Friday, November 28, 2008

Shopping fun!

Wow! We spent the day power shopping! Up at 5:00 and home 8:30 at night! We did take a little break mid afternoon to wrap presents and rest, but then went back out. We had a lot of fun - got some fantastic deals and I am FINISHED Christmas shopping. Tomorrow I plan on wrapping presents and cleaning the house!

Today felt like a Saturday all day which will make tomorrow a wonderful treat! I love long weekends.

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

BTW, on the Target website, there are $1.00 off broccoli and cauliflower coupons - our SuperTarget has it on sale for $1.33, so $.33 for veggies! My husband teased me that I was the only one at Target buying broccoli at 6:00 am today!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Deal of the week!

Walgreen's was my favorite stop this week!

Hunts Tomato Sauce - 29 cents a can with the weekly ad, combine with the $.40/2 coupon from 9/21 and it's 9 cents a can. I had three coupons, so I purchased 6 cans. That will last us for quite a while!

Sure is on sale for $1.99, with the coupon in the EasySaver Catalog, it was
$.49, and I had a $1.50 coupon, so that one was a positive $.49!

Monday, November 24, 2008



Menu Plan Monday

I decided to try mostly new recipes this week from the latest Rachael Ray Magazine:

Monday - Salmon, salad, cresent rolls
Tuesday - Greek Wedding Soup
Wednesday - Pan Fried Spinach Ravioli
Thursday - Thanksgiving at Grandma's
Friday - Turkey roll ups
Saturday - Spicy Tuna Melts
Sunday - Thanksgiving at our house

I actually just got back from Meijer and they had so many good deals I easily have enough groceries for next week too! So, I may try to stop shopping for a few weeks (aside from milk, eggs and produce) and see what I can create from my overstuffed pantry.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hallmark Greeting Card Contest

Doesn't this look like fun? I'm entering for sure!


Deal of the week!

Hmm, I'm just a day off this week! Not any super deals this week.


Hershey bars are 39 cents this week, and I had a ton of B1G1 free special dark candy bars. So, I stocked up - they make good Smores.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - on Tuesday . . .

A day behind, but here goes:

Monday - leftovers from the birthday party
Tuesday - spaghetti & meatballs for the kids, mystery shop date night
Wednesday - hamburgers on the grill, mac & cheese, broccoli
Thursday - chicken fried rice (never made it last week!)
Friday - homemade pizza - deep dish this week I think
Saturday - chicken pot pie
Sunday - charity event at local mall

I actually have everything on hand, so I just need to buy milk later in the week and maybe some fresh fruit. Of course I'll also pick up any deals that are out there if they are good enough!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Free Birthday Cards

Along with the birthday theme, I have been able to eliminate spending money on Birthday cards. Now that I have kids, I let them color or draw a picture and write their name on it. Voila! Instant card. I think it also makes the gift giving seem more meaningful to my children - they are involved in the process.

Another benefit from saving money is that so often cards just get thrown away - even if the artwork gets thrown away, at least it isn't like just throwing away money. Of course the grandparents, Aunts and Uncles like to keep the pictures!

So next time you have a gift to deliver or a card to mail, set your child down with some paper and crayons and let them create the perfect card!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Save money on Birthday's

My little guy's birthday is Saturday - he'll be TWO!!! Hard to believe. Between him and my daughter, I've done quite a few birthday's already and I've never spent more than $25.

For my son, since he's so small still, it'll just be family and close friends. I'll serve a simple lunch that I make from ingredients I have on hand (burgers on the grill, potato salad, crackers and a cheese dip). I'll make the cake myself using a cake mold I bought at a garage sale for 50 cents, and I'll decorate the house with items I purchased at the Party Store in one of their clearance sections. For my son we are doing a Pooh theme and I was able to buy hats, plates, napkins, crepe paper and even a centerpiece for $5 total.

When I do goody bag's for my daughter's parties, I rarely spend more than $1 per bag. In the basement I have a box for "party supplies." Whenever I find a great goody bag item or party decoration on clearance, I stick it in there. This is also the box I raid for school parties or other times I need stickers or other small gifts.

Another thing I do to make birthday's special is decorate the kid's doorways while they sleep. I string crepe paper from the doorway and put a small wrapped present on the floor by their door. The cost is minimal and it is exciting for them to wake up to! We also have a family dinner on the actual day of the birthday with cupcakes for dessert.

I'm sure it'll be harder to keep the parties at a reasonable cost as the kids get older and want their parties to be at Chuck E Cheeses, etc. like their friends, but for now, my kids have just as much fun at their "homemade" parties and I have more fun planning them!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I've been tagged!

Note: sorry about the lack of actual links - for some reason Blogger won't let me create links today. I've tried numerous times and finally decided to just post this - I'll try to go back and correct later!!!!

Jaycie from Coupon Geek tagged me - make sure and check out her blog(s) - they are a lot of fun and full of great ideas!

These are the rules for tagging...
1) Link back to the person who tagged you and share the rules on your blog
2) Share 7 facts about yourself
3) Tag seven people and list their links in your post
4) Tell those 7 people by commenting on their blog!

It is hard to come up with seven things, but here I go:

1. I am older than most of my friends - I used to always be the youngest, but my husband and I waited so long to have kids that the tides have turned - these days my friends are much younger!

2. My husband and I have been married for 15 years - Yes, I AM OLD!

3. I love to save money, mystery shop, find good deals, etc. but I really don't have to - financially we are in fine shape. I just think it's being smart and I like the thrill!

4. I talk a lot about eating well and exercising in my blog, but until recently it's never been an issue for me! I used to be a skinny little 100 lbs. I'm not much more than that now, so I'm definitely focused more on being healthy for my kids than losing a ton of weight.

5. I would be a terrific SAHM - I love being with my kids, cooking, taking care of my home, etc. But next best thing I get to work from home. So, with the help of the Grandma's I get to work full time but be home all day and enjoy snippets of time with my kiddos during normal business hours.

6. As you know, I love to travel, and the most interesting places I've been are Thailand, India and the Philippines. These days I prefer the good old USA though!

7. I am working on writing a book! I'm not sure if I'll make it into an e-book or try the traditional route, but I'm very excited about it!

Here are the blogs I'm tagging!

Notice there are only three? These are three I enjoy regularly and as I'm trying to limit my time on the computer these days, I deleted most of my bookmarks! If you are one of these ladies and have been tagged before, please feel free to ignore this!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Deal of the week!

A couple of GREAT ones this week:

Target - on the coupon generator is $1 off Archer Farms Coffee. Our SuperTarget has the sample packs for $1.06, so 6 cents per package. I actually tried this coffee the last time they had this coupon out and discovered I really like it. I just ran out a few weeks ago, so I'll be stocking back up. I usually buy 8 at a time so I don't clear the shelves.

Walgreens -

I purchased the following for $4.17:
4 - 15 oz. cans Libby Pumpkin
2 - Betty Crocker frosting
2 - Progresso Soups
2 - Coffeemate liquid creamers
2 - clearance halloween candies (pumpkins and caramels)

I used two $1/2 Libby Pumpkin coupons, 2 - $.55/1 BC Frosting coupons, 2 - $1.10/1 Progresso Soup coupons and 2 - $1/1 Coffeemate coupons. The coffeemate coupons came from the coffeemate website, the frosting coupons were from my stash (so must have been a recent insert) and the Libby and Progresso coupons were printed off of a link from (THANKS!) I combined these with the Walgreen's coupons in the ads for some amazing savings!

Menu Plan Monday

Yeah, back to a normal week!

Monday - spinach fritatta, biscuits with honey
Tuesday - Mystery shop - Date night!
Wednesday - Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, rye bread
Thursday - chicken fried rice (going to use brown rice for a change)
Friday - Homemade pizza
Saturday - Pork tenderloin with spinach fritters
Sunday - Chicken pot pie, salad

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Travel Writing

One of my goals in October was to learn more about Travel Writing. Well, along with taking a class online, I submitted an article to Associated Content. I know it's very easy to get published there, but still, it was exciting to have an article accepted and even get paid a few dollars for it!

Here's the link:

Family Fun in Fort Wayne!

November Focus

My birthday is in November, so I thought this month I would focus on me. This one will be a fun one for me (obviously) and will hopefully encourage some balance in my life. That is something that has really been missing since I started my current project at work back in July. Luckily, the project ends this week, so I can jump in feet first next week.

My goals:

1. Select and start a new personal improvement book. I've been writing down tons of titles over the last few months, so I'm going to head to the library this weekend and pick one out. I love these and think you can really glean some good information but it can also be overwhelming if you try to read/ implement too many at once. This will be my month to try one out and if I like it, I may continue to "do" a few a year - one at a time of course!

2. Take some time each week to relax. I'm terrible at this one - if I have free time I find something that needs done. So, each week I'm scheduling some "me" time in my planner - even 1/2 hour enjoying a coffee and a magazine will help improve my frame of mind.

3. Get up earlier. I've been working so many late nights that I haven't been good at this. Getting up late throws the whole day off - we start out rushing and never slow down.

4. Make my office more of a "haven". I started this back in September with my new chair, and by cleaning it out, but it's still such a "drop zone." Since I spend so much time there, I'd really like to organize and make it an enjoyable place to be.

5. Take better care of myself - consistent work outs, watching what I eat, etc. In fact, thanks to Halloween last week our household is overrun with candy, so my husband and I plan on cleaning out the pantry of junk this weekend one night after the kids go to bed. We'll freeze most of the chocolate, put away a small bowl for "treats" and send the rest to school for the teacher's candy jar.

I'll try to post updates as the month goes along.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Deal of the Week!

Well, traveling again (last week on this project - hooray!!!), so I haven't had time to scope out the deals. I do have one for today only:


Originally the promotion was for anyone who told them they voted, but apparently it's illegal to "coerce" someone to vote, so Starbucks decided to give free coffee to everyone! Check your store to make sure they are participating. It's supposed to be for a tall regular coffee, but when I ordered my coffee, they gave me a Grande. My husband actually received a Venti!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Free book!

This is a great freebie - check it out!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

October Goals Re-cap

Well, time for my accountability! Not to make excuses but I did have to go on 3 business trips this month, so my schedule was very off . . . that being said, I didn't do too bad:

1. Take a travel writing class through continuing education. Completed - fun and easy online class.
2. Complete and submit three query letters. Completed but haven't submitted, however I did submit a travel article to Associated Press.

3. Investigate different blog ideas (i.e. weekly posts, series, revenue) Created "Deal of the Week" on Tuesdays, added a few ads to see what happens

4. Limit blogging (and reading blogs) to certain hours of the day - things were getting out of hand! Not so good at this, although I'm trying!!!!

5. Do another giveaway. Halloween Tee
6. Increase blog traffic. Seems like traffic has increased, and I did start up a traffic counter, so I can track it.

Although I didn't complete everything, midway through the month my vision did change. I decided that although I would continue to blog, I wasn't going to become a slave to it - so I'm not going to actively try to increase traffic, make money, etc. I'm just going to do it for fun, when I want to ramble or share deals I've found. Kudos to the wonderful bloggers who make this their full time job, but I've already got PLENTY to do and a good paying job, so taking on something else is just too much right now.

Next month's focus is on me! More on that to come.