Saturday, May 30, 2009
Aside from all of his general awesomeness (which is a lot) he went above and beyond for me today. I was up VERY late last night baking cupcakes for a wedding reception today. I went to bed exhausted, leaving a mountain of dishes in the kitchen (we don't have a dishwasher).
I was pretty tired this morning, so after I fed Grant, Fred watched the kids so that I could go back to sleep. But, he didn't stop there. He washed all of the dishes, which was A LOT. He folded the laundry that had been sitting in the dryer for 2 days. And he took out the trash and picked up the house. All the while, keeping an eye on Hunter and Grant.
It was such a wonderful surprise to wake up and find the house in such pristine condition. I am a very lucky girl!
Go here every Friday at 9am EST to get yours!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Bread - $1.73 at Walmart = $.09 / slice, used 8 - total $.72
Jenny-O Turkey Bacon - $2.00 at Walmart = $.09 / slice, used 8 - total - $.72
Lettuce - $1.49 at Smith's, used 4 leafs - approximate total $0.25
Roma Tomatoes - $.33 / lb at Walmart, total for 2 tomatoes - $0.14
Oscar Mayer Sliced Turkey - on Price Cut at Target for $2.99 each, used $.75 printable coupon, and $1 / 2 Target Coupon - total $1.74
Avocado - on sale at Walmart for $.50 each, used 2 - total $1.00
Pickles - had them in the fridge, I diced up one spear, that's gotta only cost about $.20
Green Onions - $.50 at Walmart, used 1 - total $.05
Grand Total - $4.82 for 4 servings, $1.20 for each serving
A few notes...
I used turkey bacon (and no mayonnaise for that matter) to make the sandwich healthier. I know turkey bacon is nothing like real bacon, but the sandwich is so tasty, that you don't really miss it (well, maybe a teensy, tiny bit :o)
Walmart consistently has really cheap price on avocados. However, they are almost always under ripe and sometimes over ripe - they are never perfectly ripe and ready to eat that day. So, buy them under ripe - green and hard. Avocados ripen up beautifully after they've been picked. You just have to plan ahead and not have your heart set on eating them the day you get them. Sometimes, I'll place them in my fruit bowl next to bananas, which emit pheromones that speed ripening. When stored at room temperature, the avocados will be ready to eat in a few days. If they ripe and you're not ready to eat them yet, put them in the fridge - this really slows them down and they'll be good for a while in there (probably up to a week).
Sara Lee Wheat Hamburger Buns - $3.22 for 8 - $.40 each (they're pricey buns, but they're whole grain, so it's worth the extra cost for me) - total $1.60
Oscar Mayer Roast Beef - on Price Cut at Target for $2.99 each, used $.75 printable coupon, and $1 / 2 Target Coupon - total $1.74
Dole Sliced Pineapple - $1.00 at Walmart, used $.50 coupon - total $.50
Kraft Mayonnaise - $1.99 at Target, used $1.00 off coupon here, and $1 off Target coupon here - total Free!!! (this deal is still going on, so you should definitely get in on this if you haven't yet)
Chipotle Peppers - $1.76 at Walmart, used 1 pepper - approximate total $.22
Red Leaf Lettuce - $1.49 at Smith's, used 8 leafs - approximate total $.50
Potatoes - 10/b bag at Smith's $1.79, used 4, approximate total - $.20
Ketchup - free with coupon from this book
Cooking Spray - negligible cost
Salt and Pepper - negligible cost
Grand Total: $4.76 for 4 servings, $1.19 for each serving
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
This is the second week of this sale, so I don't know how much longer they will have them in stock. So if you want some cheap lemonade, hurry, hurry, hurry!
UPDATE: There will be a $1 off your next order catalina running from 5/29 - 6/11 when you buy 2 drink mixes. They will be on sale at least until Tuesday, June 2nd (I don't know if they will be on sale beyond this current sale period). So, if you wait another day to get them, Smith's will actually pay you to come take product off their shelves :o). If you will be using 2 coupons (buying 4 canisters) you need to do them in separate transactions so that you will be able to get the catalina twice. I sure hope they still have this in stock because I really want to in on this deal!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I love making pasta salads during the summer - I make dozens of different recipes. We're not talking the tri-color rotini pasta with grape tomatoes, cheese cubes and broccoli tossed with Italian Salad dressing. We're talking really yummy and unique pasta salads. Pasta salads are great in the summer because they're served cold, which is always refreshing on a hot day. I can make them early in the day before it gets too warm, so I'm not heating up the house during the hottest part of the day. I love being able to prep them ahead of time, it makes the post-nap / pre-dinner time a lot easier.
Here's the breakdown of what I spent on the ingredients:
Chicken - on sale at Smith's for $.69 / lb - total $2.35
Pasta - on Price Cut at Target for $1.00 / box, used $.75 off coupon - total $.25
Celery - on sale at Smith's for $0.99, used half - total $.50
Green Onions - on Rollback at Walmart for $.50, used 1/4 - total $.12
Dole Crushed Pineapple - $1.00 at Walmart, used $.50 off coupon - total $.50
Salad Dressing - on Price Cut at Target for $1.59, used $1.00 off coupon here and $.50 off Target coupon - total $.09
Grand Total: $3.81 for 6 servings (that's only $.64 / serving). Pair it with some seasonal fruits and veggies and you have a very frugal, and tasty, meal.
It's hard tell what everything is but there's a reusable shopping bag, a Schick razor, 3 shampoo and conditioner samples (2 Aveeno, 1 John Freida), 5 coloring and activity books, a saws-all blade (for Fred), a hanging file folder, a sample of Emergen-C, a sample of Omega-3, tons of coupons (including one for a free bottle of ketchup), a sample of Nivea boday wash, a potty training DVD, 25 free prints from Shutterfly (we did have to pay a couple of bucks in shipping for this), 3 perfume samples and a few random stickers.
I love getting freebies in the mail! It's so easy too - filling out your name and address, which takes 10 seconds. I don't even do any of the ones where you have to participate in surveys, complete offers or sign up for other programs (you can get lots of great freebies that way, but it's just not worth the time and effort for me). Be sure that you have a special e-mail address to use for this stuff so that you don't get spam in your regular e-mail account.
If you're not signing up for freebies - you really should :o)
Monday, May 25, 2009
But, I will have to be patient, because we will be checking it out from the Provo library and are currently #21 in line (they have lots of copies, so hopefully it will only take a month or so).
If you're looking for a fun summer read, I highly recommend checking them out.
While Hunter was bouncing around like a mad man, Fred and I had a good laugh at this warning label. (Hopefully it's big enough that you can see the pictures)
What we see is: No scissors, no sunglasses, no women, no first aid, no watches, no superheros with sidekicks, no dead people, no dogs, no food, and no shoes.
I think something was lost in translation (it's a Chinese product) because I have no idea what half those pictures are supposed to mean. What do you think they mean?
When I started following money saving blogs a few months ago, I noticed that all of the sites talked about Swagbucks. So, I decided to give it a try.
Swagbucks is a site that pays you for your internet searches. Their site is powered by Google and Ask, so the results are pretty good. When you search the internet using their site you are randomly awarded "swagbucks". You don't get one for every search you do, but I'd say it averages out to be about 1 out of 10 searches receives swagbucks (1, 2, 5, or 10).
Once you accrue enough swagbucks you can trade them in for prizes. My favorite, and the most popular, is Amazon gift cards. 45 swagbucks earns you a $5 gift card. I just requested my first gift card :o). It took me about 2 months to accumulate enough swagbucks, so at this rate, by the end of the year, I'll have 4-5 $5 amazon gift cards (which will be perfect for Christmas presents). I don't do a lot of internet searches, so I'm earning these at a slower rate, I know some people who earn swagbucks a lot faster than I do.
Like I said about YouData, you won't make a ton of money doing this. But you will make some money, and every little bit helps. It's especially great when you're able to get something for free by simply doing what you already do (ie searching the web).
The search results aren't sorted and ranked like ones through Google, so they aren't as easy to sift through. But, I usually can find what I'm looking for. And if I can't, I simply type "Google" into the Swagbucks search field and I'm able to search there. I've earned several swagbucks by simply going to Google's homepage through Swagbucks.
I downloaded the toolbar so that it is easier to use and I remember to search using Swagbucks, instead of automatically going to Google.
It is really a great way to earn some extra $ with very little extra work. You should check it out - click on the button on the side of my blog.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
First you create an account. If I remember correctly you only need a user name and e-mail address to sign up - they don't ask for a lot of personal information. You can then go ahead and fill out a survey which will help You Data send you to the websites that you are most interested in.
After you've created a profile, you simply load up the advertisements they have available to you. Then You click on the links and it takes you to a companies website. They are all legit websites and I have not encountered any problems with viruses.
You get paid for every site you visit. This is not a get-rich-quick program - you will make a few bucks the first few weeks after you sign up, and then it will trail off a bit. Right now, I make anywhere between $.50 - $1.00 a week doing this. Which really seems like nothing. But, it literally takes 2 minutes to do this and at the end of the year I will have made $30 - $50. That will be great to put towards Christmas presents!
You get paid via paypal - they deposit it directly into your account automatically. I've just left my money in there and will allow it to accumulate until the end of the year, then I'll have Christmas presents for a couple of people free!
It is a really, simple painless, although not extremely lucrative, way to make a little extra money.
Friday, May 15, 2009
On the itenerary:
My sweet sister is going to babysit the boys tomorrow night so that Fred and I can go to the temple together (that hasn't happened in over a year). We're going to Disneyland on Monday and Tuesday (and maybe Thursday - we'll see how exhausted we are). And we're going to the beach sometime.
It will be a great vacation - but right now, I need to fucus on the tasks at hand...
I made a stop at Target where I got this:
for $39.03! Originally this would have cost me $93.36. Plus I got a $5 gift card to use later. Their shelves were really cleared out - there were out of a lot of things that I really wanted to get. There were a couple things that I should've asked for a rain check on, but it didn't occur to me until later (I'm still new to this whole bargain grocery shopping game).
I also stopped at Smith's were I got $28.81 worth of food for $12.44 (plus I have $3.75 in catalinas to use later. I got 6 bottles Kraft BBQ sauce, 5 pack Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, 1 pack Capri Sun, bag of shredded potatoes, Post Trail Mix Crunch cereal, and 2 whole chickens. No pictures - I was too tired and just wanted to get the food put away! Smith's has these great little shopping carts for kids and Hunter LOVES them!
And I went to Albertson's and was extremely disappointed because they were out of a lot of the promotional items. They NEVER seem to stock up for these sales - it's really frustrating. But, I did get $23.36 worth of food for $6.36 (and I have $3.99 coming back in a rebate) I got 2 packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, 6 tubs of Betty Crocker Frosting, and 1 bottle of Pert Plus shampoo (I'll try anything that's free after rebate, and this one's actually a money maker!)
Total out of pocket this week: $57.88, retail amount $145.53. Pretty good - I happy anytime I save more than I spend.
As fun as it is to do all of this great coupon shopping, it will be nice to forget about it for a week while we're on vacation - it's tiring!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
I am totally failing at my 11:00pm bedtime goal (as you can probably tell, because this post is being written at 11:10pm). I have such a hard time stopping everything that I'm doing and just going to bed. I really want to be able to do this, but I am a chronic to-do lister and feel like I have to get everything done asap! And I've always been a night person - I would rather stay up and just get it done, than go to bed and wake up early to complete something. But, it's hard to be a night owl with kids who are up with the sun.
Anyone have any suggestions to help me out on this one.
Fred and I saw Star Trek today as part of our Anniversary celebration. And I thought I'd share what we thought of it.
I think a large portion of our opinion of movies comes from preconceptions. For this movie, we both had very reserved expectations going in. Neither of us are Star Trek fans. And I in particular don't really enjoy mindless, summer, cgi-filled, action blockbusters. But, we both LOVE J.J. Abrams and so, were intrigued and wanted to see what he'd do with this franchise.
That being established, we really enjoyed the movie. I wouldn't say it was a great movie, but it was very good and enjoyable. The whole movie was very J.J. Abrams - which is a good thing. There was lots of action (although not enough for Fred). There was good character development (I liked that). The story was interesting and well told - the plot moved along nicely. I think that the plot could've been more complex - but that's coming from a total LOST addict (anything that doesn't make my brain feel like jello at the end is going to be too simple for me). Zachary Quinto was excellent as Spock. The rest of the cast was really good to, but he was the highlight for me.
The movie did cater to the teenage boy demographic too much for my taste. There were a couple dumb gags that only elicited eye rolls from me. I know they're trying to jump start the Star Trek franchise and they're appealing to a younger audience to do so. It was pretty clean too - very little language and not a lot of violence.
Usually I hate the mindless, cgi heavy dribble that fills the movie theaters during the summer months. The plots are usually so flimsy - they're just there to piece together the multi-million dollar cgi action sequences. But, this movie was smart and had 3-dimensional characters. The movie grabs you and pulls you into the Star Trek universe and makes you love it, even if you've never had any love for it before.
Overall we really liked it and recommend seeing it. It's been a long time since I've gone to see a movie opening day, and I have to say I miss it. Maybe we'll be doing this again a few more times this summer.
Entertainment Weekly has a review of it here too, in case you want a second opinion.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
We still have tons of Easter candy in my house, but you better believe that at 7am MST I'll be on my computer scoring some free chocolate.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I took an empty mason jar and labeled it as his allowance jar. I created a list of chores that he could easy help with around the house. He gets a penny for everyone that he does. We've been doing this for a few days and he loves it. He actually does things without being asked and then tells me about them when he's done. Today, he asked to do laundry. And he was excited that he got to make his bed again after his nap. His enthusiasm is so refreshing!
We also decided to use this as a motivator for good behavior. There are some days that we seem to be locked in an endless cycle of pointless time-outs. Time-outs were just not working for us. But, now, anytime Hunter does something wrong (and after a couple warnings), we take a penny back and he has to re-earn it. It happened a couple times the first day, but not since then. Money is a serious motivator for this kid.
There are some pros and some cons that we can see to this system. First off, we like it because it teaches Hunter that he has to work to earn money - no free rides. Second, it teaches counting, addition, and subtraction. Third, we'll use it to teach monetary values as well - exchanging pennies for dimes, nickels, quarters etc. Fourth, it will teach him the principle of tithing and saving. Once a month, we'll count his money, set 10% aside for tithing and 10% into savings.
The down side to this, is that I worry that it is causing Hunter to focus to much on money. But, hopefully we'll be able to counter this in other ways. I hope that we'll be able to find enough other teaching moments that help him learn that life is not about money. Things like service projects, donations, homemade items, spending money on experiences and not things etc. I also worry that he'll expect to be paid for everything. So, we'll have to work with that as well.
So far, we really like the system that we've come up with. I'm sure that it will evolve over time as we move our way up the parental learning curve. But, for right now it is working great.
I share this, and other kid tips, not to brag or draw attention to myself, but simply to help others out. There are so many ways to parent and it is hard to find what works best for your family and each individual kid. I know that I enjoy when I just happen to stumble upon a great idea in a book, magazine, or in talking with a friend. So, I share these things with you, hoping that you'll be able to find inspiration to use in your own families. Parenting is a hard biz, and we should all help each other out. I'm simply trying to share my ideas, so that, perhaps, I might be able to help others be the best parents they can possibly be.
I love Calvin & Hobbes! I remember spending time with my siblings, each with our own book, laughing out loud and sharing the funny cartoon we had just read. We spent hours doing this. I have several of the books (including the one above) and look forward to my kids discovering the wonderfully imaginative and trouble making Calvin and his best friend.
As today wound down, the title of this book popped into my head. And while Calvin & Hobbes day's were indeed packed, they were filled with a completely different kind of busyness than mine was today.
Our day was packed with a walk to the library, grocery shopping, bathes, dishes, playing at the park, T-ball, books, movies, blogging, laundry, meals, a dentist appointment and spring cleaning (although not as much as I wanted). All this with Fred working about 18 hours today! We. Are. Exhausted.
Spring Cleaning definitely took a back seat today. I did get the living room vacuumed, baseboards cleaned and windows washed. I did not get around to the vents or the couch. I am still motivated to get our home thoroughly cleaned, but I refuse to set it as a higher priority to time with my kids and husband. Hunter did help me clean a little, but he is 3 and only can do so much.
I'm still going to plug along and try to get as much spring cleaning done as possible - especially the kitchen. But, I won't be disappointed if I don't get everything done that I had originally planned. Every little bit helps. I'm telling ya, my baseboards seem like they're glowing, they're so white (I had no idea how dirty they were!). That little thing, clean baseboards, makes such a difference. Our home instantly feels like a better place. Silly, I know, but that's what cleaning is all about - making you (and your guests) more comfortable in your home. I want to make my home a haven - A place where I, and our family, loves to be. Spring cleaning is just one part of this, the other part involves days packed full of fun, memory making (and sometimes exhausting) moments.
Walgreens is offering a free 8x10 photo today only (Wednesday, May 6th). Order on-line here and use the code MOTHER. Select in store pick up so that you won't have to pay a cent.
I ordered one of Grant because we haven't had money to get his portrait taken, so this is going to be his baby portrait.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I'm not going to wash any pillows (just did that a couple months ago) or clean the blinds (our landlord will replace them when we move out, they're not that dirty and I HATE cleaning blinds). I'll tackle the outside of the windows sometime during the summer when I'm already playing outside with hoses and stuff.
It was great to take a break today. I didn't even have to cook dinner (or do dishes for that matter) thanks for KFC and Oprah. If you haven't printed your coupon for a free grilled KFC meal yet - go do it right now! www.unthinkfc.com The sight has been slammed, so it may be difficult, but you can print 4 coupons - that's a lot of free food!
Monday, May 4, 2009
Today, in the Spring Cleaning Blog Party was the clean sweep. Basically, get all the junk out of the way so that it will be easier to get in a get things clean later on.
It took me a few hours today to go through the whole house and straighten things out. Here's some before and after pictures:
There are no pictures of my husbands desk because there was no way I was tackling that! He is going to take care of it sometime himself, but he's so busy, that I don't know when that will actually happen.
This is our end table next to our sofa that becomes a catchall for everything - it's a constant battle to keep it clear.
This is one side of Grant's room (the messy side). I've been in the process of switching clothes around for the change in weather, but it's taken about a month because the weather has been so crazy. But, all the winter stuff is now packed away and hopefully our little guy won't freeze when we get a freak snow storm a month from now :)
These are all of the boxes that we've been hording lately. They used to be in our back storage room, but Fred needed room for all his tools in there. So he moved them to our bedroom :/ But, they're now nested and tucked away in our very cavernous closet. It would be nice to just get rid of them, but we're still in a transient stage in our lives and we will need them when we move again.
I wish I had a good reason for this mess - I don't. I just really like to use the floor as a shelf and a lot of things end up there :/
This is our entryway - despite how narrow it is, it is really hard to keep clear. There always seems to be a huge pile of stuff barricading the door.
After going through all this, I had a few bags of trash and a bag of stuff to give away. It feels great to declutter a little and get things in order (a constant battle). I also baby-proofed a few things as I went - Grant is nearly crawling and it won't be long before he's into everything.
To be honest today was pretty exhausting. I was up early to go to Walgreens and was by myself with the kids from sun-up to sun-down. I'm spent! But, the next 2 days I'm tackling the living room which should be easy. Not only is it pretty small, but we just re-arranged all the furniture and when we did, we cleaned under and behind everything. So, there isn't a lot of deep cleaning that needs to be done - yay! Despite the tiring day, I'm still feeling motivated to get this done and get our house CLEAN! I know come tomorrow, with a good night's sleep behind me, I'll be ready to go.
Here's my haul from Walgreens this morning. I'm super excited about the Aveeno sunscreen - it's the only brand we've found that Hunter isn't allergic to. And the Travel kit will be perfect for our upcoming trip to San Diego and Disneyland. The travel kit was an even better deal than I knew because there was a $2 off coupon inside! Score! This all cost me $14.40 out of pocket. The retail price of all this is $68.97! This is why I use coupons and why I shop at Walgreens.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Tuesday, May 5 - the living room, part one
Wednesday, May 6 - the living room, part two
Thursday, May 7 - the kitchen, part one
Friday, May 8 - the kitchen, part two
Monday, May 11 - the bathrooms
Tuesday, May 12 - the kids’ rooms, part one
Wednesday, May 13 - the kids’ rooms, part two
Thursday, May 14 - the master bedroom
Friday, May 15 - the front entry