until browned.  I strain off all of the fat and place in a dutch oven.  I throw in 1 bag of whole tomatoes that were from my garden.  I also have a frozen bag of chopped tomatoes from the garden that I add in.  You can add Italian seasoning or whatever seasonings you like.  I will let this cook at a high simmer for several hours to cook out some of the water from the tomatoes.

1.  Oatmeal
2.  Protein shake w/ banana  ( I freeze bananas when they begin getting over-ripe.  I just take them from the freezer and peel to add to a shake.  This adds fruit and thickens at the same time)
3.  Leftover Spaghetti
4.  Balsamic Chicken + veggies

1.  Egg sandwich
2.  Apple and Almonds
3.  Leftover balsamic chicken
4.  1/2 c. brown rice + 2 veggies

1.  Cereal
2. Small salad
3.  Brown rice + veggies
4.  Super Tender Beef + garlic quinoa
Beef - 1 c. water, 1/2 c. soy sauce, 2 T. brown sugar, 1/4 c. lemon juice, 2 T. Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 t. thyme, 2.5 lbs. chuck steak (frozen).  Combine all ingredients except meat and pour into slow cooker.  Place meat in sauce and cook on low for 12-24 hours.  You will be able to pull meat apart with 2 forks.

1.  Yogurt & fruit
2.  Turkey wrap
3.  Leftover beef w/ small baked potato
4.  Lentil Stew
Lentil Stew - 1 c. dry lentils, 6 c. water, 1 beef bouillon, 2 T. soy sauce, 1 diced onion, 4 diced carrots, 2 diced celery stalks, 4 diced potatoes, 1/2 t. parsley, 3 T. flour, 2 T. butter.  Rinse lentils.  Add all of the ingredients except flour and butter to a large pot.  Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.  In a small bowl, mix the flour and butter into a paste.  Add 1/2 c. of broth to paste and whisk.  Add paste to stew and stir constantly for 3-4 mins.

1.  Whole wheat pancake topped w/ egg
2.  Yogurt + fruit
3.  Lentil stew
4.  Mexican Dinner
Mexican dinner - 1 lb. browned ground beef, 1/4 c. flour, 1 t. chili powder, 1/3 c. diced onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 c. water, 16 oz. refried beans, 10 flour tortillas, 1.5 c. salsa, 1 c. grated cheddar cheese.  Place meat and flour, chili powder, onion, garlic, and salt in skillet.  Add water and simmer for 10 mins. In a separate pan warm beans.  Place about 3 T. beans and 3 T. meat on each tortilla. Fold and place seam down on microwave safe plate.  Cover tortilla with salsa and cheese.  Microwave about 45 seconds.  These can be frozen without salsa and cheese.  When you are ready to eat them microwave for 2 minutes then add salsa and cheese and microwave an additional 30 seconds.  Let it stand for 1-2 minutes.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My review

I have had trouble finding time to sit down the last couple of days to write.  There are a lot of things that I want to tell you about so I hope I have time to get it all in before I hear my name being called...again.

First, I want to tell you about the great hotel deal I got for our JBQ (Junior Bible Quiz) team.  We are headed to Districts in Murfreesboro, TN on March 20.  We needed 4 rooms but we have learned not to stay at the hotel that everyone else is staying at.  An entire state full of JBQ kids K-6th grade make for a very loud hotel.  Anyway, I started doing my research to find a hotel that was (1) nice, (2) no exterior doors, (3) indoor pool, (4) free, hot breakfast.  I finally decided on the Fairfield Inn in Smyrna.  I called to see if I could get a deal on 4 rooms and they said it would be $110 per night.  I checked online through Marriot (the parent company) and got a rate for $89 + a price guarantee.  They guarantee to match any lower price found online PLUS reduce the price by 25%!  So, I booked all 4 rooms at $89 then I filed the paperwork showing that I found an online rate for their hotel for $80 per night.  They quickly approved my claim and advised that our rooms were now $60 each.  They also had a deal where if you pay with a VISA you get a $15 gift card back per bottom line.... We are getting 4 - $110 rooms for $45 each! yea!

I also got some great deals yesterday at Walgreens and CVS.  I purchased 5 12-packs of Pepsi, 2 Tostitos, 1 Starbucks Frappuccino and 1 2-liter Pepsi for $2.33!  Yes, that is two dollars and thirty-three cents! I also received a $10 register reward on top of that!

CVS has their Hellmann's Mayo BOGO.  I got 4 and used 4 coupons for $.50 off.  Then I used $4.50 in CVS rewards.  The final price was $6.43 for 4.  I saved $18.48.  If you are a Mayo person you know that Hellmann's is the BEST!

Well, I got most of what I had to say in and now I am being paged to the other end of the house.  I have a pot of turkey vegetable soup on cooking that needs to be stirred too.  I hope to have the menu for next week posted tomorrow.  Let me know if you are starting your family menus or beginning to use coupons a little more.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My deals + Cooking Adventures

I made my weekly trip to Kroger this morning.  They have their buy 10 items and get $5 off sale still going.  Here are some deals I got:
Hunt's tomatoes $.50 - $.45/3 coupon= $.30 each
Hormel Chili $.70 - $.55/2 coupon = $.25 each
Ritz Crackers $1.99 - $1/1 coupon = $.99 each
Quaker Granola Bars $1.99 - $1/2 coupon = $1.50 each
Honey Bunches of Oats (one of our fav's) $2.19 for family size.
Quilted Northern $5.99 - $1/1 = $4.99
The total for the day $30.17  SAVINGS $26.94

I'm headed to Walgreen's and CVS on the way to church tonight.  CVS has Hellmann's Mayo BOGO and I have lots of $.50/1 coupons.  If anyone needs a coupon let me know.  They expire 2/7 so better get them quick!

Walgreens has their Pepsi products and chip sale again.  If you spend $20 you get $10 back in register rewards.  I have a $10 RR to spend so I'm going to get 5/$15 Pepsi, 3/$6 chips for $8.45.  I will then get another $10 RR so I actually make $1.55 on this deal.

I am going to do a second transaction at Walgreens.  They have Nyquil on sale for $5.  If you buy $20 you get $10 RR.  I have 4 coupons for $2 off each one.  I will end up spending $2 for 4 bottles of Nyquil. 

Now, on to cooking adventures!  My weekly menu has been a little off because my 21 lb. turkey took a lot longer to thaw than I thought it would!  It finally thawed yesterday so I began preparing to bake.  I always use a browning bag to cook mine in and this turkey barely fit in the bag!  The next challenge was getting him into the roasting pan! We finally poked and prodded until he fit and into the oven he went.  He was beautiful when he came out!  We had turkey, green beans and glazed carrots for dinner.  (BTW, the glazed carrots were awesome!!  I will put the recipe at the bottom of the page.)  I froze one side of the breast and in a separate bag I froze about 3 cups of chopped meat.  I sent my husband a turkey sandwich for his lunch today and the boys and I had turkey salad sandwiches.  I still have about 4-5 cups of turkey in the fridge.  I am thinking of making turkey chili and saving the turkey soup for later. Anyway, we will get a lot of use out of this turkey!!

Sunday I decided to make the whole wheat waffles to put in the freezer.  I got the batter mixed up and the waffle iron heating and poured the first batch in.  I waited 5 minutes and opened it up and..... everything was stuck!!  The waffles split right down the middle and half stuck to the top and half stuck to the bottom and no matter what I did it would NOT come off!  I ended up throwing away the whole waffle iron (which was pretty old anyway!) and I made pancakes instead.  I froze the pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet and then transferred them to a zip top bag.  I had one for breakfast this morning with a fried egg on top.  Delicious!

Glazed Carrots

1-2 lbs. carrots, sliced
1 T. honey
1/2 t. salt
2 T. butter

Barely cover carrots with water in a saucepan.  Add salt and honey.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.  Simmer until carrots are tender.  Once tender, raise heat and cook out water.  Watch carefully so they don't burn.  when the water is cooked out, add butter and serve.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Get a REEL deal.

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Coupons Organized Now?

The last blog told you about the many ways to organize your coupons. Today let's talk about organizing your coupons within each section...this is what I am doing today. You can see in the picture that I am about half way finished.
I told you I have my coupon box broken down into sections such as breakfast, cleaners, frozen, etc. Last night I went through each section and pulled out any expired coupons. There were a lot that expired on 1/31/10. I went ahead and filed all of my new coupons in the correct place. Today I will go through and organize each section.
I will begin by gathering all of the coupons from the first section (we will use Beverages as an example). Next, I will group all of the like items. If I have 2 or more coupons that are exactly the same I will staple them together. If I have different coupons or different value coupons but they are all for the same brand, like Coke, I will paperclip those together. Once I have everything grouped for that section, I will refile and move on the to the next section.
Keeping everything organized takes a little bit of time up front but it will save lots of time and frustration when you are at the store.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Coupon Organizing

Monday is a great day to get your coupons organized. Hopefully you have new coupons from Sunday's paper and you are ready to go.

There are several ways to organize your coupons. I took a look at some friend's coupons this week and learned that each of us organize differently. Here are some ideas:
  • My coupon box is alphabetized according to headings. For example, mine some of my headings are beverages, breakfast items, cleaning, freezer, etc.
  • One friend has her box organized by the layout of the store. So if you went to my Kroger, you would have veggies, bread, cereal, soup, etc. You really have to know your store to use this method but it would really save time in the long run.
  • My other friend has hers completely alphabetized. So if you are looking for Tostitos you would look in the T's. If you were looking for Apple Jacks you would look in the A's.

There are no right or wrong ways to organize. Do what is easiest for you!

Now for coupon storage, I use a photo storage box. Every week I go through the Kroger and Walgreens ads and circle the items that we need. I pull coupons from my box for those items and place them in a small zipper bag along with the ad. When I get to the store I am ready! I always bring along my coupon box just in case there are unadvertised specials...which happens more often than not.

I try not to get caught up in buying something just because it's a good deal. If we don't need it or won't eat it there is no point in me buying it. If someone else can use it or if I can pass the coupons on to someone that can use it, I am happy to do that. Like this week I got 6 loaves of whole wheat bread for free. I shared with my Mom and Sister-in-Law so we all benefited. I also plan on making croutons and bread crumbs to put in the freezer. None will go to waste.