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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


We were having dinner the other night and a conversation started about the salad dressing.

Me: G, would you like some French or Ranch on your salad?
G: French. Why is it called French?
Ted: Some things are called French because they come from France. French dressing, french fries, french bread. . .
H: French toast!
Ted: Yes. You know what else? People in France speak French. People in Spain speak Spanish.
H: So who speaks Ranch?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rebate for Huggies

Did you know you can get money back for buying Huggies diapers? It's true!

It's been awhile since I've mentioned The Caregivers Marketplace, and since I might have some new readers I thought I'd better mention it again. I scrounged around for diaper receipts last year after I heard about this program. I sent them in and got a check for $26 back! Save your Huggies receipts and submit for $0.75 back per jumbo pack. They give rebates for other items, too, like Nature Made vitamins, Cottonelle flushable wipes, Pull-Ups, Glucerna, and more! So far I have receipts for 20 packs bought this year. You can send in more than once a year, but you need to have a minimum of $5 rebate in order to send in for a check. Yay for money back on diapers! :-)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

First Time Bowling

I took the kids bowling, and boy, could you ever tell it was our first time! Let me explain.

The bowling alley was crowded and we had to wait for a lane. No biggee, the girls patiently took a seat and watched the other bowlers. After about 10 minutes, they had a lane for us. We put on the fancy bowling shoes, got our ball (a 6 pounder--their lightest), requested a ramp to roll the ball down, and made our way to our lane. The ramp didn't come by the time we got everything set up, so the girls did their best without one. They put the ball down and pushed as hard as they could, which isn't very hard, I'm afraid. The ball crawled it's way down there, and H and G were both able to get some pins down.

Now for M's turn, and the ramp still hadn't come, though I'd asked three times now. Bless her heart, she tried her best, but it's hard for a 3-year-old girl to push a six-pound ball! It crawled even slower (if that were possible!) while I told the girls to blow on it to help it down! It made it all the way to the end, touched a pin but didn't knock it over, then started rolling slowly back until it stopped in the middle of the lane. Needless to say, the people in the lanes next to us thought this was pretty funny. I went back to the desk to ask again for a ramp, and now to tell them that our ball was stuck. Thankfully, that did the trick and they brought us a ramp!

Oh, but that wasn't the end of things! One time M had a hard time hoisting that six-pound ball up on top of the ramp, and it fell off the side and rolled into the lane next to us where it got stuck. How embarrassing! There was a mom with young boys in that lane, and I hoped for some understanding and tried to strike up a conversation, but all I got was a smile. She was probably just shy (or maybe she had a headache from bowling next to us!). Thankfully, H helped M get her ball up onto the ramp each time after that. That's what big sisters are for! :-)

Again, not the end. H decided she didn't need the ramp since she had watched the boys next to us and saw their technique of side-throwing the ball down the lane. This was working fine until during frame #7 when it bounced off the bumpers and into the OTHER lane's gutter, where there were teenage boys bowling. The boy who was about to bowl lamented getting a gutter ball, and his buddies urged him to quickly bowl anyway. . . his ball did beat H's down there, but the lane still counted 2 balls, so it gave him an error. Oops! I was very apologetic and H was embarrassed, but she did apologize as well. The teenagers were good-natured and laughed about it, though the boy did get some ribbing from his friends.

All in all, it was a somewhat embarrassing and humbling experience for me, but we all laughed and had a good time. I'm happy to report that we went again last week and there were no major mishaps! We have free bowling passes for the rest of the summer, so hopefully the girls will be old pros in no time! Or at least they won't bowl in someone else's lane. :-)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chicken a la King

This recipe is from my mother-in-law and is a family favorite! When I went to visit my parents, I helped them make a big batch to put in the freezer (in smaller portions) so they could pull something out of the freezer quickly and easily for dinner.

Chicken a la King
1/3 c mushrooms (2 oz can) (opt.)
1/4 c chopped green pepper
1/4 c chopped carrot (opt.)
1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 c chicken broth
1 c half and half (or milk)
1 c diced cooked chicken
1/4 c chopped pimento (opt.)
1/4 c chopped bacon (opt.)

Saute mushrooms, green pepper, and carrots in butter. Blend in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and slowly stir in broth and cream/milk. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Add chicken, pimento, and bacon and cook until heated through. Serve with rice, noodles, or biscuits, OR put in labeled freezer bag with instructions to heat and serve.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Free After Rebate PediaSure

Do you have a picky eater in your house? We do! Several, actually. So when I saw an offer for a free after rebate 6-pack of PediaSure, I was excited! Just print out this form, buy a 6-pack of Pediasure, and then mail in for the rebate by 7/31/09.
Make this deal even better by using the $1 coupon in June's All You magazine, if you get it. Then it will cover the postage and tax and REALLY be free!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Here's my "haul" for this week. I got these items for FREE: Fisher peanuts, Activia yogurt, band-aids, BBQ sauce, Crystal Light to-go packs, chocolate milk, pudding mixes, frozen Banquet dinner, and Cascade rinse agent.

I got the following items for $0.50 or less: wipes, Doritos, Ritz Bits, saltines, Solo cups, mac and cheese, ketchup, Ajax, and tomato sauce.

I got these items for $1 or less: bread, tortillas, chocolate chips, peanut butter, Eggo Swirlz, Bagel-fuls, sausages, pasta sauce, Altoids, marshmallows, and angel food cake.

Strawberries from our picking trip: $9.75
Target: $4.46 (12 items)
Groceries: $34.29 (48 items)
Received rebate from Reynolds Foil: -$2.99
(submit for $2.99 rebate for Windex wipes)
Week 4 Total: $45.51
Week 3 Total: $73.49
Week 2 Total: $44.01
Week 1 Total: $38.47

JUNE TOTAL: $201.48
I didn't quite stay under $200 like I did in May, but I'm happy since I was still able to stay under our regular monthly bill of $275. Passing up deals at Walgreens and CVS has helped immensely. I know I could have gotten free toothpaste this week at Walgreens and free SoyJoy bars at CVS, among other things, but choosing not to go saved us money! I do have some ECBs that will be expiring, though, so I'll have to go in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully there will be some sweet deals!

I wanted to let you know that I'm planning to take a little break from tracking my shopping and taking pictures. I'll attempt to not totally fall off the savings wagon, though! I won't give up the bargain-hunting completely, so I will probably post some things throughout the month, but it may not be weekly.

However, All You has a grocery challenge starting July 13th, so I will probably start back up again that week to track my progress. The challenge is to spend no more than $25 per family member per week on groceries, including eating out, but not including household items. That would mean I would "get" $150 per WEEK for food! The prize is $1000 and a year's supply of Knorr side dishes. Click on the link to sign up for the challenge, then keep track of your progress and your receipts. Should be fun! :-)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Strawberry Picking

We went strawberry picking! It was a beautiful day and the berries were great. The pictures aren't the best because we were on a tight schedule and I had messy hands. Besides trying to pick berries for the basket, I was also feeding F berries so she wouldn't eat something she shouldn't and trying to man the camera. But we had a good time, the girls all left with red faces and red hands, and we now have strawberries in the freezer ready to make into something delicious! (Notice the red shirts to minimize stains?) :-)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Free Redbox Rental with Survey

Redbox is offering a free movie rental code if you fill out this survey. Once you fill out the survey you get a code that will be valid Monday, June 22nd and Tuesday, June 23rd. I took the survey and it only took about a minute. Enjoy your free movie! Thanks Mercedes!

And if you'd like to get a free 8x10 from Walmart's portrait studio, print this page, rent a movie from a Walmart Redbox, and present a receipt (which Redbox will email you).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Spending- 6/17/09

This week's overall total is higher because I bought diapers at Target and produce at Aldi, in addition to my regular double coupon day grocery trip where I did 4 transactions. My before-coupons total at the grocery store was over $108. After coupons: $55.15! And that doesn't include sale savings!

At the grocery store, the cereal deal was even better than I thought because this time the coupons took off the full $3.50 per gallon of milk, even though milk was only $1.99! So when all was said and done, after doubled coupons and sales, I ended up paying $0.67 for 6 boxes of cereal AND 2 gallons of milk! The cookie dough deal coupon took off $3.25 for the milk, so for that deal I paid $0.74 for 2 cookie doughs AND a gallon of milk! This is one of the ways couponing can save you money on items that don't usually have coupons, like milk. Another nice surprise was a $1 off your next order coupon ($1 OYNO catalina--blog lingo) from Kraft that printed after one of my orders, which I used on my next transaction. I don't know what I bought that got me that offer, but I was happy to use it! The cookie dough and milk was a "sweet" deal, but now I have to return the cookie doughs because of the Nestle recall. It's a bummer, but it'll help me with my waistline and my wallet, since now I ended up making money on this transaction after free milk and coupons!

Aldi: $5.01 (8 items)
Target: $22.53 (8 items) (submit for $2.25 Caregivers Marketplace rebate)
Groceries: $55.15 (51 items)
I have to return 3 Nestle cookie doughs due to recall -$9.20
WEEK 3 TOTAL: $73.49

Week 2 Total: $44.01
Week 1 Total: $38.47
June Total so far: $155.97 with one week to go!

I just love shopping on double coupon day! Have you seen it helping your grocery bill? Did you take advantage of the cereal and milk or cookies and milk deals? I'd like to know if this is helping you save money, so please leave a comment!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fun Freebie Friday!

We had fun scoring all kinds of freebies today! First we went to the mall and got F's 1 year pictures taken and used a free 8x10 coupon. We brought this special rocking chair along and I'm glad we got a good picture of her with it. This was my grandfather's rocking chair when he was a little boy, and F just LOVES sitting in it. She climbs in and out of it over and over again almost every day!

After pictures we went to Noodles for lunch. I got a free meal for my birthday and had a BOGO coupon, so we got 3 large pastas for the price of one and even brought home leftovers! After lunch we had free Orange Julius smoothies for dessert. We enjoyed tasting all three new flavors of their light smoothies. Yummy!

Then I went and used the Bath & Body Works free travel item with purchase coupon (I bought a $1 hand sanitizer and got a free 3 oz. lotion), and then stopped for my free birthday Baskin-Robbins ice cream on the way home (to save for later--I'm stuffed!).

After dinner we got A&W root beer floats for dessert (and I had to save half for tomorrow because I'm still stuffed!). H enjoyed her first root beer float, though she couldn't finish hers either--I thought they were supposed to be small root beer floats, but these were big! I told H on the way home that I hope she has fond memories of scoring free stuff with Mommy when she grows up! She replied that she'll always remember getting a free root beer float!

What freebies did you get today?

Nestle Cookie Dough Recall

Did you take advantage of the Nestle Cookie Dough and free milk deal this week? I did. Then I saw this post about a recall from DealSeekingMom:

Nestlé USA’s Baking Division is initiating a voluntary recall of Nestlé® TOLL HOUSE® refrigerated cookie dough products. Nestlé is taking this action out of an abundance of caution after being notified that the Food and Drug Administration, together with the Centers for Disease Control, are conducting an investigation into reported E. coli 0157:H7 illnesses that may be related to consumption of raw cookie dough.

Check out the full Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough Recall Press Release for details as well as a list of the products affected. Consumers with products affected by this recall are advised to return them to their local grocer for a full refund. Any questions should be directed at Nestlé Consumer Services at 1-800-559-5025 or

I love cookie dough as much as the next person, but my mom always taught me to never eat anything with raw eggs in it. Therefore, I get my cookie dough fix from cookie dough ice cream, which does not contain eggs. This is an important reminder that you really can get sick from eating raw cookie dough (or licking brownie batter or cake batter or anything else with raw eggs in it).

And just to be clear, I did call Nestle and they told me to return my cookie dough even if I was planning on baking it. Bummer. I was really looking forward to some cookies! But on the bright side, I guess this will help me a little bit in losing the baby weight! Plus I'll get $6 added back into my grocery budget, so I'll end up ahead because of the free milk and coupons!

Free National Park Weekends

On the weekends of June 20, July 18, and August 15, the National Park Service will offer free admission at more than 100 national parks. That's including Yosemite (usual fee: $20), Yellowstone (usual fee: $25), and Acadia (usual summer fee: $20). Remember, many national parks never charge an entrance fee, so you can plan inexpensive visits year round!

Find a park near you.
Thanks for the reminder Karen!

Don't forget to get your free chocolate, free smoothies, and free root beer floats today! So much for getting the rest of the baby weight off. . . :-)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Free Root Beer Floats on Friday

Celebrate A&W's 90th birthday with a FREE root beer float, no purchase necessary! This Friday, June 19th, from 2-8pm, get a free small root beer float. One per person. This will be a nice dessert after dinner! Thanks, Deal Seeking Mom!

And in case you missed it, don't forget to print your coupons for free smoothies at Orange Juilius--we're getting ours after lunch on Friday!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

JuiceBoxJungle Parenting Videos

Did you notice the new video player I have on my blog? If you subscribe via Google Reader or email you will have to click through to my blog to see it. It is on the right side under the labels.

I'm excited to have joined the Jungle Ad Network! JuiceBoxJungle offers parenting videos that are cute and relevant. They won't start playing automatically, so you can choose whether or not you'd like to watch it. They are only a few minutes long and are about topics I'm sure you can relate to.

After you embed their video widget on your blog's homepage (anywhere!) they will pay you for the number of page views on your blog, not by how many people actually view the videos. How do they do this? They sell advertising space on the widget and then split the profits (50%) with bloggers! Once you earn $50, they send you a check. Easy! Here's more about the Jungle Ad Network directly from them: The Jungle Ad Network is an invitation-only ad network for bloggers and sites in the parenting space. Rather than simply selling banner ads on your site, we provide you with great parenting content, having already sold the advertising for that content, and then we share the revenue with you. We like you that much.

Since the Jungle Ad Network is by invitation only, email me or leave a comment if you are interested in joining and I will forward your blog address and email address to them so you can get started! You won't get rich this way, but every little bit helps since you are blogging anyway!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Doubling Coupons

Kris asked a couple of good questions that I thought others might be wondering about:
"When you buy the cereal, do they count the full $20ish toward your minimum $25 purchase, or do they immediately take off the $10 so only $15ish counts toward your total? Also, can you turn around and use your milk coupons on your next transaction right after the first? I was thinking of having an additional small purchase so I could use the coupons for milk right away, is that allowed?"
They take off the $10 right away (because it is a sale price), so you will have to purchase more in order to make it to the $25 before coupons. Yes, you can use your milk coupons on your next order, as I always do. So if you buy the 6 cereal and 2 cookie dough, you are going to be at about $16 after sale prices but before coupons, so you would need a few more items in there to make it to $25. Then you will take off your coupons, bringing your final total down to $15 or so.

Another consideration is that you may want to split your cereal and cookie dough into 2 orders, depending on your coupons, so they can all double. If you are buying 6 cereals, you may have 6 coupons for those (though only 5 could double, so make sure the higher ones are on the top of your pile). Then you wouldn't have room in that transaction to double the cookie dough coupons, so you either need to do those in a different $25 order, or take into consideration that they will be $2 each instead of $1 each (if you were able to double the coupons). Make sense?

If this is as clear as mud to you, don't be afraid to email me or leave a comment. I want to help you save money! :-)

Cereal, Milk, and Cookie Dough!

Get your coupons and calculators, it's time to prepare for double coupon Wednesday!

The biggest deals I see are opportunities to earn coupons for free milk with the purchase of cereal or cookie dough. (Sorry, no pictures since my internet doesn't seem to want to upload today.)
  • General Mills Cereal, buy 6 boxes in a single order and get $10 off plus 2 coupons for free milk! The cereal is usually priced around $3.25 a box, so you can figure the cereal will be about $20, minus $10=$10 for 6 boxes and 2 gallons of milk! You can lower your OOP for the cereal by using coupons. Click here for General Mills coupons ($0.55/1, $1/3, $0.50/1, $0.75/1) and also here for $1 off Cheerios coupons, and check here and here. . Remember you can print 2 of each coupon. Lower your OOP even more by shopping on double coupon day! Depending on which coupon you use on which cereal, you could get 6 boxes of cereal and 2 gallons of milk for less than $2!
  • Buy 2 Nestle Cookie Dough at 2/$6 and get a coupon for one free gallon of milk!
    Go here and register if you need to. Then print out a coupon for $1/1 cookie dough, then hit the back button to print it again. Buy 2 cookie doughs on double coupon day and they will be $1 each after coupons, plus you get a free gallon of milk (usually around $2.09). If your family drinks milk anyway, you can look at it as getting the cookie dough for free! :-)
  • Cottonelle Bath Tissue, Viva, or Scott Paper Towels, $5.99, limit 2. $0.50 off Cottonelle, $1 off Scott Paper Towels, both in 6/14 SS coupon insert, $1/4 Scott mega rolls here.
  • Viva or Scott Paper Towels Single Rolls, $1.79. $0.50/2 coupon here.
  • Tombstone Pizza, 4/$10. Save your receipts and you could get $ back for bills! See here for details.
Spend $25 in one order before coupons and you will be able to double 5 coupons (so your final total could be $15 if you used 5 $1 coupons that took off $10). If your family usually spends $50 or more a week, consider splitting your groceries into two orders and then you can double 10 coupons. Just put a divider between your groceries on the belt. I do it every week (in fact last week I did 4 transactions and doubled 20 coupons, so it really is fine to do it this way).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Free Smoothies at Orange Julius

Did you hear about Free Light Smoothie Day at Orange Julius? Print out a coupon here (click on download coupon and shrink the size before printing) and get a free Light Smoothie on Friday, June 19th! Offer valid for one 20 oz. Light Smoothie per person, either Strawberry Delight™, Tropical Sunlight™, or Berry-Pom Twilight™.

Yum, I love Orange Julius, especially when it is free! I am so there! :-)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Separate Transactions

Our grocery store is running a promotion where you can earn free grocery gift cards by collecting "premiums" when you spend $50 or more in a single transaction. I used to take advantage of this promotion, but since they now have double coupon day every week, it doesn't make sense to participate anymore. Let me explain.

You have to collect 6 premiums to earn a $10 gift card. That means you have to spend $50 six times in an 8 week period to get a $10 gift card. If you spend $50 a week in groceries already, you may be thinking this is a great thing because you'll save an extra $10.

However, if you are willing to take a little extra time shopping with a calculator, you can triple your savings by splitting your $50 worth of groceries into 2 transactions and shopping on double coupon day because they will double 5 coupons per $25 transaction.

Let me give you an example. Most of the coupons I double are $1 printable coupons, so let's say I have ten $1 coupons per week. If I pay for all my groceries together and spend $50, I can only double five $1 coupons, saving $10 plus $5 in non-doubled coupons, or $15. If I split those same groceries into two $25 transactions, I can double 5 coupons per transaction (therefore all ten $1 coupons), saving $20 over the two transactions. I bought the same amount of groceries, but I saved $5 more by doubling ALL my coupons. If I do this every week for the 6 weeks, I'll save $30 on my own instead of earning a $10 gift card! In addition, you get this savings right away and you don't have any premiums to keep track of.

It takes a little more practice to shop this way, and unless you're really good at math, you'll need a calculator. Enter the price of an item as soon as it goes into your cart. When you hit $25, start a new transaction on your calculator, keeping your groceries and coupons separate. Putting 2 grocery baskets into your cart can help you keep things straight, and I paper clip each order's coupons together and put them with that batch of groceries.

Imagine if you started doing this every week all year. $5 a week adds up, doesn't it? It adds up to $260, in fact! That's a whole month's worth of groceries I essentially got for free by doubling coupons and doing separate transactions! Now I don't know if I explained it well, so if you need clarification, I'm happy to help. Just leave a comment or email me. I want to help you earn free groceries, too!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Besides my CVS trip on Sunday, I also went to Target and the grocery store this week (on double coupon day, of course!).

At Target I got 2 Kraft BBQ sauce, a bottle of Kraft salad dressing, and 2 Kraft Mayo for $0 after coupons! I actually would have had $0.15 overage, but I didn't buy anything else, so they just adjusted my total down to $0.

I also went to the grocery store where I did 4 separate transactions so I could use more of those great Kraft coupons that were expiring this week. My store only doubles 5 coupons per $25 order, so this way I was able to double 20 coupons. I also used some coupons for free products (like Free Chocolate Friday and free Diet Mtn Dew from BzzAgent) to help reach my total. Highlights were free Cheerios, free Wheat Thins, free 100 Calorie Packs, free Philadelphia cream cheese, free Cascade rinse agent, free Easy Mac, and of course free Diet Mtn Dew and free chocolate! Almost free items included Jell-O pudding (for Amish Friendship Bread), Triscuits, Minute Rice, Flat Earth Chips, and Ortega enchilada sauce. I also bought coleslaw and sausage to make our version of Mahndu (a Korean dish our family likes), bread flour so I can make more delicious homemade bread, produce, milk, garlic bread, ice cream, and 2 meals worth of ribs.

I have to admit I screwed up. I could have saved more if I had read the fine print. The Triscuits, Wheat Thins, and 100 Calorie Packs were on sale 2/$4, but there was a limit of 2 per transaction. I bought 4 each in 2 transactions and had to pay $0.79 each for 2 boxes of crackers and $1.19 each for 2 boxes of 100 Calorie Packs, when I could have bought 2 each in my 4 transactions and gotten them all for free. Sigh. This has happened to me before, so you would think I would learn to read the fine print!

On a more positive note, I received some rebate checks in the mail from items I had bought in February and April. Since the purchase of those items came out of the grocery budget, the checks go back into the grocery budget.

Groceries: $51.17 (59 items)
Target: $0 (5 items)
Rebate Checks Received: -$3.47 (Grande Chips) and -$3.69 (All-Bran)
Week 2 Total: $44.01
Week 1 Total: $38.47
June Total so far: $82.48

How about you? Are you getting better at the grocery game? Is your monthly bill lower?

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