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Monday, February 27, 2012

Grocery Saving Lessons 8 - Warehouse Shopping

I am quickly coming to realize that big warehouse stores will never be a better deal than couponing done right. If you are a Sam's, Costco, or BJ's member, please hear this warning!!! Just because it is in bulk does NOT always make it a better deal! Check prices the next time you're at the grocery store and see if a bulk package (6) of Jiffy Cornbread mix for $2.99 is really a better deal than the .40 it costs at Kroger (before coupons).
That being said, there are some techniques to shopping a warehouse store. Your coupons are good here too, and many stores send out monthly booklets with house coupons. Remember, you can double up. I am a BJ's member and they send out quarterly magazines with money saving deals (buy 5 participating items, get $10 off). I go to town on these when they come around by piling house and manufacturer's coupons with them. I also recently learned that you can use a manufacturer's coupon for every item in the bulk package.  For example, a 3 pack of graham crackers includes 3 regular sized boxes of graham crackers.  You can use a .50 coupon for each box.  But remember that most warehouse stores don't double or accept competitor's coupons.

You have to be careful. Always price check.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fun Friday! - Bring on Spring

Spring is a'comin's folks!  Well, at least it is in my dreams.  I'm so ready for green grass, Easter eggs, birds chirping, and the dogwoods to bloom.  How about y'all?

I found this fun craft on my 2nd home (Pinterest) over the weekend and I've started collecting supplies to make it a reality for my Easter mantel.  Who's with me?!?

Pop on over to http://easter.tipjunkie.com/button-egg-diy-easter-decorating/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TipJunkieAllSites+%28Tip+Junkie+%7E+Creative+Inspiration%29 to see more!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Life - Mommy Dirt

Two-year olds. We love them, while simultaneously letting them slowly drive us crazy. Now that my son and all his playmates are in the 2-3 year range, all the mommies are on their 2nd lap of parenthood. New babies are popping up everywhere! So, I've reluctantly had to explain that Gavin's mommy has a baby in her tummy, he's going to get a sister, yadda, yadda, yadda. The only thing my child took away from this exchange was Mommy has a baby in her tummy. Which, friends, I do not.
These little morsels of "Mommy Dirt", as I like to call them, are like ticking time bombs. Or maybe they should just be called toddler ammunition, because when those little nuggets of skewed information start rolling out, take cover! My husband and I experienced this last night.

The three of us, tucked into a cute little pizzeria. Livin' the dream...until Little Guy chooses the dinner rush to let everyone know, "Mommy has a baby in her tummy!" I smile and shake my head, letting him (everyone) know this is not the case. Too late. All the patrons are already looking at my belly. So maybe I had an extra slice, but 2 pieces of plain cheese does not a baby make!

We survived this one by the pure fact that we knew no one in the restaurant. Let's hope we're so lucky next time LG drops his ammo.

Anyone else have a good "Mommy Dirt" story?  Let's share!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I know it's over, but....Valentine Hugs!

My son had his first little Valentine's Party last week and I couldn't resist making some cute little treats for his buddies.  I know the holiday has already come and gone, but pin it for next year, or, better yet...change out the m&m colors and make yourself a St. Paddy's Day treat!

What you Need: (for 2 trays of hugs)
3 bags of Hugs
1 bag of chocolate m&m's
1 bag of pretzel snaps

My beloved jellyroll pans are at it again!  Line them with parchment paper for a quick cleanup, then lay the snaps out.

Get to unwarpping those hugs!

Place a hug on each pretzel.  You can enlist a cute helper if you have one handy! ;)

 Preheat the oven to 250 and bake the trays for 7 minutes apiece.  Here's a tip though...you have to get the m&m's on immediately after removing the pretzels/hugs from the oven, so I like to do one tray at a time.  Once I have the m&m's on the first tray, I pop the other tray in the oven and fold some laundry for 7 minutes...you know you have some laundry.

Once they come out of the oven, take 2 m&m's (preferably different colors) and plop them right on top.  Your fingers will get chocolatey!

Refrigerate the trays for about 30 minutes so everything sets. You can stop there and munch away, or, you can wrap up a few for friends.

What you Need:
Curling ribbon
Hole Puncher
Valentine Message
Clear pretzel rod candy bags

I made little labels for my son's treats in Word and printed them out.  Easy-peasy.  They say "A hug from me to you!"  how cute!

I also cut out a red heart to place the name of each recipent on.

Put 5 hugs in a plastic pretzel rod bag (I found mine at Party City).  Fold over the top and hold the label and the name tag on either side of the bag.  Punch through all 3 layers.  Thread curling ribbon through the holes and tie to secure.  Voila!  A cutesy treat for your kids' cutesy friends!

Beware...these little guys are addictive...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Southwest Pizza

It has been wet.  And chilly.  And did I mention wet?  Days like this make me crave warm, yummy comfort food.  You should see my menu for February!  Cheesy casseroles, chewy cookies, saucy pasta.  It's a good thing we are active!

This past week, I tried a new recipe for Southwest Pizza.  I needed something quick on our tennis night and this worked out perfectly.  It'll be hitting our table again for sure!

What you Need:
1 refrigerated pizza dough
1 can black beans; drained and rinsed
1/2 package of taco seasoning
1 can corn; drained
1 cup shredded cheese
1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
1 cup salsa
shredded lettuce and sour cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 350.  I use a jelly roll pan when I make my own pizzas.  I find it a bit easier than trying to shape the dough to my pizza stone.  Give the pan a light sprtiz of cooking spray and spread the dough out as evenly as you can.  Bake the dough for 8 minutes.

Top dough with salsa, leaving a border for crust.  Toss the beans and corn with the taco seasoning in a small bowl.  Top the dough with the beans, corn, tomatoes, and cheese (and whatever else you like!).  I like to give my crust a little rub of olive oil and oregano as well. Bake again for about 10 minutes.  Serve with lettuce and a dollop of sour cream.

This was very simple and delicious!  I love me some homemade pizza!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Grocery Saving Lesson 7 - Double Up!

When I entered the coupon world I was pleased to discover that most stores will accept a manufacturer's coupon and their store brand coupon for the same item. This can really pay off when things are really on sale.

For example, Publix was selling Hillshire Farms sausage for $1.99 (on sale from $2.99). I clipped 2 coupons for $1/2 from my Sunday papers. Publix offered an in house coupon for $1/2 as well. I used both and walked out with 4 packages of sausage for $3.96! I'm using one tonight with a Zatarain's Jambalaya mix I got for .56 last week! Pair that with a corn bread mix and green beans and dinner's on the table for $2.25 (total, not per person!). The rest I will freeze and use with other ingredients I acquire to plan meals for future weeks.

*( Pssst! Some stores will even take a house coupon from another store!!!)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fun Friday - DIY Handsoap...and a $ Saver!

Happy Friday everyone!  I absolutely love having a clean home.  Nothing beats that "just cleaned" smell.  I'm partial to the Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day line of products because they smell divine, are tough on grime, and are all natural (that last part should have rhymed...we had a thing going).

My fav is basil.  Hmmmm.  It just makes me feel so calm and happy.  I like to put the little handsoap bottles next to every sink, but those babies can add up quick.  Enter this splendid idea from FamilyofFarmers.blogspot.com.  She has come up with a great DIY answer to expensive handsoap by using the bar version of your fav soap, a little liquid glycerin, and water.  Go ahead, pop over and give it a look.

P.S.  I purchased all the necessary supplies and this is on my list of projects.  Keep checking back...we'll soon see if I have soap making savvy!

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Living Room Tour

You've already met my new love...

Now, some of the other things that are making me smile around here.  There's a lot to smile about!

First, I found this amazing clock at HomeGoods and had to have it.  Never thought I would come home with a huge, weathered clock, but it spoke to me and it was meant to be.

Here's why it was meant to be...because it was going to team up with the most amazing little distressed side table you've ever stumbled upon.  I mean seriously.  There was absolutely no debating.  This guy was coming home with me.

Isn't it the coolest?  It makes my heart sing.  Especially when you see the clock across the room.  Perfect.  Don't you love the Mega Blocks peeking out of the baskets?  This is real life peeps.  They used to have a home in the playroom, but Little Man plays with them in the living room.  We're all about streamlining around here!

The artwork above the table is a watercolor I did that my parents had framed for me.  I still feel uncomfortable showcasing my own art (you always see the flaws in your own work), but hey, it's better than a random print, right?

I also have big plans for a new lamp for the table.  Combine a $6 Goodwill find with some DIY mirror glass technique.  I'll keep you posted!

Now, for the knobs...a 60% off find at JoAnn of all places!

I LOVE these knobs.  No, no one needs new knobs on their built-ins, but they add such an unexpected touch of fun and detail.  That's what decorating is all about for me.  The little unexpected moments.

A side table or a footstool?  A side table or a footstool?  Both!

This little beauty had a nice red tag on it at HomeGoods, which for those of you who don't know, means DISCOUNT!  I originally planned to recover it with burlap, but when I got it home, it seemed to work just great.  I love the quartrefoil detail on the legs.  And the fact that it provides an extra seat for our small living room.

This basket literally jumped in my cart at Hobby Lobby.  Seriously.  It even gave me the 40% off coupon.  How could I disappoint him?

These wingbacks were a hand-me-down from my Mister's parents.  They are great chairs, however, their upholstery didn't really go with our space.  Enter two slipcovers from Tar-jey.  The transformation was amazing.  Do they look like upholstery?  No.  They are slipcovers, but I happen to like their relaxed vibe.  I originally planned to recover these chairs myself, and that may still happen someday, but for now, loving the change.

I love staging bookcases and shelves.  It takes me awhile sometimes, but that's because I work until I feel I have the perfect mixture of weight, scale, color, and composition.  These shelves are a great place to showcase some of the white pieces I've been collecting, various books I've been gifted and some of my favorite black and whites.  Still a few things to tweak.  The tops are calling for some really great baskets don't ya think?  It may change next week, but I'm liking it for now! 

Yes, that is a six-foot measuring tape hanging on my wall, and it. is. awesome.  This was a gift from my hubs' aunt.  She's majorly into decorating too and has a great eye for unique pieces.  This is actually a growth chart!  You can write directly on it and record your kiddos progress.  The best part, it can come with you wherever you move.  This was a must-have feature for us.  My parents always recorded our heights on a door frame and when I graduated college, they moved.  You'd better believe that door frame came with us! 

Next up is the infamous Chinese Hutch.  Not really infamous, just a conversation starter.  One of my friends' husband once asked if this is where we store our saki.  I'm assuming you already know the answer to this.

Well.  That's our living room in a nutshell.  Of course, my projects are never finished, but we are enjoying the progress we've made.  The space is crying out for a great area rug and I've got burlap window treatments in the works.  I've been waiting years, literally, to transform my living room and I'm so grateful I've finally been able to do so!

What rooms are you working on these days?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Grocery Saving Lesson 6 - Work Those BOGO's!

For those of you who don't know, a BOGO is a Buy One Get One sale and I love them. An ordinary shopper would see Krusteaz pancake mix on sale BOGO (2 for $2.19) and place 2 in the cart. You are not an ordinary shopper though. What you will do is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use a BOGO without coupons (unless it is an item you really need and absolutely can't find a coupon).

Being the Clipper Queen (or King) you are, you would put those same Krusteaz pancake mixes in your cart, but at the register you will hand the cashier 2 coupons for .50 cents off each Krusteaz mix. Why 2, because you are purchasing 2, even though you are getting one for free.  Essentially, they are each half off.  But we're not done yet. Most stores will double any coupon up to .50 cents. That means you just shaved a dollar off of each box! And you are only really paying for one! So the $2.19 becomes .19 cents!!!!

Only have one coupon?  Never fear.  Usually you can buy just one when things are BOGO (the only exception to this I know of is in Florida).  Items are marketed as Buy One, Get One, but in reality, they are just both half off.  So when you buy one pancake mix, you are getting it for $1.09.  But you, you're getting it for .09 cents because you used your .50 coupon, right?

And just like that...you're a Clipper Queen...or King.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fun Friday! - Vintage Valentines

The Day of Love is fast approaching.  Are you getting ready for chocolate and hearts?  We've been feeling festive around here lately.  So far we've made a heart wreath, milkglassed some apothecary jars, and today, made vintage Valentines.

Effort on this one = minimal.  Outcome = super cute, and reusable for next year!

Here's what you need:
  • color printer
  • computer
  • old books
For this one, you need a few old books.  Not the kind of old books you could sell for a small fortune, but the kind of books you find in the dollar bin at your local thrift store.  You'll need the blank pages in the front and back.  The goal is to use authentic, vintagey looking paper.  If you don't have old books, try and tea stain some regular paper.

Next is the fun part!  Google "vintage valentines" in google images.  There are so many to choose from!  I was a sucker for the food related ones for the card holder in my kitchen.  What's funnier than talking yams?!  I also got a couple cutesy boy and girl ones for my mantel.

Make your selction, then print them directly onto the old paper.  I had no problem feeding mine through the printer.  Just be sure to let the ink dry.

Instant V-day decor.  Super fast.  Super cheap.  Super fun!

Have a fantastic weekend!  Last weekend to get your Valentine something special.  How about a vintage Valentine card and a few chocolates?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Living Room - Getting New Bones

Well, if you haven't read my diatribe about "The Great Couch Fiasco of 2012", you can catch that here.  If you have, then I know you're itching to see the new addition...

Can we just take a minute.

Absolute perfection.  I'm in love.  Every morning, whilst feeding the wee one breakfast, I gaze at my new sofa and smile.  It has transformed the space and inspired an entirely new feel to our home. 

I've been changing out pillows, paint colors, and accessories for a while, but sometimes you can't truly accomplish the change you're after if the bones aren't right.  Meaning, the big pieces of furniture everything else is revolved around. 

See, we started with "Jolly Green" (the old, ruined couch) and "Big Red", a build-it-youself couch I had in my first apartment.  That's right.  The Christmas Express rolled right through our living room everyday.  But it was okay.  I had red and green accessories, black accents.  It was a whole thing.  But then that ship sailed and I was beyond ready for a break from the marriage to red and green.  Sorry guys, I still love you, but I'd like to see other colors now.  No hard feelings?

Long story short, we had a little bone replacement around here and we couldn't be happier about it!

What's that?  You want more pics?  Well okay!

I know those of you who know our home have spied some other changes in there as well.  I'll get to those in another post.  Things, they are a changin'!  But this post is completely devoted to my new love.  Some things really are worth the wait.

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