Sunday, November 30, 2008


Today I was reading the Sunday newspaper and saw that Kmart is doubling coupons this week!!! Yahoo!! I've never shopped anywhere that honored double coupons. So you can imagine my excitement by this. (Actually you probably can't!)

After we got home from church and put the Christmas Tree up I started sorting through the coupons in my new nifty coupon binder. I realized that I had quite a few really good coupons that were going to expire today, and that they were for items I desperately needed. So at about 4:15 I hightailed it out of here with dollar signs in my eyes and a dream in my heart (okay, that is a bit cheezy I admit.)

While I was out browsing the aisles looking for good deals I ran across another gal going through her coupons (which were not organized nearly as good as mine) and asked her them doubling coupons. The add said they would honor coupons up $2 off - my question was would they honor coupons for a total of $2 off, or would they honor $2 off coupons for up to $4 off items. The latter was true!!! Holy cow, I've died and gone to bargain shopper heaven!! Below is an itemization of how I did. The purchase price before coupon is listed behind the item. The coupons only rang up with a total so I don't have a list of exactly the purchase price per item, but I will post the grand total spent and saved at the bottom. First though, here is a picture of my purchase:

Jergens lotion $3.00
4 bars of Oil of Olay $4.00
Colgate Toothpaste - quantity 3 @ $3.29 each = $9.87
Dove Shampoo $3.79
Dove Conditioner $3.79
Tylenol Rapid Release $0.99
StayFree Maxi Pads $3.49
Aussie Sprunch Spray $2.89
Pert 2 in 1 Shampoo $4.99
Reynolds Handi-Vaccum Starter Kit $8.99
Dog Treats $2.99
Ziplock Vaccum Bags $2.79
Cascade Dishwasher Gel Tabs - qty 2 @ $4.79 each = 9.58
Febreze Pet $3.99
2000 Flushes with bleach $2.99
Oust Deodorizer and Disinfectant $3.50
Betty Crocker Cookie Mix - qty 2 @ $1.00 each
Betty Crocker frosting $1.50
Hershey Nugget Chocolate Bar Assortment $4.99
Peter Pan peanut butter $2.49
V-8 Splash $3.49

Total Savings after doubled coupons: $33.80
Total Spent: $32.38

Did I rock it or what????? I was so excited - the first thing I did was call my husband, who I would have thought would have shared in my enthusiasm, but no. All he said was "Couldn't this wait till you got home?" What a fun-hater. I was bummed that you can't use internet coupons cause I could have scored a lot more free stuff. Bummer.

Now I just want to find more coupons and go shopping there again to see if I can do better!! (Is there a support group for this?!?!?!)

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree.....

2 years ago we had a very sad looking Christmas tree, trust me it was sparse and falling apart. So last year we decided that we would have nothing other than a real tree. It was actually our first time having a real tree. It was kind of nice - it smelled good. But it was a pain in the rear with the needles always dropping, ornaments dropping over the weeks as the tree started to droop, and of course it hurt like crazy when trying to decorate the tree with all the needles poking at you.

This year we found a tree that truly looks but real, but it's not. No more ornaments crashing to the floor in the middle of the night. No more pine needles getting stuck in our socks as we walk through the dining room. The finished product?

April had seen the trees when the started showing up in stores (what was it, like August?!?!?) and wanted a little tree for her room. Well, her room was a terrible mess. We had been trying to bribe her with a surprise for a week or more before she finally cleaned her room (although honestly it needs to have some things tossed!) yesterday. Here she is standing next to HER tree that she decorated all by herself:

I know, I know! Her tree looks little sparse. We didn't have too many decorations that were lightweight and not breakable, we gave her the "extras" that fit into that category but we will still need to buy her some additional ones. She is very proud of this little tree!

Did any of you pick up any fantastic deals on Friday or Saturday? I didn't do a whole lot of shopping. I did pick a few things up Friday late afternoon, but there was no way I was going out to brave the crowds in the morning! Part of the reason is I really don't know what to get for presents this year. Usually by now I have my shopping at least half done. Not this year, I've barely even started. Next year by this time I swear I will be done!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


This weekend was ....well, kinda boring. There really wasn't much going on or to do without spending a lot of money - which right now is in short supply. So I decided to start a little project. Last week I was reading Miriam's Blog (her entry for November 19th) and she was talking about her coupon binder. When I was at the store Saturday I was sifting through my coupons and thought at the time how much easier it would be for Miriam to find what she was looking for since she made her binder. (I had actually even seen a gal at the store who a binder open on top of her cart, so I'm sure she was using the same method!) I knew I had a few binders and dividers at home so I decided (at the store) that I was going to copy her idea and make my own coupon binder. The only thing I needed to buy was the plastic pages, which I picked up for $5.77 for 35. When I got home I started assembling my very own coupon binder! I have to say, my husband thinks I'm crazy and kept asking if I "was really going to take that thing into stores". To which I smiled and replied "yep". So I'm sure I'll be going to the store myself from now on. Which actually is probably a great deal for me!! I'm very excited to tackle my next shopping trip now that I have my very own binder! (Thanks for the fabulous idea, Miriam!!)

I've been checking out all the leaked ads for Black Friday. To be honest, there's really not much out there that looks too good to me. I did see a couple things but the savings weren't that great that it would be worth putting up with the crowds or getting up that early.

I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving, especially having 4 days off. It will be nice to have that much time off when I'm actually feeling great (knock on wood) and am not stuck in bed unable to move. I should hear back this week from the University Hospital about when my appointment will be. It will really be nice to know what I'm dealing with. I feel like people think I'm a bit crazy when I'm having a "flare up".

I think we have figured out what to give the people that my husband supervises at his job. He picked up some really nice mugs today and we are going to fill them with a packet of cocoa, a chocolate covered pretzel rod, a coated marshmallow, some chocolate candies, etc. Kind of a chocolate theme I guess - can't really go wrong with that right? It is mostly women, only 1 or 2 guys.

Okay, I have a problem. Apparently I am unable to properly bake the premade brownies you can buy. We bought a pack last week and I tried making some of them the night we bought and the rest tonight. Both times they ended up burnt. Tonight I even shortened the baking time by 10 minutes. Guess that's what I get for trying to take the easy way out.

I need to brag for a minute. I walked past April's room earlier and I could hear her reading. I peeked in and she was reading one of her Magic Treehouse books. For anyone that doesn't know these books are Chapter books and usually about 80 pages. April is 6 - yes you read that right, 6. That is absolutely amazing to me that she can read that well. We had bought books #1-8 from a book order at school and have been reading them. The first one I had started reading to her, but she stopped me after about a paragraph and she read the rest to me. Needless to say, I am very proud of her!!

Today's tip: Want to have a bunch of different kinds of holiday cookies but only want to bake 1 kind? Host a cookie exchange. Invite several friends and have each make a few dozen of one kind of cookie (you can request each person bring 2 kinds if want even more of a selection). When everyone gets to your house lay out the cookies on a table or counter. Each person gets to pick up a specified amount of each cookie. For example: Invite 5 people and ask that each person makes 6 dozen cookies (just for easy figuring). That means each person would bring 72 cookies. This means each person would still be taking 72 cookies home, but it would be a dozen each of 6 different kinds. It's an easy and fun way of getting a variety of cookies while only making one! We did this at my girlfriend Jessica's house several years ago and it worked out fantastic!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hello Winter!!

Today is the first day that it truly feels like winter is here. The wind cuts through you and your fingers become numb from the cold after only a few minutes outside. There is nothing better than when its biting cold and there is a fresh snow fall. It's so invigorating and makes you feel so alive - well, it does me anyways. We don't have the snow, although it is supposed to snow tomorrow, but we sure do have the cold. The other thing I love about this weather is that it makes eating soup acceptable. I love soup, any kind of soup. I love to eat soup when it's freezing cold out, but I also love to eat soup when it's hot outside. My husband thinks that's crazy, my daughter ....well she is a soup lover too..... and she's coming down with a cold, so a weekend filled with soup is just what the doctor ordered. Below is the recipe I use to make chicken noodle soup. It's just the basics and approximate measurements, cause....well, I don't really measure anything. I just add a certain ingredient till it seems like it's enough for our taste.

Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole chicken
2-3 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
8 oz sliced mushrooms
chicken bouillon granules
1-2 packages frozen egg noodles
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper, to taste

Place the chicken in a large pot and add enough water to cover the chicken. Boil until the chicken is falling off the bones, you may need to periodically add a little more water. Remove the chicken and allow to cool. Continue to heat the water on medium heat. While chicken is cooling so you can pick the meat off the bones, dice up the carrots, celery, and onion and add to the water. Add several teaspoons of chick bouillon granules to the water (approximately 1 teaspoon for each cup of water), it's best to add a few teaspoons at time and test it to avoid adding too much since it is a salt based seasoning. Pick as much chicken as you can off of the bones. You can use all of it in the soup, or just part of it if you want to save some chicken for another meal. Add the chicken to the water and vegetables. Add bay leaves and additional bouillon or seasonings you want. Add the noodles and mushrooms about 30 minutes before eating. This does thicken quite a bit so if you want it to stay real soupy you'll want to add more water before storing it in the fridge.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Please let it be mine!!!!

Tonight after work Layne and I took April to her allergy doctor appointment. It was pretty uneventful, just a follow-up. Afterwards we came directly home. When I walked through the door I took my coat off and saw a Fedex overnight envelope on the dining room table for me. I wasn't expecting anything, but I opened it and pulled out ....................a check - for quite a significant amount of money. I really hope for some reason it truly is supposed to be mine - we could really use it right now to pay off medical bills. Although I find it hard to believe that it could really be mine when I really didn't know anything about it. I'll keep you all posted.

After supper I made a recipe I found a month or so ago on The Grocery Cart Challenge blog. The recipe is for Lentil Snacks. Now I have to admit that I really like lentils, so I had to try this recipe. All I can say is YUM! I was so surprised by the texture and the way the seasoning settled onto the lentils. They kind of pop in your mouth - my daughter even said these were awesome - but a little spicy. I did actually double the spices for the recipe. They are definitely something I plan on making again. Here's what they look like (although honestly the picture doesn't look that good!):

Today's tip: Need a fun, frugal Christmas idea for that hard-to-buy-for person? I have the perfecct idea - actually my Aunt Connie forwarded this idea to me in an email - so I really can't take any credit - although it does sound like something I would come up with. (See a quick story below the instructions at the bottom of the page). It's a very economical solution that anybody would love to receive. They are affordable and you can customize them for that special person! I

How to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads: You need four maxi pads to make a pair. Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part. The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top. Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part. Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers (this is most aesthetically appealing), etc. These slippers are: * Soft and Hygienic * Non-slip grip strips on the soles * Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh * No more bending over to mop up spills * Disposable and biodegradable * Environmentally safe * Three convenient sizes: (1.) Regular, (2.) Light and (3.) Get out the Sand Bags.

Okay - so the story about the maxi pad.... When I was 17 my cousins (Jessica, Monica, & Brook) & I went to Pelican Rapids, MN for a week to stay with our grandparents. It was a yearly tradition for us for as long as I could remember. Every year before one of the aunts would drive us up and stay with us. This particular year Jessica & I had both had our drivers licenses so we followed Grandma & Grandpa up there. Anyway on the way back home it was SO HOT that we had to have the air conditioning on full blast in the car. I was driving and had no socks or shoes, other than flip-flops to wear. With the air going full blast and blowing on my feet I thought they were going to fall off cause they were so cold, but if we turned the air down we were dying from the heat. One of us girls happened to have a maxi pad so I peeled it off and stuck it on the top of my foot to shield it from the cold air - it worked like a charm! Just remember to peel it off before walking into any gas stations - cause you will get strange looks..... trust me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Today's Shopping Adventure

Anyone curious about how my shopping extravaganza today turned out? It wasn't too bad - honestly I didn't get much Christmas shopping done, although I did get some nice things for myself. I purchased 4 sweaters, 2 bras, and 2 shirts for myself and spent less than $40. And trust me I needed the tops!! So while I didn't accomplish squat for Christmas shopping at least the day wasn't a complete loss.

I read a tip from a gal somewhere (don't remember where) that to budget for the extra expense of the holidays she would buy gift cards and put extra money that she had budgeted for but didn't spend on these gift cards - usually about $10 a week or so. Think of how easy it would be to put $10 a week on a reloadable gift card - you'd never miss it and then you'd have $520 for the holiday season. This is definitely a tip I plan on putting to use next year! Seems like money is always so tight during the holidays and if you already have it put aside it shouldn't hurt the bank account near as much - I think though that I would probably put money on gift cards to a couple different places (not Walmart!!!) so at least I have a selection of a couple stores to do my shopping from. It would be great to put about $100 of it on a grocery gift card for all the food required at the various gatherings.

My husband is a production supervisor at a local honey plant. He has 15 people (12 women & 3 men) that report to him. Each year I get the privilege of selecting a nice (but affordable) gift. We have given them fleece blankets, hat/glove sets, candles, mugs w/ goodies, homemade bath salts, and I don't remember what else. This year - well, this year I have NO IDEAS! Since I have had a significant amount of time unpaid off work the money is really tight, which makes finding a frugal gift all the more important. I would welcome any ideas..... (hint, hint).....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Grocery Trip

Tonight I had to make a run to the grocery store because we were about out of milk. I decided to put together a quick list to pick up whatever else I may need for the next week so I can avoid another trip later. I discovered a few things about going to get groceries after 8:00pm. 1) There is hardly anyone there. This makes for a quick trip when you don't have to fight all the people and carts. If you have a list and don't have to worry about crowds this means you will save a lot of money because you won't spend all the time looking around when waiting behind a slow moving person. 2) Pretty much everything in the deli/kitchen area is marked down 1/2 price. I picked up a pound each of Virginia ham and roast beef for less than $3 a pound - these were regularly $6-$7 a pound! They also had rotisserie chickens for $3 (but I didn't get any of those)! 3) If they are having a particularly good 1-day sale on a particular product you will probably find that they are out of that by 8pm. However the money you save by not buying things impulsively may out-weigh any savings you would have gotten anyway.

Here is what I bought this evening:

6 - single serve containers of yogurt
1 large container of sour cream
1 dozen eggs
1 gallon of milk
1 container of french vanilla creamer
1 pound of margarine
1+ lb. of shaved roast beef
1+ lb. of shaved Virginia ham
1 bag of frozen corn
1 can of evaporated milk
1 package of brown sugar
48 oz can of vegetable juice
chili powder
2 - 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
1 large container of corn meal
2 - 2 liters of diet pepsi
2 - 2 liters of mountain dew
1+ lbs of grapes

My total purchase was $35.28. Not too bad really, although I probably should have picked up another gallon of milk. Oh well. Luckily our cupboards and freezer are pretty well stocked, so I only needed to pick up odds and ends for meals for this next week. One other bonus was that the store I went to had a coupon for a free $20 gift card with any transferred prescription - so I transferred April's allergy nose spray over to get the gift card. This actually ended up being a great deal because she has to have the medicine anyway, it's the same prescription copay no matter where we get it, and this pharmacy is a lot closer to our house than the pharmacy where we originally had the prescription filled.

Tomorrow a girlfriend and I are hitting the local shopping area to see what good deals we can come up with for Christmas. Check back tomorrow for that post!

Tip of the Day: Looking for a quick, affordable, easy gift to make for a special little girl? Click on the link below and watch the YouTube instructional video on how to make an adorable, no-sew TUTU.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christmas and Babies

I'm trying something new. I have been waiting till the night to update my blog, and it seems that things get so busy and I don't get around to it, or I think all day of all kinds of stuff to blog about and by the time comes that I get around to it I have forgotten. I should make a list - I do love lists! But I never get that far. I am going to try to do some of the writing in the morning and then finish it up and actually post it at night. We'll see how that works.

Last weeked we were out of town visiting my brother and his family again. I actually accomplished a minimal amount of Christmas shopping for April. It's so hard to come up with ideas for a child that has everything. She is the only grandchild on my husband's side of the family and 1 of 2 on my side. So needless to say, the girl wants for nothing. We have a smallish house and her room is packed with stuff. I keep trying to talk her into giving some of her things away to less fortunate children, but right now she is having none of that. Most the stuff in there she never even plays with! And of course with all the time I've been off work with whatever mystery illness hasn't helped the bank account to prepare for Christmas either!

This morning at about 6:15 I got a text message from my friend, Rhonda, that she is in the hospital and should have her baby later today. I'm so excited for her - she has wanted this for about 15 years and her dream to be a mom is finally coming true. I know she will be fabulous and is very excited to finally meet the little person - they don't know what they are having so everyone is waiting to see if they should buy pink or blue! (I wrote this part this morning. When I spoke to her earlier this afternoon she was only dilated to 2 cm. Afraid it's going to be a long labor. - Sorry Rhonda!)

Tonight over supper Layne decided he was going to work on cleaning our junk room - you know that one room of the house that ends up being a catch-all for everything that you really have no idea of where to put but you aren't ready to get rid of. I decided I better jump on the wagon because a LOT of that STUFF is mine! So I have been a freecycling fool all night! I separated the items into postings and am awaiting to people to arrive as I type this to pick up some of these items. Woohoo!! I tell you, it really is invigorating to get it cleared out. Too make it really fun I even broke out a bottle of beer that has been in the fridge for a couple months. Boy am I fun or what?!?!?

No tip for tonight- sorry. I probably owe you guys a whole book of tips! Gotta get back to tossing while the feeling is still fresh!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Walmart rant

It's hard to believe that it was a week ago that I made my last post. I am very sorry to those of you who have checked it everyday only find that it hasn't been updated. I have been having some health difficulties that have been a bit exhausting and I haven't been so good about getting online because I've been a bit out of it sometimes from the medication. I'm trying to look at the whole experience as God preparing me for something or using this opportunity to help or educate someone. I admit it's very hard to do when I'm in pain and incapable of moving at all. I spend a lot of time praying and crying but I know that it will all be figured out when it's supposed to be. I just need to work harder at being patient and knowing that things happen on God's timetable, not mine.
Onto a lighter note..... We had parent-teacher conferences tonight. It was great to hear how well April is doing with her reading. She is reading at a second grade level (she is in first grade) which absolutely makes us proud. The teacher kept telling us how good she is - funny how people will always comment about how well behaved your child is and the whole time your thinking "who do you have my child confused with???" I know my child is capable of being that fantastic angelic child, it's just that I rarely get to see that side. I always get the side that is whiny and throws temper tantrums. It seems that no matter how I deal with it's never the right way. I always end up getting frazzled and reacting in the completely wrong way. Actually it's a lot like how I act when I'm at Walmart. I don't know about you but that store - well, to be blunt, that store pisses me off. I can't ever find what I'm looking for because the way some of the things are arranged makes no sense to me. For example: last year I was looking for a disposable roasting pan for a turkey, right? Well, I looked over by the disposable plates and things because in other stores that I have been to that's where they were. But were they there? No. They were over by the REAL pans. Then there is the fact that they are always crowded. Quite honestly they are even that cheap. Many times I've seen things at Walmart that were not cheaper than they were anywhere else. I've actually found that Target seems to be just as cheap or in some cases cheaper (especially if combining sales & coupons). I typically spend no more than $0.75 on a stick of deodarant at Target by combining sale prices & coupons, sometimes as little as $0.25. I'm getting off of the subject here, sorry. Okay, back to Walmart. It never fails I always get behind the person with 1 cart that is completely over flowing with items and then they send their kids back to different sections to get other items that they have forgotten. Just this weekend I went there with my mom & daughter to get a pair of black dress shoes for my daughter. They had 1 pair of shoes in her size - I'm not joking one pair!!! I don't think my mom was real impressed with my hormonal tirade at the store either. Okay, that's enough ranting for one night!
This weekend we are going back down to visit my brother & his family, Sunday is the baby shower. I can't wait to see my neice again. Let me tell you, she is something. She is adorable & so funny! And of course she thinks that Aunt Liz rocks!! (Smart girl!)
I recently came across a really cool website that lists some really awesome specials. Often they post some coupon codes so you get some items pretty much free. So today's tip: go check out I've been checking there everyday and have taken advantage of a couple of the specials to pick up a couple Christmas presents. Go check it out!