Wednesday, April 30, 2008

From my garden

It is so cool for me to write that -- my garden!

I've tried planting things -- bell peppers, tomotoes -- in the past, but they grew to be the size of my thumb. This year, John made me a really nice garden area, and I've planted the usual bell peppers and cucumbers, but I added some spinach, lettuce, and spring mix. Honestly, I had no idea that spring mix grew all together. I just thought that bag I'd sometimes buy was a mixture of several *different* plants. When my spring mix started growing, I was so excited. It actually looked like something you'd eat. (The peppers and cucumber aren't nearly there yet.)

This evening, I cut some of my spring mix and made a little salad for our dinner (I did have to supplement with some bagged salad, too, but the picture is all from my garden.)

I am learning the ways of the dirt, though. I clipped the veggies, washed them off, and patted them dry. Then I put them in a bowl and snapped this picture. After that, I discovered a tiny little inchworm creaping along the leaves. Since I had planned a different protein for our dinner, I soaked the leaves in water to drown any other living creatures before rinsing and patting dry again.
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Drugstore Deals

This is a tricky week, in a good way, as the monthly sales are ending and starting in addition to new weekly deals. At Walgreens, you can use both the April and May EasySaver deals until tomorrow, 4/28. At CVS, the May deals will start on the 1st, so you can wrap up your April deals this week.

Here are some high points:
Walgreens
Con-Agra foods, buy $10, get a $5 rebate (May)
* I bought
--2 Orville Redenbacker popcorns for $5
-- 3 Hunt's Snack-Pack pudding 4 packs for $3
-- 4 cans Butterball chicken broth for $2

Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil is on sale 4 for $3. I am waiting on some coupon trades to arrive in the mail early this week for $.55 of each, making them 20 cents per roll.

April Deal ending this week -- free after rebate on Colgate 360 toothbrush + $1/off coupon in today's paper = $1 profit

CVS
The Softsoap deal has changed up a bit -- a bigger size and price, still free after ECB. There is a dollar coupon in today's paper, making for a $1 profit.

All (brand) detergents are buy one, get one. I am stocked up on detergent, but I peeked at the shelf anyway. The Small & Mighty free and clear had a tag for $1.59 (normal price is 6.49). That can't be right, I thought, but I stuck two in my basket. I had a $1/off coupon, too! I had the checker verify the price before she started scanning, and sure enough, on clearance for $1.59 minus my $1 coupon. Now, I did not get the second one free. Sure, I could have complained and had her fix that, but I felt like it was a good deal -- 4 cents / load, compared to my price point of 13 cents/load. If any are left tomorrow, I'll get two more and see if they'll honor the buy one get one since I don't have another coupon.

The CVS generic of Neosporin with pain-relief is on for buy two (3.99 each) get $5 in ECB. I need one for my purse now that skinned knee season is upon us, so I bought those and got my ECB.

Links
I've found two sites really helpful in planning ahead and getting ideas for savings:
Hot Coupon World and Slick Deals (forum). Check those out. For next week, I'll gather some links to my favorite frugal bloggers.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Night Videos

I don't get to watch much SNL these days, but the Jeopardy parodies were fabulous. Funny or Die has them. (If you haven't seen the Landlord video on Funny or Die, check that out, too.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Drugstore Deals

CVS has improved upon their Speedstick deal from earlier this month, now offering it free after ECBs. I plan to get a few more later this week.

Walgreens April Easy Saver has a $5 rebate on a $10 purchase of Garnier products. I has several $2/off coupons plus an in-store $2/off coupon on hair color. I bought one hair color (7.99 - 2 coupon - 2 coupon = 3.99) and one hair conditioning masque (3.99 - 2 coupon = 1.99) Total out-of-pocket after $5 rebate = $.98)

My best deals this week are not from the drugstores, though, but from HEB.

(good only until 4/22, so hurry!)
Diet Coke (and other coke products) 12 packs
3 for $11
in-store coupon for buy 3 12 px, get a 24 px free
That makes 5 12 px for $11
GREAT DEAL (and if you sign up for mycokerewards, you're halfway to a free 12 pack with this purchase.)

Feline Pine Cat Litter (one of our two choice brands) is $4.99. There is a $3 in-store coupon, making it $1.99. There's also a mail-in rebate. I'll save that for a non-coupon purchase, though.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Night Videos

I managed to remember to post videos two weeks in a row. :-) Here are some funnies for this week.

IT'S RAINING MCCAIN


And Colbert Report News Flash: White Men to Decide this Election
So, we get the EdWords from John Edwards on how to get the white male vote
(Since we don't have cable, I don't get to watch the Colbert Report much, but we were at a hotel last night and I got to watch and enjoy.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Workout Update

Last week, my gym offered a free class on fitness and nutrition, and they were raffling off some personal training sessions. I'm a lucky girl on stuff like that, so I figured I'd go, maybe learn something, maybe get something for free. Well, honestly, I didn't learn anything and I didn't win, either. They did offer a discounted rate on their training, though, so I gave in to the marketing pressure and hired a personal trainer for twelve sessions. I've been working out for a couple of months now, and I'm just not feeling as fabulous as I did that first week or so. I think I've just been going through the motions without pushing myself. I met with my trainer today. She started with the measurements, and let me just say, OHMYGOSHDOIEVERNEEDTOGETMYBUTTINGEAR! The truth is humiliating!

Anyway, I'll be sore tomorrow, I know. My plan is to go with two sessions a week with her, at least for the first few weeks. I may stretch it to once a week after a few gos if I want to make the twelve session last a bit longer.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Drugstore Deals versus Costco Stock-up

I remember one of the first tips I read about couponing / bargain shopping was to have a target price list for the things you regularly buy. I know I already mentioned that it's important NOT to be brand loyal, but I do have a few things I prefer to be loyal on. Diet Cokes -- that's a must. Charmin toilet paper is strongly preferred. Bounty paper towels are preferred but are not a must. And my detergent must be stink-free -- I don't care what brand, but it must not have scents and dyes. (It is amazing how I didn't even notice the smells until I switched to scent-free. Now, I occasionally fine other people's clothing offensive.)

I'm slowly compiling my list, but since I often buy some of these things in bulk at Costco and they do not take manufacturer coupons, I needed to do some research there to determine if CVS / Walgreens / others were offering good deals. So today, while I enjoyed a lovely ladies' luncheon after church, John trudged through Costo with Caroline and my spiral notebook recording a few prices for me. (Thank you! Love you!)

Costco Price
* price to stockpile other sale / coupon deals
------
12 ct. BIG rolls Bounty paper towels................$16.99 (regularly see $2/off cpn)
*less than $1.25 per big roll (YIKES!! We don't use paper towels that often as I try to use washcloths mostly in the kitchen and cloth napkins at meals and rags for cleaning. But still -- I think I'll work on cutting back even more on the paper towels.)

30 rolls Charmin Ultra toilet paper.................$17.99 (regularly see $2/off cpn)
*less than 53 cents per big roll

Kirkland Free and Clear, 96 loads....................$12.99
*anything well below $.135 per load.

Diet Coke (32 12 oz cans) ...........................$ 8.09
*$3 or less per 12-pack

----
Last week, Walgreens had a sale on their Coke products, four for $12 / buy four get $2 register rewards, so I stocked up on diet cokes last week. (yes, I realize if I plan to skimp on paper towels that it would make sense to cut out the diet cokes, and I know I had tried that in the fall. I'm really enjoying my vices for a few months here, so cut me some slack!) Between Walgreens, CVS, and Target, I should be able to get my diet cokes at less than $3/pack anytime.

This week, Walgreens has their All detergents (including Free and Clear, regularly ~$6.50) on sale for $3.99. Plus, if you buy six select Unilever products (including All) you get $6 in Register Rewards, making the detergent $2.99 for a 2x ultra doing 32 loads. That came to $.093 per load, so I bought all they had. :-)

Walgreens is also offering their Charmin Ultra toilet paper (six rolls) 2 / $6. (Bounty is also on sale but didn't work out for a better deal.) I had a coupon for $1 off one pack and another coupon for .25 off one pack. I bought two packs, totalling twelve rolls, for $4.75 after coupon, which came to $.395 per roll. I only bought the two rolls as I only had the two coupons (and I think there was a limit anyway.)

All in all, nothing FREE this week, but some good deals. Oh, and CVS brand diapers and pull-ups are buy one get one free this week. So I got two 26 packs of pull-ups (Caroline still wears one at night, even though she's dry about 1/3 of the time the next morning...maybe we'll be out of pull-ups soon) for $8.99. I like that these just have pictures of little girls and not princesses or other characters, too. Added bonus for Ms. Anti-Marketing-Aimed-at-Tots.

I also used the Walgreens coupon for two Crest toothpastes for $3 and coupled it with a $1 / off two manufacturer coupon I had, getting two toothpastes for .75 each. I have quite a bit of toothpaste here already, so I'm donating those, along with some shampoo and conditioner I got on sale, to a mission our church serves. In my reading about working the CVS/Walgreens deals, I see lots of encouragement to donate your deals because, really, I don't need to stockpile more than a few months worth of stuff, right? :-)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Night Videos

Who knows if I'm cool and savvy enough to do this EVERY week, but *this* week, I have some videos to share.
I love Hillary! (I especially like the part that starts at 4:32) but I realize that we, the press, are a mighy sword.


and

I *heart* Weird Al!


And check out this one, too,"White and Nerdy"

Totally unrelated, I know, but videos that made me laugh a lot and cry a little this week.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What color is your sun?

Watercoloring with Caroline this afternoon, I realized that we all really do see the world differently. I was creating a lovely watercolor landscape (trying to get across the idea of rinsing the brush in the water between colors) when I started to add a sun to my painting. A yellow sun. I narrated as I drew the sun but was quickly cut off with the directive that I should be using orange. The moon is yellow; the sun is orange. Now, I disagree, seeing for myself that the moon is white, and the sun is yellow, but I can see her point. I vividly remember disagreeing with my kindergarten teacher over the color of trees. We were given coloring pages, poorly mimeographed so that the words were hardly legible. Each item on the page was labeled with a color. The label for the tree trunks was totally illegible, save for the first letter B. Well, I knew that one and didn't need to ask for clarification. Tree trunks are black. My teacher disagreed with me (as she so often did. I could probably write a years' worth of blog entries about my kindergarten challenges.) I grew up surrounded by pine trees, which certainly have black trunks. If she wanted brown trunks, she should have made better copies or moved herself somewhere north.

So, I decided not to argue with my daughter about the orange-ness of the sun. And I'll never take away her chair just because she doesn't sit in it or ridicule her for finding a clever shortcut for a ridiculously mundane task1. (But enough of my own K-bitterness.)

1 - In kindergarten, EVERY SINGLE DAY, we had to write our numbers on Big Chief tablets. It just took FOREVER. I just hated writing those numbers, over and over again. One day, I realized what a waste writing the tens digit for all the teens was, since it was the same number over and over,1-0, 1-1, 1-2... and that tens digit was just a line after all. I got out my ruler, drew a line right down the page, and then proceeded to add the second digit to all the teens. Pretty smart, I think. My teacher did not agree.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Drugstore Deals


This week's deal
-- free toothpaste
Location
-- Walgreen's (also right on the corner. right across from the CVS mentioned last week)
Details
-- Aquafresh on sale this week $2 / each
-- had two different coupons on file -- $1 / off Aquafresh Extreme Clean; $1 / Aquafresh Advanced
-- bought one of each
-- Walgreen's is offering an EasySaver mail-in rebate off of one Aquafresh purchase (up to 3.99 value) this month, so at the end of the month, I'll compile this receipt with any other rebate items I buy this month and get my $2 back.

FREE TOOTHPASTE!
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Friday, April 04, 2008

Fun with Doll Pins


I try to introduce the upcoming week's Gospel reading to Caroline in some way the prior week, and this week's reading is the walk to Emmaus. As a youth, we had an annual weekend retreat / conference named Hot Hearts after this event (and a quick google search shows that it is still going on.)

Caroline and I used some doll pins I had bought during that Joanne's moving clearance sale months ago and made a few people (or disciples as was our original intent.) The day we made them, I mentioned that I'd need to look online again to figure out how to make them stand on their own as ours were not very stable.

The next day, I told her the story of the men walking and talking about the resurrection, then being joined by Jesus. I had picked out a few heart stickers to give her as I read the part about their "hearts burn(ing) within us." She had the men prance about, and Jesus join them. Then I handed her a heart sticker to put on her shirt. She moved as if to put it on the doll pin, and I told her that would be fine. Then she put it on the bottom of the pin, sticky side up, and told me that "Now he can stand up."

Out of the minds of babes! Why didn't I think of that?
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