Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflection

Sitting here at 8:20pm on Dec. 31st it's hard not to reflect on the past year. Since today was a rough day, it's a bit more of a challenge to think of all the good things that happened. I know they did so I'm going to search my brain to think of them. Maybe it will help lift my spirits before bedtime.

Things I'm thankful for/accomplishments/good things that happened in 2010...

- I was able to go back to my job at the Pepsi Center in January. I'm very grateful to have such a flexible job...and to have a job at all.

- Jim is employed. Not that there was any cause to worry but, in the times we are in right now, it's nice that he has a good job and we are financially doing fine.

- We have all (basically) maintained good health. Sure there have been colds, a flu or two, a concussion (not Jim or I, so you take a guess), and some other small illnesses but it's all par for the course and we are VERY blessed to be healthy.

- We have had family come visit us and we have been able to take trips to visit family. I cannot stress enough how important my family is to me, including in-laws of course. I really hope that next year we will have more opportunities to take more trips and to have more houseguests.

- I lost my pregnancy weight plus a few more. I'm still working towards that rock hard body (ya, right) but was so happy when the scale kept inching down and I'm now below my pre-pregnancy weight. Going shopping to buy new jeans, because my others were all too big, made me very proud of myself.

- I have maintained important friendships and some newer ones have grown. I'm not always the best friend in the world, I will admit, but I love my friends and I hope to continue to be a good friend to those who care about me.

- I started my own Avon business. I really enjoy the opportunities that have been given to me by being an Avon rep. I've had a lot of fun with the "job" and I hope that next year it will continue to prosper. Not just financially, but for me to be able to give a little extra beauty to those around me.


To continue the happiness trend, here are some things I'm looking forward to for next year.

- Taking more vacations! I hope Jim and I can take another trip, just the two of us, to continue to build our marriage and enjoy being husband and wife (something that has certainly gotten a little lost in the midst of having an infant and a toddler). I'm also really looking forward to a girl's trip, already booked, in February with my dear friend Robin. Florida here we come!!

- Maintaining my health. Although I probably don't need to lose too many more pounds, I'd definatly like to firm up the softness that having 2 kids has left me with.

- Becoming a better mother to my children. I know that I was no where NEAR becoming mother of the year for 2010. I doubt I will for 2011 either, but I know for sure that I'm looking forward to enjoying time with my children. I'm going to MAKE time to be with them in the midst of all my other goals.

- Becoming a better wife to my husband. I won't go into details but, as mentioned above, things have gone a little astray and I know that I always have room to improve. I look forward to bettering myself in all capacities and I hope my husband reaps the benefits of that.

- Finding peace. I know that sounds really out there but in my goal to become a better person, I'm looking forward to finding a sense of peace within myself. I have the Serenity Prayer hanging in our guest bathroom but sometimes I feel like it should be tattooed on my arm.

"God, grant me the serenity


To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference."
 
When searching online for the exact words to the Serenity Prayer (because in my boggled mind this evening I didn't want to misquote it), I found this Mother Goose rhyme:
 
"For every ailment under the sun


There is a remedy, or there is none;

If there be one, try to find it;

If there be none, never mind it."

 
All in all, I look forward to the possibilities. I know that we can all make too big of a deal about resolutions and January 1st, but I think it really is a good time to reflect on what's important, where you've been and where you are hoping to go. I'm planning to start this new year with a clean slate. That includes a shower, clean pajamas and clean bedsheets....that's my new New Years Eve tradition. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

You have to have the right tools

I am so excited! I just purchased professional makeup brushes!

A while back I made a mention that I'm hoping to get into doing makeup for people. I'm hoping it will just be a part of expanding my Avon business and helping to beautify the masses (or at least a few lucky ladies). A couple days ago I saw this post from Kandee Johnson (my FAVORITE makeup artist...she is AMAZING!) and tonight I took the plunge.

I bought this set of 15 brushes for only $29.99!! That's aMAzing! That's $2 a brush!! Whether you are wanting to do pro makeup or not, that's a really good deal! (and a lot of exclamation points!)

I know Avon has makeup brushes, and I currently use a few of them, but they don't have the extensive line like this. I can't wait to get them. It's just one step closer to helping to have all the tools I need. teehee...I'm a little giddy. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Would you be there?

if I hosted a Money Saving get-together?

I'm certainly no expert but I recieve questions off an on and I thought maybe it would be fun for people to get together and talk about money saving strategies. We can talk about online shopping, coupons (and all things surrounding that) and just various ways we all save money throughout the year. I can print out information about websites I use and have a checklist of points I want to make sure and cover but it will be very open for everyone to chime in with their thoughts and ideas.

I thought maybe January would be a good time. It's the beginning of the year and everyone has resolutions on their mind. We all try and start out the year with intentions of making that new year the best ever. Why not start the new year right and try to save as much money as you can?

I'm more than happy to host at my home but if there is someone in town that would be willing to host I'm great with that too! Let me know if there is interest and we can start talking dates.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A fun little Christmas craft

I saw this craft in a Martha Stewart magazine from 2005 and decided to give it a go. I has a few steps but all in all was really easy. The best part, I didn't spend a dime to do it! All the items used for the craft were things I had around the house. :)

A couple years ago I bought this container of cookie cutters. I think I have yet to use ANY of them, but I knew it was unlikely that I'd use the 20 "mini" cutters included in the set. I mean, really, who uses mini cookie cutters? So I grabbed out the 20 mini cutters and off I went.


I initially used paper from the magazine because there was an ad with really great prints and then also used some scrapbooking paper for the rest. The original magazine article showed using family portraits, which were really cute.

 I took the cookie cutters, placed them on top of the designs, traced around the outside and cut them out.


I then took craft glue and, with a paintbrush, glued the cutting side of the cookie cutter to the paper. Make sure to let the glue fully dry.

Next step is to take a needle with a large enough eye for your chosen ribbon to fit through. Poke a hole in the top of the paper (or right where the paper and cutter meet) and thread your ribbon through.
 Thread a bead through both ends of your ribbon and tie it at the top. Viola!


For some reason I can't get the rest of my pictures to load up, to show you all the "ornaments" but hopefully you get the idea. These are so cute and really fun. I can see these on a small table top tree in a kitchen, or even your main Christmas tree. I also thought these would be really cute to use as the gift tag on a present or as a placecard at your dinner table...just write the person's name on the paper. So many cute ideas for this little craft. Let me know if you try it. I'd love to see your finished product.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Free this week and a little about stockpiling

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE King Soopers and their Mega Events?

I LOOOOOVE them!
Free this week... (some mega event, some not)
Krusteaz cookie mixes, Yakisoba noodle meals, Naturals cereals, Temptation cat treats, Suave deoderant (still on sale for .88), Banquet fruit pies and in the mark down bin at my store I SCORED Sweet Moments brownies for free. I had more coupons so I could have picked up more but I decided not to be a pig.


18 items, all free for me this week! I also picked up some Bestlife buttery spread for .17 each (5 of them) and a couple more cans of evaporated milk for .29 each. Yay!
What do I do with all of this stuff? Well, some of it I do donate to my parent's church, the rest is going in my stockpile. No I'm not stocking up for WWIII, I'm stocking up so I don't have to buy things at regular price. I HATE when I run out of something I need and I don't have a coupon and there isn't a good sale. Especially when it had just BEEN on sale.
I have a nice panty in my kitchen but this is my new second pantry...

I LOVE it! It's a white cubbard (with doors) that's in our garage. Jim bought in with the intentions of putting shoes in it but we realized that that wasn't such a good plan (dirty, wet shoes on wood shelves...not so good). Since my canned goods were spilling out into the garage anyway, we decided to make this a second storage area. I'm so happy! Now I can get those extra items I want, when they are SUPER cheap or free and put them away. I want/need to get some more shelves in it (like the one wire rack you see) but this is what it is for now.
Everything is organized by expiration date. It's written on the front of the item and the items expiring first are in the front. My hope is that through couponing and stockpiling, I can lower my grocery bill drastically. A lot of die hard couponers do this. They (we) get multiple coupon inserts so we have multiple coupons so we can buy multiple items. Then you have a stockpile and the hope is that you won't have to buy that item again until it's back at a super low price (or free).

When I was checking out today the cashier made a comment about how I must have spent a lot of time cutting out coupons. I said "ya, some, but it's worth it". When she saw my savings (today I spent $88 and saved $95), she sort of changed her tune a little saying, "Wow, you saved more than you spent!".

Yep, that's how we do it here in coupon lady land. Come visit me here sometime. It's fun!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We're in trouble now!

For anyone who knows me, you know that I'm an organization freak. You wouldn't know it by looking at my desk right now (or my kitchen counter for that matter) but when I organize, I organize and I love it. When I have the right tools I could go crazy and I'm as giddy as a school girl at a Justin Bieber concert.
One of my Amazon Lightning Deals from this weekend was a brother P-Touch labeler for only $16.99. This is one of the most exciting $16.99 purchase I've made in a while (well, besides my Vampire Diaries Season 1 DVD set for only $12.99...sigh).


I cannot WAIT to run through my house and label EVERYthing. Jim even said, "oh no" when he saw it. Now, if I could just find some time to organize, sort, clean and label my life would be FABulous. ;)
Did you score something fun for yourself over the holiday weekend?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tis the season to go shopping

I have a love/hate relationship with Black Friday. I love the deals, the thrill of getting out there shopping, and I LOVE planning that this is the weekend I'll get 90% of my Christmas shopping done, but I REALLY dislike what Black Friday has become. The stores seem to open up earlier and earlier every year and I REALLY dislike that some stores open ON Thanksgiving Day. I guess it was just something that my mom talked about growing up and that was not to patronize places when they are open on major holidays. I don't want to encourage that type of behavior. I was almost sick when I saw the news stories about the 100's of people lined up outside of Toys R Us at 10pm last night. Seriously? You can't wait one day so that employees can enjoy their turkey? A friend of mine went and stood in a line that wrapped around the shopping center. After an hour they still weren't even in the door and she left. It's too cold for that nonsense! You don't need Lego's that badly, do you?

I will admit that the past couple years I was up at 5am at a couple stores. I was never going after that new TV, but I did get my Dyson on Black Friday last year (and I LOVE it). Anyway, this year I decided that there was nothing I needed sooo badly that I had to get up and be out the door and waiting in line, to get in at 4am (yes, Target opened at 4am instead of 5 this year..and don't even get my started about Kohls. I won't step foot in one on Black Friday).
Instead I got up and around and sat in front of my computer and did some online shopping. I tell you what, that was the way to go! I found deals exactly the same as some of the Doorbuster prices and some even cheaper!
Anyway, I got up and was on the computer at 5:30 to grab a Lightning Deal on Amazon and then hit Target.com. I got free shipping on both sites and was VERY pleased with my finds. I then grabbed my coat and went out the door. I was at Target shortly after 6am to see if the couple things that I was looking at, that weren't available online, would still be around...and they WERE!
I went to Walgreens next to pick up some crazy deals on Scotch tape (.99 for a 3 pack!!), gift wrap (buy 1 @ 1.99 and get 2 free) and a few other things (free toothpaste, razors and deoderant).
Then off to JoAnn's fabrics. I love going to a craft/hobby store on Black Friday. They are all decorated with rows of Christmas items (all on sale of course) and it just makes me warm and happy inside. Since I wasn't buying fabric (you might as well grab a number when you walk in the door), I walked through and found what I wanted (along with a few other items I didn't realize I wanted) and went on my way.

I was back to my parent's house (we stayed the night there and they watched the kids since Jim was gone) by 9am and was happy as a lark.

Later in the day I went back online and did some more shopping on Amazon. I'm now 90% done with my Christmas shopping as I hoped! I can't wait for all the boxes to arrive at my door. It will be like Christmas...oh wait...  ;)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Perspective

I'm sitting here on this cold Monday night in sorrow. Last week an older gentleman, Nathan, from the church I attend, passed away from cancer. He had been sick off and on for a long time but was only VERY recently diagnosed....and then he was gone.
We attend a very small church...very small. Normal attendance consists of about 20 people or so. We are the youngest family that attends and there really isn't anyone else around our age there. But it's a nice church and once we can deal with out kids settling down for the hour maybe we'll attend more often.

Tomorrow is the funeral. I am torn about going. I feel like I should and I want to be there to support Nathan's wife, Lynn, but I would have to go alone with the kids. There will be no nursery or day care during the service and I just don't feel like taking a 3 year old and a 1 year old to a funeral is the appropriate thing. They don't understand and they won't behave and be still.
 The other difficult part is that I am still having a terribly difficult time over the loss of my aunt. Going to another funeral right now, of someone else who passed from cancer, is just not something I feel that I can handle...while wrangling 2 kids.

Does it make me a bad person if I don't attend? Will Lynn think I don't care? Will I miss out on saying goodbye to Nathan?

All this talk of loss of life makes you think about what's important. Seems like we get these kind of reminders off and on...and we need them. I need them. Life in short and people can leave you when you least expect it. Tell the ones you love how much you love them every day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Back for more

I just HAD to go back and take advantage of the crazy deals at King Soopers this week. I had a few other items that I needed, otherwise I stocked up!! I had 40 items in the Buy 10 get $5 off sale and racked up the savings.

Here it is!...

 (**see Nora hiding...she didn't want to be in the picture but didn't want to move. lol)

So here it is! This is my entire trip. 40 of the items are from the buy 10 sale, others were items on a regular sale and others were things we just needed (but of course I had coupons for them.)

53 items total

Saved: $79.62
Spent: $27.43
Savings: 75%!!

We are now fully stocked up to make chili, hot cocoa and other cold weather goodies. Notice the evaporated milk? I see a LOT of fudge in my future (and yours if you're nice to me.) ;)

Glad we went out before the storm hit. It's blowing and blowing outside right now!

Stay warm!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My best shopping trip EVER!

Tonight I made a quick trip into King Soopers, solely to pick up some of the great deals going on during their buy 10 sale this week. A couple weeks ago I made the mistake of waiting to do my shopping and I missed out on getting some items. This week I ran in to grab these deals and I'll go later in the week to pick up any other items we really need. I won't go through item by item to tell you what I spent/saved but here's the run down...

My entire shopping trip is in the picture. I purchased 32 items, 30 of which were a part of the sale (the bananas and markdown donuts were not).


Money saved = $50.73

Money spent = $8.65

Yep, everything in this picture cost me $8.65!!!

I like to think that when I do these posts I'm not just bragging. I hope it's helpful and you realize that it really is this easy to save money. It takes a little time and effort but it's soooo worth it! I could NOT do this without Jennie at Bargain Blessings. She is amazing! If you want assistance with helping to save money, I highly recommend following her blog.
For reference - here is the post that shows the King Soopers deals for the week.

Happy shopping!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween!


Love Nora and Emmett

Nobody does it like Sara Lee

Last summer Sara Lee had a promotion with their bread where you could send in UPC codes and get free Toy Story swag. Well, they ran out of the items WAAAAY in advance and weren't able to fill everyone's orders. I had recieved a personal message from them via Facebook (after commenting...no, not a mean one...on their page) which I thought was really nice. Then I recieved a post card in the mail saying that I would still recieve my items but it might take an extra couple months. Well, they arrived!


I think it's really great of them to give such personal service and to go ahead and make sure to fill the orders they recieved...especially since it was a totally free promotion. All I paid was the cost of the stamp! I don't count the cost of the bread because I had been buying that kind anyway. Because of how great they handled this promo I will happily continue to eat their yummy bread.

Thanks Sara Lee!

Got toothpaste?

I finally got in on the Crest freebie at King Soopers. I didn't realize that it ran for 2 weeks so I had picked up a rain check last week but I didn't need it. So here's what I grabbed...


Yep, 5 tubes plus an Oral B toothbrush...all for free! Heaven knows I don't need this much toothpaste but I was given some extra coupons from a friend and family member so I had multiples. I'll donate them...or if you want one I'm happy to give them away...seriously, I'll give you one. :)

This week King Soopers has another buy 10 get $5 off sale. I haven't scoured the ad fully, but I did see Colgate toothpaste and toothbrushes for $1 (when you buy 10 participating items) which means MORE free toothpaste and toothbrushes! Guess I better get looking through my coupons and see what I have. I know there was one in last Sunday's paper and All You Magazine usually has one in every issue. Happy hunting!

Friday, October 29, 2010

3 years ago today

...at 9:36pm I was in St. Joseph's hospital going on my 25th hour of labor (that was IN the hospital, not counting the time at home). 3 hours from now, 3 years ago, my beautiful daughter was delivered via c-section.

Nora was beautiful, quiet and absolutely amazing. She is still 2 of those things....  ;)

To my beautiful and absolutely amazing daughter Nora, I love you with all my heart and soul. I cannot imagine my life without your laugh and your smile. God blessed me 100 times over when you arrived. Thank you for the joy and blessings you have given me. Even those many sleepless nights (including last night) are worth it when you give me kisses and ask for my hugs.

I love you Nora, Happy 3rd Birthday!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Don't just throw out your pennies

Because here is what you can get for 8 cents!!


I'm going to go back to King Soopers tomorrow (a different location) in hopes of snagging a few more freebies that my local store was sold out of (Crest toothpaste, Dawn soap and cheap Oral B toothbrushes), but I couldn't wait to share this one. Here's how it broke down..

Hungry man dinners - a part of the Buy 10 get $5 off sale this week. Making them $1.78 a piece. I had 2 coupons printed out from the internet for $2 off. The cashier gave me the full $2 off so I made .44 for both of them.
Dial soap - on sale for $1 this week and I had a .35 coupon which doubled. Total = .30
Athenos hummus - on sale for $1 and I had two $1 off coupons = FREE!
Candy bars - on sale for 2/$1 this week. I had 2 BOGO coupons which the cashier gave me full price on (.89). Total for those 4 was .22

You add that up and that's a grand total of .08!!

I also got some other really great deals on Tide detergent ($1.99 after sale and coupons), diapers for $2.99 (thanks Ann for that coupon!) and some honey I found in the markdown bin (only .99 for jars of local honey!!).

Did you score some good deals this week?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Big Props to Vistaprint

No, they aren't paying me anything to write this (I'm not that high profile of a blogger, lol) but I just have to say that if you haven't gone to Vistaprint you should! Even if you don't have a business, they do address labels and such too.

I placed an order on Oct 7th, payed for the slower speed of shipping (cuz I'm cheap like that) and got it today! They said it would take 21 days but, obviously, it arrived in 11!!!! That is AWESOME! They get huge props in my book just for that. And then the price! If you don't know, they do a lot of items for FREE! Here's what I picked up...

I made my own mousepad, a clicky pen, sticky notepad, labels (that I will be using on the front of old campaign brochures) and business cards. I got all of that for FREE except the business cards, which I paid $3.99 for 250! My grand total with shipping was $12.61! And now I feel super fancy with my custom mousepad and pen.

Anyway, I love them. I know I'll be ordering from them again and again and again. Just had to give them a shout out. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Now I know

I've been trying to figure out why I'd so scattered lately. It seems like everything is in disarray, including my brain. I used to think I was so organized. Now I feel like I'm a complete mess!!

I had an epiphany today on why this could be. It's sad that it was an epiphany moment because it seems rather obvious but I actually almost said, out loud, "a HA!"

Whenever I want to get something done I don't have large blocks of time to work on projects. I have 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there....maybe an hour or so if the kids are napping at the same time (which they haven't been doing too much of lately). I'm constantly interupted with a crying child, a potty break (Nora's, not mine), a snack request or other randomness. I start a project and rarely ever get a chance to finish it...or even get halfway through it.

Do you see why I'm saying that this should have been completely obvious to me? I have a 1 year old and an almost 3 year old. Of COURSE I don't have large blocks of time. My to-do list is growing and growing, and the piles of projects are growing and growing. The messes are growing and growing. My brain is shrinking and shrinking.

I am SOOOO envious of those moms who have 20 things on their plate and they juggle them all with grace. I thought I could be one of those people but obviously I have a difficult time with it.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was told a couple years ago that I could possibly have ADHD. I looked at that woman like she had been just taken out of her own straight jacket. I thought there was no WAY I had anything of the sort. A few weeks ago, in one of the Sunday paper inserts, there was an article on adult ADHD. I went down the check list and could mark off most every symptom. It got me to reconsider that maybe I do have some sort of issue that I need to deal with.
It's baffling to me why I can't get myself together some times. Why I can't focus on a conversation very well. Why background noise bothers me so much when I'm watching TV or reading a book. Why I feel so scattered half the time.

As I type this, I have dishes that need to be cleaned up and supper to make. I have Halloween decorations that I need finish putting up and random clutter all over, but I needed to sit here and write this out. Writing some of this helps clear my head a little and then I can move on. Otherwise the words muddle through my brain until I do something with them. So off I go to get supper ready...we'll see what the night brings.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A change is a comin

I have just found someone who is changing my life....quite a bit personally, but a LOT professionally. I wish I would have known about her and her blog a long long time ago.

Kandee Johnson

I'm obsessed....

I've spent quite a bit of time watching her videos and reading her blog the last couple days and I'm loving every minute of it.

She's a ray of sunshine and I need a lot of that right now. She's also made me realize that I really want to become better with makeup and beauty. I've always loved makeup but, as you know, I'm extremely frugal. I always bought the cheap stuff...REALLY cheap stuff. Don't get my wrong, I'm not going to go out there and startt buying MAC makeup. I am an Avon rep after all. I think Avon and .mark have some AMAZING colors and products. I would LOVE to become as knowledgable as possible about the makeup I'm selling and even take come courses and be known as a makeup artist. I want to help make people feel beautiful...and myself in the process. I've never had a trade..a skill...this could be it.

I hate to toot my horn right now and then change my mind down the road, but I think this could be what really keeps me on top with my Avon business. I hope to be known for my knowledge and skills with makeup. It's going to take some time and practice but it's what I'd love to do. I hope you'll join me and encourage me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

50 cents or less!

I know I haven't done one of these in a couple weeks. I guess I didn't have much to share. I got a couple items here and there but nothing to write home about. I really didn't have too much this week either but all in all I ended up with some decent deals so I had to share.


The Hebrew National dogs were a great deal. They are on sale this week at King Soopers for $2.49. I loaded a coupon onto my loyalty card that was for $2 off so that made them .49!! That's REALLY good for Hebrew National.
The B.C. cookie mix is on sale this week and I had a paper coupon as well as a loaded coupon. It actually shouldn't be in this post because I got it for .59, but I figured that was close enough.
The Sweet Moments were FREE!! Not something I'd normally buy but I loaded a $1 off coupon plus had a $1.50 off paper coupon and they were on sale for $2.50 so free brownies for me!
The Danimals were in the markdown area for .99 and I had a $1 off coupon, so I guess you could say they paid me .01 for them. :)

I never paid much attention to the sites were I could load coupons onto my card. I knew they wouldn't double so they didn't seem like a great deal...plus I'd have to keep track of what was on the card and that seemed like a hassle for some reason. HowEVER, what I didn't find out until recently is that you can use both the loaded coupon and a regular manufacterer coupon on the same item! So hop on over to Cellfire and register your card. You can load coupons onto your Safeway or King Soopers card. I also loaded coupons straight off the King Soopers website so make sure and do that too so you can double up your savings on some items.

Another really good deal this week, that didn't give me items under 50 cents but still really good, is the sale on Kraft Cheese. Go to http://www.kraftcheese.com/ and print out a coupon for $5 off of 5 Kraft cheese items (you can print out 2 by hitting your back button). It's good for slices, shredded, cream cheese, string cheese and more. This week, King Soopers has Kraft sliced and shredded cheese for $1.99! Stock up! At .99 you can't go wrong!

All in all it was a good trip. I spent $51 and saved $48 so that's not too shabby. In other good news, Emmett is off of formula and Nora is (currently...knock on wood) 100% out of diapers!! Woohoo! That cuts my diaper purchasing by about a third (not really half because he uses more diapers than she was) and saves me about $60 a month from the formula. Yay!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Waiting on Happiness

That was the title of an article I read in the August issue of Shape magazine. Just as I read the first few lines, I knew that this acticle was practically about me.
It starts out with a woman who is at a pricy restaurant trying to decide what to order. She ends up getting a low cost item on the menu, when what she really wanted was a lobster dish. Her husband goes ahead and orders whatever he wants, plus a couple appetizers. This is me...

I can remember a time when I went to an expensive steak house with Jim's family. It was a splurge, they aren't normally expensive steakhouse people, but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't spend that much (or have someone else spend that much) on my food. $30 steak!! No way!! I ended up getting the salmon, which was considerably less expensive. Don't get me wrong I LOVE salmon so I was really happy with my choice, but I did make the conscious effort to order it, over steak, because it was cheaper. I even recieved some comments, from Jim (and maybe even another family member...I don't remember) about the fact that I didn't order steak. I passed it off by saying that I really wanted salmon...and I did like my salmon, but steak would have been ok too.

I do that ALL the time. When I go to a restaurant (whether I'm paying or not), I scan the menu to see what I want and then look at the prices. A lot of time, I just look at the prices and then see what the entree is. It's not uncommon for me to just buy an appetizer as my entree. They usually have just as much food (because they are meant to share) and they cost less the the entrees. I may really want something else, but I get what's cheaper.

I mentioned in a previous post that I feel like sometimes my frugalness is a crutch. I really do believe it can be. I LOVE that I save money. I love that I use coupons and watch for sales. I love shopping at garage sales and thrift stores. It's my way of recycling. :)
HowEVER, because of the way I shop, I can't just walk into a store and buy something. I have to think about it before I go out and decide who might have the best deal. Do I have a coupon to some place? I may even scour the internet looking to find a coupon I can print out (I do that when I shop online too...looking for discount or free shipping codes). If I don't have a coupon or there isn't some big sale I might walk out of the store without the item in hopes that I can find it cheaper elsewhere.

Waiting on happiness...

Sometimes I'm envious of people who just see something in a store and buy it. No worries about coupons or sales...just pick it out because they want it, or need it, and so they get it. Other times I'm so thankful that I am the way I am. It's not that I NEED that much stuff, but it's nice to have a closet full of clothes and know that I most likely spent an average of $5 on each piece (or less if I really get to thinking about it). I am able to have a few more things beCAUSE I shop the way I do. I'm able to give my kids a few extra toys, and random goodies, beCAUSE I shop the way I do. And they don't know the difference. Maybe one day they will be too embarressed to go to the thrift store, or garage sale, with me. It will be a sad day but I hope to teach them the value of a dollar and the value of thrift stores.
Jim comments to me that I should go shopping at other stores...I don't "have to buy my clothes from a thrift store." But after shopping this way for so long, I can't imagine it any other way. I can't imagine going into a "normal" store and paying $20-$30 for a shirt because in the back of my head I'm thinking, "I could get 5-6 shirts, for this same amount of money, at the thrift store." Jim gave me a gift card to American Eagle for my birthday. I do enjoy looking around at stores like this and I am looking forward to seeing what I can pick out for myself, but it will be hard. I can pretty much guarentee that everything I grab will be from the clearance/sale area. lol

The woman in the article ends up asking the waiter to change her order and she gets the expensive lobster dish. She siezed the moment and gave herself that extra bit of happiness for the night....ordering what she really wanted.
I'm going out with some girlfriends for dinner this evening and I may not get one of the most expensive items but, I'm vowing to you now, that I'm not picking the cheapest item on the menu either (unless it really IS what I want to eat). Some times you just have to sieze the moment, right?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mincing garlic

Have you ever minced your own garlic? I love watching Sandra Lee on Food Network, and she had a great suggestion about making your own miced garlic (instead of buying those expensive jars of it).

While at the grocery store I bought a head of garlic. I just peel the garlic and seperate out the cloves. Pop those into my food processor (I have a little one that I LOVE) along with some olive oil and mince. Then all I have to do it put that in my old container (the one that I spent $3 on) and viola!...minced garlic at 1/4 (or more) of the price.

Cooking, cooking, cooking

My grandparent's stayed at our house over this last weekend (what a blessing...in MANY ways) and when they arrived my grandma brought with her bags of fresh veggies. Some were from her garden (I think) and others were some that were given to her, purchased at a Farmer's market.
Because of his food issues, Jim can't eat uncooked veggies so I'm trying to figure out what to do with all of this. I think I've got it mostly under control (there really isn't THAT much left) but I've been busy in the kitchen.

I took the tomatoes and stewed them up with some onion and green peppers. That will go in the freezer and will be great to put in chili this winter.

I took some squash and sweet potatoes and steamed and pureed them. I have some recipies where you can sneak in veggie purees so I'm going to give those a shot and get some veggies into these kids.

I have a watermelon staring at me. I've chopped some of it up just to eat but Jim can't eat raw fruit either so there is no way Nora and I will eat a whole watermelon before it goes bad. I'm going to blend some up and freeze it to make watermelon ice. I've never done it before but it sounds easy so hopefully I won't mess it up.

I have about 5 oranges I need to contend with (they were ones I bought a week ago so I need to figure those out) and also some cucumbers. I've already have a big container of cucumbers with vingar and dill (YUM!) so I don't know if I can handle any more of those right now. Suggestions?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So this is a bad thing?

Monday we had Emmett's 1st birthday party. It was a really great time but I won't go into party details this time. I've been thinking a lot about a comment made to me by a good friend of mine. I don't know if she reads this of not, so if you do (and you'll know who you are when you see what was said) I'm not saying anything negative about you. You know I love ya.

For the party, I made Emmett's cake (and decorated it myself) and then cupcakes for the guests. I also pre-scooped ice cream into little cups so I wouldn't have to dish it out during the party. My friend saw this and said, "You are such a stay at home mom." Hmmm...I wasn't sure how to take this. Her and I have been friends for about 16 years now so I know her very well and I didn't take that as an insult....per say...but I wasn't sure how to feel about it.

Yes, I'm a stay at home mom, but I also have an Avon business and I'll be starting back up at the Pepsi Center in a few weeks. I make the time to do the things I do because I feel it's important....and also because I'm cheap (ahem, I mean frugal...naw, I'm cheap). I made the invitations myself because I didn't want to pay the money to have them done professionally. I made the cupcakes out of a box mix and canned frosting (sorry to spoil it all for you...but for the record everyone liked them) and the ice cream was store brand scooped into those cups because A) I didn't want to pay for the premade cups and B) I didn't want to stand and dish out ice cream during the party (as I mentioned already). Is it wierd that I did all those things? Does it make me lame? Is doing those things, and being a stay at home mom, a bad thing?

I do things like this to help my family save some money. Sure it's more convienant to buy cupcakes (or a big cake), or buy ice cream in little cups and I'm certainly not saying there is ANYthing wrong to doing that. I'm not trying to put down anyone that does. I've become such a bargain shopper that I can't imagine doing it any other way. How I shop is not for everyone and some people may not worry about being as frugal (cheap) as I am. Some times I feel like my frugality is a bit of a crutch...but that's a story for another time.
Anyway, a lot of the things I used at the party were things I already had on hand. I didn't have to buy that much for the party, really. Because of how I shop, I had a lot of those things in my stock pile so it served 2 purposes...I saved money because I was using things I had previously bought inexpensively and I also got some thing out of my cupboards that needed to get used up.

I don't know why I feel the need to justify how I did the party. I know that my friend wasn't trying to say anything negative about me. I guess I just got a little defensive about it. It's not like I sit around and have nothing better to do than scoop ice cream and bake cupcakes because I'm a stay at home mom. I MAKE time to do those things because I want to. I did have other things I could have been doing but I felt (and always feel) that, as the grocery shopper in our house, it's my job to help us save a little money when doing that shopping. If that means that I sit up until 11pm the night before the party scooping ice cream and decorating a cake then that's what I need to do. Plus it was fun! And even though the cake didn't look as pretty as some people's cakes, it was made by me.
Would I have liked to have nicer decorations, cupcakes from Lovely Confections, an inflatable bouncy house?..sure! But we did fine with what we had and people seemed to have a nice day. I would like to think that no matter how busy I am I will make time to save my family a little money and put that little extra personal touch into my childrens' birthday parties. Talk to me again in a few years and we'll see if I stayed true to this statement. ;)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deep Thoughts

...not by Jack Handey

I didn't think that my 50th post would be so heavy but I just finished reading an article that put me in tears and I have to write about it. Just a warning...this is very long but I need to get some of this out.

My mother-in-law recently passed on the July issue of Self magazine to me and there is an article in it called "Who Controls Childbirth?" It's an article about a woman who is pregnant with her 2nd child and she struggles with how the 2nd childbirth is going to go. Her first experience didn't turn out as she had hoped and she's hoping for a VBAC this time around (vaginal birth after cesarian for those who don't know the term). It's hard for me not to just go through and quote paragraphs of the article because some of it could have been said by me.
I know I've written my birth experiences before, but I haven't here. I feel the need to explain the backstory and maybe even talk about some things most people don't know about.

I had a great pregnancy with Nora. I really did. I can't complain much at all about it. I only gained 29 pounds, didn't have major swelling or other high risk pregnancy issues. The last month was a bit of a bear, but anyone who says the last month isn't rough needs to be slapped.
I went into spontanious labor with her 4 days before her due date. Contractions were about 5 minutes apart when we went off to the hospital. Without making this toooo terribly long of a story, it took me 26 hours (in the hospital...not counting my time laboring at home) to get to 10cm. I pushed and nothing happened...she wouldn't budge. After being in labor so long, and watching Nora's heart rate on the monitors, we decided that a c-section was needed. She was delivered and was beautiful and healthy. As the doctor was checking everything before sewing me back up he realized that my bladder tore during the delivery. Nora was taken to the nursery and Jim along with her. I was put under and had 3 more hours of surgery to repair my bladder.

Needless to say, my post-partum experience was not that great. I was dealing with a normal c-section recovery as well as recovery from a torn bladder. I had a cathetar in for 2 weeks, had a blood transfusion 3 days after the birth because I became anemic, and had rediculous amounts of swelling in my legs.

Although I will NEVER complain about the fact that I had a great pregnancy and ended up with a beautiful healthy baby girl, I have always been a bit disappointed over how everything went. To quote the Self magazine article "Everyone is allowed her own sense of loss." Amen to that. I know that many people have had it worse than me, but that doesn't discount that I had a difficult time as well. "I have stopped judging women who take extra precautions as defensive and started to understand that everyone has to find her way, " she continues on.
What a lot of people don't know is that I did go see a psychologist some time after Nora was born. I was having a tough time and knew that I was dealing with some post partum depression. I needed to talk to someone. Unfortunatly, during our second visit, she commented to me that she felt I could have ADHD. Now, I know that I have some mental issues but I do NOT feel I have ADHD and I was irritated that she wanted to pursue diagnosing me...that's not why I was there. I called and cancelled our 3rd visit and never saw anyone else again.

When I was pregnant with Emmett I felt that I definatly wanted to have a VBAC. I really, really wanted to try and go for the birth experience that I wanted the first time around. As the pregnancy went on, after talking to multiple nurses and doctors, talking with my husband and family and listening to my heart, I realized that trying for a VBAC could be just as tramatic (if not more) than my first experience. If I ended up in the same senario with Emmett as I did with Nora, doing another c-section after laboring puts me at high risk for complications. I know that many, many women have successful VBAC's but risking my own health and the health of my son was not something I was willing to try...as well as my crushing disappointment if something went wrong. We decided to schedule a c-section, and as I sat on the operating table, getting ready for them to numb me up I looked at Jim, through tear-filled eyes, and asked, "This is the right choice, right?"

I will never know if I could have had a successful VBAC. Tears are falling down my cheeks as I write this, so I know that it's still a difficult subject for me. What I do know is that my 2nd experience, although not what I ideally hoped for, was MUCH better. My recovery, although still tough, (what c-section recovery isn't?) was easier. I was actually able to walk in the halls of the hospital the next day (I didn't walk for 2 days after Nora was born). My cathetar came out after a day (praise the Lord). I got to be with my son for the first few hours of his life (something I didn't have with Nora) and the hospital staff was amazing. I had such wonderful people. I was so blessed...and still AM blessed. I am blessed with my health and the health of my son and my daughter. I thank God for them every day.

I will end this by quoting the last paragraph of the article and you'll understand why it touched me so much (the article was written before her 2nd birth occured)
"I hope there will be a moment when the noise of the nurses and the doctors and the doula will fall into the background. I will look down at my baby -whether he is handed to me on my belly or from behind a curtain as my body is sewn shut - and I will remember what I've known from the beginning, when I looked down at that plus sign and we were alone together for the first time....I will know that I am his mother and he is my son. And maybe, in that moment, I will be ready to say that the only success and failure is the outcome of the birth, that we are healthy. I hope I mean it."

I hope she does mean it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

50 cents or less

Yep, I ended up going shopping Tuesday again but at least it wasn't at 9pm. I didn't do a ton of shopping this week. I realized that I really need to use out of some of the food we already have, especially after my freezer disaster. sigh...But here's what I picked up.


I picked up the Goldfish on Saturday because I had 2 coupons that were expirimg that day (and another one as well). They were on sale for $1 this week (which is a good price in and of itself) but then I had my three $1 off coupons which means FREE goldfish. Nora doesn't like the regular cheese kind but she LOVES the grahams. :)
The other items I got today. They were a part of the buy 8 get $4 off sale. They cat litter was on sale for $1.49 and I had a $1 off coupon so that was .49!

The Capri Sun was a random find. I needed to buy some mac-n-cheese and KS has their 5 packs on sale for $2.99. On the packages there is a peelie for FREE Capri Sun! I'm not joking! Not all the packages had them so go to your store and see if you can find them. Because of the good sale price, and the free Capri Sun I bought two packages (we're set on mac-n-cheese for a while now). The sale price of the Capri Sun (with the B8 sale) was $1.47 but the cashier rang the coupons in at the regular price so that gave me $2.11 off. I made $1.28 on them!! I don't know how long the mac-n-cheese will be on sale, but I highly recommend running over to your store and seeing if you can find this deal. :)

It's not all bad

...having the flu for a day and a half (I can say that now, but I wouldn't have said that yesterday).

I got on the scale this morning to find that I'm 1 pound under my prepregnancy weight! I'm sure it won't last but seeing that number made me uber happy. Now I just need to keep going and get all this softness turned into muscle. I just got a free DVD in the mail yesterday. It was from a Walgreens catalina for a totally free DVD from Self magazine (just paid for the stamp to mail in the offer). It's a workout DVD called "Self Trim and Tone Fast!"...guess it's a sign. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Throwin' it all away...

I think one of the worst things a frugal person can do is just throw away food. I hate it. I hate throwing away food. I don't like throwing away leftovers, I don't like tossing out stale chips...I just don't like to toss out food. Today I had to do something that just about did me in.
I went out to our deep freeze to get some hamburger for our lunch and found something horrible. As I opened the chest I heard a sloshing sound. Our deep freeze was off and I have no idea how long it had been that way. It was still cool inside but the items on the top were totally thawed out. We found out that a breaker was tripped to the outlet and that's what shut it off (we're still not sure how that happened).
I was in a panic trying to get the freezer back on and move anything I could into our other freezers. As I dug into the layers I found that everything under the top layer or two was still somewhat frozen so it should still be safe. I immediately had a few items I had to toss and then others I had to think about. I know there shouldn't be anything to think about when it comes to food safety, but I just couldn't start tossing it in the trash right away.
After supper we went through and realized what all needed to go. Pork chops, beef, italian sausage, chicken, pizzas, ice cream, hot dogs....all in the trash. I started crying part way through and Jim had to finish. I know it might seem silly to cry over it, but I couldn't help it. I know that many of those items I purchased very inexpensively but it was just the action of unwrapping it and throwing out that I couldn't handle. It was no ones fault, and there was nothing I could do about it...but it was hard.
Jim said that it all balances out with what I save all the time, but I don't want it to balance out. I want to save and that's that. I don't want to feel ok about throwing out 4 packages of hot dogs because I only spent 50 cents a piece on them. Or throwing out 3 large pork chops because they were marked down and only paid a couple dollars for them. I spend extra time cutting coupons and watching the sale ads so that we DO save money. I wasn't just throwing food away. I was throwing away time and energy as well.
There may be more that will end up going (I don't think we should probably keep the other pizzas that were in there). It just makes me sad and made for a really rough day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

50 cents or less

Last week I really didn't have much of anything but this week was much better! King Soopers has their Buy 8, get $4 off sale. I paired some of those items (24 of them actually) with coupons and made out alright. And yes, I ended up shopping at 8pm Tues. night...even though this deal continues through the current week.
B8 means the "buy 8 get $4 off deal)

Old El Paso Rice, beans and taco shells - B8 + three $1/2 coupons = .49 each
Sobe drinks - B8 + 2 BOGO coupons = Free (they were .49 with the sale but the cashier gave me .99 for each coupon so they ended up being free)
Total - B8 + two $1 coupons = .49 each
Toaster Strudel - B8 + $1/2 (I did buy 2) + .50 cellfire online coupon = .49
Athenos Hummus -on sale for $1 and then I had 2 BOGO coupons so they should have been .50 each. They gave me the original price for coupon, which is $3.49! I ended up making $3 on those!
Cherrios - B8 + $1 coupon + .50 cellfire coupon = Free!
Gerber yogurt - on sale for $1.99 and I had a $1.50 catalina = .49
Yo Baby yogurt- in the markdown area for $1.29 + $1 coupon = .29
Eggs - no mystery here, just on sale 2/$1
Warm Delights - B8 + $1 coupon = .49 
Fiber One bars - B8 + $1 coupon + .50 cellfire coupon = .49
Bugles - B8 + $1 coupon =. 49
Temptations cat treats - B8 + $1/2 coupon = .27 each
Chex Mix - B8 + $1 coupon + .50 cellfire coupon = Free!
Butter - on sale for $1.50 + $1 coupon = .50

So as you noticed, if you sign up to have coupons loaded on your card, you can use those along with a paper coupon on the same product. That was something I just recently found out about. You just have to watch and make sure that coupon gets deducted.

Junk and stuff

My husband usually has to make a comment when I tell him that I'm going out to garage sales, but I just let him. This last weekend he said, "What, are we running low on junk?" I know that although there is a lot of "junk" out there but I can usually find a jem here and there. My jem this last weekend was this...

It's a really beautiful painting (yes, it's a painting, not just a picture/print), very well framed and it's now proudly hanging on the wall that leads down to our basement. It was such a boring empty, lonely wall but now it's fancy. And it only cost me $30. I love my junk. :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Star Wars are for girls only?

If you don't know about houseparty.com I highly recommend going over there and checking them out. I have been lucky enough to host a few houseparties and the free swag for you and your guests is awesome.

I recieved an e-mail from them yesterday about signing up to host a Star Wars Clone Wars Houseparty. I went through and filled in the application but something really bothered me. They asked how many kids I have and if I have boys or girls and then the age of the boy. Then all the questions ended up being about my boy...what tv shows/channels does he watch? What toys does he like to play with? etc etc. Obviously I had a hard time answering the questions because, well, Emmett isn't even 1 yet. At one point I was able to fill in a response (instead of just click a multiple choice answer) and I made a comment about how my nephew (who is 11) really likes Star Wars (as does my husband and I) and my daughter might enjoy it too. I even said, "Girls like Star Wars too!!"

I was a little purturbed that all they cared about was my son (how many of HIS friends would you invite?...the questions went on and on). I've watched the Clone Wars cartoons. My husband has enjoyed them and Nora might too (although her current fave is Strawberry Shortcake so that might be a stretch). And if my newphew could come, maybe he'd like to invite some of HIS friends.
 If they are basing their criteria on my own son, his age and his likes then I'm sure I won't get chosen. That sort of irks me. It's just like at McDonalds when they have two different happy meal toys and they ask if you want the girl toy or the boy toy. Sexism is alive and well today...even with little kids.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Catalina deals

Do you know what a catalina coupon is? It's the one that prints out, at the register, when you make your purchase. Sometimes they are random coupons but most of the time it's something that you probably purchased in the past (maybe even that day) and they are giving you a coupon for it for the next time. Other times, companies have promotions where you buy a certain number of their products and they will give you a catalina in a dollar amount (like cash...i.e. the Kraft deal I got in on last week).
One of the most annoying things to me is when the register catalina isn't working and I don't end up with any coupons. ARGH that drives me crazy. Last week the catalina wasn't working and I didn't get my Kraft $5 coupon. I mentioned it to the cashier and a manager came over and hand wrote my coupon for me (I used it today and it worked out fine).

Today, at King Soopers I used some catalina coupons that I recieved and matched them with some sale items. Here the deals I ended up with...


This week (and next) there is a P&G promotion where you get $4 off with the purchase of 4 select P&G products. That included diapers which I was happy to find a deal on. With the sale, the Pampers were $7.99 each (as were the wipes). I had recieved two $3 catalinas for cruisers diapers a while back. Hello high money coupon, how I love thee!! I also had another catalina that was for $4 off cruisers and 1 box (300 count or more) of wipes. So, you could say that I got an additional $3 off all my packages of diapers, making them $4.99 a PIECE! And then an additional $1 off the wipes. LOVE IT!
The Natural Instinct hair color (yes, I do it at home) was on sale for $5.99. I had a catalina for $5 off 2 boxes. That means they ended up being $3.49 a box. Not too shabby considering my roots are starting to show.
The Kleenex hand towels are something I'd probably NEVER buy normally (a little too snazzy for this simple girl) but I recieved a catalina for a free box! Of course I had to pick it up! It was the only item that would have been in my 50 cent or less post this week (besides some baby food and...well...that doesn't count) hence why I did this post.

The moral to the story. Don't just throw away those catalinas..and watch to make sure you get the ones you are supposed to recieve. Some of the coupons aren't the best but sometimes they grace you with something pretty outstanding so make sure you sort through them. :)

Carry on....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

50 cents or less

Well this was kind of a big week for me...well, if you include last week too. I didn't do my grocery shopping until last night, about 10pm, so I barely made it in to (now) last week's grocery ad. I also made it into town last week and picked up some deals while I was there, so here goes...

These items came from Albertson's and Walgreens. Last week Albertsons had a TON of coupons on their ad. Don't forget that you can stack those coupons with manufacter coupons to double your savings. The candy was a splurge at 29 cents a piece. The Pop Secret ended up being 50 cents a box and the Marcal products were free. Watch the Sunday coupons and you'll find Marcal coupons off and on for a free roll of paper towels or $1 off. Albertsons had their toliet paper on sale for $1 so that's how I ended up with that for free.
The Colgate was Walgreens. They had a register rewards deal which made the Colgate free (buy it for $3.49 and get $3.50 back in RR) but then I had $1 off coupons so it was a money maker. I had to do seperate transactions to get the 2 tubes, but then I used my register rewards to get diapers so it worked out great.


The training pants and the Snikiddy were free from Babies R Us. BRU released a $5 off any purchase coupon that was only good for 2 days so I got some training pants for Nora (priced at $5). Snikiddy was an online coupon for a free bag.
The cat food was free! I was led to a link where you could request a coupon for a free bag of food (cat or dog). I had to go to a special pet store to pick it up but it was on route while I was traveling around so I got it. The bag retails for $24.99!! I hope my cats don't get used to it because I won't ever buy this on my own. lol


And this was all King Soopers last night. A lot of this came from the Buy ten get $5 off sale. To save time I'll just put "B10" buy it if it was. Also, since KS doubles coupons I'll just put the doubled price...
Aquafresh kids - B10 + $1 off coupons = free
Satin Care shave cream - B10 + $1 off coupons = .50 a piece (won't have to buy that for a long time now)
Softsoap - B10 + .70 coupon = .30
Irish Spring - B10 + $1 off 2 = .50 a piece
Wish Bone - B10 + $1 off coupon = .50
Motrin PM - B10 + $3 coupon = .50 money maker
Philadelphia Cream cheese - part of B10 sale at .99 a piece. KS currently (through mid-August I think) has a deal where if you buy 5 Kraft dairy products you get a $5 catalina back. I bought the 3 cream cheese (YUM!), the sliced cheese (had a $1 coupon on that so I paid .17 out of pocket for it) and the shredded cheese was on sale for $1.88 (no coupon this time) so I paid $5.02 for all 5 and got $5 back. woohoo!
Spaghettios - B10 +  $1 off 2 coupon = Free
Diet Snapple - Free from playing the Kroger Summer of Savings game online
Lady Speed Stick - B10 + $1 off coupon = free
Idahoan potatoes - B10 + $1 off 3 coupon = .16 a piece

The Bic pens actually came from Target last week but I forgot them in my other pictures. I know there are a ton of deals for school supplies right now but this was a pretty good one when you the coupon I had, which is why I'm listing it. They were on sale for .60 a piece and I had two $1 off of 2 coupons. So that made the bags .10 a piece. They will be good to use when I'm doing my Avon parties. :)

Last night was a good shopping night for me. I spent $54 and saved $80. If you are still reading this, I hope these posts don't come off like I'm bragging. I guess I am a bit because I'm proud of the money I save but I mainly do it because I want you all to realize that you can do it too!! I am happy to help you if I can. I don't have the time or energy to post all the links to online coupons, myself, but there are some GREAT blogs out there that will do it for you (and for me). Let me know if you need help finding a great one.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I heart Verizon

There have been a few times when I've been a bit irritated with the cost of cell phones and cell phone plans, especially considering how much we use them now a days. I've had Verizon as my carrier since, gosh, 2002 I think. I just never wanted to take the energy to change to someone else but now that we are out in the country, I'm glad I never changed. We actually have decent cell service out here, except some times in our basement, and other people who come out usually don't have any service at all. So, because of coverage we are sticking with Verizon.

If you don't know, Verizon has a deal called "new every 2" where you can get a new cell phone every two years. Mine was coming up on Sept. 2nd and I was SO excited for that. I currently have a flip phone with a non-qwerty keyboard. It was fine for me back when I got it because I didn't text much at all. Now I text frequently so it's kind of a pain. I was resigned to getting my phone in another month+ until my current phone started acting up. Something is loose with the battery connection and it shuts off frequently. I decided to go online and see what I could get without the discount. THEN I decided to call Verizon and see what happens. I'm so glad I did!

I talked to a very nice rep. and told him my situation. After putting me on hold and talking with his supervisor I was able to get my "new every 2" discount date changed to TODAY! Online discounts are usually better than buying in the store, so I went to the website and got myself a new phone. I didn't get a smartphone, although I could have, but I found a multimedia phone with the best reviews and now it's mine. I will be the proud (I hope) owner of the Samsung Reality in City Red.

Woohoo! So just remember that making a phone call can really pay off. I know in reality I only saved myself $20, but that's still $20 and I should get my phone tomorrow. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

1 pound to go!

I stepped on the scale this morning to find that I have ONE POUND to go! I know it's just a scale. I know the numbers don't accuratly represent how my body actually looks. I know that I need to tone up my legs and midsection so I can get back in to (and look good in) some of my prepregnancy clothes, but I love seeing the numbers go down.

It is a shining star in my morning that currently has a little gloom so I'll take it and run with it. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Out and About

Today Jim was home so I was able to get out of the house, go into town, and run some errands. I was hoping to meet up with a couple friends but it just didn't pan out. I did, however, get a chance to stop at my friend Robin's house. Living out where we do it's not a usual occurrance to just be able to stop over at a friend's house. I was very happy to see her and her 2 youngins' for a few minutes. :)

It was nice to just be able to run in out and of a few stores to rock some deals for the week. My hitlist included Target, ARC thrift store, Walgreens, King Soopers (the one on Quincy and Buckley had some special deals so I only picked up a couple things), Albertsons and Walmart. I don't think I have been to that many stores in one day in a long time. When I have the kids I just don't feel like lugging them in and out of the car and in and out of stores. Plus they get grumpy...then I get grumpy and that's just not pretty.

Besides visiting with Robin, I didn't have much "me" time but being able to look around stores, hit so many places at one time, and take advantange of deals was really nice. AND since I had dinner in the slow cooker, I didn't have to come home and slave away in the kitchen and THAT made a nice day even better.

Friday, July 16, 2010

50 cents or less!


I decided to change my title this week because I didn't get too much for free...just a lot of good 50 cent or less deals. King Soopers has their buy 10 items get $5 off deal this week so I took advantage of that by pairing items with coupons. So here goes...

Loreal kids Shampoo - $1.50 with the sale and I had 2 coupons that doubled to $1 each so .50 on each of those.
Fuze drinks were on sale for .89 a piece. I downloaded a coupon off of King Soopers website that ended up giving me $1.59 off (not sure how that worked out), so I got those 3 for .36 a piece.
Suave deoderant was a part of the buy 10 sale, for $1 and I had a $1 off coupon so it was FREE
Dixie plates, also a part of the buy 10 sale, were $1.50. I had 2 coupons that doubled to $1 each so those were .50 a piece.
The A&W I got FREE because of playing the King Soopers Summer of Savings game. Go to http://www.kingsoopers.com/ to play and maybe you'll win something too!!
The Turkey Hill Pomegranite Lemonade was on sale for $1 and I had a buy 2 get $1 off coupon so those were .50 each (I'd like to thank Ann for hooking me on this beverage)
Palmolive was in the buy 10 sale for $1.50 and I had a $1 off coupon so that was .50
Boulder Chips were also in the buy 10 sale for $1 a piece! I had a buy 2 get $1 off coupon so those were .50 each.
The General Foods International Coffee was in the markdown bin for $1.50. I had a $1 off coupon so I got it for .50.
And lastly the Easy Mac was a part of the buy 10 sale and were .38 each. I didn't have a coupon for them, but I needed 2 more items to get a second $5 off so I picked those. For .38 a piece that's a good deal. Especially when I'm too tired to make lunch for Nora. :)

Did you get some good deals this week??

Monday, July 12, 2010

Free (and near free) for me this week...


Last week wasn't too exciting but I guess I made up for it this week. Let me tell you again how much I LOVE the markdown areas!

The Fast Fixens Chicken Strips were on sale for $1 and I had a $1 off coupon. :)

The Sobe drinks were on sale for .88. I had 2 BOGO coupons so normally you'd think I would get them for .44 each, but no. The cashier just rang the coupons to the max. amount allowed which was $1.69 so I paid .14 for all 4 of them.

The Hunts Ketchup was on sale for $1 and I had a .20 coupon. That's a pretty lame coupon but with doubling it that means I got ketchup for .60. That's ok with me.

The Starkist tuna was on sale for $1. I had a buy 2 get $1 off so I paid .50 a piece for them. Not the best deal, but not bad considering they are normally $1.99 each.

The Dan-o-nino's were in the markdown area for $1.09 a piece. I had 3 coupons, 2 for $1.50 off and one for $1 off!! Doing the math on that means I MADE .73 on them.

The Danimals Coolisions were also in the markdown area for 1.29 each and I had two $1 coupons so I got those for .29 a piece.

So I guess I didn't get that much for free this week, but this is just an example of holding onto coupons and matching them with a sale. Some of those items aren't things I normally buy, but when I can get them for next to nothing then it makes it worth it. Plus they are little extra special treats for Nora and myself. :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hitting the nail on the head

This last Avon order I ordered some items for myself both in my regular order and via direct delivery (long story, but it helps with my earnings percentage). There was some of Avon's regular nail polish on sale, which I ordered regularly, and then their Speed Dry Nail polish in the outlet (clearance section), which I ordered in my direct delivery order. When I recieved my orders I realized that I should have paid more attention to the colors I bought...


Do you think I should have bought a little variety?? lol I guess I wanted to get a red, a pink and a really light pink (that's what the far right is...not the nude color it looks like). I thought about returning some of them but I decided I'd keep them. The speed dry will be good for Nora's toes (she's now obsessed with her "pretty toes") and my fingers. Then I can use the regular polish on my toes. Besides they were really inexpensive...I just thought it was a little funny.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

(almost) Free for me this week

I did O-K this week with shopping but I was preoccupied with getting my Avon order in to really get out there and find the deals. But it just seemed like there wasn't much too exciting at King Soopers this week. Here's what I ended up with...



The Pull-Ups came from a free coupon that I got when I "hosted" (it's in parentheses because the party didn't officially happen due to lack of interest) a Pull-Ups House Party. The thing with it is that I acutally ended up making money on it. The Pull Ups are on sale this week for $8.99 but when she entered in the coupon value she entered in the regular price of $9.77 so I made .78 on it. :)

We don't usually buy canned cat food but the Iams were in the discount bin for .38 each. I had a BOGO coupon so they ended up being .19 a piece. It will be a nice little treat for the kitties. Speaking of treats, The Goodlife Recipe treats were also in the markdown bin for only .89. I had a dollar off coupon so I made .11 on them!! ALWAYS check the markdown areas, you never know what you'll find!!!

The Ragu was a free coupon that I recieved from King Soopers, in the mail. I LOVE the coupons they send me. It's rare to get a free one, but I am SOOO happy when I do. I made money on that one too. With the buy 10 participating items and get $3 off sale this week, the Ragu was $1.25. They (again) gave me the original price back for the coupon, which was $1.55...giving me .30 back. I love being paid to take items home!

The Sure deoderant was .50. They are on sale for $2 this week and I had a $1.50 coupon. Not free, but not bad either!

Lastly, the Pure Protien bar was on sale for $1 and I had a .50 coupon that doubled to make it free! AND it's peanut butter marshmallow flavor, YUM!!

I'm hoping to hit Albertson's in the next couple days. They have a bunch of coupons in their ad and you can stack manufacturer coupons with those making some good deals (especially when they are doubling and tripling coupons!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

The good in me

I been selling Avon for less than a month and I can already tell a change in my mindset. I won't go into the nervousness and concern I feel about failing, but what I will go into is how I currently feel about me.
 I'm not going to say that I'm a new woman with a new attitude (que music)...that my self-esteem issues are fixed or that I've dropped 15 pounds (although I have lost 5 now) and I'm smokin' hot. But now that I've become an Avon rep. I realize that taking care of myself on the outside has helped me a little on the inside. I think I'm talking in circles so let me explain...

When I go out in public I always have Avon with me. I have some perfume samples and my business cards  in my purse, and I ALWAYS have a few of the current campaign books on me. I'm not one of those people who feels comfortable just walking up to a stranger and asking them about Avon, but if the opportunity arises I want to make sure I'm prepared to hand them a business card and a book. With that said, I want to make sure that my appearance reflects my business. I want someone to look at me and think, "ya, she's stylish and cute, I'd buy Avon from her"...or maybe even, "her makeup is cute, she smells good, I want to be like her." I know that's a stretch, but I can shoot for that, right??

It's made me think about what I wear when I go out in public. Not that I'm dressed up all the time, but if I'm throwing on a t-shirt then it should be a cute fitted one. I make sure my toenail polish isn't chipped and I hope that my hair looks like I tried (hence the haircut tomorrow, but more on that another time). It's made me care more about how I present myself and THAT is a huge step towards believing in myself. It's a good thing!!
I know there are many people who are perfectly happy with throwing on their sweatpants and running to the grocery store, and if they're happy then I don't judge. It's just not me. I've never wanted to become a frumpy mom. I always knew that I was going to get myself down to my pre-pregnancy weight, one way or another, and I'm not a sweatpants and baggy t-shirt person. Yes, I have my comfy pants that I wear around the house, some days, but I don't go out that way. If I don't take the time to take care of myself, then why should anyone else care about me either. I may not be that cutey young mom, but I want to be that cool mom. I firmly believe that Avon is helping me maintain that goal. Now, if I can just get some more customers I'd be even better....  ;)

Monday, June 14, 2010

How do people do it?

I just want to nap.

I've expressed, a few different times, my feelings of inadaquacy when it comes to being a wife and mother. I sit here, on this dreary Monday, feeling just that.

I have piles of things to do and NO motivation to do any of it. I told Jim, last night, that I figured I would feel that way today, after the busy weekend, and I was right. On the good side, I am doing laundry (the last of 4 loads is in the washer right now) and I did clean off some toys that I purchased at garage sales (some of which have been waiting to be cleaned off for a couple weeks now). However, my car is still full of the boxes of garage sale items that I didn't sell over the weekend and I just do NOT have the omph to unload right now. My Avon stuff needs to be organized, as well as the rest of my desk and my kitchen cupboards are starting to explode.

I know I have high standards for myself, my family and my house, so what is messy to me may look just fine to someone else. But there is no denying that there are some really messy spots in this house right now.

I highly admire people who juggle 20 things at once and do them well. Those people that have to be busy all the time and are good at it! I wish I were one of those people. Are those people on some sort of medication? Are they high on coffee and other forms of caffine? I need their secret!! Are you one of those people? Can you please share your motivation? Even if I feel the motivation stirring inside of me, my body is fighting back and winning over my mind. Ugh, I'm tired of being lazy.