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 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 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 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. ;)