Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eat From the Pantry Challenge

I too am joining the "Eat from the Pantry Challenge" for the month of January. (Guess I had better stock up today, while I can, huh?) :)

I will allow myself the following: chicken, dairy, produce, FREE items, or items that cost under $1 (after cpns and sale). I will also purchase laundry, cleaning, and paper products as needed.

I am hoping to pocket the extra cash that I save towards our 2010 Disney vacation!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Life in Return-Land

Well, after this year's holiday returns, I have learned a few things...

1. I will faithfully shop at Kohl's. When they say, "no hassle returns," they mean it - and I like it! If only they didn't have a returns line...

2. Toys R Us can be tricky. We needed to return a Loving Family dollhouse piece that we had duplicates of. I had a gift receipt. Apparently, my MIL had scored the piece on a BOGO deal. Toys R Us claimed that it was the "free" one and gave me a really hard time exchanging it. (We did not want $$ back - just a new toy.) So glad that my 3 year old started to cry, because then FINALLY something got done. I will be careful with them next year - and I will be careful with gift receipts too; in this case it didn't help me one bit to have one.

3. Internet shopping is great, but make sure you don't have to return it. By the time I repackage, go to the post office, pay postage, and WAIT, I don't even want it anymore.

4. Target will not return or exchange without a receipt, period. The only exception is if you have the card that it was bought on and they can "look up" the item. Good thing I had my hubby on speed dial to recite his debit card number, or those too-small pj's would have haunted me forever!

5. TSC (Tractor Supply Company) = easy, breezy returns. No line, friendly, down-home people. It must be the farm thing, right? I loved the ease of this return (and the cute pjs I got on clearance today.)

How did your returning go?

Monday, December 28, 2009

No Taco Packet? No Worries...

I realized last night as I was making tacos for dinner that I had no taco seasoning packets. I quickly googled "taco seasoning recipe" and adapted a recipe from to the following:

Taco Seasoning
(for 2 lbs of ground beef)

Combine in bowl:
2 T chili powder
4 t onion powder
2 t cumin
2 t garlic powder
2 t paprika
2 t sugar
2 t oregano flakes
1 1/2 t salt
2 t cornstarch

Add this mix to 2 lbs of browned, drained beef with 3/4 c water. Simmer until thickened. (Add more cornstarch if you like your mixture really think.)

This made the BEST tacos that we have ever had! No more packets for me!

Freezer Cooking

Winter is a great time to do freezer cooking. The nice hot oven heats up the house too!

I am planning a freezer cooking day soon. I have a friend who is having surgery and could use some meals. I figure that I can do the shopping and put away a few extra things for her family.

I will be planning a ground beef day. That will include: shepherd's pie, tator tot casserole, beef enchilada casserole, sloppy joe casserole, meatloaf, and a few new recipes to try.

Why not plan a day and put away 8-10 meals for hectic nights and feed your family well?

Get Motivated Monday

Don't know about you all, but my challenge this week is TOY ORGANIZATION! We need some more containers to hold all of this new little stuff. I saw that Target had a sale this week on organizational stuff, but I'll probably hit Dollar Tree first AFTER I know what I need.

We have one more Christmas this week, so my tree will stay up for a few more days... I may start to take down some of the "little pretties" though.

Returns = Needs, Not Wants

Good Morning, friends! It's good to be back!!!

I don't know about you, but we have some returns to do at our house this year. So, I have made an executive decision. I am not returning toys for even more toys this year (you should see how many they got; truly ridiculous). We are returning toys for: white socks, undershirts, 2 sizes too big snowboots - next year, and maybe a pair of tennis shoes for me.

I figure, why not use the cash from duplicate toy returns to purchase what we really need? I think that it is a good plan, but I'm sure that I'll have to do it kid-less :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you, my friends and followers! I will be taking my Christmas break until next Sunday (12/27). I am "breaking" to enjoy time with my family, experience the wonder of Christmas, and focus on worshipping my Savior. I pray that you have a peaceful Christmas, full of joy, and memory-making and...God bless us, everyone!

***Oh, and did I forget to mention, that I will be rejoicing because we had a debt-free, cash-only Christmas! :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Customers at Snapfish Get A LOT FREE Today

If you sign up to be at new customer at Snapfish (or your spouse does), today you get:

  • 50 FREE prints
  • a set of 6 FREEphoto coasters
  • a set of FREE photo stickers
  • a FREE 4X6 photo flip book

You can also get FREE upgraded 2-day shipping on the coasters and the flip book, so you CAN get them in time for Christmas!

I just did this order and paid 14.95 for shipping, tax, and 5 extra pages in my photo book. What a great deal!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

7 Freebies at CVS this Week

Here are the FREE or MONEYMAKING items at CVS this week:

Revlon Super Lustrous or Moon Drops Lipstick $6.99
Get $5 ECB
Use $2/1 from 12/13 SS
Final Price: FREE (limit 3)

Listerine Mouthwash or Pocket Packs $3.99
Get $3 ECB
Use $1/1 from 12/6 SS
Final Price: FREE

Crest Pro Health Toothpaste/Rinse or Oral B Floss $2.88
Get $2 ECB
Use $1/1 from 12/6 SS Crest Toothpaste
Use $1/1 from 11/29 P&G oral B Floss
Final Price: .88 moneymaker

Nivea Body Wash $5.99
Get $5 ECB
Use $2/1 HERE
Final Price: $1 moneymaker

Thermacare Wraps 1 ct $2.49
Get $2.49 ECB
Final Price: FREE

Alteril Sleep Aid $1.99
Get $1.99 ECB
Final Price: FREE

And, if you have a little one in the home, here is a great deal on diapers!

Pampers $8.88
Use $2/1 from 11/29 P&G
Final Price: $6.88

Thanks, My Frugal Adventures, for the heads up!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cereal, Milk, and Cheese for a Song!

Kudos to Megan of Daily Essentials and Deals! She got 10 boxes of cereal, 2 gallons of milk and 4 bags of cheese for $7.96! This is a deal too good to not mention. Go HERE to see how she did it...great job, friend!

*Central OH friends: we have Meijer and you too can do this deal today or tomorrow. Hurry in!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I {Heart} ELF Cosmetics

I ADORE ELF makeup. I love their "coffee" eyeliner, their wind-up lip gloss, their crème eye shadow, their cover-up, their nail polishes... I really like their eye makeup brushes and I LOVE the prices that I pay for these items - $1 each!!!
Go HERE to see how you can get ELF makeup with free shipping using this code: ELFCMO. You could buy ten new, fun things for just $10!
Thanks, My Frugal Adventures. for this great find!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Recycled Dinner - Goolosh

What is a recycled dinner, you ask? When you take items leftover from your fridge or freezer, add no more than 3 ingredients and make a NEW, RECYCLED meal (at little or no cost to you!)

Today's meal was goolosh. I used leftover cooked macaroni (maybe 2 cups), browned ground beef (about a half pound), and half of a bag of frozen mixed veggies from the freezer (all recycled foods). To that I added: beef broth, a can of tomatoes, and a bay leaf. Combined all in crockpot and cooked on low for 3 hours. Served with sprinkled cheddar (so the kids would eat it) and it was sooooo gooooood!

I estimate that the cost of this meal was under $3.00 and it fed our family of 4 for lunch and will again for dinner. That's what I'm talking about... :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Movie Nights?

2 new Redbox codes:



Thanks, Couponing to Disney!

Monday, December 14, 2009

CVS Finds - Includes Christmas Supplies

This week at CVS, I bought...

2 tissue papers - FREE

2 bows - FREE

2 stick on tags - FREE

1 Soleil razors - EARNED $1 after $2 MQ and $4 ECBs!!!

3 Suave body washes @3/$6

used .75/2 MQ and .25/1 MQ

earned $2 ECB

paid $1 each - 3/$3!

It was a good week at CVS.

$2 DVDs at WalMart

Watch for Curious George A Very Monkey Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas priced at around $5 at Walmart. Use the cpns found in Sunday's paper to score these DVDs for around $2 each!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2 Crafts that are Going on my 2010 Make-It List!

Go HERE to see 2 really cute crafts that will be made by be for out 2010 Christmas (and may become gifts for some of you...) I absolutely {heart} the wooden presents!

Thanks, UCreate!!! (I love her site - so many ideas, so little time...)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Top Ten Practical Gifts for a Mother with Small Children

Here is my list of the Top Ten Practical Gifts for a Mother with Small Children (like me...)

10. Batteries, all shapes and sizes
9. A secret stash of chocolate for stressful days
8. A gift certificate for a massage or a new hair cut
7. A just-for-fun book (not on parenting, organizing, cooking, or cleaning!)
6. Babysitter a gift card for a date night
5. Freezer meals
4. Bath products - fancy ones that we would never buy ourselves
3. Magazine subscriptions (All You contains coupons!)
2. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (they do wonders for crayon on the wall/floor)
1. A night away (a women's retreat ticket, classical concert/ballet, scrapping weekend, etc.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Having an Issue

Well, if you are wondering why I haven't been posting a lot of my great's because a LOT of my subscribers I am related to and then they will know what they are getting for Christmas (or worse yet, what I paid for it)! I am still committeed to bringing you the best deals, freebies, and frugal tips...just going light this December to not ruin suprises. Don't hold it against me, ok?

And, I have officially had my first ever completely CASH-ONLY Christmas! This included shopping for my immediate family (3 + me), my extended family (9), close friends (2 families), teachers (5 at preschool, many at church), neighbors (2), and giving toys to a local charity (we bought 5!) Woot-Woot and Thank You, Lord!

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Redbox Code

Use this code for a FREE movie! GANTS9

Friday, December 4, 2009

CVS is HOT This Week!

Here's what I will be looking for at CVS this week!

3 Day Sale
Prices only good Sunday - Tuesday
Merry Brite Santa Hat -- $3.99
ECB: $3.99 wyb 1 (limit 2)
Total: Free!
Merry Brite Mini Ornaments 12 ct -- $1.99
ECB: $1.99 wyb 1 (limit 2)
Total: Free!
Essence of Beauty Bath and Body -- $4.99
ECB: $4 wyb 1 (limit 2)
Total: .99!

Week Long Sale prices good Sun – Sat

Emergen-C Immune Booster 2 pk -- $3.99
ECB: $3.99 wyb 1 (limit 1)
Total: Free!
Neosporin Lip Product -- $4.99
Coupon: $2.50 automatically taken off at the register and $3 printable
Total: Free!
Gillette Fushion, Mach 3, Series or Stain Care Shave Gel -- $1.99
Coupon: $1 from 11/29 P&G
Total: .99!

Kid Essentials -- $11.99
Buy 2 and get $10 ECB
Total: $1 ea!

Also, all toys are buy 2, get 1 free. (excludes Zhu Zhu pets!)
For even more deals, check out Couponing to Disney!

Fab Five on Friday!!! (Lots of FREEbies!)

Follow these links to find some really great deals today!

1) Get a subscription to BabyTalk magazine for FREE!

2.) FREE phone call from Santa courtesy of Kroger!

3) A good giftable idea: Creamy Chai Tea Mix!

4) FREE coffee creamer courtesy of International Delights (by becoming a fan on Facebook)!

4.5) FREE crafts at Michael’s for kids on Saturday from 10-1!

5) FREE photo with Santa at WalMart, Saturday and Sunday, 10-2!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Old Navy Weekly Updates Today (and Everyday During December)

Just a reminder that Old Navy Weekly updates today. In December, they are doing a special promotion where they are updating and offering coupons EVERY DAY. I have yet to find a coupon, as quantities are limited, but I will keep trying. Go HERE to see if you can find yours!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

30-Day Giving Challenge Complete - Or is It?

This month has been both challenging and liberating for me. I have done (at times) more than I thought I was physically and emotionally able. I have done simple, little things that I would have never thought of before.

I have grieved. I have loved. I have taken on new projects. I have given up old things. I have left coupons at the store for the next person to find. I have worked hard for little earthly reward. I have given little love gifts to my spouse (that I'm not sure he even noticed were gifts...) I have celebrated. I have prayed harder and for more than myself and my family. I have talked to my kids about giving. I have tipped more than normal. I have thanked more than normal. I have given. I have received. I have LIVED WELL this November.

I am thankful for this opportunity to intentionally focus on giving. Those of you who know me, know that giving is an essential part of what makes "me." After all, I am the lady who took her kids to work at the food pantry every month when they were 2 and 3! :) What I liked about this month was the opportunity to think outside of the box for new practical ways to give.

I hope you enjoyed the challenge as much as I did. I'd love to hear some of the ways that you gave this month. Feel free to comment below.

One last thing: I found it fitting as my kids and I were hitting Kroger yesterday (Nov 30th), that there was a Salvation Army bell ringer at the store. As I emptied out my change for the kids to give, we saw a soldier in full uniform. I simply said, "Thank you for your service." As my eyes welled up with tears, my son repeated me and added, "and have a Merry Christmas." As we stood there, our eyes locked and that moment was worth it all! I pray that my children remember to be thankful and always praise the One who is the Giver of all good gifts...God with us.

Have a blessed December and as Grant says, "have a Merry Christmas!"

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Luke 6:38 NIV

"Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."
Luke 6:38 The Message

Movie Night?

Use this code SPNSV9 to get a free Redbox movie rental thru 12/2. In Newark, we have these kiosks at both Meijer and about a FREE Christmas movie night?