Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Beginning or Just Another Day?

As I sit here with only 1 hour left of 2011, I wonder what the new year will bring for me.

It's funny how New Years Eve brings about so many thoughts of a fresh start, resolutions and change. I do have my own little ritual on New Years Eve. I wash all the bed sheets, take a shower and put on clean pajamas....that way my new year starts clean. But should it really be such a big deal?

We hear all the time that most New Year's Resolutions fail within the first month. Why is that? I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to make sure that things are different beginning on January 1st. If we slip and fall off the wagon then somehow we've failed ourselves and all those goals, hopes and dreams are ruined.

I will admit that I have some things that I'd like to change about myself. I hope, and plan, to make those changes every day. So why should January 1st be any different? If I wake up tomorrow and fail on one of my "resolutions" am I ruined for the rest of the year? Nope...I don't think so.

Tomorrow, to me, is just another day. It's a frest start like every morning is. A start at being a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, a better sister, a better daughter...a better me. I may fail at one or all of those goals, but the good thing is that January 2nd will be another day too. Another frest start...

After I finish this I will hop in the shower because, well, that's what I do (and I need one). I'll crawl into bed and read my book before drifting off to sleep. I will wake up in the morning and put a new calendar on the wall and start my new will just happen to be 2012.

I wish you all a wonderful New Year's Day and a frest start...for every day.



Monday, December 26, 2011

After Christmas Shopping at King Soopers

Since my husband it working today, and I don't have the energy to take both of my kids out to the big stores with me, my main after Christmas shopping will have to wait until tomorrow.
Since my in-laws will be arriving tomorrow afternoon, I had just a few last minute groceries to pick up so I loaded the kids up and we went to King Soopers.
Besides my groceries (no big food scores to tell about), I did go through the seasonal aisle and picked up a few items at 50% off. I snagged a few replacement light bulbs for our outdoor lights (I probably should have bought more than I did so I'll be watching for more), a few of those gel clings that you can stick on windows (Nora loves helping me put those up) and these other great deals that will be perfect year round...
I found some 2 prong to 3 prong converters. They aren't exactly like these, but you get the idea. I had a couple times recently when I had a 3 prong item and only a 2 prong outlet available. They were under $2 on sale and will go straight into the cabinet above my dryer (with all the other household items), I also picked up a Three Outlet Adapter, similar to this (not GE brand). It was also under $2 with the sale so it's another great item to just have on hand.
A big score for me was picking up some Bic Candle Lighters. They are similar to these but are white. I don't know what the difference between the "Candle" lighters and the regular red ones are but these are used frequently in our house. They were 50% off, priced at $1.99, and I had 3 coupons I used. Two were for $1 off (so I bought two for .99) and one for $2 off so I got one FREE!

I also saw a few extension cords and other useful year round items so, even if you don't go out to the big stores today, you can find some great deals just about anywhere...for any time of year. :)

Happy Saving!


My Christmas Success

I have to brag just a little bit...and it's my blog so I'm allowed to do that.

Yesterday we hosted Christmas for my family here at our house. There was 11 of us total, including Jim's younger brother who flew in from TX that morning. As I mentioned earlier, I planned a barbeque meal instead of the traditional ham or turkey. I was really nervous, hoping and praying it would all come out well....and it did!
You can see my previous post for links to the recipes, but I made a beef brisket and followed the directions exactly (except it marinated for longer than 24 hours) and it turned out fabulous! The only thing I did differently was, after 5 hours in the oven, I took it out, sliced it, put a little BBQ sauce on it (partially to start getting the flavor and also for a "liquid") and put it in a crock pot to keep warm. I needed the oven for other things so out it went.
The pulled pork was AMAZING! I messed up and purchased the wrong cut of pork roast so I actually started it the night before and let it cook in the slow cooker for approx. 12 hours. It was FALLING off the bone. It was perfect!
I also cooked up some baked beans in a crock pot and was told by my brother in law that they were the best baked beans he's ever had! I used a recipe from the Fix It and Forget It Cookbook. Let me know if you'd like it. :)

My mom supplied some cole slaw and a jello salad, which my grandmother helped with, along with a cranberry salad. We also had au gratin potatoes, corn bread, rolls, dill pickles and olives. It was fabulous. My recipes are definatly keepers and any time I'm hosting Christmas at our house, barbeque it will be!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with love, good food and good company.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Halo Heaven

I ordered from this company before and I just did it again!! Nora LOVED the items she's been given already (from my first order) and (shhh, don't tell her) but grandma is giving her more of it for Christmas.

Use the code "2012" at checkout to get 50% off your order!!!! The current coupon code is good until Dec. 31st and it is definatly worth it to hop over there and see what you can find. Here's the best part...orders over $20 get FREE SHIPPING (so make sure your order is $40 or more before the code)! My order is below...I picked up 34 items for just $20.14!

Nora is going to be in heaven!! I even found a few things for Emmett. And even if all of this does stay in our house, what an inexpensive way to pick up some gifts for other little girls or boys.

Phone: 406-821-9908
Fax: 866-266-9012

Halo Heaven
5448 US Hwy 93 S.
Conner, MT 59827
Halo Heaven
Order Receipt
Please print or save this as your receipt.
Order date: 12/21/2011.
Thanks for your purchase at ! We will send a reciept to your email and once your order ships you will be notified by email with your tracking number.

Product NameQtyItem#ShipMethodUnit PricePrice

Bubble Gum Fairy Halos by the pc.1 PRICE $1.25$1.25
Coupon 2012-$0.63
Total Discount-$0.63
Bubble Gum Fairy Wands
  • Wand Style by the pc.:Bubble Gum Fairy Ribbon Wands & bell 90�

  • 1 PRICE $0.90$0.90
    Coupon 2012-$0.45
    Total Discount-$0.45
    Patriotic Fairy Halos by the pc.1 PRICE $1.25$1.25
    Coupon 2012-$0.63
    Total Discount-$0.63
    Patriotic Fairy Wands
  • Wand Style by the pc.:Patriotic Fairy Ribbon Wands & bell 90�

  • 1 PRICE $0.90$0.90
    Coupon 2012-$0.45
    Total Discount-$0.45
    Christmas Fairy Halos by the pc.1 PRICE $1.25$1.25
    Coupon 2012-$0.63
    Total Discount-$0.63
    Christmas Fairy Wands
  • Wand Style by the pc.:Christmas Fairy Ribbon Wands & bell 90�

  • 1 PRICE $0.90$0.90
    Coupon 2012-$0.45
    Total Discount-$0.45
    NOV-American Flags by the 6 dozen unit1 USFLAG PRICE $3.00$3.00
    Coupon 2012-$1.50
    Total Discount-$1.50
    NOV-Red Sponge Clown Nose by the pc2 PRICE $1.00$2.00
    Coupon 2012-$1.00
    Total Discount-$1.00
    NOV-World Wrestling Champion Belt by the pc.1 OKK21557 PRICE $1.25$1.25
    Coupon 2012-$0.63
    Total Discount-$0.63
    HAT-Pirate Hats by the pc.1 PIRH023 PRICE $2.00$2.00
    Coupon 2012-$1.00
    Total Discount-$1.00
    HAT-PINK Cowgirl Hat by the pc1 FX_15/122 PRICE $2.00$2.00
    Coupon 2012-$1.00
    Total Discount-$1.00
    FL-Red Mini Rose by the dz2 MRFL01 PRICE $1.00$2.00
    Coupon 2012-$1.00
    Total Discount-$1.00
    FL-Lavender Mini Rose by the dz2 MRFL13 PRICE $1.00$2.00
    Coupon 2012-$1.00
    Total Discount-$1.00
    FL-Pink Mini Rose by the dz2 MRFL16 PRICE $1.00$2.00
    Coupon 2012-$1.00
    Total Discount-$1.00
    FL-White Mini Rose by the dz2 MRFL21 PRICE $1.00$2.00
    Coupon 2012-$1.00
    Total Discount-$1.00
    FL-Silver Mini Rose by the dz2 MRFL22 PRICE $1.00$2.00
    Coupon 2012-$1.00
    Total Discount-$1.00
    HAT-Blue Stripe Diva Hat1 DIV211 PRICE $1.50$1.50
    Coupon 2012-$0.75
    Total Discount-$0.75
    HAT-Green Stripe Diva Hat1 DIV210 PRICE $1.50$1.50
    Coupon 2012-$0.75
    Total Discount-$0.75
    C-Small Light Blue Crochet Daisy Clips by the pc2 CROHCS09 PRICE $0.60$1.20
    Coupon 2012-$0.60
    Total Discount-$0.60
    C-Small Purple Crochet Daisy Clips by the pc2 CROHCS14 PRICE $0.60$1.20
    Coupon 2012-$0.60
    Total Discount-$0.60
    C-Small Black Crochet Daisy Clips by the pc2 CROHCS23 PRICE $0.60$1.20
    Coupon 2012-$0.60
    Total Discount-$0.60
    WNG-Red Lady Bug Wings by the pc.1 LBW01 PRICE $1.80$1.80
    Coupon 2012-$0.90
    Total Discount-$0.90
    WNG-Lavender Lady Bug Wings by the pc.1 LBW13 PRICE $1.80$1.80
    Coupon 2012-$0.90
    Total Discount-$0.90
    SH-Pink Dress Up Shoes by the pair1 DUSH16 PRICE $1.75$1.75
    Coupon 2012-$0.88
    Total Discount-$0.88
    SH-White Dress Up Shoes by the pair1 DUSH21 PRICE $1.75$1.75
    Coupon 2012-$0.88
    Total Discount-$0.88

    Grand Total: $20.17


    It's the most busiest time of the year

    I know that the title of this post is not a good excuse for not keeping up with my blog...but it's the only one I have right now. I've slacked on both my blogs this last month. It's not that I have nothing to blog about. I think about it frequently. The problem is actually sitting down, when inspiration hits, and being able to type out what's in my head. So here's a little bit of randomness for your reading enjoyment...

    Although I've been couponing I haven't had any BIG hauls lately. There are a few treats out there to be had (like FREE Toblerone, gum and kids' potty wipes at King Soopers this week!), but between the weather and just the normal busy-ness of the season, I haven't been out and about too much away from King Soopers.

    The kids and I have done a little crafting but not too much. Just coloring some wooden ornaments that I bought at JoAnn's, on clearance, after Christmas last year. We made some paper chains and hung them up in the kitchen...that's about it. I always tell myself that I'm going to get better with doing projects with my kids but Emmett's just a little too young so his attention span it pretty short (and sometimes so is my patience).

    On the menu for Christmas Day...I'm hoping to start a new tradition in my family. I always grew up with the typical ham or turkey on Christmas...maybe a beef or pork roast if we were feeling fancy. Because of my husband's multiple food allergies our menu is thinned even more than normal and it seems to get repetative. So this year the Bloomfield household will be having some good ol' barbeque for Christmas Day.
    I'm planning some beef brisket (planning to try this recipe in hopes of getting it right) and pulled pork (that's not too tough but I'll probably use this recipe as my guide), baked beans, corn bread, coleslaw (my mom is bringing that), scallopped potatoes...the whole nine yards. I may even cook up some fried apples if time allows.
    I always love seeing other people's fun holiday traditions (like enchiladas and margaritas on Christmas Eve...totally want to steal that one) and I think it would be great to have one of our own. So we'll see how well it goes over. My family is joining us on Christmas Day (as well as Jim's younger brother who is flying in) so we'll have a nice houseful. The rest of my in-laws are coming in on the 27th and will be staying with us for a few days.

    I'm looking forward to having loved ones here. I've been waiting (not so) patiently for Christmas time to arrive. Now it's back to cleaning up the house and getting my shopping list ready for tomorrow.

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Life is a Special Occassion

    A few months ago I found an article in an old magazine. I tore it out so I'm not even sure which one it was (I think Redbook), what year, etc but it was such a touching article that I photocopied it and gave it to my mom.
    A few weeks ago an aquaintance of mine passed away from cancer. A few days ago, a neighbor of mine passed away. I can't help but think of my family and close friends and what I would do if/when one of them passes. I think about how important it is to treasure every day. We always say that but how many of us really live it? I know I don't...not enough.

    This article is really amazing and I hope you take a few minutes to read it and think about your life being a special occassion as well.

    Life is a Special Occassion (author unknown)

    "The morning of my mother's funeral, I moved mechanically aorund the kitchen of my childhood home, preparing the house for guests. A friend had brought a coffee percolator, so I went hunting in the corner cabinet for some cups. What remained was a motley collection: two plastic mugs, bright orange; the same green pottery mug I remember Mom bringing to Dad in bed each morning. Nothing that would do for company.
    I walked over to the lowboy cabinet just off the kitchen that held my parents' wedding china and slid open the door. The china had a whiff of the forbidden. The set was eggshell white; the plates, a spare elliptical shape. I'd never seen it used. Even for the best company, it was always the rustic brown plates - for friends, for Dad's clients, for holidays.
    I thought back to when I'd cleaned out my grandmother's apartment after her death, discovering a wealth of untouched luxuries; vials of Lanvin perfume, beautiful clothing with tags hanging, endless crystal squirreled away. All the while, she dressed in threadbeare polyester pants and ate off cheap plastic plates.
    I was not immune to these habits. My best clothes hung in my closet, waiting for events of great enough consequence. Good wine was never opened - which occassion was weighty enough? I even had my own unused formal china; the gold-rimmed set for 12 I had rescued from my grandmother's place. It had gone from her dark cabinet to mine, still waiting.
    I knew I was breaking some sort of rule now as I reached into my parents' lowboy. I removed the fragile cups two by two and arranged them carefully on the counter.
    Dad had been wandering around the yard, lost in thought. Now the door slammed as he strode inside. He looked at the counter.
    "Not those," he started to say. He picked up one of the cups and looked at it. In that moment, we both had the same realization; whatever he'd been saving them for was never going to happen. He put the cup down and walked out of the room.
    The first night after returning home, I made dinner for my family, then set the table with my grandmother's green, yellow, and gold china. No occasion, no guests - just my husband, me and out 3-year-old daughter, eating a decidedly ordinary meal of roast chicken and sweet potatoes. And I noticed something; finally using those plates made them seem less imposing, and yet more special. They became something truly useful and beautiful.
    Now I put out that set of china whenever the mood strikes. Because always saving one's best things for a better day, a different day, carries with it a judgement; that the life you're living right this moment doesn't count; that it isn't good enough. And I've decided it is."

    I hope you feel that you're life, right in this moment, is good enough.


    Friday, November 25, 2011

    My Black Friday - thoughts and totals

    Another Black Friday is here. I felt the twinge of excitement when I got up this morning, knowing that I would be out and about doing some shopping and getting some good deals.
    I know some people avoid Black Friday shopping like the plague. I've went out the last few years and really enjoyed myself. I think if you go out with the right mindset, and don't plan to pepper spray your fellow shoppers, then it can be an enjoyable time.

    I was happy to go to bed last night and wake up early to hit a few stores in the morning. No I did not go out last night. I refuse to go out and patronize, non-essential, stores on holidays. I could really get on my soap box on how disappointed I am with the stores opening at 10pm and midnight but that's a whole other post.

    What I will say is that you can find just as many deals on-line and at 6am this morning...unless you picked up a $200 TV at Best Buy but even then, really? Sleeping in a tent for a week? Dude, you could have went to work and made the $400 you saved while you slept on concrete.

    Enough of hit list for Black Friday

    Jo-Ann's (for holiday decor and kids crafty things)
    Target (yes, I got almost all the deals I wanted at 7am this morning instead of at midnight last night)
    Walgreens (one gift and then just some other hot deals)
    Office Depot (gift and a steal for me)

    I did pick up a few items that I already know I'm returning. One item at JoAnn's didn't ring up right and I changed my mind on another. I didn't want to deal with waiting in line to make the return so I'll go back another time. I also picked up a couple DVD's at Target that I later found out the person already has so those will go back.
    So, not figuring in those upcoming returns, my total out of pocket this morning was $244.52. My total savings today was $308. 62!

    I've also done some shopping on Amazon the last few days, so between my online, Avon items and instore shopping (and the shopping I do all year long), I'm 95% done with all my shopping for 18 people (plus got some great deals just for us). LOVE IT!

    I have to share my killer deal at Office Depot. I picked up a deal on printer ink and I wish they had more in stock! A color ink combo pack (including 85 sheets of 4x6 photo paper) was $10 off (normally $32 I ended up getting it for $19.99). PLUS, with the purchase of any HP printer ink you recieved a ream of HP all-purpose printer paper. So for $19.99 I picked up color ink, 85 sheets of photo paper and a ream of paper. Woohoo! That deal is going on through Saturday so hop over there if you need some ink!

    I hope you all had enjoyable Black Friday experiences, no matter what you did. Make sure to patronize your local businesses on Small Business Saturday (including your local Avon lady) and hop online to check out the deals on Cyber Monday (including your, may not be so, local Avon lady). ;)

    Love and holiday shopping,


    Monday, October 31, 2011

    I almost danced a jig

    Today was one of the few times that I was SO excited about my deals that I almost danced right there in King Soopers. I'm sure I looked like a fool walking out with a grin on my face but I couldn't contain it!

    Here's my score from King Soopers and Albertsons...

    Total out of pocket for everything above: $25.13
    Total Savings: $98.98
    Catalinas back - $8!

    Here's the scoop:

    Albertsons: I used my other 4 Tresemme coupons to get all 8 of those products for FREE!! There was a mix-up at the register and the cashier became a bit confused after entering a coupon in wrong and instead of paying the tax on the items (which was all I would have paid) she gave me money back. I tried to correct her but she was sure she was right. I didn't want to keep up the back and forth because there was a man waiting in line behind me (not sure how much patience he had) so I took what she gave me and left. For the record, I do feel a bit guilty but I did try and correct her. Anyway, instead of paying $1.85 (which I would have been more than happy to do) I came out with a $1.20 overage.

    King Soopers: I went in with a mission to score the Catalina deal on the Huggies and snag some free Crest toothpaste. I also had my other coupons that were expiring today and I walked the isles to see if there were any other deals. Boy did I find some!

    Huggies diapers: 9.39 on sale - two $2 coupons
    $2.44 for wipes - $1 coupon (would NOT have bought them at that price if it wasn't for the catalina)
    I recieved the $5 catalina because of spending over $20 on Huggies THEN I recieved another surprise catalina for another $3 (also from Huggies). I'm not sure about that one but it looks like it had to do with buying 2 packages of diapers.
    So that worked out to be $16.22 out of pocket and $8 back in catalinas!

    Candy: $2 a package plus two $1.50/2 coupons so that's $5 for all 4 packages BUT I also had an e-coupon come off for another $2 (which I didn't notice initially) so that means I paid only $3 for all 4 packages!!

    Skinny Cow candy: BOGO free catalina that had printed out for me a while back so they were .89 for both (my splurge...and they are yummy!)

    Carefree: $1.09 - $1 coupon = .09 each

    Crest: $1 sale - $1 coupon = FREE

    Gum toothbrushes : $1 sale - $1 coupon = FREE

    Marietti raisens: .99 on closeout - $1 coupon = FREE (the coupon did adjust down so I did not recieve an overage)

    CoverGirl concealers: $4.55 each - $8/2 coupon x2 = .55 each (sorry Avon, I couldn't pass up .55 you don't have much for liquid concealers in my shade anyway)

    So there you have it!! I've been a little bummed with deals lately but today it all turned around. I sometimes get myself into trouble at the end of the month. I take my expiring coupons in and sometimes end up using them just because I have them. I was a good girl today and only used the ones were I would get a killer deal. 

    My other treat today...a free car wash! A man was in front of me at a drive-thru car wash. He motioned for me to back up and proceeded to tell me to enjoy a free wash! He put his money in and then couldn't get his drivers side window to roll back up (he was in an old pickup) so he couldn't go through. I went back and forth with him about giving him money but he wouldn't take it (what is it with people not taking my money today?). He wished me a Happy Halloween and off we went.

    The sun is shining and I have extra money in my pocket (and a counter full of goodies). Life is good and I am so blessed.

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Albertsons score!

    I hopped over to Albertsons today and scored with some great deals!

    Total Spent: $24.50
    Total Saved: $54.94

    The breakdown:
    Coke products - 12 packs 4 for $10 (you have to buy 4 to get the sale price)
    Ground beef - 93% for $2.49/lb. Not outstanding but a pretty good sale
    Oatmeal - just needed some, bonus that it was on sale for $1.67
    Cereal - Select General Mills on sale for $1.49 when you buy in multiples of 4. I had coupons which made some of them $1 and some of them were only .50!
    Chicken Tenders - on sale for $3.99 and I had a $1 off coupon (I've seen better deals but my daughter likes chicken "muggets" right now so I picked some up)

    The Tresemme products were my best deal. I got all 4 products for FREE!! Albertsons has them on sale this week BOGO free. A 10/02 newspaper insert had a BOGO free coupon. I wasn't sure if it would fly with Albertsons (I know Walgreens lets you do it) but I gave it a shot. The cashier asked a head clerk and the head clerk went back into an office to ask someone else. She came back saying it could be used because Tresemme would honor it. WOOHOO! If there weren't 3 people in line behind me (and my 2 kids in the car cart) I would have ran back and grabbed more! I have more coupons and I fully plan to go back by 10/31 (when they expire) to get some more FREE products (as well as some more cereal)! As long as the shelves haven't been cleared by then, lol.

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    A party on a budget

    Next weekend my little girl turns 4. She talks about having a party but I'm not in the camp that a child needs a big to-do every year (absolutely no offense to those who's just not for us) and I'd rather she have a bigger party next year. The 5th birthday just seems so much more cooler. :)

    I did decide to invite a few close friends and family over to have a small gathering at our home that day. Call it a party,'s a party!...but it's just a little more limited. Because this is a casual event, I'm not going overboard with food and such. The menu is coming straight out of my pantry, freezer and refrigerator so I have a limited amount of things that I will need to pick up at the store this week.

    What's on the menu?

    Chili in the crock pot - If I can brag a little, I do make some darn good chili and it's super easy to throw together in the crock pot and let it stew away. I have tons of cans of tomatoes from previous sales and some stewed tomatoes from my grandma's garden in the freezer. I may have to pick up a couple extra cans of beans and I need to get some more ground beef (which we need anyway) but otherwise I'm set!

    Hot dogs - I know some kids (including my own) will not be too excited about chili so I'll have some hot dogs warmed up as well. I have quite a few packages, in the freezer, that I bought over the summer at .50 or $1. I just need to pick up a few more buns and they are good!

    Pasta Salad - I found a quick and easy recipe and all I need to buy is some cucumbers and olives (I bought roma tomatoes 8 for $1 last week so I'm set with those)...the rest is in my panty. The pasta was free and the dressing was probably less than $1.

    Everything else...chips, crackers, soda (free 2 liter bottles!), lemonade, desserts...are all here! The paper plates, bowls, cups, napkins and silverware are taken care of also. I have all of that kind of stuff stored away for when I need it. I have some solid color pink and red plates and napkins that I bought on clearance after Valentine's Day one year. They will go great with the Strawberry Shortcake napkins I picked up on clearance at a party store a while back (Strawberry Shortcake will be her cake this year).

    Now I gave away all my secrets and it might make me look bad but I think it's pretty darn smart. Think outside of the box! You don't have to spend an arm and a leg to throw together a nice little party, especially if you think ahead when you are shopping year round (i.e. "Valentine's Day" plates for a birthday party). My (almost) 4 year old will never know, neither will she care. She'll be happy to have loved ones at our home...and eating hot dogs, cake and ice cream. She doesn't care how much it cost...but I do. ;)

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    My Extreme Thoughts

    I know I've chatted about Extreme Couponing before but this week's episode really irked me. So I apologize in advance that my first blog post in a while is a gripe post.

    This week they featured a lady named Callie. I was pretty proud that Colorado was being represented because she lives in Thornton. I was quickly irritated when I saw that she was going to shop at King Soopers and did NOT have to abide by their coupon policy.

    If you have not seen it, King Soopers FINALLY released a corperate coupon policy. You can read it here. I highly recommend printing it out and keeping it with you while shopping. That way there is no confusion at the register.

    What did Callie get away with?

    1. She got money back! - I have been able to score a few "money maker" deals before but it has been rare. I think they have cracked down on their policy and if I do make money on a coupon deal its most likely an error. It states, in their coupon policy that "coupons may not exceed the value of the item". I've seen a coupon double up to the price of the item, automatically at the register. For example, an item is on sale for .88. I have a .50 coupon and it only doubles to an extra .33.

    2. She was able to use a large amount of like coupons in the same transaction! - My King Soopers (and many in the Denver area that I know of) have a 3 coupon per like item limit. This stops people from clearing the shelves and although I think that's a nice thing, I'm disappointed that the limit is only 3. I don't think 4 or 5 is unreasonable....but that's my personal opinion.

    I know, it's TV so they probably made an exception for her but it's still annoying. I acutally enjoy watching the epiodes where people go to the register and have to split up transactions because of the store coupon policy. It's more realistic...imagine that! Realism on a "reality" based tv show.

    I'm heading off to King Soopers today. There aren't any amazing deals this week but I'll see what I can find.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011


    Ten years ago today I was asleep, in Sherman Oaks, CA when my roommate came in to tell me that one of my best friends was on the phone. Carla lived in Maryland, at the time, and knew that I would be in bed and have no idea of what was going on on the east coast. I was groggy when I got on the phone but listened in disbelief when she told me what was going on. It didn't really hit me until I clicked on the TV in my bedroom and saw the horror.

    I will be forever grateful that I heard the news about the 9/11 attacks from one of my best friends. Carla still works for our U.S. Government but is currently living in England. She used to be in the Army Reserves and was in her Army fatigues that day. She said that that day, and many days after, people would wave, give her thumbs up, tell her thank you, and show their respects in many other ways.

    With the battle between political parties, and whether we believe in the current war or not, it's easy to forget about the individual soldiers who are out there risking their lives so that we can live free.We must remember the thousands of soldiers who's lives have been lost, in the last 10 years, from fighting the battle for our freedom.

    We will never forget the innocent lives that were lost that day...people who were at their jobs in New York and the Pentagon. All the people who had just boarded a plane and so bravely saved many other lives by crashing themselves into a field in Pennsylvania....we can never forget.
    And as much as we pay tribute to those innocent lives, we must remember the 343 firefighters and paramedics who's lives were lost because they were doing their jobs. They went down to ground zero and into those buildings to help save other's lives.

    As much sorrow as we feel today, remembering all of the victims, we also must wear our red, white and blue, and be thankful for living in a free country.

    If you see a soldier today, thank them.
    If you see a firefighter or police officer today, thank them.

    And never forget how you felt that day.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Some Time Off

    Last weekend my family took a trip to Nebraska to visit family and attend a rockin' Husker football game. Traveling with two toddlers, in the car for 10 hours, can be interesting but all in all my kids did great! The few days before the trip I spent packing, doing laundry and tying up all the loose ends you have to manage before leaving for out of town. The few days after the trip I've spent unpacking, doing laundry and tying up all the loose ends you have to manage after coming home from a trip.

    I think I'm still recovering. lol

    So in my recovery I've taken a bit of a couponing break. Yes, I did go to the store on Tuesday after we got back because, well, I had to. But I ended up getting the bare minimum of what we needed and just a couple free/cheap items.

    The thing is, it's ok to miss a deal. It's ok to take a break. My freezer is full, my pantry is full and we just needed some of the basics.

    I'm slightly pained when I see some good deals going on that I know I'm not going to snag but, all in all, I'm just too tired to really care.

    The thing with couponing (for those of us who aren't extreme couponers) is that I can still have a life and step back from it and it's ok. There will always be good deals. It's not life or death if I miss something. My sanity is more important.

    Now off to finish folding some laundry...

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    Deep Thoughts

    Since I will be in a car most of my birthday I thought I'd write a few thoughts about turning 36. Yes, that's right, I'm turning 36.

    That just sounds old. I know it's not, and no offense to those of you who are older than me, but there is something about this birthday that is making me feel old. Some people have problems with the decade birthdays (and yes I did too) but this one...I don't know...just seems different.

    I think it's because I passed over that threshold of being in my early 30's...heck I'm even moving out of my mid-30's. And that's exactly it. Being 35 seems a little cooler than being 36. 36 is just that much closer to 40.

    I guess the one thing I have going for me is that I don't look my age. I have been told, by a couple different people recently, that they thought I was in my late 20's. I know that most people would LOVE to hear that but some times it bugs me. I don't think I'm taken seriously very often because I look young. The bags under my eyes and the wrinkles I'm starting to get tell a different story...and that story has been told by 2 beautiful children.
    Maybe it's how I dress...but I'm not ready to shop out of my mom's closet (no offense mom). I like feeling young (even though I usually feel like I'm about 80) and so I express that feeling by how I dress and my makeup. I've always wanted to be one of those cool, hip moms. I wanted to be a young mom (at least I thought I did when I was growing up) so I guess I'll settle for being a young looking mom.

    So as Thursday comes I will spend some time, while on the road with my family, reflecting on the past year and the year ahead.

    Being An Insider Has It's Perks!

    A recieved a tip a few weeks ago that if you sign up for a Sephora Beauty Insider account you get a free product on your birthday! Since mine is coming up I couldn't pass it up.

    And here it is...

    There isn't a Sephora (that's not in a JcPenney) that's close to me but we ended up in Cherry Creek today so I made Jim stop at the mall. All I had to do was give them my email address (I don't have an actual card since I signed up online) and she put it in a bag and handed it to me!

    You can get your own "Happy Birthday Beautiful" by Philosophy (vanilla cupcake scented shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath) for free on your birthday by signing up here. It's free to join so why not??

    Although my knees get weak by just walking into a Sephora I doubt I'll buy much there. I'm too cheap frugal and being an Avon rep. I like buying my beauty products through my own company.

    Happy Birthday to me!

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    A Day In The Kitchen

    I was really tired yesterday so it was hard for me to find motivation do to much more than the minimum for the day but after lunchtime I put my big girl panties on (as my mom would say) and worked on some vegetables.

    My mom visited my grandparent's this last weekend and came back with boxes and coolers of produce. My hit list yesterday included...

    Tomatoes which I stewed with green peppers and onion and froze. This is great to put in chili!!

    Green, red, orange and yellow peppers - I just diced these, put them on a baking sheet and stuck them in the freezer for a while. Then I gathered them up and put them in freezer safe baggies. They will be nice to have on hand for cooking.

    I also cleaned about 16 ears of corn. I was going to leave them in the husks for a few more days but I noticed some little bugs traveled all the way from Nebraska and I wanted to stop them from eating my yummy corn goodness.

    I still have some cucumbers to do. I'm going to make cucumber salad with them (I'm using this recipe). They are soooooo good and they keep for a long time in the refrigerator.

    Oh, and if anyone wants some cheap cucumbers and corn May Farms in Byers has a produce stand out right now (hours vary). Corn is 6 ears for $1 and cucumbers are 5 for $1!! I stopped by today and checked it out and they look great!! They are picked right out in their fields daily!

    Out of my own garden...we've ate all the corn we ended up with (which was only about 7 small ears) and green beans off and on (not too many of those either). I'm picked a bunch of squash! We've ate it off and on and I've shredded and froze some, along with a few zucchini to use down the road. 

    I'm really hooked on this not having to go to the store to buy veggies thing. I think I could get used to it. :)

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Dig through the Markdowns!

    Do you feel self-conscious walking over to those markdown area and digging through them? Are worried that some people are going to look at you and think you are one step away from dumpster diving?

    Well don't be! 

    I got over it a looooong time ago. In fact, for a while there, I used to go straight to the markdown bin when I first walked in the store. There was an occassion (when Emmett was a baby) where there were bins full of baby food and a lady who had gotten there just a few minutes before me snatched up a whole bunch of them! I was so bummed because if I would have just arrived a moment sooner I could have scored a lot more cheap baby food (not sure why they were being marked down...they still had long expiration dates...) Since then I always make sure and scan over the bins to see what I can find.

    Where do I check for markdowns?


    My store has the non-parishable area (which also holds the bread), a dairy markdown cooler and the meat markdowns. Don't be afraid to look through them. With the parishable items you have to see if its something you will use within the reasonable sell by/use by date. If it's meat, you can wrap it up and put it right in the freezer, if you aren't going to use it within the next day or two.

    Today there were cans and cans of soup! Again, I'm not sure why they were being markdown. Most of them has 2012 or 2013 expiration dates and they were not dented. They were probably just varieties that are discontinued.

    Here's what I picked up...

    You can see that I already marked them with the expiration date. I do that so it's eaiser to keep track of what I have and use up the items that expire first.

    These were at a great markdown price to begin with but then I paired them with a $1 off of 2 coupon that was in the Sunday paper (not sure if it was this last week or the week before) and that made them even better!! Of course, King Soopers has there 3 coupon limit, per like item (or however it's phrased) so I was only able to grab 9 cans but that's still not bad! We aren't big soup eaters in the summer but for .69 a can I can stash these away for when there is a chill in the air.

    It's just another example of why I bring all my coupons with me to the store. I never know what kind of unadvertised deal I'll find.

    Happy hunting!

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Safeway Score

    You have a day and a half to still get a few of these deals so head on over to Safeway if these deals suit your fancy...

    Out of pocket spent - $5.88! I rounded up my change to donate to MDA so I actually paid $6 even. Total savings for the trip $38.49 which is 86%!! The Gardettos were FREE and everything else was. 49 a box (thank goodness because I was paying around $2 a box for store brand fruit snacks and I was none too pleased)! Woot woot!!

    I was also going to pick up the free Bugles and Chex Mix this week but they were out. I did get a rain check for them both so I just have to get back in there before my coupons expire so I can snag them. Check out the lowdown on this sale here and happy shopping!!

    Walgreens this week!

    I braved some Walgreens shopping today. I will say that it was a tad frustrating and I did go to 3 different Walgreens to get some of the deals (but only because there were 2 more that I passed when I was on my way to Safeway). Walgreens shopping can be very profitable but it can also be annoying when you go to the store and they are out of what you are wanting or they just don't even carry it.

    Here's what I did end up with...

    This is 4 different transactions. I won't go through the specifics but what's important is that I paid $20.12 for all of this. I also have a $3 register rewards left over for another time. My total savings was $102.73!!!

    Holy moley!

    I suggest checking out Jennie's Walgreens Post, at Bargain Blessings, to get the lowdown.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Garden Update

    I thought I'd give you an update on my garden, since I know you've been on the edge of your seat waiting to hear about it.
    Here are some new pictures...

    This is my out of control (in a good way!) pumpkin plant. This is the one that I was given, in a little baby food container and never thought it would live. There are flowers all over it but no pumpkins yet (it's still early though).
    Here are my squash and zucchini plants. The squash are HUGE and have been giving me a fair amount. There are still quite a few growing (you'll see them in the 2nd picture) and I've picked about 10 so far. My zucchini has not done as well but I think the squash over took those plants a bit. I've only picked 4 zucchini so far and I don't see any more starting to grow right now.

     Here are my climbing green beans. They have done pretty well. We've picked about 35 green beans so far (yes I've counted). We had some one night with supper and they were sooooo good!
    Here are the watermelon. You can see 2 growing pretty well and in the bottom left side there is another small one sprouting up (it's hard to see). I hope they ripen up nicely. I love watermelon!
    Here's my corn. It never grew to be very big but we were able to pick 11 ears total. Some of them were really super small but they will be a perfect size for the kids (who are playing in the sandbox in the background).
     And here they are showing off 2 of the largest ears (the first 2 I picked)....they were yummy!
    All in all, I'm happy with my garden. I didn't know what to expect since it was my first year. I figure that anything I was able to grow is better than nothing. I've learned a few lessons (fewer squash plants and more watering of everything) but all in all I'm pleased. And I'm year I think we'll expand the garden so I can plant more!!

    Free This Week at King Soopers

    I went earlier this afternoon, with a pretty short shopping list because there aren't too many good sales this week (for me at least). I did get the free Colgate (to donate) and toothbrushes (they were actually .08 a piece, with the .40 coupon that doubles, but I picked them up anyway). I found a $1.00 sale on a pack of kids toothbrushes and I had a $1.00 off coupon that I recieved from King Soopers so that was a nice surprise! Those will be great to just leave over at grandma and grandpa's house. There have been a couple times I've almost forgot to pack them (or forgotten to pack them back up when we were going back home).

    The other really nice surprise were the Minute Maid Soft Frozen Lemonade or Cherry Limeade! It's an unadvertised sale but I was just scoping out the treat section and there they were...on sale for $1.00! There have been a couple different weeks where there have been "$1 off any Minute Maid Frozen Novelty" coupons in the Sunday paper. Take that coupon in and get FREE frozen treats!!

    Everything in the picture above cost .24 (plus tax)!
    So although my savings percentage was low, only 37%, I had some other items that we just needed to buy and there weren't great sales or coupons to go with them. I still stayed under my $75 budget so that's what really matters. :)

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    The Price of Cookie Dough

    Last spring I helped the Learning Center, where my children attend, do an Avon fundraiser. I won't go into details but it tanked. People didn't really participate so it didn't do well. It was a good learning experience for me, and I'm glad I did it, but I really thought we would blow it out of the water. Live and learn, right?

    A couple weeks ago I recieved a flyer in my parent folder for a new fundraiser they are doing. This one is for various types of cookie dough (the ones that are already pre-shaped and frozen) and another flyer for some cinnamon rolls. The box of cookie dough is $15! The 24oz family pack of cinnamon rolls is $12!

    I've had a hard time going out and asking anyone if they would be interested in buying these things because, WOW, $15 for cookie dough?

    Am I just that cheap?

    Am I?

    I'm going to have a heard time justifying even buying some of it for ourselves, but I will just because it's the fundraiser for my kids' school.

    Is there nothing better? Can these fundraising companies offer anything more reasonable than $15 cookie dough and $12 cinnamon rolls?

    Now I've had this cookie dough before (Jim bought some last year from a co-worker who was doing the fundraiser for his kids' school) and it is convienant to have on hand and it does taste good. Thank goodness for that. But, really? I can take my lazy arm and stir up a cookie mix that I picked up for free!

    Would it be rude of me to ask, once the forms are turned in, how many people participated? I'd love to know how many people were willing to go out and sell overpriced cookie dough and cinnamon rolls that weren't willing to go out and sell underpriced Avon products.

    This is a non-profit school so I do hope it goes well. I just wish they felt they had better options than overpriced cookie dough.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    I broke down...

    and went to IKEA!

    I swore to myself, after all the hubbub that I would wait at least a month or two to go. I made it a week.

    There was a reason though...sort of. I have an Avon customer/friend who works in the DTC and I had an order to deliver to her. If it wasn't that I was already going to be over that way I wouldn't have gone so soon...but it just worked out.

    I had dropped the kids off at school (that was already planned) and headed down there, knowing I only had a few hours until I had to pick them back up.

    I ended up meeting a friend there (and one of her friends) for breakfast and, since I was in a bit of a rush, went on and looked while they dropped their kids off at the play area.

    My first impressions: They have thought of EVERYTHING. Seriously! Between the kid drop off play area (free babysitting for one hour!) and the super cheap (and good) food. It's amazing! Even the shopping carts are user friendly (although they need to have some accessible on the 2nd floor) know what I mean if you've been there.

    Before you go, make sure and sign up for an IKEA Family card. You can sign up online and have your card printed when you get there, or just sign up at the kiosk at the store. There are a few items in the store where you get a bit of a discount, you also get a coupon for a free frozen yogurt cone, entries for various sweepstakes and you also get a free coffee or tea EVERY time you go to the store.

    So I had breakfast (only $1.99 for eggs, potatoes, bacon and french toast sticks!!) and off I went. Less than an hour later (because I had to leave to pick up the kids) I was at checkout. My picks...

    At checkout I scanned in a .59 reusable bag. Seriously, .59!?!?!?

    The Lekplat play mat for only $14.99! I've been wanting to get a play mat, for Emmett's room, for a while but they all seemed pretty pricey. I love the softer colors on this one and the price is awesome!

    I also picked up a new microwave cover, which we needed because my other one is cracked, for only .99!

    I snagged 4 little stuffed animals for .49 each. They were kind of a lame purchase but I need some little toys, as presents for the kids, because of a sticker chart I'm doing for them.

    I picked these cake stencils for only $1.49.

    I grabbed a plastic bag holder for $1.99 (I actually have been wanting one of these but I usually find them for $7 and up!).

    A new frying pan for only $19.99! (ours is warped in the center so we needed a new one)

    The black, silicone, ice cube tray with the long thing shape...perfect for water bottles...was only $1.99.

    A red bottle opener for only .99 (we needed a replacement for our basement refrigerator). I wish it was magnetic but I have some magnet strips here at home so I'm going to try and make it magnetic. :)

    And, of course, a chocolate bar (which is currently in the freezer because it melted on the way home) for .99 (that's how they can charge .59 for a reusable shopping bag...they taunt you with a chocolate bar!)

    So that's it! All for $49.05. I really did have to rush through the store and there were whole sections that only recieved a quick glance so I definatly have to go back when I have more time.

    So now I get it. I get why IKEA was such a big deal. The prices are great, the store is insanely customer friendly (and kid friendly) and it's somewhere you could just hang out for hours on end. Browse, get a bite to eat, let the kids much to do and see.

    I will be back.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    The Reality Of It All

    Last Sunday, in the USA Weekend section of the newspaper there is an article about a woman in Pennsylvania who saved thousands of dollars last year by clipping coupons. I saw it on the cover and thought, "oh no, here we go again...more talk about these "extreme couponers". I was pleasently surprised at the article!

    The article talks about how Allison Mullen, with a family of 5, used to spend $200-$300 a week on groceries and now only spends $100. She does it by clipping coupons and matching them with store sales...period. Yes, you stock up a little (you don't need a stock pile to fill your garage)...that's the whole point of it and she's reasonable about it. She's saving about 50% (or more) on her grocery bill and that's awesome!

    I love that they featured someone who is just a smart shopper, not someone who makes all of us look like we are crazy.

    The basics from the article:

    Wait for a sale! - Know what your low price is for an item and wait for it to get back down to that price. Stock up enough to last you until the next sale so you don't have to buy things at regular price. Getting multiple copies of the newspaper is the best way to do that (or know people who are willing to give you their inserts).

    Know your stores: Although it's not always cost effective to drive to multiple stores, if it's convienant for you then it's smart to know which stores have items for least amount and make sure to buy those items there.

    Adopt private labels: Be willing to try the store brands on some items. We all have our items that we are brand specific on (I will NOT buy store brand sliced cheese) but some things don't really matter. Try different ones out so you learn what tastes just the same and is cheaper. **my note: if you are really watching the sales and coupons, a lot of the time the name brand can be cheaper. It's just nice to have that back up in case you are in need and there is no sale or coupon available.**

    Use your loyalty card: This one is pretty much a no brainer. I never walk into King Soopers or Safeway without my shopper card. Always have them on you or just make sure you know which phone number is attached to your card so you can use it at checkout.

    **One more important note from me- make sure you know store coupon policies. King Soopers recently added a 3 coupon per like item policy and they will enforce it. Also, some stores will give you the overage on a coupon (if the coupon value is higher than the item you are buying you can use that money towards the rest of your purchase) but some will just adjust it down. Some will let you use 2 coupons when buying 2 items on a BOGO free sale. Knowing these policies are HUGE when making the most of your coupons (and your money!)**

    Remember that I'm here to help if anyone has questions regarding couponing and shopping in general. In the meantime I'd love to hear how you are doing with your shopping. Good luck and happy clipping!

    If they can, why can't I?

    About 6 years ago I walked into a bank (who shall not be named but the initials are W-e-l-l-s F-a-r-g-o) and wanted to see about getting a debt consolidation loan (I was digging myself out from medical bills and poor spending choices). I walked in not wanting to borrow more money, just wanting to consolidate what I had into one loan, with a lower interest rate, so I could get my debt paid off faster.

    I was denied.

    The reason I was denied...

    Too much debt.

    (let that sink in for a minute)

    I told them that THAT was exactly the reason I was trying to get the consolidation I could pay off my debt faster. As it was, I was paying just over the minimum on my cards and not getting anywhere. He said, try to get some of the debt paid down and then we can help you.

    (ya, let that sink in again)

    So I'm coming to you, Mr. Loan Officer, telling you that I can't get my debt paid down because of my interest rates. I'm hoping to get a loan so I can pay off my debt quicker and you tell me that you can't give me loan until I get some of my debt paid off???

    (again...the sink)

    I've been hearing for weeks now about our Federal deficit and how they are going to raise the debt ceiling so we can just inccur more debt.

    Maybe someone from the bank not to be named (W-e-l-l-s F-a-r-g-o) needs to go to the White House and tell them that they can't gain access to more money until they pay off the debt they have already built up. Hey, if I can't do it then neither should they. What a poor example they are showing people about managing money. Maybe they need to start clipping coupons.

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    Burned biscuits

    My grandma sent me this forward the other day and I usually don't send forwards but I really liked this story. After what I just posted about the last time, I think this is perfect considering how I'm feeling. Enjoy! :)

    "When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

    Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing... never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

    When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then."

    Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides - a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!"

    As I've grown older, I've thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each others faults and choosing to celebrate each others differences - is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

    We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

    "Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket - keep it in your own."

    So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine. Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Cut from the right cloth

    I have decided that some people are born with that innate ability to be a fantastic mom. They are just naturally nurturing, calm and collected. They can be silly on a whim, deal with 4 hours of sleep with poise and grace and can stop a tantrum in it's tracks.

    I am not one of those women.

    This isn't a pity party, necessarily. I'm not going to sit here and say, oh I'm such a bad mom. Some days I feel like I have failed myself, my husband and both my children and all I want to do is crawl into bed and just hide under the covers until the sun comes up the next morning and I can try again. But I think many mother's have those days.
    What I am saying is that I feel like, unlike most mother's, I have make an extra effort to be a "good" mom. You know, like how there are some kids who breeze through school and then there are those who aren't naturally book smart but who have to study really really hard to get straight A's. I'm the sort who has to study really hard.
    I was not born with that easy going spirit. My patience meter is really low. I'm not the mom who is able to whip up craft time on a whim. I, selfishly, want to spend way too much time by myself instead of doing activities with them because I feel like I have so much to do...all, the, time. I have 2 children who are terribly picky eaters and I have NO IDEA what to do about it because NOTHING I've done has worked. (sorry...random rant there...)

    I wake up every morning with the intention that today will be different. Today I will laugh more, smile more, read more books, do a craft, not raise my voice and not use the T.V. to babysit my children for a couple hours (spread out throughout the day, just to note). This morning I woke up and, because my daughter decided that 5:50am was an appropriate time to wake up for the day, I was frustrated (with her and myself) and in tears before 7am.

    I am glad that tomorrow is a new day.

    I am glad that God has blessed me with my children because I know so many who would be ever so grateful to deal with this "problem".

    I am glad that I must be at least a halfway decent mother because if I wasn't I wouldn't be writing a blog post about how I feel like I wasn't cut out to be a mom.

    I'm glad that I had 2 children who went right to bed this evening, with no qualms, so I had peace and quiet for the last 3 hours.

    Maybe tomorrow will be the day that really is different...