Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Good Reads

Here are some of the blogs I've recently stumbled upon that you might find to be "good reads":

Home Sanctuary ~ I *love* this blog. It fits right in with the vision I have for my home. I want this abode to be a sanctuary where people feel warm & welcome.

Blissfully Domestic ~ In case you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a renaissance woman, ya'll. I'm all about being domestic.

The Gentle Art of Ruling Your Husband
~ I'm not too down with the name {specifically the term "ruling"}, but there seems to be lots of good practical stuff here, with plenty of marriage humor to keep you chuckling. Take what you find useful & don't mind the rest. Just don't go throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Let me know if you find something particularly interesting!

Monday, April 28, 2008

J & K + 8

If you watch IT, then you'll know right away what the title of this post means! Tatiana really enjoys this show too for some reason. I'm not sure what the draw for her is, whether it's all the little kids running around or the peek into the life of a big family. She'll say things wistfully like, "I wish we had that many children", while I can't even entertain the thought! I think about Kate sometimes when I am stressing about having to take 3 kids to the grocery store. I bet that would breeze for her! I can't imagine having to sweep/mop as often as she does or having to potty train 3 tots at a time. I *seriously* don't know how Kate keeps it all together. Sometimes I feel like the household is crumbling down around me and I have less than half the number of children as she does! They've really got their hands full, but also, I bet, full hearts as well.

Do you watch? What do you think of their family dynamics?

**As always, I don't mind lively discussion, but keep your comments respectful!**

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good Deals

Here are some good deals I see to be gotten this week. I am not including any CVS ECB deals, as maybe you're not into that sort of thing.

Herbal Essence Hair Products are BOGO. {Price at my local store is $4.29} Combine that with coupons from recent inserts for $3/2 = $1.29 for two bottles. I just had hubby stop by and do this deal today. I had two coupons, so I got 4 bottles of shampoo/conditioner for $3.18!

If you don't have enough in your stockpile, there's a few good buys out there. Kmart has General Mills {select varieties} for $1.50 a box, if you buy 4. Combine that with coupons that are nearly always in the inserts for $1/2 or $1/3. I have 2 $1/2 coupons so that works out to $1/box. An even better deal is at Valli Produce {if you live near me & get the flyer, you could always Price Match at WM} for $1.25 a box, if you buy 4. Combined with the aforementioned coupons works out to 75 cents per box. I am comping this deal at SuperWM either tomorrow or Saturday. {I am also comping a few other things from Valli as well, such as Dean's half-gallons of milk for 99 cents. Combined with a insert coupon for 50cents/2 works out to $1.50 for one gallon!}

For you health nuts {or aspiring health nuts like me}, you can read all about how to get Kashi for 50 cents a box. Now that's a sweet deal! {FYI: these coupons from "bricks" never work for me in Firefox, only in IE. If you attempt to print it in Firefox & it doesn't print, you will be out of luck. YMMV. Remember to hit your back button on your browser after printing the first one so that you can get the limit of two.} Edited to add: Regular price at SuperWM is $2 box, which means free Kashi, ya'll!

Suave Hair Care Products are 89 cents. Combine with a coupon from last weeks insert for $1/2 works out to 80 cents for 2 bottles.

Did you know some Jewel stores accept expired coupons? I am going to call the store that I would go to & find out of mine does. If you do your regular shopping there, you can read all about how to earn yourself some free movie tickets.

What deals are you getting this week?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Are you a DASH? Then we MUST be friends!

You Are An Exclamation Point

You are a bundle of... well, something.

You're often a bundle of joy, passion, or drama.

You're loud, brash, and outgoing. If you think it, you say it.

Definitely not the quiet type, you really don't keep a lot to yourself.

You're lively and inspiring. People love to be around your energy.

(But they do secretly worry that you'll spill their secrets without even realizing it.)

You excel in: Public speaking

You get along best with: the Dash

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Welcome Distraction

I've discovered the blessings of podcasting, ya'll! I've been so stressed lately, mostly because of my fussy baby. {Both I and he are working on this.} I needed a pleasant distraction to take my mind off of his sleep issues, so I figured I'd snoop around for a podcast. My first one was from Grace Talk. I listened to the 12 Habits of a Wise Woman {2/21/08}. It only covers the first three habits, with a promise of more to come. I see there are follow-up podcasts scheduled for the rest of the habits. I am also looking forward to downloading this Thursday's episode titled "Overcoming Bitterness & Judgmental Thoughts".

The second podcast I downloaded was from Natural Moms. You crunchy mamas will love these podcasts! I listened to this one. Fascinating stuff! I mean, *super* interesting. It is about how best to assimilate our children into the urban culture. Don't let the technical sounding title scare you off. Two of the points that stick out in my mind are that 1) when we see other people parenting, it helps us to be better parents. If we see other women breastfeeding or even see a dad wearing a baby sling, it makes us more likely to do those things ourselves and 2) being around children makes us better people. We use better language, act better, use better manners, etc. Isn't that true? She mentions that there was a study where they brought babies & toddlers into schools and showed the effect that it had on the older children in that it lessened bullying. Really neat! It took my mind off of my long walk in the light drizzle. {Exercising = YUK.} I wish I loved exercising in the way I love cooking & baking. Maybe then everything would balance itself out. The podcast served as a welcome distraction and actually made my walk enjoyable.

For lots of different mom related podcasts, visit Moms Talk Radio. So many goodies here! Even though my kids to go to public school, this episode appealed to me & I can't wait to listen to it {on my next walk of course}. And I'm guessing it won't be long before I listen to a podcast from The Household Helper Talk Show. It's weird in a way, listening to these radio talk shows, especially considering the prolific TV watching in our society. Kinda makes you feel like a renaissance woman.

Do you podcast? Do you know how? Let me know if there are any other great "shows" out there or if you have any questions!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sew and Sew: Kids

Edited to add: Blogger did not want to play nice with me. I tried & tried to reupload the pictures for this post and finaaaalllly succeeded. Now ya'll can see the stuff I made.

It's been awhile since I've posted an "issue" of Sew and Sew, mostly because I haven't been sewing much! I've really had to be selective about my projects, as my time is so limited. I can't wait until the baby is much less maintenance and frees me up a bit more, then again, I CAN wait, if you know what I mean.

First up is a girl's hair wrap! I *loved* this project & really is simple enough for a beginner. I used a $1.50 towel from Wal-Mart, just in case I couldn't get the end result to "work out". I made it using
this tutorial. First I made it using the measurements she specifies, sewed it up, then put it on my daughter's head and figured out about how much I needed to cut off to make it smaller. {If anyone is really interested in this project, please email me & I can give you exact specs!}

She loves it! No more wet jammies after bathtime & she feels all grown-up wearing it too!

Next up are a pair of Easter dress for my girls. I am so UNtraditional sometimes. No pink ruffles or little bonnets for me. These were made using Simplicity pattern 3588. I got a chance to use some of the great features on my new machine, like overlocking the edges and using the blind-hemming foot. I looked *everywhere* for a pink frog closure to make the front look a little more Asian, but to no avail. Oh, well. I actually finished the one for Little Sister after church & sewed frantically right up until we had to leave for Easter dinner. Nothing like a deadline for a little motivation!

:: Happy sisters with Princess Leia-like hair-dos ::

That's all for today. I have made a few other things, but just don't have time to take pictures. Hope you had a blessed weekend!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

BOGO x 2

BOGO = Buy One, Get One a.k.a B1G1

I always wondered what would happen if a store had a buy one, get one promotion & you had a BOGO coupon for the same items. In my mind, I figured you would buy one item and get TWO free. Not so. After reading this thread, I learned that essentially the store pays for the free one that they are promoting & the coupon/manufacturer pays for the other free item. Instead of buy one, get one, it's buy none, get two!! Sweet!! Usually these types of deals don't overlap with the coupons, for obvious reasons {free stuff, ya'll}. I tried it today at CVS and it works! I was actually kinda shocked. I purchased two Covergirl face products featured in this week's CVS BOGO promotion. I had a Covergirl coupon for "Buy any Covergirl foundation, get a Covergirl face product free". I bought a foundation for $5.99 and a face product for $7.99. The $5.99 came off for the store promotion since it was the least expensive item and the cashier just had to enter the amount for the facial product {blush} which was $7.99 for the coupon. All I paid was the tax. Now that's a sweet deal!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wal-Mart's Price Matching Policy

Ok. I feel vindicated! After a comment on a previous post alerted me to Wal-Mart's price matching policy, I attempted it last week with milk. Meijer had their house brand of milk on sale for $1.99, so I brought my ad in to my local WM expecting to be able to get their house brand for that price. Request denied. My cashier even asked another cashier and they both chimed in together with, "Oh no. We don't do that here. See. It's the MEIJER BRAND of milk on sale." I tried to explain that I'd "heard" that WM does do it, but to no avail. I paid $3.29 for the milk I needed anyway. I did call their corporate office, but had not received a response. Until today. The manager from my local store called to answer my questions. He said that it really didn't happen that often, but that they had had a meeting & they will match house brand to house brand. *Insert Hallelujah chorus here* I was very nice about the whole thing & just said that maybe their cashiers weren't aware of the policy. I also asked who they considered a "competitor", as there really aren't any other major competitors in that small town. He said, "Bring in any ad." He even mentioned some southern stores {Publix?} & said to just bring in my ad. Needless to say, this guy's name is burned into my memory. Now I/you can get more things in one place! This week I even had a nearby SuperWM match the Airwick Freshmatic Mini that CVS has on sale for $4.99. Add a $4 coupon {click "print now" under Money Saving Coupons ~ requires registration} to that and you've got a great deal. My cashier was so funny. She just kept saying, "Wow. Now that's a great deal."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cheap Cereal

So, now that I've learned more about using coupons, my new limit for cereal is $1/box, unless it is something really special, like Kashi. This good cereal deal on Malt-O-Meal falls into my new guidelines. Malt-O-Meal is kind of a generic brand of some popular cereals like Cheerios, Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, etc. It was rumored that Wally World carried Malt-O-Meal cereal bags on rollback for 2/$2, but I've been unable to find it there. Supposedly there are boxes of it as well at WM, but I didn't have a chance to look & price it out {anyone?}. Meijer carries this product at a standard price of $1.99 per bag. This $1.50 coupon doesn't expire until 8/31/2008. So print yourself some {use more than one computer if you have to} & the next time you go by a Meijer, pick up some 50-cent cereal. There is also a $1 off coupon which would still be a good deal at $1 a bag. Don't like all the sugar for your kiddos? Give it to your local food bank!

Edited to add: I found the cereal at a local Super WM today in a bin in a main aisle near the groceries. It was $1. I had one $1.50 coupon and two $1 off coupons, so I earned 50 cents overage for three bags. Sweet!

P.S. Just wanted to mention that is a which I can never get to print in Firefox. I always have to use my back-up IE. YMMV.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Questions to ask.....

....while reading your Bible:

Who? What? Where? When? Why?

What attitudes do I need to change?

What do I need to start or stop doing?

What do I need to believe or stop believing?

What relationships do I need to work on?

What ministry should I be having to others?

I found these questions in an old journal entry & decided to print them out as a reference for my quiet times. I think it will really serve to engage my mind and to glean more from what I'm reading. I thought it might help someone else as well.

Any other questions you keep in mind while reading your Bible?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ode to the Laundry

Sung to the tune of "O, Christmas Tree"

O, Laundry room, O, Laundry room
Your loads are never ending

O, Laundry room, O, Laundry room
Into your machines, I'm always bending

First wash a load, then tumble dry
Then fold 'em up, and pile so high

O, Laundry room, O, Laundry room
Your loads are never ending

Are you constantly doing laundry throughout the week? One load a day? Or do you have a designated day to just get it all done and over with?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

In an effort to slim down a little, I'm trying to keep my palate excited by trying new things. This week: eggplant. I went to a really great produce market with sooooo many vegetables. They actually had three (!) different varieties of eggplant! So, I came up with this recipe, based loosely on a recipe I found here. It is a much lighter version that the traditional eggplant parmesan as the slices are baked, not fried, and I am not using layer upon layer of sauce & cheese. Also, no need to bake for 40 minutes, as I just broil the top til brown.

1 medium eggplant
kosher salt
2 eggs
2 c. panko {coarse} breadcrumbs
1/4 c. parmesan
italian seasoning {if desired}

2 c. spaghetti sauce
1 c. shredded mozzarella
1/4 c. parmesan

Peel the eggplant and cut into 1/2" thick slices, discarding the very top & bottom. Sprinkle slices with kosher salt and leave to drain on a wire rack or some paper towels for 30 minutes. Pat dry. Preheat oven to 450° F. Mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan and italian seasoning. Beat the eggs well. Dip each slice of eggplant first into the eggs, then into the breadcrumb mixture coating well on each side. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 5-7 minutes per side or until golden brown. Place the eggplant in a 9x13" dish. Warm the spaghetti sauce, either in a pan or micro, and pour it over the top {you can use more or less to taste}. Sprinkle with the cheeses, again adding more or less as desired. Broil until golden brown on top. Serve alongside whole wheat pasta.

Start Shopping CVS for Less Than $1

If you are considering shopping the CVS method {or are trying to convert someone}, this might be a good time to start. Here is a beginner scenario to get you started:

Buy 5 Excedrin for $1.99 $9.95
Use 5 $2 off coupons {here, here, or here} -$10.00

Just pay the tax and get $5 ECBs for your next order! {You might want to throw in a candy bar so they don't look at you like you're a coupon criminal!} twisted

This scenario is great for several reasons:

#1 - It's super simple!
#2 - It doesn't involve any of the elusive free-after-ECB items such as the CVS Pain Relief Gelcaps or the Softsoap Spa Radiance {am I the only one who can't find any???} eek
#3 - Super low OOP {out-of-pocket}
#4 - It doesn't require any CVS coupons or coupons from previous newspaper inserts

Let me know if you have any questions or are giving this scenario a try!

P.S. There are boxes of Excedrin that are shrink-wrapped together that are a special "get one free" package. These also "work" for this deal, so if you can find them, you could get 10 boxes, instead of 5!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Deals for the Week

I got so many good deals this week, I've actually lost track. Here is all my loot from Monday, when I went shopping with my good ole' friend Michelle.

::Goodies from Target, CVS, and Hilander::

I think I've found a new shopping buddy, *wink, wink*.

Total OOP {from 3 different stores}: $11 and some change
Total ECBs received at CVS: $14

So even after going to 3 different places, I was still $3 ahead! I tried to show Michelle the ropes at CVS. Easier said than done as 1) even though it was still March {the 31st} some of the March deals weren't printing ECBs and 2) even though it was only Monday, they were completely sold out of the Softsoap Spa Radiance {checked two different CVSs} 3) nobody had any April flyers available even though the stores were already changed over for their April deals. Grrrr. We did get manage to get in on the Essence of Beauty deal {three little goodies for free after ECBs} and some free {after coupons & ECBs} Lady Speed Stick deoderant. One of my favorite finds though was the Ken's Dressing at Target for $1.87/bottle. I had 3 $2/1 coupons so I let Michelle get a free bottle & then I got two free bottles. I also got some free cat treats for my mom's cat. I had coupons for the AirWick & for the frozen veggies {which came to $.50 per box after double coupons}.

I hit the Target mid-week when I discovered the Target coupon generator over at A Full Cup. The Nature's Valley bars came out to $.86 after stack the Target & manufacturer's coupons. I hear that some of their organic Archer Farms cereal is on clearance for $1.68. There is a coupon on the generator for $1/1 = $.68/box of organic cereal. Now that's a sweet deal!

Last night, I hit the Hilander for Kroger's Mega 10 event.

::Hilander Goodies ~ 2 Minute Maid OJs not pictured::

In hindsight, I wish that A) I didn't go so late at night B) I knew where everything was located C) I had more time to shop leisurely and D) they would've accepted my Excedrin coupons. {Although, I see that next week CVS has Excedrin on sale for $1.99, which with the $2 coupon makes it free, plus you get $1 ECB. Sweet!} All in all, I got $55 worth of groceries for $18, so I guess I can't complain. I guess some of the best deals were the $.50 bags of Goldfish crackers, the free French's mustard, the nearly free Nature's Way rice mix {not part of the deal, but the regular price is $1.07 and there are online coupons for $.50 when doubled = $.07/box}, and the free Pillsbury rolls.

To see what deals other bloggers have snagged, visit this post at Money Saving Mom!

I never realized shopping and deal-grabbing could actually be a hobby! It is so much more fun when you do it with a friend too. Wouldn't you agree? Do you ever deal shop with friends?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I Want to Be the Kind of Friend....

...who you can call any time, day or night, and not feel guilty.
...who will tell you the honest truth, peppered with lots of love.
...who doesn't mind if you didn't shower today or haven't vacuumed in a week, but still want to visit with you anyway.
...who would rather call than email and rather meet for coffee than call.
...who sharpens your iron, makes you want to be a better mom, a better wife, a better person.

I want to be the kind of friend....
...who can discuss hard topics together & still leave each other smiling.
...who wouldn't let you go down the road where the bridge is out.
...who loves you despite your curves.
...who makes you laugh & keeps kleenex in their purse for when you cry.
...who goes to your grandmother's funeral, even if I've never met her, just to be there for you.

I want to be the kind of friend...
...who will not tolerate if our relationship is broken.
...who understands that relationships go through different seasons.
...who asks for your forgiveness when I've wronged you.
...who gives forgiveness when you've wronged me.

...who hurts when you hurt, who rejoices when you rejoice, who is down on their knees for you, who loves you with a Holy kind of love.

Not only because I believe that is the kind of friend I AM has called me to be, but also because that is the kind of friend I want you to be for me.