Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Feeling Self Conscious

I think it's something that many of us battle but I wish I didn't care so much what other people think.

Yesterday, phase one of my tooth ordeal ended. As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been dealing with an infected tooth for over 2 weeks now. After many dental visits (including one to an endodontist), and multiple conversations with my husband, we decided to have the tooth pulled. The only other option was a repeat root canal (which would have been tough because this tooth had a crown on it), or gum surgery. Either of those options did not seem ideal because they were afraid the tooth actually had a crack in it, which they couldn't see because of the crown. Plus, with being pregnant I would have been more limited to what medications they could use and sedation was not an option.

Now that you know more than you cared to know, the end of the story is that my tooth was pulled yesterday. When you look at me, it is the tooth just to the right of my 2 front teeth. Besides being one of my two front teeth, it's one of the most obvious teeth you'd notice if it was missing.

Now I'm hiding away.

I did take my kids to school this morning (and will be picking them up in a few hours) but other than that I have no plans to go anywhere until my flipper comes in.

If you've never heard of a dental flipper, you can check out some information here. Basically it's a small retainer that has a fake tooth attached to it. It can be taken in and out, like a regular orthodontic retainer, so I'll take it out at night but keep it in to eat and do my day to day activities. They are usually used as a temporary fix until the final dental work can be finished but some people wear them for a long time because they do look like your other teeth and they are more cost effective.

Eventually, after the baby comes, I'll be looking into getting a dental implant. I have one already so I know the process and I've had a flipper before, so that's nothing new either.

The whole point of the post is that I wish I didn't care so much about my vanity and what other people think. Unless my flipper appears at the dentist office today (which they don't expect) I will end up missing a MOPS meeting tomorrow morning. I just can't imagine going there with a missing tooth. Even though I know it's temporary and it doesn't change who I am as a person, I'm still too self-conscious. Do I think people will judge me? Think less of me? Probably...and that's sad. I guess that's the world we live in today. You can't deny that appearances are very important. It's all about that first impression, right? I'm sure that a lot of these ladies would not even think twice about my missing tooth, especially if I don't really talk about it. If I don't give an open mouthed smile you really can't even tell. And, hopefully, later that day no one would even know the difference because my replacement will be in...but I will still be staying home. Because of me...my own insecurities, my own vanity...

It's definatly not an easy fix, but something I am trying to work on within myself.

Love and wishing to be stronger,


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why Buy More Than One Newspaper?

This week, the Sunday paper contained 4 inserts. What a treat! The best part is that it contains a fair amount of really good coupons. Here's what you can go to the store today and pick up with a couple of these coupons.

Lady Speed Stick deoderant is on sale at King Soopers for .88 each. Use the BOGO free coupon from this week's paper and get them for .44 each!

Ragu Pasta sauce is a part of the Mega Event, also at King Soopers. Use the .50 off of one (which doubles to $1) and get pasta sauce for only .19 a jar!!

Take 2 of the $1 off Kettle chips coupon to Walgreens...pair it with the $1/2 coupon in their February coupon book (which is valid starting today) to go along with their 2/$4 sale and get 2 bags for .50 each!!

Hold on to the .50 off of Colgate coupon and get FREE toothpaste when a sale pops up (there was a $1 sale at Safeway but I'm not sure if it's still running.) $1 toothpaste sales come along frequently.

Also, check out the $1 off of 2 Mars Valentine's candy coupon. There are no size restrictions so you don't have to buy a big bag. Watch in the next week or so for those small Valentine's treats at the grocery or drug stores and get those for super cheap, or free.

That's just a sample of a few of the really great coupons that came out this week and there are a bunch more (and a few duds but that happens).  I did go to the store and pick up a few extra newspapers. When there is a week like this, it's the perfect time to spend that extra $1.50 (or $1 if you buy your paper at the Dollar Tree) and stock up so you can save a bundle!

**NOTE: When buying a newspaper, make sure to flip through to make sure it contains all the inserts it's should. I bought three at the store today and two of the newspapers were missing one of the four inserts. Thank goodness I checked before I left the store or I would have been pretty upset.

Now that the kids are asleep, I have a stack of coupons waiting to be clipped so it's a great time to turn on a mindless show on TV and clip away. :)

Love and one big stack of coupons,


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Safeway Steals!

I was able to make a last minute trip to Safeway today to get in on some of the deals from their ad ending today. I was hoping to get there last week but I've been dealing with an infected tooth (soooooo not fun) so I'm just trying to chug along as best I can. Nothing helps make me feel better like saving a bundle of money. :)

Here's what I snagged....

How much would you imagine to pay for all of this?

$94.22?? (eek!!)

That's what it would cost at regular price.

How about $64.18? (blech!!)

That's what it would have been with just using my Safeway card.

My grand total, using my Safeway card, Safeway coupons from the weekly sale ad and my manufacterer coupons was...

$29.29! A savings of 69%

--- FREE gum, .46 boxes of Kleenex, .50 boxes of fruit snacks, .77 boxes of cereal, .79 cans of soup and .99 jars of pasta sauce. The Listerine was $2.99 after sale and coupons and the coffee k-cups were $3.74 after markdown and coupon.

Seriously ya'll! You can do this!!! Under $30 for 37 items! I know the cereal choices aren't the healthiest but a small bowl of cereal helps cure a sweet tooth when needed. :) We are now stocked up on good pasta sauce and soups (perfect since I can't bite into a sandwich right now) and since the kids have one package of fruit snacks about every day I am set for a little while (which I needed since we were out and I paid $2 for a store brand box just a few days ago).

I love stocking up and paying so little while doing it. I only wish that I would have gotten to the store earlier this week so I could have shared this with you sooner. If you can sneak out yet tonight...do it!

Just a note for upcoming weeks: You CAN pair the in-ad coupons with manufacturer coupons. So make sure to scan those ads and see what you can match up. Just note the limits on the coupons or the quantities needed to get the lower sale price.

Love and Stocking Up!!


Friday, January 20, 2012

A Little Organizational Tip

At my MOPS meeting a couple weeks ago one of the ladies talked about organizing. I am an organizational person. I love being organized. I love everything having it's own place. I love my label maker, baskets, bins, slots, folders, binders...you name it! The only thing that really keeps me from going overboard is my frugality. Otherwise I'd be shopping at the Container Store constantly. lol

One tip that I received at the meeting really stuck with me and it's regarding organizing your kids' toys, book etc. She said, "make it easier to clean up than to make a mess". The example she used was books. Like her, my 2 year old loves to go up to his book shelf, grab the books and just toss them on the floor. He may not even grab them, he may just take a sweeping hand and knock them all down. How does he put them away? He usually doesn't...not very well. They don't stand up on the shelf like us normal adults have our books. They just get tossed back up there, in little piles, and we all hope they don't just topple right back onto the floor.
The solution...a basket, bin or tub. The gal at MOPS said that she even grabbed some plastic cleaning tubs she had around the house and used them. I happened to have a couple plastic, shallow baskets from the dollar store that I was using elsewhere and was able to move them into Emmett's room.
The result is that I have 2 little bins that are perfect for his board/hardback books.
They go in the basket and he can easily put the books away. So far he hasn't been creative enough to grab the basket and just dump it on the floor. We'll see if that happens. But if it does, at least he can just put his books back in the basket and it will go back on the shelf.

**Note: the baskets on the bottom shelf actually go with my changing table. They are a temporary hold for his toy cars until we reorganize for the new baby.**

So keep in mind...with all your organizational needs...make it easier to clean up than to make the mess in the first place. :)

Scan Before They Do!

I'm one of those people who likes to wait until all my items are rung in before I scan my store loyalty card because I like to watch the $$$ fall after I swipe. If you are like me, just make sure your store card goes through before the cashier starts scanning your coupons!

I don't know if all stores are like this, but at King Soopers your coupons will not double unless you have scanned your SooperCard. Even my cashier today didn't know this! She scanned my order and I swiped my card but it didn't register it. She started scanning my coupons before I noticed what had happened. After a little back and forth she realized (and even said), "Oh you're right....I don't know why it does that."

I felt a little silly because the coupons that didn't double were my .15 off any Odwalla bar coupon but HEY it's still .15 and I had 4 of them. I'd like my .60 please! She was great and rescanned 2 of them to make up the difference and I was still able to get my bars for only .58 each. Not the most amazing deal on the planet but they are a good snack, especially for this pregnant lady. :)

So just note, make sure that store card goes through so your coupons double. Every little bit counts. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Lucky Friday the 13th

I had a fabulous day on Friday, out running errands and getting some shopping done. I used some gift cards and store credit (from a return) that I received from Christmas and picked up some great storage items for my house (I'm nesting a bit early, lol). I also made a run in Safeway and snagged some killer deals!

All of the above cost me $10.32 for a 75% savings! The breakdown =

Life cereal - $1.88 a box with in-ad coupon. I didn't have a man. coupon to use with it but my kids love this cereal and that's a good price for it so I picked up a couple.
Saltines - $1.49 a box. No coupon, just needed some and that's a good price.
Nesquik - .19 each. No sale but I used my $1 off coupons. I've been holding on to this coupon for a while, waiting for them to go on sale but they were expiring (maybe today) so I used them. Who can't use a little yummy chocolate milk for only .19?
Colgate - Free! On sale for .99 each and .75 coupon that doubled.
Everybody's Nuts Pistachios - $2 each (awesome price for pistachios and a great, healthy snack)! On sale BOGO free and then I used two $1 off coupons. Note: the second coupon did "beep" at the register but my cashier was really lax. He just manually entered it in without question.
Hershey bars - Free! This one was a little tricky so I don't know if everyone will end up with this deal but here's what happened to me. On sale buy 2 get 2 free. I used two coupons from last Sunday's paper. The coupon is buy any Hershey bar and get an Air Delights bar for free. So, essentially, I got the two regular Hershey bars for free with the store sale then used my coupons to get the Air Delights for free.

I definitely consider that trip a big success! And one more note on that...I did a little cashier profiling when I checked out. I went in the line with the young guy, not the middle aged women. I, and many other couponers, will admit to doing this because the young guy is less likely to question your coupons. If I'm going to my normal King Soopers I know (for the most part) which cashiers are easier with coupons than others. I'm not doing anything wrong with my coupons. It just makes the shopping experience easier.

My other grocery stop was at The Oroweat Bakery Outlet. There are multiple locations in the Denver area (and across the country I'm sure) so if you haven't went into one I highly recommend it. The outlets carry everything from bread and buns to rolls, donuts, cakes and more!  Everything in the picture below cost me $9.64! The regular price of Oroweat bread, in the grocery store, is close to $3 so this is a steal!

The bread was 1.59 each, the English Muffins were 1.79 each and the Strawberry Bars just looked good...they were 1.29. If you spend over $7 you get to pick an item from their free rack (that's where the tall Buttermilk bread on the far left came from). ALSO, (and this blows my mind!) if you bring in your own shopping bag you get to pick an item from the free rack! No kidding!! Free bread (or donuts in my case) just for bringing in your own grocery bag!
OH! And they have a "punch" card for your purchases so every time you shop make sure they mark off your card so you can get more free bakery treats!
8 items for under $10 is awesome. If I would have skipped my slurge on the Strawberry Bars I could have picked up 7 items for $8.35...but, ya know, baby was speaking.
The great thing about bread is that it freezes well so I have 2 loaves in the freezer, one in the basement refrigerator and one on the counter. I'm stocked up on bread for a little bit and that price makes me happy!

Hope you all had a great weekend. The Safeway sales continue through Tuesday so run over and snag a few goodies.

Love and carbs,


Saturday, January 14, 2012

BBQ recipes

I had some requests to post the recipes that I used on Christmas Day. It's a little late, but here they are...

Bangin' Smokey Beef Brisket

I used the recipe as shown. The only changes I made where that mine marinated more than 24 hours. I orginally planned to put them in a slow cooker but decided not to (partially because I don't have 2 large slow cookers) so they stayed in the refrigerator longer.
Because I did need to free up my oven for the potatoes and corn bread (both box mixes so no need to post those recipes, lol), I pulled the brisket out when it was done, sliced it, put a little bit of BBQ sauce on it and put it in a slow cooker to stay warm. They turned out fabulous!

Sarge's EZ Pulled Pork BBQ

This recipe is killer and, as you can see, so simple! Because I did end up buying the wrong cut of meat (I think mine was a shoulder roast) I wanted to make sure it cooked long enough to be tender. I started mine around 10pm the night before and let it cook all night. Around 11am (or maybe a little before) I pulled it out and it was falling apart! I shredded it, added a little bit of BBQ sauce (and some water for liquid) and put it back in the slow cooker to stay warm. Heaven!

Barbecued Baked Beans
(from the "Fix It and Forget It 5-Ingredient Favorites" cookbook)

6 slices uncooked bacon, cut into pieces
2 15oz cans pork and beans
1 tsp. dry mustard, or 1 tbsp prepared mustard (I don't remember which one I used)
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar

1. Brown bacon in a non-stick skillet until crispy. Drain
2. Mix with all remaining ingredients in the slow cooker
3. Cover and cook on High for 3 hours. Remove cover during the last 30 minutes to allow some of the juice to cook off.

I made this just as directed and was told they were the best baked beans some people had ever had. Definatly a keeper and super easy.

Hope you try these out whenever you have a BBQ craving.  Oh, and just an FYI, we LOVE Stubb's BBQ sauce (and marinades). It's soooo good.

Love and good BBQ


Friday, January 6, 2012

No, I haven't lost my touch

I know I haven't posted any of my shopping deals lately. I think with all the extra shopping with the holidays (and 7 extra people at our house for 5 days), I've had to just go and buy what I needed. Now, you know me, I still found the best deal I could and, honestly, it wasn't too bad because I had so many things in my stockpile.

Just to remind you to not just walk on by those markdown bins, I want to show you about my coffee score today. Check this out!

These little gems were in the markdown bin for about half off (regular price is $7.50). What made this even better? My $3 off of two Starbucks coffee coupon! That means I snagged these 2 beauties for only $2.29 each! But wait...there's more! If I take the empty bag to a Starbucks location, I can get a FREE tall brewed coffee! I don't usually go to Starbucks because I make mine at home, but a free coffee works for me!
I almost didn't pick these up because I have a fair amount of coffee at home already but these are the half-caffeinated kind, which is what I've switched to now that I'm pregnant. :)

And, again, just to show you that I'm not totally off my game, I picked up everything in the picture below, on New Years Eve (quick store trip for all those coupons that were expiring), for a grand total of $2.25.

Is one of your resolutions to save more money this year? It can be done! Have questions, please ask! I'd love to help however I can.

Love and running half caffienated,


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

With a Little Help From My New Friends

Today I attended my second MOPS meeting. The first one I went to was right before Christmas and I had just went to check it out. I have a friend/Avon customer who attends and really encouraged me to go. I had been wanting to go for a long time so it was a great opportunity, especially knowing that I'd know someone there.

If you aren't familiar with MOPS, they are a non-profit, faith based organization. Their mission statement reads...

"MOPS International exists to encourage, equip and develop every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ."

You can find out if there is a MOPS group near you (and more about the organization) here.

When I first moved to Strasburg a friend of mine told me that there was a MOPS group and I got really excited...until I couldn't find it. Unfortunatly it disbanded at some point and that was that. I was really hoping to find a way to meet some other women, preferably around my age...who had young kids. I know I have some FABulous friends who are in Aurora (and beyond) but I really wanted to meet some people out here. Just this summer I heard about a new MOPS group starting up here in Strasburg and now I've finally joined.

I am so grateful for this group of ladies. I know I've only been to 2 gatherings but it is so refreshing to hear other mothers talk about all the same feelings I have...fighting the same battles I fight...working through challenges just like I do. Today's meeting really hit home with me. Our speaker talked about the challenges surrounding her husband being gone a lot for work. Even though mine doesn't travel for days on end, he is gone for 24, and occassionally 48, hours at a time.  I almost ended up in tears at one point...just nodding my head thinking, "yep...exactly...I know exactly what you mean".

If you have kids (especially young ones) and don't have a group of moms that you can meet with, I highly recommend you find a MOPS group, or something similar. I look forward to my gatherings twice a month and hope to expand my mom support group to a few fabulous ladies here on the I-70 corridor.

Love and mommy power,


Adding To The Ranch

I officially announced it a few days ago on Facebook, so here is my other official announcement.

We're having a baby!

Yep, our house is going to be just a little fuller come early August (or late July depending on how things go).

I had my first pre-natal appointment on Dec. 30 and things are so far so good.

Here's a view of the little sprout...

Just a wee little thing, measuring in at about 1.3 cm long. It's funny because I remember my other 8 week ultrasounds and the baby looked like a little gummy bear...this one just looks like a blob. Sorry baby but you look like a blob. My favorite blob in the entire world, but still a blob.

We are over the moon.

Without getting too personal, we had been (secretly) trying for most of the year without success. We had given ourselves through the end of the year and then we were going to call it quits. Amazing how things worked out when we were just about to head into our last month.

My due date is set for Aug. 8th, at this point, but because I will have to have another c-section I won't get that far. They usually try to set the date for around 39 weeks, which is why I could end up with a July baby. We'll just have to wait and see.

So along with my normal shopping updates (which I've been really bad at lately), I'll throw in some baby updates as well.

Love and babies,