Last year at the beginning of the year I mentioned one of my goals was to become more organized. I made great strides during the year but I have a long way to go. I wanted to share two great resources with you that have helped me this year and will continue to help me next year.
* One thing that I discovered towards the end of the year was Motivated Moms. They have a printable calendar that tells you what to do each day to stay on top of keeping your house clean. The calendar does cost $8 for the year but it is well worth it.
I've only been using it for a few months and several of those weeks I was very sick but the weeks I've used it have been wonderful. I feel like I have more free time because my time is now scheduled instead of randomly picking a few chores and hoping I got them done that day. I keep the calendar on the fridge and mark off as I go so my husband can see what still needs to be done. Click here to visit Motivated Moms.
* Another resource I wanted to share is a new bible study from Christie Love. You might remember that I won a organizing phone call from her earlier this year. Starting this Sunday evening, she will be holding a time management bible study via Facebook and Twitter. It is free to join and if you RSVP for Sunday night's Twitter party you will be entered to win prizes.
Feel free to share any other great resources you have for getting and staying organized.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Last year at the beginning of the year I mentioned one of my goals was to become more organized. I made great strides during the year but I have a long way to go. I wanted to share two great resources with you that have helped me this year and will continue to help me next year.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Please take a few minutes this holiday weekend to remember why we celebrate this holiday.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I discovered a great way to entertain my child this week - wrapping paper. I gave him a leftover piece of wrapping paper and he has had a blast finding gifts for me around the house and wrapping it in that one piece of paper. He does not use tape, he simply wads the paper up around the gift and hands it to me. Once I open it, I give him back the piece of paper and let him find me something else.
This could even be turned into an educational activity by asking them to find a gift of a certain color or that starts with a particular letter.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Yesterday I mentioned there would be a new giveaway today and it is now up . Click on the link for a chance at winning a Chex cereal prize pack.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Due to a sick family and way too many commitments, I am way behind on giveaways and my blogging goals for this month. I happen to have a few extra minutes tonight so I've put up a new giveaway from Hamburger Helper.
Tomorrow, yet another one will be going up and I will leave a link once it is available. Remember, you must click through to the link in order to enter. Comments left on this post will not count.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
A lot of holiday recipes call for cranberries but I used to shy away from those recipes because cranberries can get expensive. A few years ago an acquaintance told me a little secret - dried cranberries are only $1 a box (4.25 oz) at Walgreens. They are kept with their other dried fruits and while I'm not a fan of the other varieties the cranberries are great. My kids love them too so I keep a few boxes on hand year round.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
It is that time of year again when everyone is wondering what to give their children's teachers or care givers for Christmas.
About a month ago I sat down to figure out how many gifts I needed and I about had a nervous breakdown. This past year has brought many changes in our life, including realizing my oldest is a special needs child. Those details are for another post but he now has several therapists, attends regular school and special ed classes, and of course we are involved in church activities. I stopped counting when I got to 15 people I would need gifts for just for this child - I still had another child to go too!
I started digging through my gift area and my cupboards to see what I could come up with using items I already had and then I could fill in from there. Here are a few of the ideas I came up with:
Gift Baskets - take all of those little samples and freebies you have and make a creative gift basket. You can always spend a few dollars to fill it out with any items you do not have.
Magnets - these are adorable and very inexpensive to make.
White Chocolate Popcorn
Gift cards from SwagBucks - you can earn free gift cards simply by searching the internet. I almost always have an extra Starbucks card or two on hand simply for those last minute gifts I need.
Feel free to share some of your favorite teacher gifts in the comments section. I'm always looking for new ideas and I know my readers would enjoy them too.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I'm still alive around here but the blog has been silent this week as I've been fighting a cold that started the night before Thanksgiving. I think I'm on the mend now but still not up to my normal self.
I have several giveaways to post over the next few weeks so keep checking back often. In the meantime, check out my latest giveaway for an Old El Paso Family Taco Night prize package. You must click on the link in order to enter, comments on this post will not count as an entry.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Today I am thankful that we live near family so that our children can grow up around their grandparents. Our kids love visiting both sides of the family and we love that we can occasionally get a break and free babysitting.
This summer, I was afforded the opportunity to go to Florida for the annual Tupperware convention. If it had not been for grandparents, I would have never been able to go. My husband was also able to come with me so we could have a mini vacation. When we came home, the kids barely wanted to come home as they were having a blast with their grandparents.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
By now, you all have heard our story about going three years without full time income. Today, I am very thankful my husband finally has a full time job. Even better, it is one he really likes.
I'm also thankful for my job. I never thought I would like direct sales but I truly love selling Tupperware. I also like the fact that it is completely flexible so I can work more when I need to or I can take off at the drop of a hat as needed. I've met some great friends through this business and I'm happy I decided to give it a try two years ago.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Ok, this one probably should have gone with yesterday's post but I've literally spent my entire day solving insurance problems so this has been on my mind all day. Although the issues I'm dealing with are frustrating, while logging in to check some information, I noticed part of the hospital bill has hit the processing department. The hospital portion only, none of the doctors or tests, was $21,000! Without insurance, this would have been overwhelming to pay.
Today, I'm very thankful I have insurance and will only have to pay a small portion of the total bill. I'm also thankful we still have money left in our emergency fund so that I can pay the portion I will owe.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Every year I take the week of Thanksgiving to highlight a few things I'm thankful for. This is in no way a complete list but a few things at the top of my radar right now.
Today I am thankful for our health. After spending a week in the hospital with my one year old, I am thankful it was nothing worse and that we are all healthy again.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Dillons currently has a fantastic promotion going on in their pharmacy. When you fill a prescription between now and the end of the year, you will automatically be enrolled in their pharmacy rewards plan if you use your Dillons card. With this initial prescription you will receive $50 on your Dillons card!
When our youngest got out of the hospital we had a prescription to fill and I happened to remember this program so I headed to Dillons. I then bought a few groceries to get us through the next few days and by the time I went to pay, the money had already hit our card (they tell you it takes 24 hours). I bought those groceries and some the next week for free!
The next reward comes when you have 4 more prescriptions filled. Refills count towards this reward, not just new prescriptions. I cannot seem to find details on this but my pharmacy said with 4 fills you receive $100 and with 4 more fills you receive another $100.
If you need any prescriptions filled between now and Dec. 31, head over to Dillons and remember to bring your rewards card.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
This summer I reviewed a few products from Tommee Tippee so when I was recently offered a chance to review more I was pretty excited.
I was sent the Closer to Nature Travel Bottle Warmer. We no longer use bottles around here and neither of my kids ever needed their bottles warm but I can see how this would be a great product for some people. I've known a few babies that refused to drink a bottle unless it was warm so I know their parents would love this.
The bottom part is a thermos that keeps the water warm. The cover can be used as a bottle warmer. You have the option of using the warm water to make a bottle or filling the cover with water and putting the bottle in it to warm.
I have a friend who is in labor as I write this and I know she will be traveling a lot so I'm planning on giving this to her and I look forward to hearing her opinion. So far I have not been disappointed by Tommee Tippee products and I have a feeling she is going to like this one too.
Disclaimer - Bottle warmer was provided to me by Tommee Tippee and Mom Bloggers Club. I was not compensated in any other way for my review.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
We finally came home Saturday morning after spending a week in the hospital. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for our little guy. They grew cultures of the stuff they drained from his lymph node and it all came back as strep.
The rapid strep test in the ER came back negative but the blood test came back positive, which is rare. Since the antibiotics weren't cutting it they wondered if it was something more but it was just strep. He never had it in his throat which is what threw us off.
We will be hanging out at home for the next week or so as the incision heals. He pulled out his drain Friday night and they opted not to stitch it up but to leave it open to finish draining. Until it closes, we don't feel safe getting him around too many people, especially curious kids who might pull the bandage off.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
It has been a whirlwind 24 hours but we are on the mend now. The swelling in Eli's neck was not going down and his fevers were still spiking every so often so we had a consult with an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor Tues. afternoon. We agreed to do a CT scan and go from there. They did the scan that afternoon and as soon as the results were back he was scheduled for surgery.
Eli's lymph node had abscessed and was not draining. They drained it and the drain will stay in for several more days. He was miserable for awhile after the surgery but the Tylenol has kicked in and he resting well now. We will be here several more days as they finish draining it.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Sorry for the delay in announcing the Pillsbury winner. It is Cori and she has 48 hours to claim the prize.
Blogging will be even more sporadic the next few days as I'm at the hospital with my youngest. He had a slight fever on Friday and Saturday but woke up Sunday with a very swollen face and neck. After a trip to the ER we landed in the hospital with a severely infected lymph node. The swelling is not reducing very quickly so we are now trying to figure out which direction to go. It looks like we will be here several more days.
I will keep everyone updated as I can. Today has been the first day I could get Blogger (or anything Google related) to load.
Friday, October 29, 2010
I cannot remember where I learned this tip but someone told me when steam cleaning their carpets they never use cleaner. Instead, they pretreat any spots with a spot remover and then just put boiling water into the steam cleaner.
Our dog sleeps in our bedroom and the carpet gets gross quickly so I've been doing this for months now. Not only is it saving me money in buying expensive chemicals but it is cause less wear and tear on my carpet.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I'm giving away a Pillsbury Frozen Biscuit prize pack, so come on over to enter. For those who have commented already on this post, your comments will still be included in the giveaway.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I'm constantly amazed at how many people still haven't heard about Amazon Mom. It has only been available for a few weeks but thanks to social media, word is getting around pretty quickly.
For those who have not heard of it, let me explain the benefits. First of all, it is completely free to sign up. Second, you receive free Prime shipping for the first 3 months and that can be extended up to a year based on your purchases. Third, you can purchase diapers and wipes at 30% off if you use subscribe and save. It is very easy to cancel subscribe and save after your purchase has been shipped.
There is also a 20% off coupon in Parents and Parenting this month that can be stacked with the 30% off Amazon is already giving you.
I have been collecting Swagbucks and cashing them in for Amazon gift cards in order to obtain free diapers and training pants. Remember that Friday is always Mega Swagbucks day so don't forget to search tomorrow and earn even more swagbucks.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Coffee or tea drinker? Try two half pound boxes of Gevalia Kaffe or tea and get a coffeemaker and stainless steel coffee scoop FREE. Delivered to your home for $14.95, with free shipping! All yours to keep with no further obligation, just for beginning a Gevalia Membership. The coffee and tea is delicious and there are over 50 varieties to choose from. And the coffeemaker is actually pretty good quality. My parents have had several of their pots over the years and they have all been great.
1. Choose a black or white coffee maker
2. Select what flavor of coffee and/or tea you want to try
3. Enter your shipping information
4. Pay the $14.95 and you'll receive your coffee maker, coffee/tea, and scoop within a couple weeks.
About a month later, you'll receive 2 more boxes of the coffee/tea you selected. If you wish, you may change the quantities and types of coffee you receive at any time, the frequency of your shipments, or cancel at any time by calling 1-800-GEVALIA (1-800-438-2542). Gevalia is really nice about taking care of your requests. No hassles.
Prices of coffees and teas vary, ranging from $5.95 - $9.95 per package (with some specialty coffees priced higher), plus $5.95 shipping and handling unless otherwise noted.
At this price, this would make a great affordable Christmas gift for someone.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Although not the healthiest recipe in the world, I tried the chicken bacon sub recipe from Life As Mom. It was absolutely delicious and my husband actually asked if I would make it again. Even better, she says it can be frozen.
My husband cannot have anything whole wheat so I'm thinking of making this again with one loaf of white and one of whole wheat, then freezing half of each. Also, we reduced the garlic butter by a bit because I know how much garlic my husband likes and I didn't want to scare him away from yet another new recipe.
Mary from Owlhaven attended a conference on adoption a week or so ago and blogged about the various sessions. I cannot seem to get her post on James 1:27 and the Church out of my head.
I have several friends who are either adopted or going through adoption so I know how much it can affect a family. I never gave it much thought before though on how it can affect a city. What can you do to support those going through adoption or foster care?
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I always look for a hotel with free breakfast when traveling but sometimes I'm stuck at a higher class one and I'm too cheap to pay their high prices for breakfast.
While staying at a Disney Resort for the Tupperware convention this summer, I made my own breakfast in the room using oatmeal packets. I can't remember where I learned this tip, but I heated water in the coffee maker and made the oatmeal in coffee cups. It was a cheap, yet filling and healthy breakfast - something I know I would not be able to find at the cafe in the resort.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Remember back in your school days when the teacher always asked you to write or talk about what you did on summer vacation? This post is all about what I did this summer - cake decorating! I've always wanted to know the proper way to decorate a cake and it has been on my list of "things I'd like to do someday" list for ages. You know, that list that you know will probably never happen but a girl's got to dream, right?
I never know what to ask for when it comes birthday and Christmas time. I decided for my birthday in early June to ask for Wilton cake decorating classes. My parents bought me the first set of classes and the kit and arranged to be back up babysitting on the nights my husband was on call. I posted on Facebook about it and three other friends joined me. I enjoyed that class so much that I wound up taking the other two classes too.
Warning, the classes are not frugal in the least bit but you can save money by watching for when they are on sale, sharing supplies with a friend, and using your 40% off coupons at all the major craft stores.
Wilton changed all of their classes and June was the first month for the new classes. This first cake was the first cake we learned how to decorate. We had a choice of 3 cakes to make and my son picked out the fish.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
My husband was recently informed that for the first time ever, his cholesterol is a little high. His doctor asked him to make a few lifestyle changes and then test again but she wasn't worried about it yet. Due to this, he has agreed to let me try a few new healthy recipes. I'm excited as I love to cook but get frustrated by his pickiness. I tried this easy recipe last week and we all agreed that it was good. I would like to play with the spices a bit but overall it satisfied everyone and my 4 year old even ate it. I did substitute fresh green beans for the mushrooms as none of us like the texture of mushrooms.
Baked Pork Chops with Potatoes & Veggies
(From Weight Watchers Simply the Best cookbook)
2 large baking potatoes, scrubbed & thinly sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 onions, thinly sliced (I used a handful of diced onions as that is all I had)
1/4 cup minced basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
four 4-oz boneless pork loin cutlets
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes - no salt added
1. Preheat oven to 325. Spray a 13"x9" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place the potatoes, mushrooms, onions, basil, salt and pepper in the dish; toss to combine. Place the pork cutlets over the vegetable mixture; pour the tomatoes over all. Bake, covered, until the pork and potatoes are fork tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
330 calores, 7 g fat, 30 g protein, 6 points per serving
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
For those who have followed this blog for awhile or know me in real life, you know we have been on a journey for the past several years. For those who are new, let me you can catch you up on why we are Living Life On Less, my feelings at one year, and how life changed again earlier this year.
God answered our prayers recently though. Last week, my husband was offered not one, but two jobs! God never ceases to amaze me in how he answers prayers above and beyond what I could ever imagine. After spending the weekend in prayer and him meeting with both companies again yesterday, we made our decision. Starting the end of Oct, he will have a full time job for the first time in three years.
For the past year he has worked a part time job where he is on call nights and weekends. It is getting very old but pays great. We have decided to keep it at least through the end of the year to make sure the new job works out and to help build up our retirement account that was sorely neglected while we were in survival mode.
When we first heard the news of his job cut so many years ago we never dreamed it would take this long. We also never dreamed we could survive this long. I estimated we could make it about 8 months and then we would be broke. His start date is exactly one week before the three year mark and we survived with no debt! I owe every bit of that to God. He provided for our needs and calmed our wants during those years. He taught us to rely on Him and to work hard.
Let me close with the song I shared at the one year point. It is the song I Am Blessed and we have definitely been blessed throughout this journey.
I am blessed,
I am blessed,
From when I rise up in the morning,
'Till I lay my head to rest,
And I feel you near me,
You sooth me when I'm weary.
Oh, Lord,For all the worst and all the best,
I am blessed.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Ok, I haven't really gone bananas, rather they are falling out of my freezer from being stuffed in every nook and cranny. A few weeks ago I started cleaning out my freezer and was amazed by how many bananas I found in there. I immediately started an impromptu freezer cooking session related to bananas. I was able to use about half of them but could use some ideas for the rest. The following recipes are what I made that day.
Easy Banana Muffins
Black Bottom Banana Bars
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
I highly recommend all of these recipes and I know my family and friends all enjoyed eating them too. I also had planned to make banana bread but ran out of time.
If you have any great banana recipes, please share them in the comments section.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I've heard for years about people not using napkins or paper towels at their house. It saves money and is environmentally friendly. I've wanted to do it at my house but figured I could never get away with it. I figured I could limit my paper use though and that would help a little bit.
I started by using kitchen towels instead of paper products. Then, I started "forgetting" to set out napkins with dinner. I always had a kitchen towel on the table so my oldest and my husband started reaching for it or getting another one without even thinking about it. Finally, after not replacing the napkins for close to 2 months, I mentioned it to my husband. He said he had noticed there were no napkins around but he didn't really think twice about it.
I didn't really realize we had officially made the switch until recent weeks when two incidences happened. First, I was sent a package of napkins to try out and then fill out a survey. They estimated it was 2 weeks worth of napkins. Although I really liked them, I still have half the package and I've had them a month.
Next, my inlaws came to visit this weekend. We've been going through a roll of paper towels about once every 6-8 weeks. The one day they were here, they used an entire roll.
I'm starting to realize that some frugal and eco-friendly changes really are easier than I first thought. What changes have you made recently that you thought your family might be against?
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
This year my child is going to an all day pre-k program so for first the time, I'm having to pack a lunch for him each day. I'm only a few days in to it and I'm already bored with our choices. Of course, it doesn't help that I have a picky child who desperately needs to eat calories. Let's just say I'm glad we are not at a nut free school.
Today I came across this great resource called Smart School Time Recipes. It is a free ebook full of healthy recipes. I'm anxious to try some of them out and see if I can expand our repertoire of food. If anyone else has good ideas, feel free to share them in the comments section.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Did you think I disappeared? Sorry for the long delay. When I was on vacation I realized how much I enjoyed not being chained to the computer all day. I realize I don't blog often but between this blog and my Tupperware business, I felt like I was marketing or answering emails all day long. I had a super busy week this past week and I decided to put all the computer work on the back burner for awhile.
I love this blog and I really enjoy teaching others how to save money and still enjoy life. The only problem is that I would really like to keep this as a hobby and not a job. Yes, some bloggers are out to make oodles of money but my real reason for starting this blog two years ago was to teach others to save money. Somewhere along the line I've forgotten my reason for starting and I've wound up spending way more hours on it than I want to.
So, I'm here to say I'm going to be bringing you great recipes and tips each and every week but I'm most likely not going to be doing it on a schedule as I have in the past. Check back a few times a week or add me to your reader to see all the new content. I want to enjoy time with my family and not be chained to my computer so this is my public way of saying I'm taking the pressure off me to blog and keeping it as a fun hobby instead.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Once you have been couponing for awhile and working towards your stockpile, you might find yourself burning out or getting overwhelmed. It is perfectly ok to take a break from time to time. I take a break 3-4 times a year and when I get back to it, I'm more refreshed and get more excited over the deals.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Here are the top Price Cutter deals and matchups this week. Feel free to leave a comment with any other deals you find.
KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce - .99
$1/1 (must enter contest for coupons)
Final Price - FREE
Ken's Salad Dressing - 1.79
$1/2 (SS 8/15)
Final Price - $1.29 each wyb 2
Wishbone Salad Dressing - 2/$4
$1.25/2 (RP 8/1)
Final Price - $1.25
Skippy Peanut Butter - 2.29
.75/2 & .40/1 (RP 8/1)
Final Price - $1.49 - 1.79
Hunt's Snack Pack Pudding Cups - 10/$10
.30/2 (SS 8/1)
Final Price - .70 each wyb 2
Blue Bonnet Margarine Sticks - .69
Taco Bell Sauce, Beans, or Taco Shells - 5/$5
Final Price - .50 each
Taco Bell Taco or Fajita Seasoning - 2/$1
Tony's Pizza - 1.67 (limit 3)
Final Price - 1.17
Healthy Choice Dinners - 1.79
Pork Sirloin Roast - 1.79/lb
Bar-S or Farmland Lunchmeats - 1.00
Final Price - .50 each wyb 2
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Reminder, there will be no Price Cutter matchups this week as I'm on vacation at the Tupperware annual convention. I had planned several scheduled posts but they did not happen as I took the extra time to play with my kids instead.
In the meantime, check out my Sam's Club Giveaway for a chance to win $25 to Sam's Club.
Friday, August 6, 2010
I'm new to the world of Box Tops but now that my child is close to entering his public school years, I know they will become a bigger deal. I've heard of some pretty intense competitions between classes as the Box Tops help raise money for the school. I'll admit, I've clipped a few over the years but I've never put in much effort as my child wasn't in school yet. Through MOPS though, I did learn that Huggies diapers contain Box Tops so I do clip those.
From August 6-13, Sam's Club is offering 150 Bonus Box Tops when you upgrade to a premium membership. Also, this weekend Sam's Club is offering free entry to anyone. This is a great time to check it out and see if a membership would be beneficial to you.
Today, I'm offering a $25 Sam's Club gift card as a giveaway. This contest will be open until Saturday, August 14. At that time, I will pick a winner via random.org and they will have 48 hours to respond.
To enter (first one is mandatory, others are for bonus entries):
1. Tell me your favorite savings strategy for back to school shopping.
2. Post about this giveaway on your blog.
3. Follow me on Twitter @LifeWithLess.
4. Subscribe via RSS or email.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a gift card and upgrade to my membership from Sam's Club & General Mills through MyBlogSpark. No other compensation occurred.
A few weeks ago I was helping my mom prepare dinner for a family gathering when she asked me to prepare the asparagus. I made it the same way I always make it but none of my family had tried it that way before and everyone couldn't stop talking about how good it was. I use the same concept for both asparagus and green beans and simply change the seasonings to match the meal.
Asparagus or green beans
Seasonings to match meal (I almost always include a dash of garlic powder)
Put the vegetables on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings you desire. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-30 minutes (depends on how much you are cooking). I usually make this in my toaster oven and it takes a little less time.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Cellfire - Online coupons that link directly to your Kroger card (Dillons for the local readers) - no printing necessary.
Shortcuts - Another online company that links directly to your Kroger card (Dillons for the local readers) - no printing necessary.
Grocery store website - check your local grocery store's website as many have online coupons to print or download to your rewards card.
Coupons.com - you can always print coupons from this site directly from the sidebar on this blog.
Website of your favorite products - many of your favorite products have coupons directly on their website.
There are plenty more places to find coupons online but remember, I'm trying to show you how to save money on groceries without making it overwhelming. As you get the hang of this, you can easily add more sites to your list.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Please note, there will be no matchups next week as I will be away at the annual Tupperware convention.
Here are the top sales and coupon matchups for this week. As always, feel free to leave a comment with any other deals you find.
Corn on the cob - 8/$2
Peaches or Plums - .99/lb
Hamburger Helper - .98
.75/3 or .75/3 (6/20 SS)
Final Price: .65 each wyb 3
Nature Valley Granola Bars - 2/$5
.75/2 (7/11 SS)
Final price: $2.00 each wyb 2
Fiber One Bars - 2/$5
Final Price: $1.50
Kellogg's Raisin Bran - 2.99
Final Price: 2.24
Eggos - 1.99
$1/2 (6/20 & 7/25 RP)
Final Price: $1.49 each wyb 2
Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks (family pack) - .99/lb
*For any Coupons.com links that do not work (it seems to be hit or miss this week), you may click on the Coupons.com box on the left side of my blog to print any and all coupons you will need.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Every year, we fill a box or two for Operation Christmas Child. Tightwad in Training features a personal story from someone who received a box as a child. Visit it today to read this touching story.
Speaking of which, now is a great time to pick up some cheap school supplies for your Operation Christmas Child box. We collect items all year long so that we can fill a few boxes without breaking the bank.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Solo is having an online photo contest through August 6. The grand prize is $5,000 for posting the best photo featuring Solo products. There are also two $1,000 runner-up prizes and daily and weekly prizes simply for entering.
Solo sent me a "Celebrate Summer with Solo" pack so we could enter the contest. Included in it were some of the new Squared cups, items to decorate the cups with, flower seeds, and treats.
My oldest is used to deliveries coming daily to our house due to this blog and Tupperware. He asks every time if it is for him and sadly I have to almost always say no. When this box arrived he was ecstatic when I told him he could use what was inside the box. We immediately opened it and he couldn't wait to decorate a cup. The above picture is him laying in our kitchen floor decorating the cup with a glitter pen. He had a blast and was very excited to plant the seeds in his decorated cup.
Grab a Solo cup, take a fun picture, then head on over to the contest and enter your photo for a chance to win. Hurry though as the contest ends this Friday, August 6.
Disclaimer: MomSelect and Solo provided me with the above prize pack. No other compensation occurred.
Friday, July 30, 2010
I'm sorry to say but I do not have a new recipe to post this week. I've been extremely unmotivated in the kitchen lately and need some new recipes to get me going again.
For this reason, for Food Friday this week I'm simply going to share with you my favorite recipe site - Food.com. Many of you already know this site well, as it was formally known as Recipe Zaar. They recently changed their name and it threw me for a loop a few weeks ago when I was looking for a new recipe. It is still the same great site as before but with a few improvements.
This is my favorite site because the reviews are usually great and the message boards have some great ideas. And no, they did not pay me to say any of this. I simply felt the need to share where I like to search.
Now, I'm heading off to find me a new recipe to try for dinner tomorrow night.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Couponing can seem like a foreign language at first but with time it does get easier. To make this language easier on you, today I'm posting some of the more common abbreviations.
SS - Smart Source (coupon insert)
RP - Red Plum (coupon insert)
PG - Procter & Gamble
GM - General Mills
WYB - when you buy (ex. wyb 4 items, this is the price per item)
OYNO - on your next order
Blinkie - coupon boxes located throughout the store that dispense coupons
BOGO - buy one, get one
Catalina - coupon that prints out at the register
ECB - Extra Care Bucks from CVS
Register Rewards - coupons that print at the register at Walgreens and are to be treated like cash on your next visit
There are literally hundreds more but these are the most common ones. If there is an abbreviation you would like to know, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.
Stay tuned as next week I will discuss online coupons.
Sorry for the delay - we took yesterday as a family day and headed to Branson for some back to school shopping at the outlet malls.
Here are the top deals at Price Cutter this week. As always, feel free to leave a comment with any other deals or matchups you come up with.
Pork Loin -1.49
Red or Green seedless grapes - .99/lb
Peaches - .99/lb
Libby's Vegetables - 2/$1
Van Camp Pork & Beans - 2/$1
Pringles - .79
$1/4 (6/27 RP - **expires 7/31)
Final Price: .54 wyb 4
Lance Snack Crackers - 3/$5
Final Price: .67 each
Nutri-Grain Bars - 2/$5
$1/1 or .75/1 (7/11 RP)
Final Price: $1.50
Cap'n Crunch Cereal - 2/$3
$1/2 (5/16 RP)
Final Price: $1 each
Gatorade (64 oz) - 1.59
Hunt's Ketchup - .99
.20/1 (SS 6/20 - **expires 7/31)
Final price: .59
Friday, July 23, 2010
This is an easy dinner that can be made in the oven or on the grill. It also has received my husband's approval which, as most of you know, is huge.
BBQ Bacon Pork Chops
BBQ sauce (I prefer Sweet Baby Ray's)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray. Brush BBQ sauce on both sides of pork chop then wrap bacon around the chop. Bake in oven for 30-45 minutes, adding another layer of BBQ sauce half way through. If you prefer a crisper bacon, broil a few minutes once pork chops are cooked through.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
By now you are probably wondering where you are going to store all of these groceries you are buying for your stockpile. Some of you have huge pantries and can store items there but not everyone has that luxury. If you get creative, you can easily find places to store your items though.
Garage. We do not have a pantry in our house and use just a few cabinets to store our items in, therefore my stockpile is stored in the garage. I happen to have a pantry cabinet in the garage as I already owned it from my days of apartment life. We recently added a set of storage shelves too where a few shelves are for stockpiling and the rest of the unit is for my gardening supplies.
Closet. Look in your closets and you can probably find some extra room either in the floor or on a top shelf. Bathroom closets are also great for your toiletry stockpile.
Under the bed. Buy some under the bed boxes and store your stockpile under your bed. If you need more room, get some risers (like the ones college students use) and lift your bed a bit off the ground.
Plastic bins. When all else fails, buy some plastic bins or boxes, fill them and store in random places around the house. In tight places you can even throw a sheet or tablecloth over the box and use it as a nightstand or side table.
Where do you store your stockpile? I would love to hear any creative ideas you have.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Here are the top deals and coupon matchups at Price Cutter this week. Feel free to leave a comment with any others you find.
Blackberries - 1.68 (6 oz)
Raspberries - 1.98 (6 oz)
Peaches - .99/lb
Green Peppers - .69/lb
Watermelon - .39/lb
Black Seedless Grapes - 1.69/lb
Gatorade - .79 (32 oz - limit 3)
Ozarka Water - 6 pack - 5/$5
Dr Pepper products - 2 liter - .90
7-Up products - 2 liter - .99
Kraft BBQ Sauce - .59 (limit 3)
General Mills Cereal - 5/$10
$1/2 (SS 7/11 & 7/19)
Final Price - $1.50 each
Kellogg's Cereals - 4/$10
Final Price - $2.00 each
Planters Big Nut or Nutritional Energy Bars - 2/$4
$1/1 (SS 6/20) & .75/1 (SS 6/20 & 4/25)
Final Price - as low as $1 each
Keebler Animal Crackers - 2/$5
Hiland Cottage Cheese 1.79
Hiland Ice Cream - 2/$3
Final price - .50 each
Hiland Sour Cream or Dip - .79
Nature's Goodness baby food - 3/$1
New York Texas Toast Croutons - 10/$10
DanActive or Activia - 4 pack - 1.99
$1/1 (SS 6/20 & 7/18)
Final price - .99
Pork Sirloin Chops - 1.99/lb (family pack)
Bar-S franks - .89
Bakery fresh bread - 1.69
Hallam's Pure Raw Honey Bear - 2.99 (12 oz)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I've seen Tommee Tippee products in recent Toys"R"Us ads and wondered if they were a good product so I was excited when I was offered to review a few of the items. Tommee Tippee is a popular brand in the UK that has just recently entered the US market.
The first item we tried was the water bottle. I was a little skeptical when I gave it to my 13 month old because the water bottle is for a bit more advanced user and is recommended for 18+ months. It turns out it was easy for him to use and he loves it. I have a strange child in that he does not like cups with a valve in them so we have a hard time transporting liquids and we have to keep a close eye when he drinks at home to avoid spills. This water bottle will be our new travel cup as the valve didn't bother him at all and it is spill proof.
Next, we tried the Explora Easi-Mat along with the weaning bowls. I was excited to use the mat because it is supposed to keep bowls and plates in place. Unfortunately, in about two seconds my toddler figured out how to undo the suction. I love the concept for the mat and like that it can be rolled up for easy transportation but it did not work for my child. I did like the weaning bowl and spoon though and like that there is a storage place in the lid for the spoon. This would make an ideal bowl for on go.
Tommee Tippee products are all BPA free and are available at Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us.
Now through July 23, all Explora items are buy one, get one 50% off at Babiesrus.com.
Follow Tommee Tippee on Facebook or Twitter.
Disclosure: I was provided these products to review on behalf of Tommee Tippee and the Mom Bloggers Club. No other compensation occurred.
Friday, July 16, 2010
I first discovered this recipe a few weeks ago when strawberries were on sale at rock bottom prices. I knew it was a keeper when my non-strawberry liking 4 year old grabbed part of a loaf and started chowing down on it and telling me how much he liked it.
One word of warning though, this needs to be made as a loaf and not as muffins. I love putting quick bread recipes into muffin tins so I have quick and easy breakfast items on hand for my kids but when I tried it with this they did not hold up well as the bread is very moist.
Fresh Strawberry Bread
Originally from RecipeZaar
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or canola)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
1. In a bowl, place the sliced strawberries and 2 Tbsp sugar. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to create a syrup from the berries.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend together flour, 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oil, vanilla, eggs, strawberry slices and their syrup. Dump the strawberry mixture into the flour mixture and mix just until blended.
4. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan (9"x5") and bake for approximately 50 minutes.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
The way to save money with groceries is to buy ahead when items are on sale instead of waiting until you actually need them and paying full price. Sales tend to cycle every 12 weeks so the rule of thumb is to buy enough to last you 12 weeks. It takes trial and error over time to know how much to buy but do not let that stress you out.
When creating your stockpile, do not go overboard. Simply buy what you need each week and then as your budget allows, pick up a few of the items that are at rock bottom prices. Over time, you will be buying less and less needed items and more and more for your stockpile as your stockpile will be full of items you use often.
Stay tuned next week for when I discuss where to store your stockpile.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Here are the top deals at Price Cutter this week. If you find any others, please post them in the comments section.
Pork sirloin chops or sirloin roast - .88 lb
Peaches, nectarines, or black plums - .98 lb
Blue Bunny ice cream - $1.48 (limit 2)
Final price: .48
Spiral notebooks - 10/$1 (limit 10)
Elmer's glue sticks - 4/$1 (limit 4)
Elmer's school glue - 4/$1 (limit 4)
Post Cereal - 2/$4
Borden Singles Cheese - $1.98
Final price - .98
Pamper's Wipes (180-230 ct) - $5.99
$1/1 (RP 6/20)
Final price - $4.99
Coca-Cola products - 2 liter - .90
Thanks for hanging in there with me while my computer was being fixed. It only took a week and a half and they fixed more than they said they would! It is nice to have a fully working keyboard and a screen that isn't falling apart.
Price Cutter deals will be posted this afternoon and I'm hoping to get the next post up tomorrow in the Back to the Basics series.
Friday, July 9, 2010
This is an easy salad dressing that really dresses up a salad. I usually make it for potlucks but I had some dressing leftover that I've been using all week and it is delicious. The recipe is originally from the Weight Watchers' Simply the Best cookbook and they suggest serving it with mandarin oranges and almonds.
2 Tbsp minced parsley
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced (I use a microplane grater instead)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp water
Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight fighting lid, cover, and shake. Serves approximately 4.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I apologize for the delay in getting these up, I'm borrowing my husband's computer as my son destroyed my keyboard and then the frame around the monitor started cracking. Best Buy has it for the next 2-4 weeks!
As always, if you come across any other deals add them in the comment section.
Eggs - .49
Ken's Salad Dressing - .99 (limit 2)
$1/2 (7/1 SS)
Final Price - .49
Cheerios (18 oz) - .99 (limit 2)
$1/2 (7/1 SS) or .50 (6/27 SS)
Final Price - as low as FREE
General Mills Cereal - 5/$10
$1/2 - (6/6 SS)
Final Price - $1.50 each
Eggos - 2/$3
$1/2 (6/20 RP)
Final Price - $1.00 each
Friday, July 2, 2010
My child decided to destroy the keyboard on my laptop yesterday so Food Friday is taking a week off. See you next week with all new posts!
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Top deals and matchups for this week at Price Cutter are listed below. If you find any other great deals, please leave them in the comment section.
Blue Bell - 3.69
Final Price: 2.69
Cool Whip - .77 (limit 2)
.20/2 (SS 6/27)
Final Price: .57 each wyb 2
Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs - .99
Final Price - .49 each wyb 2
Jell-O Gelatin or Pudding - 2/$1
.50/2 or B1G1 (SS 6/6)
Final Price: FREE
Kraft Dressing 3/$5
$1/1 (SS 6/20)
Final Price: .67 each
Hunt's Ketchup - .99
.20 (SS 6/20)
Final Price: .59
Monday, June 28, 2010
I hear from people often that they do not have time to shop for sales because they will have to go to way too many stores. Here is a little secret I have for you...I rarely shop at more than 1-2 stores a week.
The best grocery store for sales in my area is Dillons (part of the Kroger family). I've noticed that most of their sales run at least two weeks. In the past few months, I've been hitting that sale on the first week. The next week, I do a quick run to Price Cutter as it is just up the street. I get the basics and any great sales they have. I've cut my grocery budget by about 25% simply by switching to this method instead of shopping Dillons every single week.
As for other stores, I rarely look at the sales unless I know my stockpile is getting low. I usually wind up going to Walgreens or Target one to two times a month for great deals on toothpaste, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc but I do not hit every sale at every store each week. It would be exhausting to do this.
When you are just starting out, start with one store and get the hang of it before adding another.
My favorite blogs to read to get the great deal matchups are:
Money Saving Mom - features matchups for most national stores
I Heart Coupon Deals - local blogger with Dillons matchups
Friday, June 25, 2010
We love to eat ice cream year round but especially in the summer. This is a fake ice cream sandwich recipe that is easy and much healthier than the real thing.
"Ice Cream" Sandwich
1 graham cracker sheet, broke in half
Cool Whip (lite & fat free work great)
Spread Cool Whip on half of a graham cracker, top with the other half, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Here are the top Price Cutter deals this week. If you find any other deals, please leave them in the comment section.
Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, Frosted Mini Wheats, or Raisin Bran $1.87
Kellogg's assorted cereals 5/$10
Final Price: 1.37-1.50 each
Maxwell House Coffee 34.5 oz - $3.99
$1/1 (SS 5/16)
Final Price: $2.99
Planters Nutrition Big Nut Bars 2/$4
$1/1 (SS 6/20)
Final Price: $1 each
Kashi TLC bars $1.99
Coke 12 packs - $4/11 with coupon from Price Cutter sales flyer
It has been abnormally hot around here this week (90's with high humidity) and I wanted to remind everyone to think about the temperature of where your stockpile is. I keep most of mine in my garage and I know many of you do too. Anything that might melt or cannot withstand heat needs to be moved inside.
When moving items, it is a great time to take inventory of your stockpile and have an eat from the pantry week.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
In the past few weeks, I've had several people ask me about couponing and how I manage to keep our grocery budget so small. Every time, I was then told it took too much effort and there was no way they could get their bill so low. With each person, I had to remind them to start small. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to share some beginning couponing tips and tricks that I have learned over the years. If there are any questions you have, feel free to leave a comment or email me and I will work them into the series.
Today I simply want to remind you to start small. Do not expect to save 70% your first trip and do not try to hit 5 stores your first time out. If you currently do not use any coupons, aim for saving 10% off your next grocery trip. Once you start feeling more comfortable, try for 15-20%. My current average is 40-50% at the grocery store with the occasional 70-80%. Drugstores tend to be a bit higher in savings but that is because I usually only go there to get the deals and nothing else.
Stay tuned as my next entry will be about the number of stores I shop at.
Friday, June 18, 2010
This is a quick and easy bread that makes two loaves. I love it when a recipe makes more than one loaf because I can eat one now and freeze the other for later. I would recommend waiting to ice the one you are freezing though.
Poppy Seed Bread
3 cups unsifted flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp each almond flavoring, butter flavoring, vanilla & poppy seed
Mix together. Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.
1/4 cups orange juice
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp almond flavoring
1 tsp butter flavoring
1 tsp vanilla
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
There were very few good deals at Price Cutter this week so the list is small. As always, feel free to add any that you find.
Blueberries - 2 pints for $3
Best Choice Macaroni & Cheese - 4/$1
Del Monte fruit cups or chillers - 2/$4
Final price: $1 each
Nabisco Snak-Saks - 10/$10 (these are great for taking as a quick snack for summer outings)
Monday, June 14, 2010
Are you moving soon or have you just moved? If you answered yes to either of those, head over to Home Depot and sign up for a 10% off coupon plus customized emails with checklists, moving time lines, and projects.
It seems like every time we move there is always something we need to go to Home Depot for. There are always many little things you need that you never anticipated and this program offers a discount on those items.
Friday, June 11, 2010
This is one of my favorite homemade ice cream recipes. My kids like it too and they don't even realize they are getting a serving of fruit in while enjoying this treat.
Tutti Fruiti Ice Cream
4 ripe bananas
1 medium jar maraschino cherries
1 medium can crushed pineapple
2 cups sugar
2 can Pet mix
milk (can use skim)
Mash and chop bananas, cherries and pineapple. Mix with sugar and Pet mix. Add the juice of 4 lemons. Add enough milk to make a gallon. Freeze according to direction on ice cream maker.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Here are a few food related links you might be interested in:
Muffins are one of my favorite quick and easy breakfast and snack foods and here is a free download of healthy muffin recipes.
Quizno's is still running their great special of any small sub, chips and a fountain drink for $2.99. You must print the coupon for this special.
Here are the top deals and match ups for this week at Price Cutter. Feel free to leave a comment of any other deals you come across.
Banquet dinners - .67
Charmin 9ct - 2.99
.25 (P&G 6/6)
Kellogg's Raisin Bran - 2/$5
$2 each wyb2
Nestle Pure Life Water - 3 for $10
$2.83 each wyb2
Nestle Pure Life Splash - 5/$5
if coupon above applies then .50 each wyb 2
Hiland Sour Cream or Dip - .79
Grapes - 1.49/lb
Friday, June 4, 2010
It doesn't get much easier than this recipe but it is something I rarely think to make as a side dish. My mother-in-law always has it on hand and the kids gobble it up so I need to remember to make it more often.
1 can mixed fruit in light syrup
1 small can mandarin oranges – drained
Additional sliced fruit as desired
Sweet n Low or Splenda – if desired
Mix all ingredients and add half a packet of Sweet n Low or Splenda if it is not sweet enough. We tend to add bananas and any other fruit that happens to be in season at the time. This time of years berries make a great addition.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Every Wednesday, I'm going to start posting the top Price Cutter sales and coupon match ups. This is not a full list, rather the hot items of the week. If you find any great coupon match ups, feel free to add them in the comment section.
Libby's Vegetables - .39 each - limit 6
Jack's Pizza - 1.49 - limit 2
.55/1 (SS 5/2)
Final price - .49
Ragu - 2/$3
.75/2 (RP 5/23) & $1/2 (RP 5/23)
Final price - $1 each
New York Texas Toast Croutons - 10/$10
Final price - FREE
Post Cereal - 3/$5
$1/2 (SS 5/16)
Final price - $1.17 each wyb 2
This week is also the 10 lb meat sale:
Pork Steak - 1.69 lb
Pork Roast - 1.59 lb
Pork Loin - 1.79 lb
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
At the beginning of the year I wrote about my goals for the year and stated the importance of reviewing our goals every so often and tweaking as necessary. Since we are about half way through the year I thought I would give you an update on my goals.
1. Weight loss – I'm not even close to where I hoped to be by now but I have lost 6 ½ pounds since the beginning of the year. It isn't a lot but as long as I'm still losing and not gaining I am ok with it. Now that my husband is out of school I'm hoping to find a bit more time to exercise and I know that will help too.
2. Clutter Control - While my house isn't as clean as I would like, we've made major improvements. My husband even commented that there are a lot less piles of junk around the house.
3. Blog – most week's I've kept my goal of a minimum of 3 posts per week. My new goal is to up the content quality and begin using more pictures. I'm also looking into options for a new design or even switching to WordPress. If you have any suggestions for a designer or for moving a blog, feel free to share.
4. Tupperware – I had a great start to the year but as my husband's school and work schedule took over, I didn't have time to properly run my business. I'm ready to pour more time into it now and plan on getting back on track this summer in order to meet my goal's for the year.
How are your goals coming along? Feel free to share an update or a link.