Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Free Personalized Card

I love ordering cards online from the Card Store.  They are high quality and absolutely adorable.  You can order one for FREE today only in celebration of leap day!

Use code ccc2029 at checkout and you have got yourself a free birthday, anniversary, St. Patty's Day, or just because card shipped free!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Coupon Trip: 94% Savings!

Albertson's Doublers, or "Twice the Value" coupons came out today in the Sunday paper!

My shopping trip this evening was a little random, and I had dinner in the oven at home so I had to hurry.  I got free soup, free Tylenol pain relief, $.39 gallon of milk, I made money buying eyeliner, plus I got cheap cookies, coffee creamer and deodorant.  I LOVE my Albertsons! 

I got everything you see below for : $4.36 (plus tax)  I should have paid $79.08 if I had not matched my coupons to sale items.

 That is a savings of $74.42, or 94%
Plus since I was so hurried, I still have quite a few doublers left that I can use until this Tuesday when they expire.

 What I got:
  • 6 Bear Creek Country Kitchen Soup Mix (originally $3.99 each) - BOGO sale-  $1/1 coupon + doublers = FREE
  • 5 Tylenol Precise Pain Relieving Heat Patch (originally $7.99 each) - on sale for $5 this week - $5/1 coupon = FREE
  • 1 box Chips Ahoy! Cookies (originally $3.69) - on sale for $2.99 - $1/1 + doubler = $.99
  • 2 Old Spice Deodorants (originally $5.29 each) - on clearance for $2.64, - $2/2 = $1.64 each
  • 1 Maybelline Eye Liner (originally $5.99) - on clearance for $1.44, - $1/1 + doubler = MONEYMAKER
  • 1 gallon of milk (originally 2.39) - $1/1 CAT (from two weeks ago) + doubler = $.39
  • 1 pint International Delight Coffee Creamer (originally 2.49)- on sale $1.79 - $.75/1 + doubler = $.29

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Go Fish Math Freebie

A new kind of post I want to start is linking to helpful teaching ideas (especially freebies.. gotta love those!)  I love and appreciate the hard work other teachers do, so if I find something great I want to share the link with all of you.  

Someone once told me, "The best teachers are the best thieves."  One of my favorite things to do is walk through other teachers' classrooms and ask them a million questions.  I love taking new ideas and making them work in my own classroom.

So I found this idea today.  I am always looking for ways to make learning more fun.  My favorite approach is always a mini-lesson, guided practice and then some sort of activity (practice makes permanent!)  This game is perfect for helping students gain fluency with their addition/subtraction facts through 5 (a kindergarten standard).

This idea comes from Michele over at What I Learned in Kindergarten.  If you home school your children, or are a teacher, enjoy this freebie from her!  I can't wait to play this next week!

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Love you because...

Being a parent means sleepless nights.  Sleepless nights mean fried nerves.  Fried nerves can lead to a loss of patience and kind words for your significant other (or anyone else who is unlucky enough to be in your path for the day!)

Enter this genius idea by Lianne from over at A Content Housewife.  This is the cutest way to remind your hubby how much you really do love and appreciate him.

This is the frame I made.  Joe and I are having so much fun leaving each other notes every day!

All you need:
  • A picture frame
  • Paper (I used scrapbook paper cut to 8.5" x 11" to print on)
  • Vis a Vis or any dry erase pen
  • Frame holder (optional- so you can place the frame on a table)
  • Flowers (optional- I hot glued mine on for decoration)
When I saw this idea of an "I love you because..." frame, I wanted to make one right away.  I am a huge fan of Dr. Laura, and I remember reading in one of her books that a smile and compliment is the best way to greet your hubby when he walks in the door (instead of immediately asking him to do one of the many "honey do" items on your list).

So imagine how nice it would be to read something sweet the moment you walk in the door after a long, stressful day at work.  I love to see that man's smile!

I ran over to Goodwill (I haven't been there in years!  Oh the joy of thrift shopping...) and picked up a frame for $1.50.  I then printed "I love you because" on scrapbook paper.. and voila!

Joe and are I having so much fun leaving each other sweet (and sometimes rather funny) notes. 

Not feeling so crafty?  Lianne has these already made for you in her Esty shop!  Check out Lianne's blog for more super cute ideas!  She has been such an inspiration to me!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Box her up!

Who knew boxes could be so much fun?  Thanks to a Costco run for diapers and wipes, along with a UPS truck delivering Caroline's new "big girl" car seat, it was a playground of boxes in our living room today!

She pushed them around, pounded on them, giggled at the flaps, played with Buddy and then of course we played ten different versions of peek-a-boo for most of the afternoon.

Then Joe came home from work and the real fun began.  I can make my baby girl laugh, but Joe can really get her going.  She was squealing and rolling all over, attacking Joe and the boxes.  Nothing makes me happier in the whole world than watching them laugh and play together. 

I don't know who is having more fun in the big box... Joe or Caroline?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh those teachers!

My husband and I are both teachers.  Last year, I taught fifth grade and Joe taught sixth grade, so our conversations over dinner were always pretty entertaining.

I remember my first two years of teaching, Joe was still in school and working for Citi, and when he would try to offer me advice on a difficult situation, I would say, "But it doesn't work that way!  You just don't get it!"

And that is just the way it is.  Teaching is just one of those jobs that if you don't live it and breathe it everyday, you have no idea.  I feel lucky that I absolutely love my job, but oh my...  I am utterly exhausted, mentally and physically, come 3 o'clock.

After teaching middle school for two years,  Joe sure gets it now.  And he is lucky too- he has the perfect personality to be a really good teacher.

So I came across this and had a good laugh.  If you are a teacher, or know someone who is, you may be able to relate.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Walking the walk...

I read a post tonight over at Frugal Living Northwest and thought I would share it with all of you.  It is really easy to talk the talk, but it is a lot harder to walk the walk... especially when it comes to living simple and being content.   

We were driving the other day and I read a church sign that said, "Happiness is wanting what you have."  and I had a moment.   A moment where I was like, "Yes!  Yes!   I get it.  I so get it."  

It is so easy to get caught up in the, "I want..." game that the lines between "I want," and "I need," become blurred.  And let me tell you, from experience, that can be dangerous.  

I am not here to judge.  I am also not here to romanticize frugality.  Everyone likes new and shiny.  Yes, me too.  Bring on my new 2012 Honda Accord, please.  (Ha!  Maybe someday in retirement!)  

Lifestyle just becomes a game of priorities and self control.  Even after going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (Best.  Decision.  Ever.  See more about that here) and changing our whole outlook on pretty much everything, I still need a little reminding.  What really matters?  What are our long term goals? (ugh- these aren't always as rewarding and fun as those short term goals). 

Need a little frugal inspiration?  Take a moment to see what the lovely Kari Patterson has to say here.   Her words are worth their weight in gold. 

Photo credit:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cousins come to visit!

My parents and sister's family live in Portland, and although I wish we could live closer to them all, we do our best to see each other at least once a month.  This past weekend, they came here to Idaho to visit us!

My sister, Katie, and her husband, Scott,  have 13 month old twins, Luke and Amelia.  Our family is so blessed, because even though they were born two months premature, they are both thriving!  It always amazes me how fast they grow and change since I only get to see them about once a month. 

Look at these little angels!  They have been in the local paper twice for being the month's cutest babies. 

Okay, Auntie bragging aside, we had such a wonderful visit.  We took all three babies to my friend Liz, an amazing local photographer (see her work here) for some family shots, as well as first birthday pictures for the twins. 

To get ready for the shoot, Katie and I had so much fun shopping for coordinating outfits for Luke, Amelia and Caroline.  We probably spent over an hour "oohing" and "ahhing" over the adorable spring outfits that The Children's Place had on display.  I don't have a good picture of the three of them in their outfits (ha- trying to get a good pic of one baby is tough- try three at a time!), so I will have to wait until we get some from Liz. 

We sometimes call the babies the triplets, since Katie and I were pregnant at the same time, and we were only 10 weeks apart.  The babies are old enough now that they can really interact with each other.  They had so much fun playing together, and it was hysterical to watch them.  The hit of the weekend was definitely the shopping cart.

Amelia, the quietest and most reserved of the three, just had a ball with it.  She would grab the handle and off she would go!  A few times, Luke or Caroline wouldn't be fast enough to get out of the way.  Baby getting run over and crying in aisle 3!

I borrowed two more high chairs from friends so all three babes could eat together.  Here they are- all looking like they are in food comas. 

"Whoa- you people eat good here in Idaho!"
"No boys allowed!"
Caroline reading with her Grandmama

Monday, February 13, 2012

Look who loves to read!

My little Caroline loves books.  When I read to her (if she is not trying to attack and eat the pages) she will just sit on my lap... cooing and giggling as we go through the story.  When I tap the pages to show her it is time to turn, she will grab it and turn it over.  It is so adorable! 

I came down into the sun room the other day and here she was "reading".  She was not playing with the gazillion toys scattered around her.  Instead, she was just looking through her little book.   The poor thing doesn't have a chance... both of her parents are teachers! 

Coupon Trip : 82% Savings with Doublers!

It is a great time to coupon at Albertsons!  Not only did we get "Doublers" (Twice the Value Coupons) in the paper, but there are also a ton of promos going on where if you buy specific items- you get Catalinas (Catalinas are like cash to spend at Albies- technically they are manufacture coupons abbreviated CAT that print after you pay, like a receipt). 

Catalinas look like this:

This is what I bought at Albertsons this week with my Twice the Value Coupons:

I spent a total of $13.82

Without savings promos or coupons, it would have cost $64.19

That is a savings of 82%

Albertsons will match any coupon up to a value of $1.00 with their Twice the Value (TTV) coupons.  For example, if you have a $.50/1 coupon, it is now worth $1.00, $.75 is now worth $1.50 and $1.00 is now worth $2.00.  If the face value of your coupon is more than $1.00- you are out of luck.

I did six different transactions, because Albies will only let you use three double coupons per transaction.  I like to go to self checkout so I don't hold up the lines and so I can make sure I am grouping my products correctly to maximize my savings.  By this I mean I like to buy the items that generate a CAT first, so I can then use these CATs on my next transactions.  This way, I am spending less out of pocket (OOP).  Some weeks Albertsons does not offer CATs, you just have to look through their ad to see what promos they are running.

My shopping trip went like this:

Transaction 1:
Buy 2 Mission Tortillas: $4.00
Buy 2 Kikkoman Teriyaki  Sauce $2.29
Subtotal: $8.58 (not including tax)

Coupons used: 
(1) $1/2 Mission products (Peelie found on product at store- $1.00 off two items)
(2) $1/1 Kikkoman Product (you can print yours here)
Plus 3 Albertson Doublers ( - $3.00)
Total after coupons: $2.58 + $.34 tax = $2.92

After I paid, received a $1 CAT (for buying 2 mission products, and YES these can be doubled on anything!) and a $1.50 CAT for buying 2 Kikkoman products

Total for this transaction after calculating in CATs: $.42
And if you consider I can double the $1 CAT, I really earned a net $.58 

Transaction 2:
Buy 2 Kettle Chips: $6.00
Buy 1 Maybelline New York Mascara (clearance bonus buy): $4.64
Subtotal: $10.64 (not including tax)

Coupons used:
(2) $1/1 Kettle Chips
(1) $1/1 Maybelline Mascara
Plus 3 Albertson Doublers (- $3.00)
- $1.50 CAT (from Kikkoman products - can be used like cash at Albies)
Total after coupons: $1.87 + $.38 tax = $2.25

After I paid, I received a $1 CAT (for buying 2 Kettle Chips, and YES these can be doubled  on anything!)

Total for this transaction after calculating in CATs: $1.25
And if you consider I can double the $1 CAT, I really spent $.25 

Transaction 3:
Buy 4 Cheerios: 4 / $10
    ***Promo: Buy 4 specific GM items in store, get FREE milk Catalina AND a $2 Catalina at checkout!
Buy 2 packs of Wrigley Stride Gum: $1.25
Subtotal: $12.50 (not including tax)

Coupons used:
(2) $1/2 GM cereals (print yours here)
(1) $1/2 Stride Gum
Plus 3 Albertson Doublers (- $3.00)
Total after coupons: $6.50 + $.57 tax = $7.07

After I paid, I got back a $2 CAT (for buying 4 Cheerios) and a CAT for a FREE gallon of milk (any milk, up to $4.29 value)
Total for this transaction after calculating in CATs: $5.07 plus $4.29 FREE milk!

Transaction 4:
Buy 2 Mt. Olive Pickles: $5.00
Buy 2 Albertsons Cream Chicken Soup: $1.00
Buy 1 gallon milk: $2.59
Subtotal: $8.59 (not including tax)

Coupons used:
(2) $1/1 Mt. Olive Product
$1 CAT (received from buying 2 Kettle Chips)
CAT for Free Milk ( - $2.59)
Plus 3 Albertson Doublers (- $3.00)
Total after coupons: $0.00 + $.28 tax = $0.28 (LOVE free groceries!  I just paid tax!)

Transaction 5:
Buy 8 Albertsons Cream Chicken Soup: $4.00
Subtotal: $4.00 (not including tax)

Coupons used:
(1) $1 CAT for buying Mission Products (this can be used on anything in the store!)
(1) $2 CAT for Buying 4 Cheerios
Plus 1 Albertson Doubler ( - $1.00)
Total after coupons: $0.00 + $.18 tax = $0.18 (LOVE free groceries!  I just paid tax!)

Transaction 6:
Buy 2 Starkist Tuna Pouches: $3.00
Subtotal: $3.00 (not including tax)

Coupons used:
(2) $.50/1 Starkist Pouches
Plus 2 Albertson Doublers ( - $1.00)
Total after coupons: $1.00 + $.18 tax = $1.18

After I paid, I got back another $1 CAT (for purchasing 2 Starkist products)

Total for this transaction after calculating in CATs: FREE- I just paid $.18 in tax, but if you consider I can turn around and double this $1 CAT, it is really a moneymaker :)

 Unless I provided a link to print specific coupons, all my coupons came from the Sunday paper.  However, they may have come in papers a few weeks ago.  This is why I cut coupons each week to put in my binder, because I may not use them right away.  

I spent probably two hours cutting these coupons, planning my trip and shopping.  But if you figure that I spent $13.64 OOP and it would have cost $64.19 - that is a savings of $50.37.  I will get paid $25 an hour anytime - while my little girl takes a nap and I listen to Dr. Oz as I clip my coupons :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Coupon Trip : 87% Savings!

Okay, so this is my first post showing what a basic "coupon shopping trip" looks like.  I have to admit, I am a bit hesitant about writing this.  I know many people have seen the TLC show "Extreme Couponing" and using coupons has become more popular lately.  However, I feel they portray people who use coupons in a very negative light.  In my experiences, many seem to roll their eyes at the idea of using coupons to save money just in general.  So my hesitancy comes from just knowing I am being judged the minute some people see me with my big ol' coupon binder.

What helps me hold my head high is that so many of my friends who I have shared my couponing experiences with have also jumped on the "coupon train".  They say how it has completely changed the way they look at money and going to the grocery store, and how much it has helped their family.  And at the end of the day, this is the only reason I coupon.  It helps my family get to where we want to be financially.  So I want to share these ideas and experiences with you!

One of my first coupon trips where I walked out of the store paying pennies on the dollar, I was so over the moon excited that I came home and took a picture of my free groceries. 

Yup- that's right.  I took a picture of food that was going into my panty.  I know, "Um, a bit ridiculous..." you are thinking.  And you are probably right.  But one "coupon blog" I follow writes these funny posts titled: "You know you are addicted to coupons if..." and one time it read, "if.. you have more pictures of your grocery shopping trips than your children."  

I laughed so hard, because anyone who coupons... takes pictures of their successful trips.  For the first couple months of couponing, I would come tromping in the door, my arms loaded down with grocery bags.  I would yell, "Joe!  Joe!  Oh my gosh.. you won't believe you this!  Look what I got, and I only spent like $10!"  He quickly learned that he had to put on an excited face for me as I paraded around the kitchen pulling my free groceries out like I had won the lottery (He is such a good sport.  Thanks, hun.)  He would later joke, "Wait honey!  Don't show me yet, I gotta go grab my excited coupon face.  And I will be sure to grab your camera while I am at it."  Really and truly though, Joe too has learned that couponing has allowed us to do so many things that we wouldn't have been able to do had we not saved so much money. 

When my friend Marla came couponing with me the first time, her eyes were as big as saucers as we went through the checkout line.

As I paid $.18 (just tax) for a transaction of five bags of pretzels, she turned to me and said, "Oh my gosh, Michala! Is this legal?!"    I laughed and smiled... "Oh just wait, my friend.  When we are done today, you are going to go home and want to take a picture of this and send it to everyone you know."  She laughed... and I am pretty sure she rolled her eyes.

Three hours later- ding!  My phone received a picture message of a counter full of groceries and makeup, and it read, "I only paid $6.83 for all of this!"    I continued to receive picture messages every weekend from her (and a few of my other coupon friends) for a month.  (P.S. I love you Marla!)

So, to many of you who may be rolling your eyes, or laughing at my taking pictures of groceries.  I totally get it.  It is silly and ridiculous.  However,  it is also ridiculously amazing.

Couponing is one reason I get to stay home with my baby girl, and only have to work part-time.  It is how we manage to save hundreds of dollars every month to tuck away in a savings account instead of spending it at the grocery store.  So although I don't take pictures of my shopping trips anymore (I have been couponing on a regular basis for two years now- so the WOW factor has somewhat worn off- but now I will take pictures to show you how to do this!) I still get the "coupon high" when I walk out of the store with my free, or almost free, groceries.

And yes, it is legal :)  

My favorite store to coupon shop at is Albertsons, because they "Double" manufacture coupons up to $1.00.  So for example, a coupon for 1.00 is now worth $2.00.  Not impressed?  Well, the trick is not to use any and every coupon- rather match your coupons to what is on sale.

Say pretzels are on sale for 2 for $4.00 (or essentially, $2.00 ea).  Double your $1.00 off coupon for the pretzels and there you go!  Free!

And here is where getting multiple subscription to a newspaper comes in handy.  I don't get one paper.  I get five :)  So instead of one bag of free pretzels, I get five free bags (and if you know my husband, and his addiction to salt- five bags doesn't last long in my pantry). 

So this was my last coupon trip.  It wasn't anything major- but sometimes that is how the sale week may be.  The trick is to slowly build your stockpile, over the course of sale cycles.  I promise to explain more about what I mean. 

These are the coupons I used for this trip:
(5) $.50/1 Wishbone salad dressing
(1) $.50/3 Rosita Beans
(1) $.75/2 Pace Salsa

Albies was having two promos going last week:
  • Buy ten items, save $5.00 instantly
  • Coupon round up - all coupons would "round up" to be worth $1.00 (no matter what the face value said)
So my coupons were worth $1.00 each, and I saved $5.00 instantly since I bought ten items (5 salad dressings, 3 beans, 2 salsas)
Wishbone salad dressing = FREE after promo and coupons (usually $3.79)
Salsa = $1.49 each after promo and coupons (usually $2.99 - not a screaming deal, but my hubs loves this stuff)
Beans = $.66 each after promo and coupons (usually $1.99 - so $.66 is a good price)

Subtotal: $3.90
Tax:        $.64
Total:      $ 4.54

Saved: $27.00 matching promos and coupons, or a savings of 87%

Now I don't know about you, but anytime I save 87% at the store, I am a pretty happy camper!   

This was a "mini" trip, and honestly nothing too exciting.  But get ready for this weekend!  Albertsons Double coupons are coming in the Sunday paper, and it is shaping up to be pretty much amazing :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Caroline goes shopping!

And... she is off!  Caroline loves her shopping cart.  She has just realized it can be even more fun now that she is taking steps.  She walked back and forth across the living room probably ten times, giggling and squealing with delight.

Joe says, "All she needs now is a coupon binder like her mama!"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Come see me!

I am guest posting today over at A Content Housewife!  Lianne was an inspiration to me in starting my own blog.  I love reading her ideas on how to make a house a home.  Today, over on her blog, I am doing a tutorial on how to make a Valentine's Day Wreath using Pinwheel Fabric Flowers that I showed you here.
Here is a picture of how mine turned out!

Come on by Lianne's blog to see how to make one!  They are super easy- as in no sew :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

{ Guest Post }

I am guest posting today over at Two Yellow Birds Decor!  I am so excited as this will be my first guest post!  Jill has been my "fairy blog mother" and has helped me through the first confusing couple of weeks of navigating the blogging world.  I am SO grateful for her kindness and patience.  
At her blog today, I will be doing a post on a fun, frugal Valentine's Day idea.  Give your sweetie a heart attack!  Go check it out here:)
Jill is guest posting here today!  I am so happy to have her here to share a fun Valentine's idea with you.  She has so many adorable decor and craft ideas.  Stop by her blog for so many amazing ideas!  Two Yellow Birds Decor

Here she is...

Hi everyone!! I am so excited to be here at The Hally Household today. Michala and I just recently became blogging friends. She is so sweet and amazing! I love all of her ideas! Thank you so much for letting me be here today! Before we get started on today's craft, let me introduce myself.
My name is Jill and my home is at Two Yellow Birds Decor. There you will find homemade decor, crafts, and recipes. I love to get creative and make things for cheap! My husband is an awesome handy man and helps me with many of my projects!  I love being able to blog and share my ideas with all of you!
Now that you know a little bit about me, how about we get crafting?
Today I am going to be showing you how to make a fun paper heart garland for Valentine's. It is so easy to make, it just takes a little bit of time. 
To make this you will need:
-Card Stock Scrapbook Paper (preferably double sided)
-Paper Cutter or Scissors
-Hole Punch
-Ribbon, Tulle or Twine 
**These next steps are for making 1 heart. I made 5 of them for the garland. I did 2 small and 3 big ones.
To start out you will need to cut 7 strips of paper. You will make them 1" wide. The length is 10", 9" and 8" for the bigger ones and 9", 8" and 7" for the smaller ones. You will need to decided which paper you want where on the heart and that will determine the length of that paper. It goes longest {on the outside} to smallest {on the inside}. Then you will need to cut a 1"x3" paper. You will be hanging it on the garland from this one.
Next, you are going to stack them all together. You will start with the 3" one, then take the longest strips and put 1 on top and one on the bottom of the 3" strip, then take the next longest and put 1 on top and one of bottom of those, then take the last shortest ones and put one on top and one on bottom. Then make sure they are all lined up at one end and staple them together. It will look like this:
Next, you will pull down each strip layer by layer and line them up on the opposite side. This is the step that you are making the heart! 
Then you will staple that together:
Next, in the 3" paper that is sticking out the top you are going to punch a hole in it using the hole puncher.
Lastly, you will hang the hearts on the string you have decided to use. I decided to use red tulle to hang the them on.
Here is what it looks like all put together:
There you have it. A super cute and fun garland for Valentine's!! Thanks again Michala for having me! For other cute decorations hop on over to Two Yellow Birds Decor. I'd love to have you!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Yummy cheerios!

Who knew Cheerios could be a favorite food and her favorite source of entertainment?  Caroline can feed herself now, and it is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen!  

Haha- I realize we are still wearing a Christmas bib.  What can I say- this little girl just loves Santa!
 She will sit there, happy as a clam munching on her O's, and I can empty the dishwasher, sweep the floor or type emails (it sure is nice to do these things with two hands!)  Cheerios are my new best friend!  Happy baby = happy mama.

"Thanks Mom!  This is so much fun playing with my food!"

 So.. baby is happy.  Mom is happy.  Guess who else is super happy now that Caroline can feed herself?

"Hurry Buddy!  Who said good things don't fall from the sky?!"

Yup.  I think it is safe to say that Buddy and Samantha are pretty thrilled that Caroline can feed herself (and is not that good at it yet- as food goes everywhere!)  I may have to put these two mutts on a diet, because I have  feeling they are going to be getting lots of table highchair scraps.

"Phew... feeding myself is exhausting Mom!  I think I will be a perfect baby and go take a nap for you now."

I love this little girl. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wow! $5 off any $5 Purchase Michaels Coupon!

Love to craft?  Love free craft supplies?  Yes, please!

Hurry on over here to print a $5 off of any $5 purchase at Michael's today (February 3) or tomorrow (February 4).