Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tip Tuesday

Whew!!  Just got home from a lonnnnnnng day away!  We still own our home in Renton and the kids and I took the 8:45 ferry this morning to meet my parents there to get it clean and all ready for the new tenants who are moving in on Friday!  (Mom and Dad, thanks for your help!!)  So, I'm JUST now getting to my tips for the day!!!

1.   Get your Books (and free entertainment!) from the Library

The kids and I love going to the Library, not only for the obvious reason, but for the fun and free entertainment they provide, as well.  Research your local Library and see what they have to offer!!  Ours offers some amazing programs, such as Toddler Storytime, Toddler Dance, Movie Day, Bedtime stories, etc, etc, etc.  They also have a great kids area with games, puzzles, stuffed animals and a fish tank.  You really can't beat fun and FREE!

2.  Send away for and follow-up on Rebates

After I buy a product(s) with a rebate, I make sure to send in (or if it's an online form, I do it online) for it THE SAME DAY. Then I mark my calendar to remind myself to follow up with the rebate company if the check hasn't shown up.  This goes for any product, big or small.  It's essentially "free" money, so do it right away!!

Keeping up with the Joneses.....

Many of us have heard this "catch phrase" and

Monday, June 29, 2009

Discounted Newspaper Subscriptions

newspapersIf you're thinking of trying to go the coupon route, but don't quite know how/where to start........


I found a great website: www.discountednewspapers.com

They offer a GREAT discount on a subscription if you are a first time subscriber.  I just subscribed for the Sunday only paper, and I got a 45% discount on a 13 week subscription.  It's $1.50 a week.  You're only paying for the paper, not for someone to deliver it and bring it directly to your door!!  Only $19.50 for 13 weeks!  Quite the deal!! Your coupons could pay for that in ONE shopping trip!!  I'd encourage you to check it out!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Wow, life sure can get crazy and unpredictable, can't it?!

I have been a bit out of commission lately, with a pretty miserable cold and lower back issues that have been causing me much pain.  It has pretty much stopped me in my tracks and I am behind on EVERYTHING.  (Including this blog!)  There has been so much I've wanted to post, but just have not been able to.   I start to feel guilty about it, but then realize that I have to remember that I can only do what I can do.  And, if I don't post everyday, then SO BE IT!  I love doing it, and want to do it as much as possible, but I have to keep reminding myself that it may not always be possible!  So, that being said, I will try to do my best to get back on the "band wagon", but will not make any promises!!  :-)

Here's to Meal Plan Monday!! (AGAIN, my links would not work! ARGH! If you're interested in any of these recipes, let me know!!)

Monday: Crock Pot Brown Sugar Chicken, Egg Noodles, Green Beans

Tuesday:  Mexican Rice Casserole, Fruit Salad

Wednesday: Sweet and Sour Chicken, White Rice, Broccoli

Thursday:  Leftovers!!

Friday:  Street Fair and Carnival Food!!

Saturday:  BBQ at the In-laws after the Annual Parade. Happy 4th!!

Friday, June 26, 2009


So, I've been out of commission a little this week......I apologize for the lack of posts.

This cold has been dragging on a long time and I'm ready to be done with it ANYtime!   And, it looks like Ava, Luke and my husband have all come down with it, as well!!  What fun it is!!!

I also have a lower back that is in so much pain right now.  It's been hard for me to do much of anything.  I'm really not sure exactly what I did, but it's probably a combination of a lot of things, and I'm sure the pregnancy is at the top of the list!  I saw my chiropractor yesterday and will again on Monday to see if we can get me back to where I need to be.  It's tough enough being in terrible pain and not able to move, but it's even harder when you're pregnant and have two little ones to care for!

So, even though it's almost not Friday anymore, I still have a few minutes to do my post for "Faithful Friday."

It's very simple, yet very poignant.



To my wonderful man.

I love you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tip Tuesday




Ok, so we all don't necessarily think we have the "skillz" to cut hair, I know, but this is a really

amazing way to save money!!!

I have always loved doing hair, and honestly, wanted to go to Beauty School long before I wanted to go to College.  There was just something about hair that I really loved and wanted to be a part of.  Well, needless to say, I chose College, (which I'm very grateful for!), and didn't learn how to cut hair, but it has ALWAYS intriuged me!!

About 14 years ago, the summer before 9th grade, I got my hair cut short.  I really can't remember what sparked in me to go short, but I guess I wanted a change.  I had really puffy, permed, shoulder length hair at the time.  I think it was too much to manage!!  Ever since then,  I have kept my hair relatively short.....I've gone in out of hairstyles and have had some doozies, but have kept it on the shorter side.  Through H.S. I remember going to Gene Juarez Academy of Beauty and getting my hair cut.  (Which, by the way, is another GREAT tip!!)  They were students going through Beauty School, so the price of a haircut was MUCH cheaper!!

College, well, that was a different story......this is when I started cutting MY OWN HAIR!  You know, when you're a poor college student, you look for ANY way to cut from the budget!!  For not being trained to cut hair, I think I was pretty good at it and I don't think most people could tell that I did it myself.  (Well, if they did, they didn't say anything!!)  I used to cut my roommate's hair, too, and I even advertised in my Dorm for $5 haircuts and got some business!!  It was a lot of fun and I didn't mess up anyone's hair too badly at all!  :-)

From then on out, I was hooked, and I kept cutting my hair myself.  It was good and bad.  Good, because I got to do what I liked to do AND I saved money while doing it.  But, BAD, because I was a little obsessed with it and could never get my hair exactly the way I wanted it!!  I went through some pretty interesting hair phases that I hope won't come back to haunt me!!

About 2 years ago, though, I came to my wits end......I needed help with my hair, and I needed a CHANGE.  I had received a Spa Package for Mother's Day that included a Haircut and color, so I jumped on it.  I truly believe that, Amanda, the hairdresser who got me that day, was sent by God!!!  She knew EXACTLY what I needed and what would  suit me.  I walked out of there a VERY happy lady and I continued going to her for the past two years, until she changed Salons that is now way too far for me to travel.

So, what I'm trying to get at, is that even though my TIP is to CUT YOUR OWN HAIR, I know that we aren't all comfortable doing that.  I have seen hair cutting from both sides and there are pluses and minuses to both.  The obvious PLUS of cutting your own hair is that it's FREE, but the MINUS is that it may not turn out exactly the way you want it.  The obvious PLUS of going to a professional is that, hey, they're actually TRAINED to do this type of thing!!  The MINUS is that, depending on where you go, it could cost you lots of Moolah!!

If you don't feel comfortable cutting your own hair, I completely understand.

So, why not cut your husband's hair??

I started cutting my husband's hair before he was my husband.  You could say I pretty much "transformed" him from his "longer on the top" hair days, into his easy, kinda-spikey hair days now.  I cut it pretty much every, other month and I love it!  I still get my "fix" cutting hair, and cutting his hair is so much easier than cutting my own!!  There are many sites out there available to you to teach you how to cut hair, also, and there are many tutorials on YouTube to walk you through it.  It's definitely worth looking into!!

And, how about cutting the Kiddos' hair???

I bring this up, because just last night we gave our two kiddos their first haircuts....EVER!!  Ava is 3 1/2 and Luke is 26 months and neither have had their hair touched!!  I was originally only going to cut Luke's hair last night, because his, (although darling!!!), was getting slightly out of control with all his fly-away curls and it was getting in his eyes a bit!!    Ava's hair is one length and is getting long, but I didn't see any need to cut it.  BUT, as she sat there watching her brother's hair get cut, she, too, wanted her's cut!!  So, I did both!

I thought you might like to see the transformation.  Here's Lukie, our "little boy" becoming a "little man."  (We forgot to get a "before" shot, but if you go back a few posts, you'll see what he looked like!!)





And now here's the happy boy (or, somewhat happy boy!), with his new 'do!!



I only cut about an inch off of the bottom of Ava's hair, but here's a few shots of that:




I forgot to take an "after" picture of Ava's hair, but this morning, when it's dry, you can tell it's a little shorter.  She LOVES it and couldn't stop bouncing around the house looking in the mirror every 2 minutes!!  So cute!!

So, the moral of this whole TIP TUESDAY is to consider cutting your own hair, or the hair of a member(s) of your family.  Don't be intimidated, and if you are, search out some info and/or tools that will help you!  You could save you and your family A LOT of money!!!

Yummy Bagels

As the kiddos were napping yesterday, I thought I'd tackle my "project" of making Bagels!!  I have NEVER tried making them before and was a little intimidated, but the recipe seemed easy enough, so I thought I'd try it!!

HERE's the link to the recipe I used, but here it is, all spelled out:

1 1/4 cups water
2 tsp yeast
1 Tbls sugar
2 tsp salt
1 Tbls oil
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour

Combine the water, yeast, sugar, oil and salt in the mixer. After a sponge has formed, add the 3 - 3 1/2 cups flour. The recipe says the dough will be smooth and elastic. Mine was not sticky at all. Let it sit in the bowl, covered for 15 minutes. Divide it into 8 pieces, roll into 10" snakes. Wet the ends and form into rings. Place on a floured baking sheet, cover and let rise 15 minutes.

Here's mine "rising" on the baking sheet:


Boil the bagels, 4 at a time in 4 quarts of water, 1 Tbls sugar, and 1 tsp salt

(As you can see, this recipe does not state how long to boil them, so I really didn't have a clue.  I did them for about 5 minutes.)

Here's a picture of mine boiling.  The steam kind of messed up the shot, but you get the idea!


Place the boiled Bagels on an ungreased cookie sheet.  And bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

(In my experience from yesterday, GREASE the sheet....mine stuck a bit.)



As you can see, mine are not as "fluffy" and risen as I feel like they should have been, but that would be my only complaint.  And, it could have been something I did wrong in the process.  BUT, even though they didn't rise as well, they were DELICIOUS and sooooo tasty!!  I will definitely try these again and see if they turn out a little more robust.

I'm also thinking of trying THIS recipe, too.  It looks a little more complicated, but worth a shot!

I am soooooo not an expert baker, so if I can do this, you can too!!  If you've ever thought about making Bagels, I say, why not give it a try?!!

Monday, June 22, 2009


After lounging around all morning, I decided it was time for us to get outside!  I'm not feeling well, at all, and don't have too much energy, but I knew I needed to get out there and pick the strawberries, radishes and rhubarb!!  The kids LOVE to help in the garden, (well, Ava does......Luke just likes to dig in the dirt!!), and they love being outside, so they were all over this idea!

After we picked the strawberries and rhubarb, I looked up and couldn't believe my eyes!!!  Lots of Raspberries were ready to be picked!!  We were soooooo excited!!  The three of us ran over and starting picking right away!  I wish I had had my camera with me, because as I'm telling the kids they can eat a few, but to put the berries in their bowls, of course, their bowls were 100% empty and their mouths were 100% full!!!  Red gooey goodness all over their faces! (I hope they don't wake up from their naps with tummy aches!)

We didn't pick too many, because my cold is terrible and along with that, my allergies were flaring up like crazy and I couldn't stop sneezing!!  But, here's a shot of the first Raspberries of the season:


Yummy!!  I really can't wait for more and more!!  We will get hundreds, if not, thousands, of Raspberries and it's hard to keep up with the picking, but we will definitely do our best!!

Meal Plan Monday

Hope everyone had a GREAT weekend!!!  Mark and I enjoyed our time away together, it was such a great, fun and relaxing time for the two of us!  We really missed the kids, though, and it was SO NICE seeing their smiling, excited faces yesterday!!!  Unfortunately I came down with a pretty wretched cold over the weekend, and doing all the walking we did, I was telling Mark that I officially FEEL really pregnant.  Everything on me is one big ACHE, and I now have the "pregnant waddle!!"  (Ever-so-slight-waddle, but it's there!!)  But, it was still a glorious weekend with my wonderful man.

So, we're now on to another week and another meal plan!!  (I feel like the weeks are flying by.....anyone else??)  So, here's what I have on the docket for this week:

Monday:  Ritzy Chicken Casserole, steamed Broccoli, Sourdough bread

Tuesday:  Taco Night.  Crisp and Soft Beef Tacos and Refried Beans.

Wednesday:  Crock pot Chicken Parm, green salad, homemade toasted Bagels.

Thursday:  Crock-pot Baked Potato Bar

--SUPER easy!  Just wash your spuds and put them in the crock pot all day on low.  Serve them with your favorite toppings.....whatever your crew likes!

Friday:  Mark's 29th Birthday---still up in the air what we're going to do!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


To My Most Excellent, Loving, Caring, Funny, Charming,........AMAZING Dad.

Words can't express what you mean to me.

I love you SO MUCH!!   You're the BEST!!!!!!!!!

Happy Father's Day!!!


To my Dear, Sweet, Precious, Caring, Loving, Understanding, Humble and VERY handsome Husband......thank you for being the BEST Daddy to our children.

Oh, how I love you so!!

Happy Father's Day!!!


To my two most EXCELLENT Bros-in-law........Happy Father's Day!!!!!!

You guys ROCK and what wonderful Daddies you are!!!!

We love you both!!

[caption id="attachment_807" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Guys----L-R: Scott (Ruth's Hubs), Mark (My Hubs), DAD, Simon (Amy's Hubs)"]The Guys----L-R  Scott (Ruth's Hubs), Mark (My Hubs), DAD, Simon (Amy's Hubs)[/caption]

**To my other Bro-in-Law, Wayne, (I couldn't find a picture of you anywhere!!!)--What an awesome Dad you are to Zoe!!!  We all love you!!**

And, to my Great Father-in-Law, Adrian---Happy Father's Day!!

We love you!!


Happy Father's Day to all you Daddies!!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Faithful Friday---Why complain??

"Just be thankful for the good things that you've got.  For the good things that you've got, are, for many....just a dream.  So be thankful for the good things that you've got."

This song has been stuck in my head lately.  It was played for us many times as children, and, Mom, correct me if I'm wrong, but this was sung by Evie, right???  I couldn't recite any more of the lyrics if I tried, but that's OK, because the heart of the song are the words above.


And, not just be thankful...... but, be thankful for the GOOD things that we have.

This, to me, now, hits home in relation to all the "stuff" we own.  I have a HUGE "To-do-before-baby-arrives" List (In addition to my "Preparing-for-baby-freezer-stash"!!) and as I am doing the tasks on the list and going through all of our baby/kids stuff that I have saved, I find myself sometimes yearning and wanting "new" instead of being thankful and fine with the "old"!!

For instance, Mark installed the car seat base a few weeks ago....I have to say, it was so cute.  He just couldn't wait to get it in the car!!  When I came out to inspect his work, he had the base and the car seat all ready to go in the car, and my first thought was, "Man, we really need a new car seat!!"  This will be our 3rd child that has used this seat and it's looking a little dingy, faded and used, and I just couldn't help but feel like a new one was needed.

It's crazy, too, because if you read my post from yesterday, I LOVE buying Second Hand, I LOVE getting used things, I LOVE being frugal and I LOVE saving money!!  So, a part of me doesn't understand why I would be pining for new things, but then I realize that it's something that's pretty much programmed in all of us.  We all like new things.  It's not a bad thing to want something new and it doesn't mean we still don't like the used ones, but new is FUN, new is EXCITING, new is, well........NEW!!  And there are plenty of times when buying something new is completely good and fine and warranted!

But, as I looked at the car seat some more I realized that there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  Yes, it's a little faded and looks a little used, but, really......who cares???  It's still in complete working order, it's safe and will do the job just fine!  I need to be THANKFUL that we have a good one that still works and will keep our new baby safe.

I know this seems like a little thing in such a big world, but, I truly think that if we all examine the "good" things that we have, and are thankful for them, without yearning and always wanting new things, we'll realize we just might have everything we need.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thrift Store Shopping....

To me, it's like a SPORT......I get pumped up before I go,  there's a thrill that comes over me once I walk in the doors, I have a game-plan once I start my quest, and I won't let anything stand in my way!!!

It's just something that's hard to explain.....

Those of you who don't thrift store shop probably think I'm crazy, but don't knock it until you try it!!  :-)

I have been shopping at Thrift stores, probably, my whole life.  I can remember way back in Elementary School going with my mom.  I have to say, I probably wasn't quite as thrilled about it back then, probably the opposite, but I do remember being awed by the things that we would find.  They were definitely "finds!"

About 3-4 years ago I recently got back into Thrift Store shopping, hardcore, when I was full swing into my Ebay Business.  I sold Designer label clothing and shoes along with some other assundry items.  I made some pretty good money.  It was a lot of work, but it was work I really, really enjoyed.  And, as if you couldn't already guess, guess where I found all my inventory to sell?????  THRIFT STORES!!

You would be AMAZED at the quality and caliber of items you can find at thrift stores, if you take the time to look.  I mainly sold Men's Clothing, Mens/Women's Shoes and Kid's clothing.  We are talking about brands such as:  Tommy Bahama, Facconnable, Hanna Andersson, Gucci, Elefanten, Orvis, Robeez, Baby Legs, Christian Louboutin, Born, Tupperware.......and the list goes on and on!!  Thrift stores are full of items that people donate, but they are also full of items that companies sell/donate to them.  Hence, the reason for the amazing quality, brands, and NEWness of the items.

Even though I am not full-swing in my Ebay Business anymore, I am HOOKED on thrift store shopping.  The things I buy the most, are:  Kids clothing, kids shoes, toys, books, housewares and Men's clothing.  I rarely look for clothing for myself, because I don't have the time to try it on!  Plus, it thrills me more to find all the other goodies!!  I would have to say that about 75% of my children's clothing is all from Thrift stores, and probably 50% of their books and toys are second hand, as well.  (And, I guarantee no one would even know!!)

So, I thought I would give you a little snippet into my thrift store shopping trip I went on the other day.  This is just one trip out of hundreds, but I got some great clothing items that I wanted you to see ACTUALLY came from thrift stores!  My two stores of choice are:  Value Village and Goodwill.  I don't have too many others close by, and actually, neither of these are very close by, either, but they're close enough!!  I'd have to say that I ALWAYS come away with something amazing.

Here's the questions I ask myself before deciding to purchase:

1.  Are there any holes or stains on the garment?  If yes, can they be fixed?

2.  Is it faded, worn, or broken in parts?  If yes, is it still worth it?

3.  Can we get good use out of it?

4.  Does the price match the value I will get out of the item?

I've taken pictures of some of the items I have recently purchased and I have tried my best to give you the price that it would have sold for in a "regular" store, give or take, and then how much I paid for it.  I'm just listing some of the clothes that I got, not the toys, books, etc.  I just want to show that YOU, too, can get amazing things for a FRACTION of the price!!!  I think you'll be amazed!!

P1010084 This is a BRAND NEW, WITH TAGS, Zutano little girls dress with attached bonnet.

This would retail for somewhere around $38.

My Price at Goodwill:  $3.99


P1010086 This is a Baby Lulu adorable Red and Pink outfit.

This is not brand new and has been worn, but still in excellent condition.

At stores or online, new, this would probably retail for about $40.

My Goodwill price:  $3.99


P1010089 This is a Ralph Lauren Polo baby girl's Periwinkle dress.

It does not have the tags attatched, but just by the feel of it, I can tell it's brand new.

This would have retailed for about $35.00

My Goodwill Price: $2.99


These are some of my Value Village finds.  VV was having a 50% off Kid's Clothing Sale!!!

P1010095 This is a Hanna Andersson Organic Cotton Baby Sleeper in near perfect condition.

It's currently on their website listed at $37.50.

Value Village price:  1.99

At 50% off:  .99 cents!


P1010097 This is a Brand New with Tags, Macy's Green Dog Boys' Polo shirt.  It's about $22.00.

Value Village price:  $4.99

at 50% off:  $2.50


P1010094This is a super cute Baby Gap summer shirt.

I don't have an exact price, but let's say somewhere around  $16.50.

Value Village Price: $3.99

at 50% off:  $1.99


P1010099This is a pair of toddler girl's LEVI's.  They would retail for about $24.99.

Value Village Price: $4.99

at 50% off:  $2.49


I'll stop there, because I don't want to bore you to tears!  You get the idea!!  Amazing, excellent and sometimes brand new items for a super INEXPENSIVE price!!!

If I bought all of this at RETAIL, it would have cost me, approximately:  $213.99

But, I Paid:  $18.93

PLUS, I had a coupon for 1 Free item, so it really cost me:


Try some Thrift Store Shopping!  YOU JUST MIGHT LIKE IT!!!  ;)

Starbucks Icecream Coupon

Do you like Icecream?

Do you like Starbucks?

If the answer is "Yes", then this might be a match made in Heaven!!


There is a new coupon for $1.50/1 Starbucks Icecream!!   Go HERE

If you click the 'back' button, you can print it twice!

I recently purchased the Caramel Macchiato flavor and it was YUMMY!!!

You can find these on Sale for $3 or less, so with the coupon it brings it to about $1.50 (or less!) for one!!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Walgreens 101

If you've ever shopped at Walgreens, then you know you can get some pretty sweet deals there!  Over the years I have gone into Walgreens here and there for what I might need, but in the past 6 months have figured out what AMAZING deals I can get if I do a little research!!  Unfortunately, I don't have a Walgreens super close by, it's about 30 minutes away, so I don't shop there as often as I'd like, but I can't pass up the chance to give you some of the inside scoop on Walgreens!!!

So, it's pretty easy.  Walgreens has TWO main advantages to take advantage of:


If you look in the weekly Walgreens flyer, you will find many store coupons available for you to clip, that are good all week.   Since this is a STORE coupon, remember that you can stack your Manufacturer's coupon with it!  Meaning, you can use them BOTH at the same time!  For instance, awhile back, Walgreen's Pepcid AC was regularly $10.00, but was on sale for $8.99.  (With my acid reflux in full swing, due to this pregnancy, I was always looking for deals on Antacids!!)  In that same Ad, they had a store coupon for $4.00 off one Pepcid AC.  That brought it down to $4.99, which, in and of itself, is not a bad deal.  BUT, I had clipped a Manufacturer's coupon a few weeks earlier for $4.00 off one Pepcid AC.  Since I am allowed to stack the store coupon with the Manufacturer's, I got the Pepcid for .99 cents!!!!! Hellooooo!!  Awesome deal!!  So, watch for that......so often you can get an amazing deal by stacking your store coupon with your manufacturer's in conjuction with their sale!!


The Walgreens Register Rewards Program simply rewards you for buying certain products each week.  When you buy the certain item(s) that are advertised as producing a Register Reward that week,  you will get a printed coupon at the end of your transaction called a "Register Reward" to use just like CASH on your next purchase!

They, more than often, have a few of these items each week and if you can stack them with a store coupon and/or manufacturer's coupon, you can often get these for FREE or MORE than free after the Register Reward.  Register Rewards are not tied to a store card, as in some other drug stores, so there is no limit to how many times you can do a deal.  It prints for everyone, everytime, no matter what.  But, they've recently changed their system so that you cannot "Roll" the same Register Reward over and over on the same deal.

For instance, a few months ago, Walgreens was running a deal on Dove Products.  For every 10 Dove items you purchased, you got $8 in Register Rewards.  The 10 items that you had to buy to get the RR were not specified, so I bought the least expensive Dove Product that I had coupons for, which happened to be the Beauty Bars.  I am probably mis-stating the price slightly, because I can't 100% remember, but they were somewhere around $2.50/ea.  I had 8 coupons for $1.50 off each bar.  That brought each bar of soap to about $1.00/each.  So, I paid $10.00 out of pocket, but I got $8.00 in RR back, which is just like cash.  So, in reality, I paid $2 for all 10 soaps!  (I hope this is making sense!!)  However, I couldn't do the Dove deal over and over using the $8 RR to pay for my transaction after coupons, since the computer is programmed to NOT print out another $8 RR on the Dove Deal if I paid for it with the RR I got from purchasing them last time.  (Now, I'm probably totally confusing you!!)  It's really is quite easy!!

So, you can either just do the deals once, or you can do the deals multiple times, pay out of pocket and then save the RR's and use them as you collect them on groceries or other things, later.


***You have to have as many items as you have coupons***

Walgreens system is set up to not accept any more coupons than the # of items you have.  (Although, count your stacked coupons as 1 coupon for 1 item.)  AND, the Register Rewards count as a coupon, so don't forget to count those!  So, if you have more coupons than items, add a few cheap items to even out the number.  This will guarantee you don't have any issues.  Again, this mainly only when you have a few RR's you want to use.....you have to have the same amount of items to coupons.

***Give your coupons in a SPECIFIC order***

I have learned from other blogs that it really does matter what order you give your coupons, to ensure that your total gets down to the lowest possible.

Here's the order, and you can split your coupons up in batches and hand them to your cashier in steps:

1.  Register Rewards

2.  Then Manufacturer's coupons

3.  Then Store Coupons

I actually tried this out about a month ago.  I had a cashier who wanted me to hand them all to her at the same time.  She wanted to ring them up the way she wanted to.  I stood my ground and did it in the order above.  It all worked great and I got an outstanding deal.  DON'T let a cashier intimidate you.......you are, in no way, doing anything wrong.  RR's and coupons are a FORM OF PAYMENT.  Remember that.  No one can tell you what order to give your FORM OF PAYMENT.  What if you were paying in $20's, $10's and $5's.....can your cashier dictate which order you give your bills to her???  NO!  Do it the way you find best!!

***Item out of Stock***

I have run into many times that an item is already out of stock, just 2 days into the sale.  Don't fret!!  Ask for a RAIN CHECK!!  I have never had an issue asking for a Rain Check on the specified item at the specified sale price.  PLUS, if that item was going to produce a RR, tell the employee that fact and they will work it out for you.  It's happened to me many times and I've always gotten the deal I should have.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


We're getting ready to hit the road, soon, so I don't have much time, but here are two shortie, but goodie, tips!!

1.  REQUEST A REDUCTION ON THE INTEREST RATE ON YOUR CREDIT CARDS. As with home equity loans, credit card companies sometimes are willing to reduce the interest rate. It can't hurt to ask!!!

2.  AGREE TO LIMIT GIFT-GIVING.  Our family does this, and with a big family, it really cuts down on expenses! On my side of the family, at Christmas, the sisters and their hubbies draw names and buy one $35 gift(s), each.  We all buy for my Mom and Dad and Grandma and then decide, individually, how much we want to spend on the kids.  That's up to the individual.  On my husband's side, we just buy for my In-Laws and the kiddos, and again, it's up to the individual how much they want to spend.  Between my husband, myself and my husband's sister and her hubby, we decided not to buy for each other.

For other holidays, you can do the same thing, too.  Maybe you agree between your sisters that on Mother's Day, you will just send each other a card, or on Easter, you'll limit the kids' gifts to just ONE, or on Valentine's Day, you'll have a cookie-making party, rather than give gifts.  It's all in what you and your family want to agree on!

Along with this, is the idea of MAKING your own gifts!  I could go on and on about this topic, so I'll stop here, but what a wonderful, thoughtful way to give a treasured gift, AND save money!!!

Have a great day!!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Molasses Cookies!!!


So, if you've been reading my blog, you'll know that during this pregnancy I have been a MEAT-EATING MACHINE!!!  I can't seem to get enough!!  But, I've also been craving anything and everything SWEET!!  Icecream has been high on the list, Candy and more candy, and COOKIES!  (I have been throwing in some veggies here and there, too!!)

Everytime I head into my OB Appts, and it's a morning appointment, I'm always sure to grab a BIG.  MOLASSES.  COOKIE.  (You know, the wonderful, soft, sugary, ever-so-tasty cookie that you could eat 5 of in one sitting???!!)  That's the one!!

But, one of those cookies is $2.50, each!!  Not too frugal of me, is it??!!!  So, I decided to research some cookie recipes and make them myself!!

Today was the day!!

Here is the recipe.  They're called:  CRACKLE TOP MOLASSES COOKIES

Ava, my trusty assistant, was here to help, and I believe I may have just found THE BEST----EVER Molasses cookie recipe.  I just might even say BETTER than the ones I buy at the coffee shop!!!

Here are a couple shots of Ava helping me with the cookies.....she LOVES to be in the kitchen with me, and since she decided she didn't want to take a nap today, it was perfect timing!!






The only thing I changed about the recipe is that I cut down the cooking time by a few minutes to ensure they would be nice and soft!!  They were!!


Meal Plan Monday

This is a pretty short meal plan week.  We'll be at my parent's house tomorrow evening, and Mark and I have our "weekend away" this weekend.  The In-laws are taking the kiddos all weekend while we have a weekend away, together, just the two of us.  It was a Christmas gift from them, and Mark and I are really excited!!  I must say, it will be a little weird without the kids, and probably a little lonely, but I'm sure we'll manage!!  :-)

So, here's the*short* Plan for this week:

MONDAY---BLT's, Chips, Fruit Salad

TUESDAY---Dinner at Mom and Dad's!

WEDNESDAY---Tuna Buns, Oven Fries, Jello Salad

THURSDAY---Overnight French Toast, Scrambled eggs, Sausage

FRIDAY----Off on our weekend!!

So, pretty lame and not much going on in the way of meal-planning this week, but that's fine by me!! :-)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Preparing for Baby-Freezer Stash

So, in all of my nesting ways, I have decided to put together a pretty extensive list of foods that I would like to get made, and in the freezer, in preparation for Baby Girl.  Oh, how nice it will be, to know that I have a few months of food stocked in the freezer, that I can pull out and prepare for my family in MUCH less time than making it by scratch that same day.  I have never had the privilege of recovery from pregnancy, having a newborn, and having 2 toddlers running around, so the more I can prepare NOW, the better!!  I have about 6-8 weeks before baby arrives, so if I'm organized and plan everything out, I'm hoping it can be done!!

For those interested, here is my "list-in-the-making."  I have added links to some recipes, and the others are my own.  If you'd like them, just let me know.  I'd be happy to share them with you!

I will update this list, periodically, as I make progress!!


Macaroni and Cheese (Quadruple Batch!  This is our favorite Mac and Cheese recipe!! We eat it all the time!)

Lasagna (Double)

Brown Bag Burritos (Double.  These will also be great for Mark to grab and take to work for his lunches)

Tamale Pie (Double)

Meatloaf (Triple batch, and I'll be making mini-loaves, as well, in muffin tins.)

Farmhouse Chicken (Double Batch)

Enchiladas (Both Beef and Chicken)

Chili (Double)

Spaghetti Sauce (Double Batch) DONE!

Pizza Dough (I'll make a quadruple batch, and then just freeze it out in four portions.  I pull it out and thaw it in the morning.  It tastes just as great as making it the same day!!)


Raspberry Cream Muffins (Triple batch....our VERY favorite muffins!!)

Wheat Bread (Six Loaves)

Rhubarb Muffins


Pancakes (Quadruple Batch)

Amish Baked Oatmeal

Whole Wheat Waffles

I'm also hoping to make a few more batches of THIS Rhubarb Berry Jam to use up my abundance of Rhubarb, too!

That's what I have planned, so far.  This might be waaaaay more than I can handle, and if so, I have no problem scaling it down.  I thought I'd start out with this list, though, and we'll see how far I get!!  Today, I'm already doing 2 loaves of the wheat bread and will then move onto a batch of the Raspberry Cream Muffins.

If you have any great recipes that you think I should add to my list, let me know!!!



My sister Amy gave me a great tip on some VERY inexpensive makeup!

Have you heard of E.L.F??  It stands for:  EYES.  LIPS.  FACE

Many, MANY of their items start at just a DOLLAR!!!!  Yes, there is shipping, but when you only spend $1 on a item, you can often afford the shipping!!

E.L.F  has been featured in many news stories and in many magazines, and this company has been around for 5 years and has a great following!

If you want some GREAT, INEXPENSIVE makeup,

Check it out!!


Friday, June 12, 2009


We practice our ABC's constantly!!  The kids love to do it!

Luke, who is about 26 months old, could count to 20 before he was even 2, but he didn't know his ABC's as well.  Now, since we go over them consistently, he almost has it down pat!!  He's such a smart boy!  I thought you might enjoy little Lukie saying his ABC's:

(And, enjoy his lovely hair-do, too!!)

And here is Ava saying her ABC's!!  If you'll remember, Ava is about 3 1/2 and has Speech Apraxia, which is a severe speech delay.  Just these past 5 months, or so, she has been starting to put 2 and 3 words together, so for her to do her ABC's like you're about to see, is a HUGE deal!!!  She is so intelligent and has it all in her brain, she just has to learn to get it out by using her words.  Here's Ava's ABC's:


This post is just meant to be a big encouragement to all you parents out there to KEEP AT IT!!  It's not always easy to be consistent and be the "teacher" in your child's life, but, God asks us, in Proverbs 22:6---"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  This verse, obviously, intersects ALL aspects of parenting, but, I do believe that something as "little" as going over the ABC's with your child is all a part of  'training up' your child!

So, no matter what level your child is at, never stop teaching, practicing, talking, singing, playing, disciplining, reading and encouraging your child!!  No one said it would be easy, but, It WILL pay off!  And, most of all:  LOVE them and have FUN with them!!  Treasure your child at the stage that he or she is at RIGHT NOW in their lives, and don't give up, don't be discouraged.  God gave you the child you have for a wonderful REASON!!  Children are a blessing from the Lord!!

Psalm 139:13-16:

'For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who knew?!

So, for tonight's dinner, the Meal Plan is Homemade Lasagna, garlic bread and Broccoli.  Since we're going to be gone this afternoon, I decided to make the sauce for the Lasagna this morning, after breakfast.  I also decided to double it, so that I could freeze half of it.  As I was starting the process, I wanted to try out my 'veggie puree' idea!  I have never pureed radishes and I have never added them to anything, but I thought it would be worth a try!  So, I got out my trusty baby food grinder (which, by the way, is an excellent product!!) and here's what I did, it's super straight forward and easy:

P1010058I chopped them up and threw them in the processor with a little bit of water.

They have the greatest purplish-hue once they are all pureed!


And, here's the finished product:


A little soupy, so I might have added a bit much water, but other than that, the consistency was great.

By now, my sauce had been simmering for awhile, so I thought I'd add the puree....I started out slow and added just a touch.  I didn't know how potent it was going to be.

[caption id="attachment_694" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Now you see it!!"]P1010061[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_695" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Now you don't!!"]Now you don't!![/caption]

I let that little bit simmer for awhile and then I went to taste it, and I couldn't tell, at all, that any radish was in there, so what did I do???  I put the WHOLE bowl of puree in!!  I then let that simmer for about 20 minutes and went back to taste it, again.......what do you know????  You can't taste any difference!!  YES!  It worked!!


Along with my puree endeavor, I wanted to try out Michelle's idea of using my Radishes to make a simple Radish sandwich.  In her experience in France, she said they used a baguette with butter spread on it and sliced radishes.  How simple!!  I HAD to try it!!

Well, I didn't have a baguette on hand, and I'm always trying to be thrifty, so the closest thing I could find was a Wheatberry Engligh Muffin.  I decided to toast it, to make it crispier, then I slathered on the butter.  I cut the radishes very thinly and placed them on the muffin.  I then sprinkled just a touch of salt on top.

Here's what it looked like:



I gobbled this thing up in about 2 seconds and COULDN'T get my next muffin in the toaster fast enough for sandwich #2!!!!!

WHO KNEW that this simple little thing would be SO TASTY????!!!!

Thank you SO MUCH for the idea, Michelle!!!!

Another way to help out....


We love our pets!  We have 4 of them!  Three cats:  Boots, Chloe and Bella, and our sweet Australian Cattle Mix dog, Maddie.  We got Maddie at an Animal Shelter near our home, when we lived in Renton, almost 7 years ago.  I can't believe it's been that long!!  She's been such a great addition to our family!

The reason I'm mentioning Maddie, is because, I found another great way to use your coupons and STILL GIVE BACK!!  It's so easy.....all you have to do is clip any pet coupons out of your Sunday paper and drop them off (or mail them) to your favorite animal shelter.  Shelters are constantly purchasing supplies, and just think how much money they'd save if we all did this!!  OR, better yet, use those coupons to BUY the actual supplies and drop them off yourself!!  What an awesome and EASY way to give back!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fresh from the Garden

Our produce is starting to come on strong!!

Well, at least the Radishes and the Strawberries!  Here's a shot of what I picked yesterday:


And here's the batch of Strawberries from today!!!


I'm trying to pick the strawberries BEFORE they are fully ready, because I don't want the slugs, ants, bugs, etc, to eat them!  They ripen up nicely just by sitting on the counter for a day.  But, I've also been taking my own advice and spreading my coffee grounds all over by the strawberries and I found so many LESS nibbled ones!!!  I'm so excited that I can reuse the grounds to aid in more fresh strawberries for us!

The radishes are coming on like crazy, and honestly, I don't know what we're going to do with them!!  Radishes, in our opinion, are one of the easiest veggies to grow, which is why we chose them, but we don't know what to do with them all!!  Does anyone have any great recipes that involve radishes?  We, of course, put them in our salads and eat them with dip, but besides that, we don't have many other ideas.

I'm really inspired, though, to start making veggie purees, and freezing them for baby girl, when she's ready to eat solids.  I made homemade baby food for both of my other two and I (and they!) really enjoyed it!  I know I can do that with a lot of our veggies, but radish puree.....hhhmmmm....doesn't sound too appetizing, unless I mix in other veggies.  Any great radish recipes out there???

Another way, though, that I can use my  veggies that I am really interested in, is making homemade purees and adding them to my meals.  IE:  Adding radish puree to homemade chili, soups or meatloafs.......carrot purees to sweet breads, pancakes or stews.......corn purees to soups, casseroles and meats..........and the list goes on and on!   Adding veggies to meats, such as meatloaf, is a great way to stretch your budget, too!  I also add oats to my meatloaf, sometimes.  For instance, my particular meatloaf recipe calls for 2 lbs of ground beef.  If I happen to not have quite 2 pounds, I will add some "bulk" by adding some oats and shredded or chopped veggies.  You always have to be careful of the kind of veggies you're putting into things, though, because you don't want them to overpower your dish!!

I'm going to keep researching ways to use my radishes and all my other veggies and I'll be sure to let you know what comes of it!