Sunday, March 29, 2009

A different stimulus package

This was an article from the St. Petersburg Times Newspaper. My uncle emailed it to me.The Business Section asked readers for ideas on "HowWould You Fix the Economy?" Here is what one reader responded with.

Dear Mr. President,

Patriotic retirement: There's about 40 million people over 50 in the workforce - pay them $1 million apiece severance with the following stipulations:
1) They leave their jobs. Forty million job openings -Unemployment fixed.
2) They buy NEW American cars. Forty million cars ordered -Auto Industry fixed.
3) They either buy a house/pay off their mortgage - HousingCrisis fixed.

Can't get any easier than that!

So I ask, could it be that simple? Hmmm. Something to think about.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Being Two.

My two year old is amusing us daily! He says things that make my hubby and I just share "The look" and laugh.

The last two days he has been telling us over and over that "I no like hot water. I like warm water. Hot water is for girls."


"I no like that dip. That dip too spicy for me."

He is so adorable! He is a gem. I know. He is my boy. I get to say that about him and you, being my reader, get to read it!

Tonight, he wanted to lay with me at bedtime. We have a new rule that neither parent lies with either child at bedtime anymore. So I asked Sissy if she would let him lay with her. She was very reluctant. But being the good sister that she is she obliged. Right now, the two of them are snuggled in her bed together sleeping soundly and it is sweet enough to melt a mother's heart.

I love my kids.


Vera Bradley Deals!

I got an email recently from Vera Bradley and saw that my favorite fabric pattern is still on clearance! I just wish I could order it! Instead, I will share it with you and maybe someone else can take advantage of the great deal on it! And of course, while in there looking I found another fabric pattern that is retiring and I love as well. And it comes in a the large backpack and a wallet!

My hubby bought me a Vera Bradley backpack before we had our first child and I still have it! It is a black, yellow and white floral pattern. Not too floral that it is gaudy. (I have to admit I don't like all of her patterns!) Neutral color combination. I used it for both kids as the smaller diaper bag - ya know the one you go to when your kid gets a little older but doesn't require so much stuff - just a diaper, snack and sippy cup? But being so soft it was flexible I cold stuff in a light jacket or whatever when out on a day trip or such - all that with my wallet, phone and keys.

Anyway, here are the links to some great deals on Vera Bradley bags. There are many other cool things on sale as well. Some at serious markdowns!

Seaside Port Tote (my personal fav!)
$84 tote for $25!!


Seaside Hat
$27 hat for $10!!


Then, I saw these!

Cambridge Mini Zip Wallet
$27 wallet for $10!

Cambridge Large Backpack
$92 backpack for $36!!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Great Coffee Offer!

We have all heard of Gevalia and their coffee offers. Well, I saw this one and tested it out myself. You get 3 half pound coffee samples. You get to choose flavors, ground/bean, etc. FOR $3 ONLY! That includes shipping! And you get a free stainless travel mug. You can’t get 1 pound of coffee for $3 let alone 1.5 pounds and a mug shipped to you! Here is the only catch – you must cancel upon receipt of the coffee to no receive further shipments. Just make a note of that and cancel and you are all set!

Click here to order!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Another mom weighs in on saving a few bucks!

My friend, B, sent me this after reading my post on grocery secrets. It was too good not to post here and share!
I’m big on freezing food, too. We bought a freezer a long time ago and it is always packed, except during hurricane season. That way, you have a place to freeze meals when you make a double batch, meat that is on sale, ice cream on sale, etc.

There are certain foods that I ONLY buy when on sale (cuz why pay full price when they go on sale every few weeks) : crackers, cookies, ice cream, chicken, cereal, pizza, any kind of frozen dinner…and I’m sure much more, but can’t remember. Come to think of it, I buy almost every staple on sale only. Or at least shop at Walmart.

My husband says I’m really good at not wasting food. I get this from my mom and grandma (who lived during the Depression.) I plan my meals out for the week (usually I make 4 recipes) and I always make sure to go thru my fridge often to make sure we are using items. I keep an excel spreadsheet that lists all of my food in the freezer by date, so I always know what needs using up. I actually started this after the hurricane, so I can make sure I clear out most of my food before hurricane season and then build it back afterwards.

Speaking of spreadsheets, my grocery list is on a spreadsheet, and is organized by store aisle. I have all our staples on it, so it makes it super easy to make my weekly list. Plus, it makes it super easy if my husband has to shop for me, because he doesn’t have to guess which foods are on which aisle (and neither do I, come to think of it.)

I keep Bed Bath & Beyond coupons- did you know you can stockpile them and use (I think) up to 7 per shopping trip? (One coupon applied to one item, so if you have 2 items, bring 2 coupons.) Also, my Discover credit card offers reward points, so I redeem points for Bed Bath and Beyond, so in effect, I don’t pay anything at this store.

I also redeem Discover points for Borders books. I also have become a huge fan of the library. It’s so cool to read books for free now!!

I agree with Amy- watch the clearance racks. One time at Whole Foods, after Valentine’s Day, they had premium chocolates (I’m talking they were around $10-15 a box) for $1 a box!!! I’m not kidding. I bought every last box and was giddy for a week. Kind of on the same note, I buy a lot of my favorite chocolate (Dove promises) after holidays. I can get them for about $1 a bag, when normally they sell for $3.50 or even $4.00. I buy 5 or 6 bags, enough to last til the next holiday. Who cares if they are heart shaped or egg shaped.

I saw this guy on the Today Show that said most cars today need oil changes every 5-7,000 miles, not the 3000 we’re used to. Check this with your mechanic, but I’m going with it. The downside is that you need to check your tire pressure more often and at least check your oil dipstick to make sure your oil is full/okay.

If I’ve got the itch for a new/different piece of clothing, I go to Granny’s Attic (Samaritan Center). Not only do they have cheap clothes, but they are usually name brands because they are pretty choosy about what they put out. And, all proceeds go to help the women’s shelter. Also, they give all kids a free toy, and my kids think that is the Cat’s Meow.

I only use about ½ - 2/3 of the quantities recommended for laundry and dishwasher soap. Everything gets just as clean, it’s cheaper and it’s better for the environment. (But I’ve got a long way to go to be green, because I’m still using paper napkins and plastic bags- shame on me! )

I could go on and on, cuz I really am Queen of Cheap. Sometimes, it’s not even about necessarily saving the money because I have to, but why pay more when you don’t have to? And honestly, I get a (cheap) thrill from finding a fantastic bargain. That is FUN of it, I think!


My notes: I also used less than recommended for laundry and dishwasher soap because a repairman of such appliances told me that secret about a year ago. Also, my mechanic also told me going 5,000 miles between oil changes is fine - especially for newer cars. I have started doing that since I bought my car 4 years ago. Doing fine!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Grocery Shopping Secrets!

Okay. My friend Leslie who subscribes to my Freebie/Deal Distribution list asked about my use of coupons and scoring deals. Unfortunately, in our area we don’t have a grocery (that I know of at least) that accepts double or triple coupons. But, here are my secrets to shopping locally. Now, I know many of my distribution list subscribers and blog readers are not local, but you might find a tip or two that can apply to you or you can try to do the same at your local stores.

1. If you go to Fresh Market near closing time (9pm I think) and order a pound or whatever of ground chuck/beef they will give you a lot more than you ordered cuz they have to throw it out at the end of the night. I haven’t done this but my friend has. I keep it in my head though in case the opportunity ever presents itself and I am going by at that time!

2. Winn Dixie runs BOGO on meat all the time. They have it for other items, but the meat is the best deal. I have been there and only purchased the BOGO deals and saved $72!!!!We stock up on meat and put it in the freezer. Then, we plan our meals around what is in the freezer. You can also combine coupons with their BOGO deals. Example: I had a coupon for $1 off a box of microwave popcorn. The same brand was BOGO. If one box cost, say, $2 and I use my coupon I can get two boxes for $1!!! I try to do this a lot!

3. When hubby is making a quick stop at Rouse’s on his way home for like one item needed he will do a “browse” of the meat area. He has found four pork chops for $2 and great weird deals like that. Also, the guys in the meat department will tell you when it is going on sale. So if you know you are going to want a steak or roast for a certain night you can ask when it will be on sale. Also, Rouse’s is now taking the internet coupons you print online. I know Wal-mart takes them and Winn-Dixie too.

4. Rouse’s on 22 has an end cap clearance rack. “Manager’s Specials” it says I think. It is up front near the self checkout/dog food aisle. Hubby and I hit that every time we are in there. I once went in to Rouse’s to grab a birthday snack for my daughter to take to school the next morning. On my way to find the juice boxes I passed the rack and found EXACTLY 20 Capris-Suns for 10cents a piece. Well, with 20 kids in Kate’s class that worked out perfectly. Apparently the boxes got damaged (I was told) and they were just trying to sell them individually. I have bought dented cans of fruit and veggies for 25 cents and lots of other great finds! You never know what will be on that rack. The manager tells me most of the time the stuff found there is either the last one of its kind or it is an item they will no longer be carrying and it is taking up shelf space elsewhere. OH! I once got large bottles of Tide detergent for $5!!! Employee said they weren’t carrying that High Efficiency one for that brand anymore and those were the last 5 bottles!!

5. Yesterday I took a few coupons to target and also printed off some Target only coupons online. I used a Target only $1 off any furniture cleaning product coupon with a Pledge $2 off any Multi-Surface spray and got the $3.87 new Multi-Surface spray for 87 cents!
Winn Dixie by the causeway bridge also has a clearance table all the time in the back by the restrooms and stock room doors. I don’t find the greatest stuff there. But I always look just in case.

6. Wal-mart often has a rolling shelve cart out in the middle of the refrigerated aisle (near the cheese) that has clearance food/seasonal items on it. I almost always find something on there at a great deal. Something that I will actually use and think is cheap! For instance, I got some fancy salad dressing that my hubby loves for 50 cents. I got a load of Hanna Montana mini guitar keychains for 25 cents each. Gave them as prizes at Kate’s birthday party. I found Stove Top Stuffing for 25 cents a box. I got 1lb bag of Starbucks coffee for $5. Recently bought several cans of Del Monte pears for 25 cents each. I’ve bought all kinds of stuff there for really cheap prices. It hasn’t been out there lately. But man, around and after the holidays it was hot! Even my hubby knows to look for that rack now. I’ve been training him ;-)

So there ya go! Have fun! I hope I gave you at least one tip you didn’t know!

If you want to add yourself to my Freebie/Deals Distribution list just shoot me an email and let me know what email address to use.


Friday, March 13, 2009

And my 6 year old says . . .

Last night My Girl asked about our old dog Dakota. She was just shy of 3 when Dakota died. She often asks about her. Well, last night hubby explained she died shortly after Katrina hit. My Girl started to cry hard. She said she really missed her. She asked a million questions. Like, where is she now? Well, we like to be honest and told her that she was cremated and her remains are in a can in the guest bedroom. Of course I had to explain what cremated was, and why a can, etc.

Eventually after more questioning, she rolled over to go to sleep and I remained in her bed awhile longer with her. Just when I thought she was fast asleep she popped up and looked at me with big eyes and a smile. I said, "What?"

She said, "Can I take Dakota's can of dust to school tomorrow for show-n-tell?"

Funny girls

Tuesday was another night out with the girls. We meet up monthly. I have written about them before. I laughed my ass off. It is so nice to go out with friends once a month and just relieve the stress.

Being a Tuesday night, none of us really wanted to go but someway, somehow we got ourselves there and ended up having a roaring time. It turned a not so thrilling day into a very fun and relaxing evening.

What's our secret? Being open and ourselves. Daring to laugh at each other and ourselves. Sharing stories, concerns, frustrations, achievements, life. And most of all . . . never taking offense. Our pokes at each other are from knowing each other and pure admiration.

Thank you ladies. Your friendship is valuable and I look forward to next month!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tips for you all on taking advantage of freebies.

I've been posting a lot of freebies lately and started a Freebie Distribution list (if you want to be on it just send me your email address.). Mamma Loves suggested I post my tips that I recently included in one of my mass emails with two new freebies that you can also find below:

1. When you register, use a free email account (yahoo, gmail) that you don’t’ really use so you don’t get all the spam email.
2. If you use your main email, simply Unsubscribe to the first email you get from the company. Usually found at the bottom of any marketing email you get.
3. Register under your spouse’s/roommates names to get two samples. If they have an office address or you yourself have an office address you can use that works too.
For instance if it a really good sample, I will register as me to our home address. And register my hubby at his work address. But it is his own office so no biggie. I don’t recommend if you work at a big company!
4. Make sure you always UNCHECK the box that says “Yes, I would like to receive communications/newsletters/etc from that company” before you submit the form.

Free socks from Lucy Store.
Only located in certain states. Use store locater to find one in your state. Unfortunately not one in LA. Can’t be used online.

Free sample of new Caress Evenly Gorgeous™ Exfoliating Body Wash.
Be sure to check the appropriate box before you submit to get the sample.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Don't fight the curl.

Everyone is into super straight hair these days. I have officially decided to wait out the trend and am convinced curly will be back someday soon - hopefully.

Above you see three pictures of me. On the left is when my hair gets done for an event and takes advantage of my natural wave, body and curl. It was actually a bit straighter and done professionally that day because I was in a wedding. But by the time this picture was taken, my hair was starting to fight back.

In the middle I again had my hair done professionally for an event and this was taken at the end and it was still relatively straight. I think I do not look as much like myself in this picture. It is cute, but I am so used to body. This look is too flat for me. But, with straight you get flat . . .

In the right picture you see me in a daily picture. I did my hair myself. A normal day. Probably didn't put much time into it. Just the norm. I can tell though that I did try to round brush out some of the curl. But as you see at the bottom of my hair, my hair is again fighting back.

Recently, I was at breakfast with some girlfriends and all were talking hair straightening. I said I always wanted to try one of those expensive straightners before investing in one. Because I bought a cheap one once and it did nothing. A friend offered to let me borrow hers. I was elated. I went right home and fired it up. And guess what? I hated my hair. Same result as the cheap one.

I think straightners make my hair look coarse and dry. It always looks like I tried to straighten it and did a really poor job. I want the silky smooth look similar to the pic in the middle above. When I look at that photo I remember how long it took her to get my hair to look like that. I groan with the thought of investing so much of my limited time to my hair to get that look.

My friend tells me the reason that I might not like how the straightner is working is because I need to apply specific products and need to really take my time. Ok. Now we are talking more money and time!

So, I am giving up. I don't have the time or money to get straight her. So I decided that I won't fight the curl! Besides, just like sexy, it's gonna come back! I just know it . . .

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Free Food!

Get two free food items by requesting the coupon!

Betty Crocker Warm Delights

Kashi Frozen Entree

Since I am always sharing this kind of stuff, I am planning to make a distribution list about Freebies or Extreme Deals I find that I think are good ones. If you would like to be on my distribution list (I promise to only send the good stuff) just let me know!

Monday, March 2, 2009

More Freebies

Bally's Total Fitness Free Trial - Fill out short form and choose your location for a free 7-day trial membership. I don't think we have Bally's in our area. At least not that I know of. But this one is for my non-local readers!

Touch of Gray - Print a coupon for a free box of Touch of Gray for the old man in your life ;-) This one cracks me up! Request as a gag if you are too young to have graying friends/husbands/fathers!

Sorry haven't written much lately! Very busy with my work - which is great! So in the meantime, enjoy the freebie leads!