Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why I've been MIA

I know I've been bad about blogging lately. Honestly I've just been living - playing with the kids, working, etc. I think with warmer weather coming I'll be doing a lot more of that and a lot less blogging . . .

While I'm typing this I do need to share an incredible deal my hubby and I found yesterday while out on our date night.

We stopped at Borders for a B1G1 coffee and some book browsing and discovered a ton of clearance games for $1!!! With two birthday parties this month, we snapped up a few for gifts along with some that will be perfect for a few people on our Christmas list. These games retailed at $20 - $25.

So, if you have a Borders nearby - run!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Save Money at Restaurants!

Well, they are doing it again! has an 80% off sale. You can get a $25 certificate for $2!!! Enter discount code: DINE at checkout. This sale ends February 28th.

I have had good success with this company in the past. In fact, we will use a coupon I purchased during their last 80% off sale this week while we are skiing - I don't just use them for restaurants at home, I also pick up certificates for vacations. You do have to carefully read the restrictions and make sure you are comfortable following them, but overall it can be a great deal!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Getting ready for vacation and Kitchen reorg!

This has been an unusual week - we are taking off on a ski trip Friday after school. So, no real menu plan - just eating up what's in the fridge. I didn't go out and do my normal shopping runs although I may still get to Walgreen's and CVS this week. However, there has been a lot of time spent packing, researching deals and planning our time away.

I'm sure I'll have a full report when I return on how we manage an annual ski trip for very little money - at least compared to the thousands we used to spend to go skiing every year!

In the meantime, I promised to talk about how I re-organized my kitchen in January.

I started by going through EVERY cabinet and drawer. I took out everything I hadn't used in a year and either took it to Goodwill or tagged it and put in in the garage sale box. Then, I reorganized each cabinet one at a time. A few things I changed: I elminated most of the mugs and cups. Simply by moving extra mugs and wine glasses to the basement - that way when we have large parties I can run down and get them, but the 90% of the time that it's just my husband and myself drinking coffee and wine we have what we need and have lost all the clutter. I also moved the potholders from under the sink to the drawer next to the stove - makes a lot more sense! I eliminated all small appliances except the Kitchen Aid, waffle maker, rice cooker and small George Foreman - these are the ones I use on a regular basis and they are now hidden in a cabinet near the sink. The coffee maker and toaster are on the counter.

I also redid my pantry - I got lucky early in the month and my son took a long nap ond day, my daughter had a friend over and my husband had a card game going in the basement so I had several hours to accomplish this task. I did a shelf at a time and used a lot of baskets and plastic containers to contain similar items (chips in one, mixes in another, puddings/jellos, etc.) The very top shelf is used for "extras" - I can see what I have extras of and can use my stepstool to grab them when needed. It's been a month and a half and the pantry still looks great!

Finally, I did a deep clean of the entire kitchen. I've made an effort since then to pick it up every night and at least wipe down the counters and sink. So, overall, it's stayed in pretty good shape. I do have two junk drawers near the laundry room that are getting out of control again - I may have to invest in some containers to help corral that mess.

This month I've been focusing on the Master bedroom and it's looking good!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Frugal Valentine's Day

Today was the day for class parties for my kids. I managed to do Valentine's for both classrooms, goody bags for my daughter's class and gifts for six teachers for about $5.

All I did was plan ahead. Last year a few days after Valentine's I hit the stores and purchased six boxes of valentines for $.25 or less each. It's more than I needed, but I thought it would give my kids some fun choices - and surely they'd like at least one of them! I also picked up two Valentine's boxes for $.25 each and four nice ceramic plates for $.50 each.

I used two packages of Valentines for the classrooms and stuck on a Dummy sucker to each one (have these on hand at all times). I used some leftover red Christmas saran wrap squares and filled them up with candy purchased on clearance after Christmas for $.25 a bag (kisses, and Hershey's bliss - just pull out the green and you are good to go). I tied the "bags" up with red leftover Christmas ribbon and placed one on each bag or in the box for the teacher gifts. The baggies were purchased last year on clearance for $.15. I filled them with suckers, sticker sheets and candy hearts from Walgreen's purchased with my $6 Register Reward (see Tuesday's post).

So - be ready for next year! Go to the stores next week and snap up some stuff on sale. I know I will! Plus red and silver can easily be used for Christmas!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Deal of the week!

Wow, did I have fun at Walgreen's on Sunday!


Buy 1 Gillette Gamer razor, use the $4 off coupon from Sunday's paper, and get a $6 Register Reward. I did this deal, then turned around and used the $6 for goodies for valentine bags for my daughter, did the razor deal again, used the $6 for 4 AXE products at 25% off (found the 2 sprays for $2.99), got movie tickets with that deal, then did the razor deal two more times, so I have $12 for next week! Fun!


I had a bunch of $2/2 wheat thins or Ritz crackers coupons from a few weeks ago and ended up with 10 free boxes of crackers. They are the small ones I wouldn't normally buy, but for free, I'll take them!

Menu Plan Monday

I'm just a day behind this week!

Monday - Cheeseburger meatloaf & mashed potatoes (didn't get to it last week)
Tuesday - Balsamic Pork Tenderloins/ spinach
Wednesday - date night mystery shop
Thursday - Tuscan Chicken / salad
Friday - Something in the crock pot - not sure what yet
Saturday - heart shaped pizza, chocolate fondue
Sunday - leftover shells from the freezer

Not a terribly exciting night and a few items that were on last week's menu but with all the headcolds in the house I just didn't get to them. The good news is that aside from Sunday night at Don Pablo's (with a gift card), we didn't eat out, we just ate other stuff from around the house.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Frugal School Snacks

At my daughter's preschool, the parents take turns bringing in snacks - it averages out to 3 or 4 times for the entire school year, so pretty inexpensive. However, I discovered this week how I could save even more money.

I always let my daughter decide what she wants to bring and she decided on cookies. So, while we were at the grocery I picked up a container of cookies - she said to me "no mom, not those, I want cookies with pink frosting and sprinkles," I walked over to the bakery, but all the cookies had that potential nut exposure which is a no-no at her school. So, I thought to myself - we'll just make cookies.

The night before she brought snack, we baked sugar cookies together, iced them and put on sprinkles. I didn't have to buy ANYTHING for the snack - I had all the ingredients already at home.

In addition, thanks to I had scored some free Ocean Spray juice at Target.

Just taking a few minutes to plan ahead saved us $5 and created a fun afternoon!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One room a month!

This year I'd really like to get my house finished (decorating) and organized. I'm not in bad shape, but why not get things in great shape and keep myself from falling behind? I'd really like to take the time this year to do those extra little touches that make a home special. So, I've decided to attack a room a month!

January - Kitchen
February - Master Bedroom
March - Home Office
April - Bathrooms
May - Guest Room and Laundry Room
June - Screened in porch/ outdoors
July - Kids rooms
August - Linen closet and hall closet
September - Dining Room
October - Family room and Basement Media room
November - Storage room
December - Nothing - just enjoy the holidays in my organized home!

Sound like a plan? I'll periodically post what I'm working on (perhaps with pictures) and how I'm doing things inexpensively. I'm excited about the project!

In the next few days I'll share how I handled the kitchen - that was accomplished in January as well as what I'm working on for the Master Bedroom.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Deal of the week!

How convenient for me that this week Theraflu is on sale at Walgreen's? My husband had a terrible cold and he swears by Theraflu!


2 Theraflu at 2/$10, I used 2 - $2.00 off coupons (from the internet) and will submit for a $8 rebate


2 L'Oreal cleansers (wipes) for $5.99 each, used 2 - $2 off coupons and got $10 back in ECB
1 L'Oreal mascara for $7.99, used 1 - $2.00 off coupon and submitted for a free movie ticket from the deal mentioned in the Feb 2 issue of People

Monday, February 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Another week, another menu . . .

Monday - soft taco's (with leftovers from Saturday's burritos)
Tuesday - corned beef, potatoes, cabbage in crockpot
Wednesday - out with hubby :)
Thursday - Pepperconi shrimp, homemade bread, garlic mashed potatoes
Friday - cheeseburger meatloaf, leftover potatoes
Saturday - Balamic pork tenderloin, spinach, cheese & crackers
Sunday - Chicken with red wine sauce

I might switch Thursday and Sunday - depends upon how the week goes. Other than that, pretty well set. Grocery wise I stocked up on Friday, so all I'll need is milk and eggs later in the week.

Friday, January 30, 2009

More inexpensive craft supplies

Wow did I score a fun deal at Oriental Trading! Right now (I think it expires tomorrow) there is a coupon code for $10 off a $10 order. You'll still have to pay shipping at $6.99. I looked through the clearance section and ordered the following:

2 child's size gingerbread apron craft kits at $2.49 each
1 snowman snow measuring craft kit $2.99
1 snowflake glitter tattoos $1.49
1 all aboard w/Jesus color your own stickers $.99

Total after shipping and $10 coupon was $7.44 I think that's a terrific price for 4 activities for the kids. I'll save the apron kits for next Christmas but the other three will keep us busy during the next snow day or two.

I actually plan on placing one more order to pick up some Valentine/ St. Patrick's Day/ Easter crafts.

Oh, if you are interested, the code is AVA910. Don't forget to go through ebates to get 3% back! If you haven't signed up before, here is the link - you'll automatically get $5 when you sign up!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Sitting here in my office looking outside at over 11 inches of snow! Wow! My daughter went down to a friend's house and they are sledding - hopefully I can kick off work at some point this afternoon and get outside to play too!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Deal of the week!

Per request, I posted the method we used for our deep dish pizza in the comments under yesterday's post . . .

This week I had a fun time at CVS, Walgreen's and Kroger!

I got lucky and had a $10/$20 coupon for a new CVS that opened near our house - so I used that and bought 8 packs of Huggies wipes, also using 8 $.50 coupons and paid with ECB's. After the $5 ECB I got back it cost me $1.00 for 8 tubs of wipes! I was super excited because we were almost out of wipes.

Using the B1G1 free Hershey/ Special Dark coupons in Sunday's paper, I ended up with 12 free candy bars - 6 regular Hershey bars in the freezer waiting for summer smore's and 6 Special Dark in the pantry to be used in place of baking chocolate. I combined that coupon with the B1G1 free coupon in the Walgreen's ad. I purchased some other items (the monthly rebate deals) and didn't have any issues with the coupons.

I did a few of the buy 10 items, get $5 off your order, but my favorites were the Rotel tomatoes - they were $.87 and I had $.30 coupons, so ten of them were $8.70 minus $6.00 in coupons then minus another $5.00 for the deal - so I came out ahead on those - plus we use the tomatoes like crazy! My other favorite was Kraft shredded cheese - it was on sale for $1.99 a bag, and there was a blinkie right in front of it for $.75 off a bag. So, ten bags were $19.90 minus $5.00 and then minus $7.50 for a total of $7.40 or $.74 a bag. I stuck them in the freezer so we'll be set for pizza and mexican nights for a while.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Easy week - going with old favorites for the most part:

Monday - "fake" jambalya
Tuesday - roast, fresh bread
Wednesday - ham & beans, cornbread
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - homemade pizza
Saturday - burritos, spanish rice
Sunday - breakfast (eggs, sausage, toast)

Last week we made a deep dish pizza in addition to our normal pizza and it was FABULOUS!!! Every bit as good as a pizza parlour pizza - we've been talking about it ever since, so that is definitely back on the menu for this week.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Frugal Friday Night Entertainment

I love doing something on Friday nights - for some reason it just makes the weekend seem longer! But, as ususal I don't want to spend much. So, we often have a dinner and game night with friends - we cook dinner at someone's home and play games (board games, cards, Wii, Rockband, whatever we decide)

Tonight we are doing a slight variation on the usual. Some friends are coming over for homemade pizza and then we are heading out to the local high school basketball game. Our husband's are teachers, so we get in for free, but even if we had to pay, tickets are only $4 for adults. We enjoy watching basketball, my daughter enjoys watching the cheerleaders and we have a fun night out!

What are some other ideas for inexpensive Friday nights?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Deal of the week!

I did terrific at both CVS and Walgreen's this week.

I had a bunch (like $45) of ECB's to use up, so I made a big trip to CVS Sunday. I purchased all the monthly ECB deals which was nice, so I ended up with the products and new ECB's. I also did a few of the weekly deals on items I needed:

Cottonelle Toilet Paper - big pack get a $4 ECB
Bounty Paper Towels - no ECB, but $6.99

When I scanned my card I ended up with a $10 off $50 coupon, and since I had so much to spend I did very well.

This was a great stock up sale for me:

Buy 8 Ragu pasta sauce and get $10 on your next order (Register Reward - RR)
Buy 8 Skippy peanut butter's and get $10 on your next order (RR)

You can mix the two promo's together. Since I didn't want to clear the shelves I went to two different Walgreen's and bought 4 of each. I used $.40 off coupons on Skippy and $.75/2 coupons for the Ragu. Both were in Sunday's paper. I also used a $5 RR I had from the Pepsi promo last week. So, now I have enough peanut butter and pasta sauce to last us probably the rest of the year, and $20 to spend next week. Unless there are spectacular deals, I'll probably use the $20 on the monthly Walgreen's rebates.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Only have a general idea of what I'll make this week. I have to run to the store at some point to pick up some basic (for us) items we are out of (chocolate chips, sour cream, soy sauce, popcorn). However I still have enough general groceries to last most of the week. So I'm putting off the trip as long as possible hoping some good deals on the items I need will come along with the new ads later in the week.

Monday - leftovers
Tuesday - shrimp quesadillas (never made them last week)
Wednesday - out to eat
Thursday - something in the crockpot (soup or roast I suppose)
Friday - homemade pizza
Saturday - salmon, green veggie, quinoa
Sunday - chicken something . . . (stir fry or baked)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Kid's Art Supplies

I've found that my kids love to do art projects. But, it can be expensive to have them use up a sheet of paper for a few scribbles or to continue to buy them stickers. Luckily, there are many items around your house that you can use for free or next to free. It's also a great way to recycle. Some things we save:

toilet paper and paper towel rolls (once the paper is used)
return address labels (the free ones from the mail)
empty envelopes (after bills or whatever have been removed
used paper (the backside is still good!)
ribbons and bows off of gifts
packing paper or cardboard from boxes (Amazon sends great HUGE sheets of paper)
cardboard boxes

Just gather up a few of these items, give them to your kids with some crayons or markers and watch them spend a few hours creating!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Free Shampoo

Today only, go to:

and register for a coupon for a free bottle of Suave Shampoo - even if you don't use that brand it would be great to donate!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Deal of the week!

Kind of a slow week for me - plus I don't really need anything.

Pepsi 12 packs on sale 5/$15 with a $5RR. Pretty good if you drink pop. Bounty basics paper towels are on sale for $.89 with the coupon in the ad. Combine that with a recent $.25 off coupon and it's a decent price.


The horizon milk 3 packs are $2.89 to $2.99 and with the $1.00 off coupon from Sunday's paper, it's worth picking some up. I also combined the coupon from the Target website for the Pringles with a recent $1.00 off to get the small snack bags for $.50 each - not bad to add to school lunches.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I have a nice, balanced set of meals planned for this week - some old recipes and some new, a bit of beef, chicken, seafood and pork . ..

Monday - Ropa Vieja, fresh tortillas
Tuesday - shrimp quesadillas
Wednesday - Orange chicken, broccoli, brown rice
Thursday - hamburger helper (free box and I'll be out that night)
Friday - Fish tacos, refried beans
Saturday - pork roast
Sunday - spaghetti & meatballs

Lunches will be leftovers, sandwiches, soups
Breakfasts will be cereal, oatmeal, english muffins and eggs

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lemon Thyme Chicken Salad

This is one of my favorite easy dinners. It's light and easy to prepare:

Chicken breasts (I usually use two for 3 - 4 people)
Red onion, sliced (about a cup)
3 T Lemon Juice
2 T olive oil
1 t. thyme
few drops hot pepper sauce
feta cheese
romaine lettuce

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, thyme and hot sauce. Put the chicken in a plastic bag or bowl and pour 1/4 of the dressing over the chicken. Put the sliced onions in another bowl or bag and pour 1/4 of the dressing over them. Marinate for a few hours to all day.

Grill (or use a George Foreman grill) the chicken and red onions. Remove from grill and let the chicken sit while you divide the lettuce into bowls. Top each bowl with a portion of the onions, slice the chicken and add some to each bowl and then sprinkle with the feta. Drizzle the remaining dressing over each bowl.

Serve with some fresh bread and you have a simple, delicious dinner!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Deal of the week!

Back to some good deals this week!


I did great here this week. They have in the instore ad a few really good coupons:

$1.79 for Mott's Apple Juice and $.99 for 20 ft. Reynold's Aluminum Foil. In addition, I had a $1.00 off juice coupon and six $1.00 off Reynold's coupons (the coupon stated for any size except 25 ft.).

So, I ended up with 6 rolls of foil for free plus 1 - 64 oz bottle of juice for $.79. These are items we use weekly so I was very excited to stock up. The foil coupons were I believe from the 11/16 ads.

My other big score was at CVS:

Hershey's kisses were 75% off (or $.75 a bag). I had 3 coupons for $1.00 off Hershey's Dark Chocolate kisses (not sure which insert this was from) so I made a slight profit on each bag. The kisses went into the freezer to be used next time I need chocolate for baking or a treat!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Hard to believe the holidays are over - they went so quickly! Back to the grind!

This week we are concentrating on eating healthier - after weeks of excess over break, it's much needed!

Monday - meeting the inlaws - salads for us!
Tuesday - spicy tuna melts
Wednesday - lemon thyme chicken salad (I'll post the recipe Wed - simple & yummy!)
Thursday - taco salad (like taco's without the shells)
Friday - salmon, green veggie (whatever looks good at the store, brown rice
Saturday - white chicken chili, salad
Sunday - roast, salad

Breakfasts will be cereal, steel cut oats, eggs, fruit and maybe pancakes w/ blueberries one day

Lunches will be leftovers, soup and sandwiches