Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Advantages of Having a Birthday

I was going to title this advantages of getting older, but beyond turning 16 and being able to drive, what advantage is there?  Right.

My birthday is at the end of October and my mailbox is filling up with goodies!  My mom, sister, and I spend the night at a hotel in another city for our birthdays and have girls' time.  We usually go shopping, eat a lot, and just hang out.  So these mall coupons I get are going to be used for sure!  So far I have received (mainly all from shopping at their stores, even just once a year!)

- Free Starbucks drink.  Venti Pumpkin Spice Cream Based Frappucino, anyone?
- $15 Victoria's Secret Giftcard
- $15 off any purchase made with The Limited card this month.  In the past it's been a $10 giftcard, but this works, too, as I'll get points for using my card.
- and 25% off any Gap purchase when you use your Gap card.  Don't they know I currently have a 30% off coupon?  Oh well.

My husband doesn't get why I get so excited for birthdays.  Maybe if he got stuff like this in the mail he'd get excited! :)

In other news, it has been raining cats and dogs here the last few days.  I didn't even go to Farm Fresh yesterday because I was done being out in the rain.  That, and the deals were good, but not spectacular.  Not great enough to get me out there.

Yard sale preparations are moving along.  The forecast is showing a sunny day for Saturday, so let's hope the weatherman is right!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rite Aid and Candy Corn

Whew, it's a busy week!  My spare bedroom is still a nightmare as it has yard sale items in it.  It's an organized chaos, but chaos nonetheless.

I made a quick trip to Rite Aid this week because I found out the Nexxus deal was going to get even better!  It is B1G1 50% off this week, there is a $6/2 Video Values coupon, AND if you were lucky enough to snag one of those elusive coupon books from the store a couple of months back, another $2 off coupon.  When you spend $20 you get a $7 Up Reward.  After everything, I got $32 worth of shampoo (one 33 oz bottle and a shampoo with free conditioner pack) for $11.  Of course I still used a $5/$25 coupon, but put some more things in the buggy, so that discount kind of disappeared. ;)

My memory card is still not inputting, but I'll show you a picture of what I'm going to be working on:

Of course I'd like to think it's not nearly as much work as it really is going to be.  Here is the link with the instructions.

Also while at Rite Aid, I ran across some 75% off Starbucks coffee.  $9.49 bags for $2.37?  I think that if you're getting a Christmas present from me, you can be pretty confident it's going to include Starbucks (well, assuming you like coffee :)).  Plus, making it even better is that when you finish the coffee bag, you can take it to a Starbucks store and get a free tall coffee!

I also got two bags of candy corn for said wreath and some feminine hygeine products.  I paid with $11 worth of Up Rewards, spent $11.30 out of pocket and got back $8 in Up Rewards for the next great sales week.

Then I ran to Farm Fresh to grab some crab legs and margarine.  That was $17.  It's so weird to walk out with 3 items for that much vs. last week when I spent $40 and got 50+ items.

Speaking of Farm Fresh, even though it wasn't advertised yet this week, the cashier said their new policy is .99 doubles everyday and $1 doubles every Wednesday.  It had been like that the past few months on and off, but she said it's standard now.  You better believe Wednesday is going to be my official grocery day.  Boring, yes, but worth it?  Absolutely.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rite Aid October Video Values

I knew I was forgetting something.  The October Video Values are up.  Looks like some really good coupons this month!

Weekend Rundown

Friday was a blur.  It feels like so long ago.  I know I went to work and went to City Hall to get a garage sale permit.

Yesterday morning our work had a carwash to benefit one of our coworkers who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.  Then lunch with the golfers (my dad and husband), laundry, gathering and dusting off items for next Saturday's yard sale (my spare bedroom looks like a warehouse), then it hit.  A horrible migraine.  So I did nothing for the next 4 hours besides take a pill, ice my neck, take a hot bath (I don't think that helped, but it was relaxing :)), and drink a Monster Energy drink.  Darn thing put quite a stitch in my plans.  I was going to get more housework done and then we were going to have dinner with friends, but neither happened.

So then the energy drink kicked in at 3 am.  I was using it for the caffeine to kick out the migraine, which did not work, instead it had me up and ready to tackle anything at 3 am.  Instead, I stayed in bed and made lists in my head until 6 am when I finally fell back asleep.

Famous last words, but the only "usual" shopping I plan to do this week besides hit up Farm Fresh on Wednesday to get some scent free Seventh Generation products (more on that in a minute) is go to CVS.  When you buy $25 in select P&G products you can get an Iron Man 2 DVD for $4.99.  Of course I have coupons and can stockpile some tp and paper towels.  In the listing done in my head last night, that with my CVS coupon will mean I pay $11 for everything, including the DVD.  The DVD will go with Jimmy's Christmas present and I can check one more thing off the list.

Remember when I bought 12 bottles of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner?  Okay, I only showed you 4 bottles, but I went back two more times over the next two weeks.  Thank goodness I bought so many, because I went to the website last night and found they now only carry fragrance-free laundry detergent.  Thankfully Seventh Generation has a Free & Clear line so I'm going to stock up on some at FF this Wednesday, because of course I have a coupon.  They constantly have coupons available on their website (love that!).  I used their Lemongrass & Thyme wipes yesterday but the scent still bothered me.  Jimmy is happy about this because he said the wipes smell like a mixture of a cab and camel butt.

That, in a nutshell, is the current excitement in my life.  After lunch my mom and I are working more on the yard sale and then I'm coming home for an early bedtime.  I'm thinking 7 pm sounds nice.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Daggone computer

Okay, well, you'll have to see my pictures later.  My memory card will not input into my laptop.  Sigh.  This better not mean my laptop is about to bite the dust!  We already had a near miss once this year, I have other plans for my yard sale profit that do not include purchasing a new computer.  Okay, well, I have no plans, but I definitely do not want to spend money on a new computer.

Anywho, Farm Fresh has really been stepping it up lately!  Their $1 doubles have been really great.  I spent $44.41 before tax, and saved a total of $58.03 which was a 57% savings.  I got to use those $3 off Wisk coupons that are expiring soon to get 32 load bottles for $1.50 each.  Guess what I'm doing this weekend?  Yep, washing everything in my house!  I have enough laundry detergent, you know.

I went to Target this afternoon.  Gulp.  The good news is I saved $15.67 plus got a lot of items on clearance, so probably saved close to $40 when you figure that in.  The bad news?  I spent $64.  Holy cow.  I did get back a $5 Target giftcard, though, does that count?  Also, about $15 was Christmas presents.  See, it doesn't look so bad now!

Time to pull out the fall decorations.  Might as well make him pull out the Christmas tree while we're in there, see if it should go in the trash now.  However today does not feel like fall.  It is 90 some degrees outside.  The back door is open, the AC is on and The Rachel Zoe Project is on my tv.

I'll try to get my laptop to behave and post pics and details later.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Farm Fresh Doubles

I'm having a slow start to a very busy day.  Oh boy.

Remember today is $1 doubles at Farm Fresh.  A Full Cup has the sales ad matched up for you.  You can click on shopping list and it will give you a printable version, where you can click just what you're interested in.  I'm going to try to get out there for a few minutes today.  Believe it or not, we're running low on milk.  At this point it may be cheaper to just buy a cow.

Hope you all have a great day! :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Busy Weekend

What a fun, but busy weekend!  It started Friday evening with date night.  Friday was 6 years since my husband and my first date, so he took me out for a fancy dinner.  We went to The Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg.  Unfortunately, they have recently changed ownership and it wasn't nearly as good as it was before. :(  They no longer offer the seasonal special dinner option, and it seemed a bit more expensive, too.  We now have to find a new special occasion spot.

He got steak and I got rainbow trout.

Saturday he went golfing and I slept in.  After lunch he took me to the library's used book sale.  I scored pretty well, spending a total of $8.50 out of pocket for everything.

Hopefully I can get a book or two read before my yard sale in two weeks so I can turn around and get rid of it.  We wouldn't want Jimmy thinking I'm a hoarder or anything...

Today I made cupcakes for dessert after lunch.  The homemade buttercream frosting was a little runny, but, again, we've discussed my lack of culinary skills already.

After lunch my mom and I tackled some pulling of garage sale items.  We should have a good little sale.  I told Jimmy that I'm selling off things so he can move the new things I've bought!

Now I'm at home being a golf widow again.  I'm taking a break from reading magazines and the dogs are napping, so it's a nice, quiet afternoon.  At least until he gets home and starts yelling at the tv/football game.  Will he ever realize they can't hear him?  :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Orange Cream and Other Ramblings

Freezer cooking has come to a halt.  Mainly due to my finding other things to do.  Yesterday it was watching tv, today it was reading magazines.  Marie Claire, House Beautiful, OK Magazine (don't judge! ;)).  Maybe tomorrow I'll get it done.

I made a quick trip to TJ Maxx today to look for a small whisk.  I did not find one, but I found Orange Cream Soda.  Yum!

  I also found another Santoku knife.  I love my Santoku knife and am planning on buying a Kapoosh knife block as I don't use but two of the knives in my current block set as frankly, they're not really good knives.

I ran to Farm Fresh for $1 doubles yesterday after work.  I spent $17 and saved $23.  Disclaimer:  I am in no way endorsed by either ADA--the American Dental Association or the American Dietary Association.  Ha!

I was able to "cherry pick" this week to get just the deals, with the exception of milk.  Once your stockpile is in place, you can shop just to get the deals.  Of course you have to make sure you'll eat it, or it's not a deal if you're just wasting money.  I guarantee those Cinnabon bars won't make it near the expiration date!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

CVS Trip

The magic coupon machine (love that thing!) spit out a $1 off 12 oz Starbucks coffee coupon.  The coffee is on sale this week for 6.99.  I was also using a $3/$10 grocery coupon from the CVS coupon machine, so after the 1.88 cereal and the $1 Milano cookies (used two .75 cent off coupons, too), it was all nice and cheap.

I used $10 in ECBs to pay
My total out of pocket before tax was .36 cents and I received back a $2 ECB for the Tylenol Precise

The Starbucks is going in a Christmas gift and the cookies may make it if I hide them.  This is what I call Christmas on a budget. :)

Cooking Day Two

I got a little bit more done today.  One recipe did not make the cut and I knew it about the time I got to this part of the directions:

Corn in a blender?  Made me want to hurl.  Nevertheless, I put the rest of the ingredients together, but the Summer Squash and Corn Chowder didn't make the cut.  I tried a bite and it wasn't a winner.  Not to say yours won't be, but mine certainly wasn't!

I finished mixing up the cheese balls and made a key lime pie and a pan of cornbread.  I have carrot souffle in the oven as we speak and am going to try to put together the vegetable casserole, the quesadillas, and the meatballs later.  I figure at least if I don't get the meats done, it's easy to grill some chicken and heat up a side dish.  As long as there is something available to eat that is quick, I'm happy.

I had a good CVS trip yesterday, I'll put up the pics later.  Right now, the souffle is ready to take out of the oven!

Getting Back To It

I'd love to say I haven't posted because I've been too busy being productive around my house.  Ha!  Truth is, I woke up feeling horrible Sunday and then was exhausted yesterday when I got off work.  My intentions are to finish up my freezer cooking this evening as I won't have time again otherwise until Friday afternoon.  Sigh.

I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

So Far, So Good

With the exception of a quick run to Farm Fresh to buy more Neufchatel cheese and french bread, it's been smooth sailing.  I'm taking a break and then we're headed out to dinner with friends.  Yes, I realize the irony in stopping my cooking to go eat. :)

So far I've mixed up some Watergate Salad

Mixed up a cheese ball (well, it will make three).  I forgot to take a picture but this was the pepper.

Then my quick $16 Farm Fresh trip.  I was going to make the pie crust but have no idea where my pie pan is, so I decided to speed things up and just buy a pre-made crust.  I hate how the quick trips are always the most expensive!  Such as, I was thirsty, so the Gatorade looked really good.

Then I made the One Dish Blackberry French Toast

I'm going to try to tackle some more of the casseroles tonight when it gets cooler and won't be so miserable to run the oven.  So far, so good.  Oooh, and I've done two loads of laundry in between.  Go me. ;)

Jimmy's yelling at the tv watching the Ohio State game, so he's been on doggie duty.  It's amazing how much more you can get accomplished when not having to let dogs in, out, up, down every 5 minutes!

Target Trip, Menu Plan

I should have waited for Jimmy to get home.  My total would have been lower.

Silly goose, though, you didn't really think I could go to Target and only get what was on my list, did you?

I figured I needed some containers to store my cooking in, since our plastic containers have vanished as well.
48 load Tide Free & Clear was 30% off, marked down to $7.41, my manufacturer's $1.50 off coupled with a $1.50 Target coupon brought it down to $4.41.  I never want to run out of laundry detergent, apparently.
My windows are gnarly looking, so the Windex was clearanced to $9.08 and I used a $3 off coupon.
And while I'm at it I may as well clean my dishwasher (cherry Kool-Aid) and my washing machine (the Clorox).

Mmm, here are the rest of my freezer cooking ingredients, minus chicken.  I have to go back to Farm Fresh as Target had tons of turkey, but no chicken.

My total was $66.  I plan on the freezer cooking lasting us two weeks, though, so with that and my other totals, it works out to be a lot cheaper than eating out. :)

So today is cooking day.  On my agenda is:
Vegetable Casserole
"Senator Russell's Sweet Potato Casserole"
Watergate Salad
Cornbread Dressing
Cheese Ball
Spicy Cornbread
and Carrot Souffle'

So after all this work, it better last more than a week!  Jimmy will be having his meals rationed.

I'm off to a funeral and then lunch with my parents and Jimmy, but after that, it is down to business!  I'll update you later. :)

In Remembrance

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where Have All The Spoons Gone?

We currently are only in posession of 5 spoons, total, in our house.  If we were missing bowls, too, I'd assume they were together, but we're not missing any bowls.  It's one of life's great mysteries.

It's been quiet over here on the home front this week.  I've had a wonderful migraine the past few days and get to start on a steroid this afternoon.  The only good thing about that is that steroids make me hot as all get out, so I want to keep the house cool for a few weeks.  Well, that's not good for me, but Jimmy sure likes it.  Usually I keep the house too warm for his liking.

Speaking of Jimmy, we were watching a Hoarders marathon last Sunday, and he told me he thinks I'm a hoarder.  Why?  Because we have to sleep on piles of trash?  Because we trip over things when walking through the house?  (Okay, maybe.)  No, because this one lady said that once food goes into the freezer the expiration date no longer matters.  I tell him that all the time.

I'm going to do some freezer cooking this weekend.  I did about half of my shopping, and will get the rest of it at Target this evening.  I had good intentions of doing the catalina deal at Farm Fresh and getting $10 off my next purchase to go back and buy some more ingredients, but alas, it did not work out.  I didn't end up getting to the store until 7 pm at which point most of what I wanted was sold out.

This is a horrible picture and the Pepsi from Sunday is still on my table, but you get the idea.  I spent $30, the majority of that being the V8 juice and milk ($16 right there).

I went to Dean & Don's Farmer's Market yesterday on my way home from work and spent $13 there.  The peas alone were $5, but they're so good and worth every penny!

I don't anticipate my Target trip being too expensive.  I need to buy some meat and some more milk, but beyond that, everything else I need I can buy in the store brand.

Well, except spoons.
Oh, and a new mop.  I poured bleach on my floor Tuesday and then found out my mop is broken.  Spring Meadow scent my hiney, it was still strong bleach.  I had to use towels to sop up all the bleach.  For some reason, our house has light tile with white grout in our family room and dining room.  The family room which you have to walk through to get anywhere.  Needless to say, my white grout is often a nice shade of off-white.  Except by the dogs' bowls where it is just plain brown.  They drip water and it is just a mess.  I am counting down the days until we move.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Shopping For The Week

I know, my not going shopping for a long time lasted a grand total of 5 minutes.  The deals this week are too hot to pass up, though!  I did my shopping in one quick swoop and am done.  Assuming nothing else exciting entices me out, anyway.

My total out of pocket for everything was approximately $33 and I'll get most of it back.  I've broken it down below.

Walgreens (I hate that they had some good deals this week!)
Pepsi product 2 liters are .88 cents with the in-ad coupon (today and tomorrow only).
When you buy 2 you get 1 free Redbox rental, buy 4 and get 2 free rentals.  The coupon with the code prints out at the register.  So, $3.52 - $2 rental = $1.52 for 4 sodas.

The Comet was 2/$1 with in-ad coupon
Reese's was just because I was hungry (.79 cents)

Zegerid 14 count is on sale for $10, use the $3 coupon from 08/15 Smart Source, and get a rebate form that prints out at the register for a $10 rebate.  Makes it a $3 money maker.  Well, less your stamp, but you're still making a good profit.
Total before tax was $11.81.  After the rebate and Redbox codes, it was a .19 cent money making trip.

You can go to My Litter to see all the coupon matchups
The Schick Hydro had a coupon on it for free shave gel when you purchased the razor.
The High Octane energy chews are 1.99 and you get back 1.99 in ECBs all month.
I also used a $5/$30 purchase coupon from an e-mail from CVS.
I used $10.99 in ECBs to pay, spent $2.04 out of pocket (before tax), and received back $12 ECBs for my next purchase.

Again, I spent the most money at Target, mostly because there were a few things that were spur of the moment.  I'm having girls night with my mom and sister tonight and my sister asked was I bringing cupcakes.  So I bought things to make cupcakes because I'm an awesome sister! :)
I had a $5 manufacturer's coupon for Green Works which expired today and a $3 Target printable from a few weeks ago making the 60 load detergent $3.99
(I'm very well stocked on detergent now!)
The Embark lunchbox was clearanced to $2.78, it has coupons inside and a free 6 month subscription to Parents magazine, or you can get a $4.98 rebate instead.  So the lunchbox was a $2.20+ money maker.
Total before tax was $17.15

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Baking Day Part 2

I started out trying to make these Coffee Sugar Cookies.  The process went well once I realized the reason the dough was so wet was because I was rolling the dough on my warm stovetop.  Duh.

So these were the first few:

The top one looks like it's got it's arms out for help, trying to escape.  It got better after a few go rounds, though.  I had also read on Janet's blog From Captain's Daughter to Army Mom that you could skip flour and roll your dough between two pieces of wax paper for better taste, but that didn't work for me (the skipping flour).  However, you can see why when you compare any of her baking entries compared to this one.  Hint: Remember that I had to borrow a cookie cutter and buy a rolling pin.

I also made breakfast muffins which I don't have pictured because my camera battery died before I got that far.  Anyway, I'll be lucky if any of what I made today lasts through the weekend.  Jimmy has already eaten a few cookies and a muffin since he got home from the gym 20 minutes ago (and he even got a shower in there somewhere.)  There's really no point in trying to freeze any.

The cookies were good.  I don't care for coffee, but I ate one.  I have some to take to work with me tomorrow, and some for Jimmy to take to work with him, if he decides to let them leave the house.  I used French Vanilla Eight O'Clock coffee in my cookies.  This was mainly a test drive for holiday cooking.

I have a few more things I'll be making this weekend, but they involve a trip to the grocery store which I was hoping to avoid.  They look really good, so I will share! :)

Baking Day

Today has been cooler than I expected.  Of course 88 degrees isn't really cool, but it sure beats 100.  I didn't go to Rite Aid, I was waiting on a response from corporate that wasn't what I was hoping for.  Some of the stores have a two pack of Nexxus shampoo for $9.99.  There was also a $2 off Nexxus coupon in the Rite Aid store coupon book, and you could get a $10 Up Reward for buying $20 of Nexxus products.  At CVS, if you're within cents of the total your ECB will print up, but Rite Aid corporate said it has to be $20 to the penny for the Up Reward to print.  Poo.  I'll just wait for CVS to run my shampoo on clearance again.  Speaking of CVS, I was really excited to get a $5/30 coupon in my email today.  I haven't had one in a couple of weeks, and there are a lot of good sales going on next week!

With it being cooler, I decided to do some cooking.  I washed the dust off of everything in my kitchen and set to it.  First, I threw together some Texas Caviar.  Then I looked at my tortilla chips stash.  We have 1/3 of a bag left.  Dang.  Note the Sobe I have stocked in my crisper.  CVS is going to have it B1G1 free again next week.  I refuse to pay full price!  Well, until I have to, anyway.

Then I made up some Frosty Paws.  I didn't have much yogurt left so it only made 4 cups, but that will tide my spoiled dogs over until I go to the store again.  You know, in a few weeks.  They don't look appetizing (of course my presentation leaves a lot to be desired), but my dogs gobble them up.

By the way, I didn't really like the Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappuccino ice cream.  Has anyone else tried it?

I made green bean casserole and baked some honey ginger marinated chicken for dinner.  I have some dough setting in the refrigerator and some more baking planned for this evening.  More updates later.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Lest it seem like we subsist only on sugar, I have a picture of real food.  With color and nutrients.  Oooh, aaah.

Sorry it's such a bad picture, but you get the idea.  I was trying to tend to hungry dogs, too.  My total was $23, which is a lot for so few things, but nothing was on sale (besides .50 cents off two Market Pantry cheeses) and I hope to not step foot into another store again for a couple of weeks.  Well, besides running to Rite Aid again tomorrow.  Beyond that, though, I am not going to a store!  (Ok, I lied.  I might go to TJ Maxx.)  I even skipped Farm Fresh $1 doubles today because I was wilting in the heat.  I had to pick up a prescription at Target, so grabbed what I needed while in there.

By the way, I still have not done any baking.  My rolling pin is sitting, untouched, on my counter.  Sigh.