Thursday, March 22, 2012

What really matters?

“I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. 


I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.” - M.P. Hinckley

Amen!  I love this.  Isn't this the stuff that really matters?  

Does really living to you mean the beautiful physical things you acquire, or the amazing life experiences you have?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Toilet Paper Mischief

If it is quiet around here... something is up.  It means Caroline is into something that really has her attention, and it is probably something she shouldn't have (of course).  She is such a busy little bee, and she is always wanting to explore and get into everything. 

Caroline has learned where certain "fun" things are kept - like toilet paper (ha... maybe fun isn't the right word?)  If the bathroom door is left open even a crack, she is crawling so fast toward it that you can actually hear little grunts as she races off towards her new favorite destination.  Talk about sheer determination.  "Here I come TP.. here I come."

And this is what happens if I am more than 5 seconds behind her trail. 

My curious little monkey is obsessed with the little caps that cover the toilet screws.  She is constantly trying to crawl behind the toilet.  Do I have a future plumber on my hands?

"Oh, hi there mom!  Don't mind me... I am just redecorating the guest bathroom!  Do you like the new paper floor covering?"

The roll of TP was obviously beyond salvaging, so we sat and played with it for more than an hour.  I love this little monkey!  She never fails to make me laugh.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Recipe: Lemon & Herb Creme Chicken

I have five tubs of Philadelphia Cooking Creme in my fridge (thanks to the fab coupon deal at Fred Meyer -  see that here).  We love this stuff at our house, but I had never bought the lemon and herb flavor.  I came up with a recipe that turned out delicious, so I thought I would share:

What you need:
  • 1-2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Orzo pasta
  • Feta cheese
  • 1 Clove of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh parsley
  • 1 tub Philadelphia Cooking Creme (Lemon and Herb flavor)

Start by pressing one clove of garlic, and brown it in a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 30 seconds.  Add chicken that has been cut into bite size pieces.  

Once you have your chicken going in a pan, cook 1 cup of orzo according to package directions.  


When chicken is done and cooked thoroughly, add entire tub of Philadelphia Cooking Creme to the pan (option: I like to add about 1/2 cup of milk to thin the sauce out just a little). 

When orzo is done, drain and then add it directly into pan with chicken and cooking creme.  


Chop about 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley and crumble 1/2 a cup of feta.  Add to pan.
Stir all ingredients until mixed well and serve immediately.  

With a cold glass of Pellegrino sparkling water, this was pretty much amazing!  Philadelphia Cooking Creme makes food taste like dishes from an Italian restaurant.  Even Caroline squealed with delight and wanted more!  I love quick, easy recipes... especially for evenings when I work during the day.   

Linked up here 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why your blog hasn't hit the big time...

I stumbled upon this blog tonight, and immediately she had me giggling.  I love reading clever writing, and Morgan over at The Little Hen House is just about one of the funniest people I have come across in awhile. 

I recently started my blog, mostly for friends and family, but I have also been meeting so many wonderful people out in the blogging world that is has just opened so many new doors.  Let's face it... I am addicted.

If you are trying to make your blog hit the big leagues.. you have to read her post: 5 Reasons Why Your Blog Hasn't Hit the Big Time

Ha- talk about inspiration :)

Free 8x10 Walgreens Photo Prints

Walgreens often releases codes where you can get FREE photo prints.

You can get two free 8 x 10 prints if you place your order online at Walgreens with these codes:




FREEONE
PRINT1

Expires 3/17/12

Make sure you place two separate orders, and choose "Pick up in store".  Simply enter these codes at checkout and your total will be $0.00

I use Walgreens all the time for photo prints, and I am always happy with their quality!

Thanks Frugal Living NW

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Free Stuff at Fred Meyer!

Fred Meyer deals are getting hotter this week!  How about free hair products and free butter?


Thanks Thrifty Mom for this picture!

Got2B hair products on sale this week for $3.00
  • Use coupon from the 2/12 Red Plum insert $3.00/1 full size Got2B product
  • Final price: FREE
So I headed over to Freddy's this evening and this is what I scored:

Transaction #1:

  •  Bought 5 got2b hair products - Regular price $5.49 - on sale for $3.00 - Used (5) $3/1 coupons from the 2/12 Red Plum insert (Sunday paper), final price FREE
  • Bought 5 UP2U gum packs - Regular price $1.49 - on sale for $1.00 - Used (5) $1/1 coupons, final price FREE
Total spent on this transaction: $0.00 (I just paid $1.20 in sales tax)
Total saved matching coupons to sales: $34.90


That is a savings of 100%
I am so excited to try these volumizing hair products!


Transaction #2:

I did another Buy 10 save $5 promo because Joe loves those energy Rock Stars!  Plus I could get FREE Country Crock with this promo!
  • Bought 9 Rock Stars - Regular price $1.99- On sale for $1.29 - buy 10 items save $.50 per item, final price $.79
  • Bought 1 Country Crock - Regular price $2.99 - On sale for $1.49 - buy 10 items save $.50 per item so it became $.99 - use (1) $1/1 printable coupon found here under zip code 83651, final price FREE
  • Bought 1 Seattle's Best Coffee (remember... I am a coffee snob) - original price $8.99 - on sale for $6.99 - used in store coupon for $1 off plus a manufacture coupon found in store for $1.50/1 - final price $4.49 (great price for really yummy coffee!)
My total came to $11.59 after promos, store coupons and manufacture coupons, but then I paid with two $4 catalinas from my previous shopping trips. 
My subtotal was $3.59 plus $.85 tax = $4.44 


Before sales and coupons, it would have cost $29.89 (plus tax)
Total saved matching sales and coupons:  $26.30 

That is a savings of 85%

Monday, March 12, 2012

Radio Flyer Fun

Dad went to the store... and came home with a Radio Flyer!

Caroline loves going for walks in the stroller.   We go on the walking path in our neighborhood, and she loves looking at the ducks, plants and water.  But apparently... who needs a stroller?!

Enter... the wagon!

It is so fun because we can strap the little girl in with the dogs... and off we go!



So.  Stinkin'.  Cute.

It has been such a mild winter, and the last couple weeks we have been parading all around our neighborhood in our new red wagon.  I am usually not brave enough to take Caroline and both our yorkies walking, but now it is so much easier because I just pile them all in together.

And to make it even more fun?  We went to visit my good friend Melissa down the street!

Her little boy, Keegan, is Caroline's buddy.  He is so cute, and always calls her "Baby Caroline".  Not Caroline.  Baby Caroline.  Ha- he will still  be calling her that when they are in high school.




Are they just not the cutest?!  He is so sweet with her, and it is so fun watching them play together.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Coupon Trip: Making Money and Saving 71%

It has been awhile since I spent my Sunday morning couponing!  It was a whirlwind trip between Fred Meyer and Albertsons.  So many of my friends always teased me for shopping at these stores instead of Walmart or Winco, but I love the cashiers and it is a much more pleasant shopping trip just in general.  Call me old fashioned, but I like it when the checker knows me and I don't feel like I am in a cattle call.  


Plus, when these stores run catalina and double coupon deals, you can get so many things for free or way cheaper than the discount stores.


Today was the perfect example!  I made money buying cheese at Freddies, plus I got super cheap Philadelphia Cooking Creme (love this stuff!), butter, fruit, refried beans and chips for my hubs.  

At Fred Meyer, there are two amazing deals going!  They both start today.  Ready to make a little money buying groceries?  This is what I did this morning:



Buy 5 Kraft Fresh Take Cheese Packets $1.79 each

  • Use 5 $1/1 coupons from the 2/26 SmartSource (or you can print two $1/1 coupons here)
  • Pay $3.95 
  • After you pay, you will get back a $4 Catalina (like cash to use on groceries)
  • $.05 Moneymaker :)
Catalina Details:
Buy Kraft Fresh Takes or participating Kraft Cheese through 3/16Buy (3), Get $2.00 OYNO
Buy (4), Get $3.00 OYNO
Buy (5), Get $4.00 OYNO
** OYNO means "On Your Next Order (purchase)
Thanks Fabulessly Frugal!

My next transaction looked like this:


Buy 5 Philadelphia Cooking Cremes $1.79

  • Use 5 $.55/1 coupons from the 2/26 SmartSource
  • Pay $6.20
  • After you pay, get back a $4 Catalina
  • You end up paying $.44 each

*** Both of these items are part of the Buy 10 Save $5 instantly promo.  So for each transaction, you must have ten items.  I used Rock Stars for $.79 each (Joe loves these... something about needing energy to teach middle school?) You can mix and match any of the promo items.  See their ad for more details.

*** What do I use my catalinas for?  I usually take these and turn around and buy produce items that I need for the week.  Last week Freddies had a great deal on strawberries.  This week I bought apples for $.68/lb


After my quick trip to Fred Meyer, I ran over to Albertsons for a couple good deals using my Twice the Value Coupons that came out in today's paper.  I get five papers, so I have 15 "doublers" or "TTV" to use!




At Albertsons I spent: $14.01 on what you see below



Without sale prices and coupons, it would have cost: $48.46


That is a savings of: $34.45 or 71%


What I got:

  • Marie Calendars Fresh Bakes: $8.19 - On sale for $4.99, used $1/1 printable found here plus a TTV coupon, final price $2.99
  • Del Monte Fruit Cups: $3.49 - On sale for $1.67, used $1/2 from the 1/08 Red Plum plus a TTV coupon, final price $.67 
  • Taco Bell Refried Beans: $ 1.39 - On sale for $1.09, used $1/2 coupon (I bought a bunch of these on ebay awhile back), plus a TTV coupon, final price $.09
  • Kettle Chips: $3.79 - On sale for $3.00, used $1/1 coupon plus a TTV coupon, final price $1.00
  • Country Crock Butter: $2.99 - regular price- used a $1/1 printable coupon found here (use zip code 83651) plus a TTV coupon, final price $.99
  • Milk: $1.99 - On sale Manager's special $.99 each, used a $.75/1 printable coupon found here (use zip code 83651) plus a TTV coupon, final price $.25 
I saved a few of my double coupons, because there is a deal where you can make money buying Nature Valley granola bars, but my store was already wiped clean of them this morning!  I am hoping they get more in stock by Tuesday.  We will see!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

In praise of stay at home moms...

I have been reading the book In Praise of Stay at Home Moms by Dr. Laura.  This book has only given me more validation and conviction that being at home with my little girl, as much as possible, is the most important thing I could be doing right now.  


In her book, among many topics, Dr. Laura discusses the controversy of staying at home.  Moms who work often feel that stay at home moms are lazy, while moms who stay at home often say moms who work, don't have their priorities straight.  


My take on it?  To each their own.  You do what is right for your family. 


For my family, working part-time has worked out well in that is has provided me with much needed health insurance, as well as enough income to save money each month.  Plus, I love teaching kindergarten.  It would be hard to give up teaching completely. 

As my friend Kristen has said many times, "Teaching part-time is the best of both worlds.  You get to be in your classroom, fulfilling your passion of teaching, but you still get to spend most days at home with your kids."  I couldn't agree more. 

In the beginning though, I won't lie, I had a complete anxiety attack about leaving Caroline.  All I wanted to do was stay home with her.  She also had an awful run of colic until she was about three months old, and my worst fear was that someone would get frustrated with her fussiness all out screaming for hours on end.  

(By the way, if you, or someone you know has a baby with colic, the only thing that saved our sanity was the book The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp.  RUN and get a copy now!)



But as it turned out, an amazing lady came into our lives.  She was recommended to us by two good friends of ours.  Joe and I never wanted to put our kids in daycare, but now we look at it as Caroline getting to go play with her friends a couple days a week.  I think of her caregiver as Mary Poppins and she is a blessing that I do not take for granted for a single second.  Caroline, and the other kids, love her so much and it is obvious the second you walk in her door. 


So you might ask, "Why are you reading a book about stay at home moms, if you aren't one?"  Dr. Laura really has some great insight and advice about the often overlooked "job" of running a household.  People (ahem... many people in our society these days it seems) often don't realize that keeping a house clean, making healthy, home cooked meals, playing with your children, running errands and making a house a home is a full time job.   

If you need some inspiration, you might enjoy this book.  I love Dr. Laura's straight forward attitude about what women really think. 

Praise be to all moms!  We all work full time... and then some.