Making Couponing Work for You

I have been an on and off couponer for about 2 years now. I will faithfully clip coupons, watch sales and save a ton of money and then I will get lazy and forget about it for a week or two... Or until I have to go to the grocery store next. Then the bill gives me heart palpitations and I have to start clipping again.

So I have learned a couple of things to help save me time.

1) I use two websites: for my national stores and for my regional stores. There are a TON of sites out there but basically they just do the coupon matchups for you so you aren't searching constantly for coupons.

2) I don't cut out coupons anymore! That's right. I buy 2 newspapers on Sunday (check to make sure the correct inserts are in the papers before buying). Then I write the date on the front and file them in my file cabinet. After I make my grocery list, I ONLY clip the coupons I am going to need that week.

I am not an extreme couponer. Why? You may ask... because I care what my family eats. I don't care if I walk out of a store with a cart full of Ramen Noodles and Hamburger Helper for free if I haven't bought one fruit or veggie. As a matter of fact, I only buy things like Hamburger Helper because my brother-in-law is on an end of the world kick and I feel the need to stash just in case. LOL. But I try not to go overboard either. My kids love Pop Tarts, as you will see in a minute, and I am not going to deprive them of everything.

So this week was a rather "unhealthy" shopping trip. But I was pretty stocked up on everything so I just went for the really good deals. I usually am able to keep my budget at $100 a week. I can buy all my couponing foods, personal care, paper products, cleaners and diapers (!!!) for $50 and then my meat and veggies usually make up another $50. I do get my beef and eggs from a local farmer who has grass fed beef and free range eggs. I stock up on organic milk when it goes on sale but also can get awesome coupon deals on rice and almond milk which I buy a lot. Most of my veggies come from Trader Joes. They have great consistent deals on organic veggies and more natural snacks.

Here is what I bought for just over $30 between Target and Meijer:

  • 8 Boxes Kellogs Pop Tarts - Priced at $2.19 B3G1 At Target.
    Used (2) $1/3 coupons making them $1.39 each
  • Green Works Cleaning Wipes - Priced at $2.36 at Target
    Used (1) $1/1 coupon and (1) $1/1 Target mobile coupon making it $0.36
  • 2 Boxes Aquafresh Fresh N' Fruity Toothpaste - Priced at 2/$3 at Target
    Used (2) $1/1 coupons making them $0.50 each
  • Mossimo Scoop Neck T-Shirt - Priced at $6 at Target
    Used $3/1 Target coupon making it $3
  • 4 Packages Oscar Meyer Lunch Meat - Priced at $2.49 at Meijer and part of the Buy 8 get $8 off deal.
    Total came to $1.49 each.
  • 4 Packages Kraft Shredded Cheese - Priced at $2.49 at Meijer and part of the Buy 8 get $8 off deal.
    Total came to $1.49 each.
  • 1 8oz Block Kraft Cheddar Cheese - Priced at $2.49 at Meijer and part of the Buy 8 get $8 off deal.
    Total came to $1.49 each.
  • 2 Blocks Philaldelphia Cream Cheese - Priced at $1.99 at Meijer and part of the Buy 8 get $8 off deal.
    Total came to $0.99 each.
  • 4 Boxes Velvetta Skillet Meals (for my stash) - Priced at $1.99 at Meijer and part of the Buy 8 get $8 off deal.
    Also used (4) $0.50/1 coupons (which are doubled at Meijer) and (2) $0.50/2 Meijer coupons making them a $1.00 MONEYMAKER!
  • 1 Bag Kraft Homestyle Mac N Cheese (because I needed another item to make the 8) Priced at $1.99 at Meijer and part of the Buy 8 get $8 off deal.
    Total came to $0.99
  • 4 Boxes Whole Grain Barilla Pasta - Priced at 5/$5 at Meijer
    Used (4) $1/1 coupons making them FREE!

My total from both stores with tax was $31.88. Meat and cheese deals are hard to come by so stock up for a few weeks when you find them. Don't be afraid to freeze those babies! We were good on both so all of mine went straight to the freezer.

For The Love of Spring...

The weather here has been just gorgeous. I have to say there is no place prettier to view spring than the north. From the moment the trees and bushes start to get that green hue I can feel my heart long for the warm sunshine of spring.

Here are a couple of beautiful blooming views from my front porch:

Last week we took a bike ride to Sonic and enjoyed an afternoon treat.

And have managed to spend almost every evening at the neighborhood park.

I don't even know if I want summer to get here! :-)

Monday Meal Plan

I have to say I have been super organized this week. I don't know if its the pretty weather that makes me want to spend the afternoons free and outside or if its the fact that I have come to the realization that one day of unorganization throws off my whole week.

Anyway, last night I grocery shopped and then prepped/cooked meals for the entire week! Yep! That is a REALLY good feeling.

I have been pinning some amazing meals on Pinterest so two of them I will share. Our meal plan this week looks like this:

Meatless Monday: Loaded Baked Potatoes and Salad
Tuesday: White Chicken Enchiladas, Corn Chips and Salsa
Wednesday: Salisbury Steak, Green Beans, Wild Rice, Bread
Thursday: Chick-Fil-A Chicken Bites with Honey Musturd Sauce, Fruit Bowl, Potato Wedges
Friday: Pizza

We are headed to VA to see my seester on Friday after ball practice so I plan on letter her cook all weekend! Hehe. Just kidding!

Hope you are all having a WONDERFUL monday!

The Green Monster Smoothie

I have a new obsession and it comes in the form of a smoothie.

The Green Monster Smoothie to be exact.

Let me tell you, these things are fabulous! I know they look and sound disgusting but I think I could drink them for every meal. My kids begs for them every morning and I love that I have a full serving of veggies as soon as I get out of bed!

I have been playing around with the recipe and have a couple that I really love.

Peanut Butter Recipe:

1 frozen banana
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (I use the individual serving size cups)
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon peanut butter 
2 cups of spinach

Pineapple Recipe:

1 frozen banana
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup chopped pineapple
2 cups of spinach

Put it all in the blender and blend until smooth. Don't feel guilty that you can love veggies this much!!!

Rave Theater Field Trip!

Last week we went on a field trip to the local Rave Theater and to see The Lorax! The field trip was amazing and I could not have been more pleased with the hospitality of the managers and staff. 

Here are my little guys after touring the concession stands and learning that this theater alone sells over 400,000 bags of popcorn a year!

We got to also tour the production suite where all the magic happens and learned a couple more interesting fact. For instance, this bulb here that is used to light the projector, cost approximately $4,500 a piece and is 6500 watts.

And that one projector weighs almost 425 lbs and costs approximately $250,000.

The Lorax was up next and the kids loved it! It was cute and even kept Avery's interest. 

Although the popcorn and soda did help. :-)

Some other cool things we learned were:

  • There are approximately 21 speakers in an average size theater.
  • The screens are actually silver instead of white (hence the term "silver screen") and contain millions of tiny holes to reflect the light from the projectors.
  • The 3D image is now created by mirrors which rotate at 2,000 times per second and keeps you from getting that "sea sick" feeling.
  • The movies now come on a hard drive instead of the reels that we used to see. They have special "keys" which make the movies only viewable for the amount of time allowed by the theaters.
  • 95% of the movie profits of a Rave Theater goes back to the franchise. Most of the profits are made from concessions - which is why they are so expensive!

Working Woman vs the Stay at Home Mom

In light of the recent "accusations" of the SAHM. I thought I would write a post. I hope to keep politics out of my blog as much as possible as we live in a FREE country. And whom you choose to vote for is your decision. I hate the bickering, back-stabbing, and arguing over whose right and whose wrong. Do your research. Don't stretch the facts. And for heaven's sake stop complaining and VOTE.

Anyway. Getting off my soapbox... After hearing the recent statements of the SAHM I thought I would give some opinions. First of all, I am both. I have the privilege of mostly working from home. My kids maybe stay with a sitter 2 times a month. Other than that, they are with me. ALL THE TIME. All the time, because not only do I work and stay home with my kids, I have chosen to home school them. And although I wouldn't have it any other way, there are some days I want to pull my hair out.

Being a mother is the highest and toughest job a woman can have. Lets not forget that we are RAISING the next generation of politicians, businessmen and women, MOTHERS, doctors, lawyers, ext. I'm not saying that a working mom doesn't work hard. Its super hard to work and then come home and maintain the laundry, cooking, cleaning, homework, and everything else that comes with that. I know. I've been there too. But what I miss the most about working is the break. The break to clear your mind even if you are typing papers, answering phones, or juggling a mirage of company issues. Sure its stressful. But so is being at home 24 HOURS a day. The constant question answering, meltdown handling, and schedule organizing.

And on top of all of that, who are we to say that SAHM's can't have a grasp on the world around us? I'm sure there are some women who just don't care. But I'm sure there are just as many men. I want to stay on top of  politics, the economy, our nation's security and the job market. And being the "sheltered" SAHM that I am can say that I'm pretty informed about most of it. I read a lot of books, stay on top of the news, and in my little "sheltered" side of the SAHM world can hold my own in a good debate.

Not only does a SAHM have to be a mom, but she has to be every aspect of our economy. Raising our children to be well rounded while juggling the day to day of that job.  She has made a great sacrifice to give up some things to raise her children, which I truly believe that while our kids our young, is our highest calling. I know not all moms can do it. But I also know that not all moms have the guts to.

A Daddy's Love

There's no love like a Daddy's love. I am can say this first hand after having a wonderful Daddy to love and protect me through childhood.

I never thought too much about how much that love meant to me though until I had a little girl of my own. Jarrod is the youngest of 4 boys and having never grown up with girls, had a slight panic attack when we found our Avery was a girl. 

There was no need for all that worry however. From the moment that little girl entered the world she has had her Daddy wrapped around her little finger. All she has to do is smile and I see him melt away. Every night at bedtime she comes and grabs his hand, pulling him up to her bedroom saying "Come snuggle me, Daddy!" To which he ALWAYS obliges. 

So this morning at the kitchen table, it was no surprise to me when out of the blue Avery looks up and says, "My Daddy loves me." With one of her biggest smiles ever.

A daddy's love is like no other. Every girl deserves a good Daddy who loves her. It breaks my heart when I hear stories of little girls who are abused, uncared for, unloved and unshaped by their fathers. Dad's you have more power to shape your daughter into the mother's of the next generation probably more than anyone else in their lives. They will learn to love, care, and be accepted first by you. 

Don't let your little girl down. She needs you.

Wine Review

If you haven't had the chance to try out this wine you are totally missing out. Jarrod picked it up a few weeks ago and I am pretty convinced it is our new favorite. I have always been a Moscato girl but if you want something sweet and light this one is really tops. 

Costing a whopping $5.99 makes it even better. So far I have only been able to find it at Walmart. But it is way worth the extra stop on the way home.

Go try it out and let me know what you think!

*I did not receive any type of compensation for this review. Just a product I loved and though I would share about.

Parenting 101... or Something like that.

I can not count the number of times I have asked God just to give me a manual for parenting. The daily decisions, choices, reactions, and responses weigh on me as a mom sometimes. I know, after having 3 babies of my own, that there is no "cookie cutter" plan to raising the perfect children. They are all different, react to punishment different and respond to our parenting different.

Jarrod and I found ourselves in one of those situations last week when our oldest "found" $60 laying in the grass outside of our rental house. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and there were kids playing everywhere in the neighborhood. The boys had been visiting the local "petting zoo" which was set up by some neighborhood kids and consisting of a cat, dog, and a couple of frogs. Thinking maybe they dropped the money, Jarrod started off across the yard to hunt down the parents and find out. He found out it wasn't theirs and also that Jayden had paid the girls $20 for one of their pet frogs. Making the mysterious money total $80.

Jayden is a very driven child. He is constantly asking for chores to earn money. He saves every penny he finds and he always has a new goal of a toy or game he wants to buy with it. We have had a couple of incidents in the past of him taking $5 or $10 he saw laying around and although we talked to him about taking things that were not his, we felt he was too young to understand it was "stealing". Until last weekend.

We found the $80 missing from Jarrod's wallet and new we had to take control of this situation immediately. We decided not to react immediately but to think about it overnight and decide what would make the most impact on his behavior. Our decision was to not only make him pay back the $80 he stole but that he would also owe us an additional $80. He reluctantly emptied out his piggy bank of $50 and we set up a chore chart with a $5 a week allowance that he would owe us for the next 6 weeks.

It was heart breaking for me. There is nothing worse than seeing your child broken hearted but I also don't want my son being the one in jail at 16 for stealing.

What would you do?


I promise the April 1st giveaway was not an April Fools joke. It has been a totally crazy weekend getting our rental house ready for new tenants and I totally forgot the giveaway ended on Sunday! Please forgive me. 

Thanks to everyone who participated and to all my new followers! I've got some other awesome giveaways coming up so stay tuned!

So according to Random.Org... the winner is...

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If you will send me your address I will get your gift mailed right out! 
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