December 31, 2009


Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Tree Cycling takes place this Saturday January 2nd 9:00AM-3:00PM (three locations)

Keep Knoxville Beautiful, in partnership with the Knox County Solid Waste Office, has for the since 1991sponsored Christmas Treecycling. The event, which is held the first Saturday following New Year's Day, provides an opportunity for area residents to dispose of their tree, and to take home fresh evergreen mulch if they choose courtesy of Wolf Tree. Trees may be dropped off at no charge the following locations:

-Solway Greenwaste facility (8707 Joe Daniels Road)

-Halls Recycling and Convenience Center (3608 Neal Road)

-Forks of the River Greenwaste Facility (3106 Water Plant Road)*

*Free evergreen mulch generated from collected trees will only be available only at Halls and Solway since Forks of the River will not grind their trees that day.

Go here for more information.  If you are outside of our area, I hope you’ll contact your city government to see where you might be able to drop off your tree for mulching.

Tip of the day—Be safe tonight

Tonight will be filled with fun and festivity all around the world.  Along with all of that frolicking comes the increased danger of alcohol and drug related accidents.  While you may not be drinking and driving, it is safe to assume that others on the road will be.  It is an unfortunate realism of the holiday.  Below are a few tips to help keep you safe:

  • When you are driving make sure you are alert and without impairment.  This includes prescription medications, over the counter meds, alcohol and elicit drugs.  This also means that you are awake enough to drive, especially at late hours.  Bad road conditions or bad weather make the risks even higher.
  • Watch the road for pedestrians.  Many people do not realize how hard it is to see them at night, especially when they are wearing darker colors.  They may be intoxicated and not paying attention to wear they are walking or to the traffic on the roads.
  • Scan traffic ahead of you and watch the cars behind you for signs of impairment. 
  • If you or a friend is impaired, call a cab.  Look out for each other.
  • Set a designated driver BEFORE you leave for a party.  If you are the designated driver, respect that role.
  • If you are hosting a party, monitor your guests as they leave to make sure they are safe to drive.  If you choose to have alcohol at your parties, then you also accept some responsibility for your guests.  Serve heavy appetizers and foods.  Make sure there are festive nonalcoholic beverages available.  Encourage people to drink water and eat plenty. 
  • If you work at a restaurant or bar, talk to your manager or the owner about what to do if you see a patron leaving intoxicated with the intent to drive.  Many restaurants have a list of cab companies that are in the area.  Some know of college or church groups who offer van services.   

Have a happy and SAFE holiday!

December 30, 2009

Coupon Preview 1/3

Go here to view the coupons scheduled for the Sunday paper this weekend.  There are quite a few good ones this week.  I’ll be buying at least a couple of papers for our family.

Frontier Wholesale Co-op

One of my favorite resources for scoring discounted herbal supplements, herbs and spices, fair trade coffees, teas, and all sorts of other goodies is the Frontier Natural Products Co-op Wholesale Store.  The only catch is that in order to set up an account you or someone  you know will need a business license.  If you are an individual and would like to purchase their products, you can visit their retail on line store here.  While the retail stores are better than the grocery, the wholesale site is the best buy. 

What will you find there?  The list below is only a fraction of the companies that Frontier has on their site.

  • Simply Organic
  • Frontier brand spices, extracts, etc
  • Alba Botanicals
  • Aura Cacia
  • Newman’s Own Organic Coffee
  • Wrapsacks
  • Zhena’s Gypsy Teas
  • Stash Teas
  • Celestial Seasonings
  • Yummy Earth
  • Yogi Teas
  • Seventh Generation
  • Maggie’s Functional Organics
  • Life Tree Products
  • Kiss My Face
  • Equal Exchange
  • Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
  • Bumblebars

If you purchase natural items, organics or herbal supplements, I encourage you to check out the Frontier site.  If you have an order of $250 or more, you will receive free shipping. 

End of the month report—December

We budget $350 each month.  This includes all groceries, paper products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, medicines/herbals, and hygiene items (razors, deodorant, etc).

In December we spent $307.60—We were $42.40 under budget.   We didn’t stock up on as many items as we had thought.  I had budgeted $40 for a deer processing fee, but my husband was unable to go hunting this month.  Instead, we will be bartering with my sister for some of the venison from the deer that my brother-in-law took this winter. 

With that money we bought $664.86 worth of items.  If I’m doing my math correctly, we had a savings of 53.73%.

What did we buy with that money?

Free items— 28 free Ecotrin, 3 cans of dog food, 2 cans soup, 1 mustard, 2 Kikkoman soy sauces, maxi pads, 2 contact solutions, hair barrettes, Neutrogena face wash for men, 1 saline nose spray, 1 bag of spinach, tub of Cool Whip

Some of the items listed above  and below were donated to our church food pantry.

What did we stock up on?

  • The main item that we added to the stockpile was organic popcorn from Three Rivers Market.  We bought a little over 8 pounds of it. 
  • I bought 3 boxes of Lipton tea at Walgreens and 6 cans of tuna at Kroger this month.

Other purchases—In looking at this list, I am painfully aware of how much the loss of my grandmother and the many travels that we took to help with the house and for her funeral affected our eating and cooking.

  • $10 for locally grown using organic measures pastured milk. We would have spent more had we not been away from home for my grandmother’s funeral.
  • $40 given to my cousin to help pay for the BBQ and Crawfish tails we bought to feed out of town guests for the funeral.
  • At Kroger—bread, sodas, 2 more Kikkoman soy sauces, 2 hams, 6 sausages, marshmallows, organic chicken, 2 boxes sugar free jello pudding (for my father), 1 lb of Community coffee (per my Dad’s request), carrots, organic peanut butter, organic ketchup, 2 cream cheese, chili mixes, cornbread mix, confectioners sugar, brown sugar, organic ff milk, boiled custard, cheese, apples, lunchmeat, bananas, cabbage, flour tortillas, crackers, Bar Keepers Friend, sugar free cookies(for my father), clementines, vital gluten (for bread making), cranberry sauce, coconut (for my father), celery
  • At Walgreens—I used the Ecotrin deal to pay for some supplies for out of town guests while at the services in Memphis.  I bought 2 Nivea lip balms, 3 Pringles, 4 pork rinds, 2 packages of cheese, 2 packages of lunchmeat, ranch dip, 2 packages of cookies, milk, plates, and cups.  Later in the month I bought—4 boxes of cereal, 2 tubs of peanut butter, 1 tub of mayo, 2 packages of holiday plates for our daughter’s school party, 4 cans of broth, candy canes, candy as stocking stuffers, and saline spray
  • At Ingles—2 four packs of Marcal eco-friendly toilet paper
  • At Three Rivers Market— organic celery and the popcorn mentioned above
  • From Frontier co-op—teas, coffees for gifts, citric acid, organic ginger, organic cinnamon
  • 4 dozen eggs from a friend who owns chickens

So, what could you glean from this post to help with your budget and shopping?  Maybe I should ask what did I learn from the review of our grocery expenditures this month? 

  • To give yourself a break when you are under stress.  I’m very grateful that we have as many foods stocked in our pantry, refrigerator and freezer.  The stockpile allowed me to take time with my family during this difficult month instead of focusing as much on couponing or shopping. 
  • Even though we were travelling for much of the month, we did not eat out much during those travels.  We brought foods with us to reduce the expenses.  Packing sandwiches prevented us from having to eat gross fast food.
  • You can shop locally when you are away from home.  We bought BBQ and crawfish tails from local people for the funeral.  Because we came together as a family and all chipped in, the burden was not on any one person.  Our family is one of those large ones that you see on movies like Big Fat Greek Wedding.  When I say that we were feeding out of town guests, know that at one small meal there were about 20 people in and out. 
  • Planning ahead helps.  We were able to save a ton of money because I had been planning for months for Christmas dinner.  Read my post here to give you some ideas on that.
  • I wish we had bought more organic and more locally grown items.  I missed a milk delivery.  I missed out on an opportunity to chicken sit for a friend (when we do so we get the eggs).  I missed one of our meat farmer’s Knoxville delivery, and I didn’t think far enough in advance to buy his locally made sausage before he sold out.  Many of the items mentioned above are not organic—I’ll need to recommit to that in January.
  • I’m glad we have a garden.  I didn’t need to buy onions, herbs, or bell peppers (the peppers were frozen this summer).  I picked turnip greens, kale, beet greens,  herbs, and onions straight out of the garden for immediate use.
  • I’m amazed at how much cheaper it is to buy organic spices in bulk and to split them with friends instead of buying small bottles in the grocery store.  The next best option is to buy them at a local co-op like Three Rivers, buying only the amount that you need for your recipes.

I hope this post helps some of you in your grocery shopping, budgeting and meal planning. 

Kroger/Nature Valley Catalina Deal

Head over to Saving and Giving to learn more about the Kroger Nature Valley catalina deal. 

75% off at Hickory Farms

Hickory Farms

I was pleased to see that Hickory Farms now has many of their holiday items at 75% off, but I wasn’t pleased with the $9.99 shipping that they tagged on to my order!  I decided that the steep shipping and handling fee didn’t make it worth my while to order this year.  However, I post this information here in case you have an APO/FPO address.  (They offer free shipping for the military.)  I’m hoping that some of you can use this deal for you or your family members.  The $7 gift box looked like it would be a nice one to have.  Enjoy!

Thanks Nicole’s Nickles!

Earth’s Best Diaper Deal

Thanks to Faithful Provisions for the scoop on this great diaper deal:

The Toys “R” Us (and Babies “R” Us) stores are having a great deal on Earth’s Best Diapers this weekend. January 1-3, 2010 the Earth’s Best Diapers will be on sale for just $5/package! Use the coupons below to get them for just $3.50/each.

Earth’s Best Diapers  — $5/each (limit 3)
-$1.50/1 Earth’s Best Diapers printable coupon (these only allow 1 print per computer)
Final Price:  $3.50/ea

These would be great for a donation to a women’s shelter, children’s hospital, birthing center, or for a baby shower gift if you do not have a child in diapers.

Earth Fare 20% off Nutritional Supplements

Go here to print your coupon.  Happy Shopping!

Tip of the day

Order with friends.  One of the ways that I save money on purchases is to order with friends.  When I order seeds, I order with at least another friend or family member to save on shipping.  When I order cheese, I purchase a case with a couple of friends in order to get a case discount at Three Rivers Market.  When I order books from Dover Publishing, I have ordered with another friend as a way of increasing our total dollars purchased and allowing us to get free shipping and use a coupon for a percentage off of the purchase.  Last year I ordered cases of organic chocolates with about 8 friends.  We received a discount buy ordering cases and had the added benefit of more selection in flavors.  I hope these will give you some ideas on how bulk ordering can save you and your friends some cash.  Happy Shopping!

December 29, 2009

Kroger Loadable Coupons  Have you loaded coupons to your Kroger Plus Card at the Kroger site yet?  If not, you might want to go here to view which coupons are available.  Happy Couponing!

Free admission to Callaway Gardens Jan/Feb 2010


One of my favorite vacations that my husband and I took as a newly married couple was to stop for a weekend at Callaway Gardens on our way back from the coast.  It is such a lovely place, and they have such excellent staff.  I was happy to see the following information on Southern Savers site:

“Beginning January 1 through February 28, 2010, Callaway Gardens is inviting everyone to “Be Our Guest.”  Admission is complimentary for these two months providing guests with the opportunity to enjoy time with their family and friends reconnecting in nature. Just show up - no ticket necessary to enter the Gardens.” -  Callaway Gardens is south of Atlanta near LaGrange GA.

You might want to check out their website to see what might be available for family activities during the winter before you plan your trip.  I would think that most of their gardens would not be at peak until later into Spring.  As I remember there are many walking trails and hikes on their property and the surrounding area. 

New Loadable Coupons

coupons, coupon, free coupons, grocery coupons Have you updated your Cellfire acct lately?  There are some new coupons ready to load.

logo_shortcuts2[1]  Visit to update your acct while you are loading.


Happy Couponing!

Tip of the day

What do do with those holiday leftovers?

  • Egg nog or boiled custard—use them with eggs and cinnamon for French Toast.  Yummy!
  • Peppermint candies—Melt almond bark or white chocolate in the microwave.  Add crushed peppermint and pour onto waxed paper.  Once it is cooled, enjoy!
  • Ham bone—use the ham bone for seasoning for your beans or make a ham and potato soup
  • Turkey bones—cover with filtered water, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Simmer until the rest of the meat falls off of the bones.  If making a stock, cook until the bones break easily.  Pour stock through a sieve to keep any bones from being in the stock.
  • Leftover pound cake or dried out cake—You have a few options here.  You can freeze the cake for later use.  You can butter a skillet and pan fry the cake for a yummy warm treat.  Or,  you can make a trifle.  Cut the cake into cubes.  Layer with prepared pudding (flavor of your choice) and whipped cream/cool whip.  If you have some leftover candies or chocolates, you can crush those and layer them into the mix as well.  Heath or toffee bars work beautifully.
  • Nuts—make peanut brittle, pralines, or candy them in the oven.  My favorite for pecans is to heat a cast iron skillet in the oven with half of a stick of butter.  I pour a pound of pecans into the butter and season with Tony’s.  Bake over low heat (200-250 degrees F), stirring every 15 minutes with a total baking time of 1 hour.  Delicious!
  • Ham, turkey, goose, etc—if you do not want to use them for sandwiches, then freeze them.  By freezing them in either gravy or some of the drippings, you will reduce the risk of them getting freezer burned.  Pull them out for casseroles as you may need them.  I like to chop my ham and put it into small (1/2 cup to 1 cup) containers.  These are perfect for omelets!


Reducing Water Usage

I caught an interview a few nights ago with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about water shortages in California.  He has challenged Californians to lower their water usage by 20%.  I’ve been thinking a lot about that challenge. 

As I’ve told you all before, my husband and I created an Excel file and graph where we record the amount of our utility bill in dollars, the units used of electricity, gas and water.  We’ve recorded this, or I guess I should say that my sweet husband has been recording this, for a few years now.  It is so gratifying to see how our usage in these areas have decreased.  The graph has also beneficial in allowing us to record unusual events—one spike in gas usage might be due to a very cold few days when we also had company over, one spike in water was related to a series of bedwetting incidents when we were completing the potty training process with our daughter.  Knowing how much we’ve already reduced our usage, I think it would be pretty difficult for us to reduce it again by 20%.  No, we aren’t in California.  I haven’t moved; I’m still in TN.  I do have friends in CA, friends who are very environmentally conscious.  I’m wondering what steps they might be taking to reduce their water usage, given that like us they’ve already use significantly less than others. 

So, I’m hoping to hear from you all, especially those of you who are out west some tips and ideas for reducing water usage

Here are some to get us started:

  • Install a rain barrel.  This was such a wonderful money saving and water saving tool for us.  It took my hubby less than a day to make, and saved so much water.  We plan on installing another rain barrel next year so that we have even more water reserved.  Keep in mind that this water is not potable.  (There are some water filtration devices on the market, though). 
  • Take shorter and fewer baths and showers. 
  • Don’t run the water mindlessly—when doing dishes, when brushing your teeth, etc.
  • Rinse vegetables in a basin instead of underneath running water.  Collect any water for your indoor and outdoor plants.
  • When water glasses are left out overnight, use that water for your plants.
  • Install a low flow toilet.  Stop flushing unnecessarily—when you clean your brush and want to dump the hair somewhere, flushing a tissue used to blow your nose, etc.
  • Watch how much water you use when cooking.  Using less water for boiling potatoes not only conserves water but it also conserves energy.  (Less energy used to heat the larger amt of water to boiling).  Reserve the cooking liquid, let it cool, and use it on outdoor plants or for your animals.
  • Wash your car at a car wash instead of at home.  This one is a toughie for us since it costs so much more and since my daughter so enjoys washing the car with her father.  My husband uses wash basins to scrub the car and only does one final rinse to conserve water. 
  • When you do use water for your plants, water in the morning or at night so that water is not lost to evaporation.  Water at the base of the plant instead of by dripping water on the leaves.  This one won’t apply to many of us until the summer months, but I still wanted to include it.
  • Only wash full loads of laundry and dishes.  When washing dishes by hand use a rinse basin instead of running water. 
  • Try to grow plants that are adaptable to your climate to prevent the need for watering.
  • We wear heavy duty clothes like jeans more than once.  We hang our Sunday clothes up after use.  I did this for all of my childhood, and I’m not traumatized.  We have work clothes, outdoor play clothes, and dress or casual clothes.  At the risk of sounding ancient, people are a little spoiled when it comes to things like this.  No, we don’t wear smelly clothes or soiled clothes, but we are prudent.
  • When you need to replace your dishwasher or clothes washer, replace it with an energy and water efficient model.
  • Change out your shower heads and water faucets to ones that force the water through at a higher pressure.  This gives you the feel of having more water pressure/more water used but you are not actually using as much.
  • Don’t water your lawn.


For other utility saving ideas, visit my post here.  Please leave any other water saving tips in the comments section so that we all might benefit.

December 28, 2009

Naked Juice Rebate

Thanks to this rebate info from Saving and Giving:

Head over HERE to the RedPlum coupon site to print a rebate form good for $10 back when you purchase 10 15.2 oz. or 32 oz. Naked Juice products. The form says that the purchases must be made between January 3 and February 3. However, I recommend printing this form now if you're interested, because RedPlum usually resets their coupon offerings at the end of each month. We'll also have to keep an eye out for coupons to make this an even better deal!

I’ve never tried this juice, but I’ve heard people rave about it.  I vaguely remember that they have been on sale at Kroger for around $1 each, which would mean that this rebate would make for some free or very inexpensive juice. 

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo $1/1 coupon

1250 $1 off any Johnsons Baby Shampoo = Free Travel Size

Go HERE(IE) or HERE(FF) to print a coupon for $1 off any Johnson’s Baby shampoo. Use the coupon on the travel size and get it for free.  These are great additions to gift baskets for baby showers. 

Oddly enough, my uncle keeps baby shampoo on hand for the rare occasions when he gets a sty in his eye.  He swears that cleaning his eye out with the shampoo cures the sty.  I have no scientific evidence for this, but he finds it helpful.  ;)

Thanks Money Saving Mom and Mojo Savings!

Free Sample of Depends

noflash home Free Sample of Depend Underwear

Sam’s Club is offering free samples of Depend Underwear HERE. For this sample, you are not required to be a member.

Thanks Mojo Savings!—Be Heard. Be Happy.

I just learned about on Money Saving Mom—it is a new program which gives you opportunities to try new products and share about them with others.

I signed up and it only took a couple of minutes and it is FREEGo here  and complete your profile and then check your "My Profile" page to see if you have any offers. People who are signing up now are receiving a free full sized bottle of VitaCraves.  Love free stuff!

Thanks Money Saving Mom!

Walgreens Deals

Wow at the Wags deals this week!

Go here to learn how to get 2 free boxes of Cheerios when you buy a gallon of milk.

Go here to learn how to get free Theraflu and Lipton tea.  Love that!

Go here to learn the deals of the awesome Bayer Contour Meter moneymaker deal.  How I wish that we had more of these coupons from the church coupon ministry program!  I can’t complain though, we scored a lot of free items for the food pantry with $5 RR deals at Wags a while back. 

Go here to view the scenarios for Revlon concealers, Hershey’s kisses, and Breathe Right Strips.

Go here for the scoop on the Revlon Foundation deal.

Go here for info on the LaCross Beauty Tool freebie.

Cheerios Coupons

I signed up for a Cheerios mailing a while back and was pleased with the coupons I received.  High dollar cereal coupons almost always mean that you can score cereal for under $1 per box when you catch a sale, making it a great donation item to food pantries and shelters.  Here is the info from Money Saving Mom:

Sign up here for a chance to win one of 53,600 free boxes of Cheerios. Not only do you have a pretty good chance of winning, but you'll also get a coupon via email for the next four weeks with a $1/1 Cheerios coupon.

Thanks Crystal!

New Organic Coupons issued


The Whole Foods coupon site has added a few new coupons to their list.  Go here to view the full listing.  I’m excited about the San-J rice crackers, as I love these!  I’m hoping that we will find a good sale on them so that they are even cheaper. 

I’ve updated the Co-op Advantage Stores/Three Rivers Market January Match-up list.

Thanks to Organic Deals and Coupons for the info!

Independence Days Update

We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge.   This is our weekly update. 

Plant—Nothing planted this week.  I doubt I’ll plant anything outside until late January or early February. 

Harvest—Beet greens for salad, turnip greens for Christmas Day, herbs and onions

Preserve—Turkey broth for the freezer from the turkey bones from Christmas dinner. 

Reduce Waste—My father stayed with us for a few days last week.  While he doesn’t compost or recycle at his home, I’m pleased that he took part while at our house.  Maybe we’ll convert him yet!  We have been using all of the leftovers from Christmas dinner so that nothing goes to waste.  We packed away the ribbons, bows, boxes and bags from presents we received to be used for other gift giving occasions.  My aunt has been working hard on cleaning out her closet.  She passed another bag of clothes to me, and since some of the sweaters were wool (I can’t wear wool), I shared them with my sister.  I’m loving all of these “new” clothes I’ve been receiving.

Prep/Storage—My hubby pulled the stump of a very old and very dead crabapple tree.  He is going to save some of the trunk to dry in hopes of turning it.  The wood is a bit gnarled which usually makes for an interesting looking turned piece.  With all the wood we’ve been blessed with lately, he hasn’t had a need to purchase any yet.  Hubby made a couple of honey dippers out of olive wood for my cousins.  We commissioned a friend to make two homemade honey pots, and the dippers and pots went over very well. 

Hubby has measured the chimney and is now off buying a cap to place on top of it.  We had a bit of water leak down the chimney a few weeks back. 

A few weeks back I told you all that I bought out Germantown/East Memphis in Ecotrin working the Walgreens deal there.  My father ended up with a couple of years supply of low dose aspirin.  When he packed for the trip to Knoxville, however, he forgot his Ecotrin!  Much to my dismay, when I searched our medicine cabinets and first aid kits we did not have any aspirin!  I like to keep it on hand for our emergency supplies and have no idea where I have put it.  My cousin had given me some more coupons, and so I used those to replenish our stock and gave another bottle to my father. 

Building Community Food Systems—I was so happy to have so many homemade items for our holiday celebrations.  We had pepper jelly and onion relish that we brought to a party we attended.  I gave jars of pears, jams, jellies, relishes, and pickled foods as gifts.  We had corn and other foods that we had preserved over the summer as part of our feast.  We had local milk, eggs, and sweet potatoes.  We felt so blessed! 

A friend from Indiana dropped in for a quick visit and brought a sweet cream pie (at least that is what I think she called it).  It was from bakery that is in Columbus—I’ll try to get the name so that people can visit if they are in the area.  It was the flakiest of crusts and the most delicious pie!  The fact that she knew I would like to have something that was locally made and brought it all the way to TN even though she already had a car load full of other stuff to bring meant so much to me.

Also in this category, I checked our church food pantry and sorted a few donated items there.  We will be making breakfast for the United Methodist Men next Saturday, and I’ve begun the preparation for that. 

Eat the Food—Our Christmas dinner was a special one.  I think that my husband counted 20 dishes in total including the desserts!  I haven’t had to cook lunches or suppers in days!

2010 Weekly Coupon Insert Schedule

Thanks to Saving Your Cents for this great list!!  Below is directly from her site and is italicized to indicate a direct quote. 

2010 Weekly Coupon Insert Schedule

3 – (3) Smart Source & (2) RedPlum
10 – Smart Source & RedPlum
17 – Smart Source & Procter and Gamble
24 – Smart Source & RedPlum
31 – Smart Source & RedPlum

7 – Smart Source & Red Plum
14 – Red Plum
21 – (2) Smart Source & Red Plum & Procter and Gamble
28 – Smart Source

7 – Smart Source & RedPlum & Procter and Gamble
14 – Smart Source & RedPlum
21 – (2) Smart Source & RedPlum
28 – (2) Smart Source & RedPlum & Procter and Gamble

4 – No Inserts
11 – Smart Source & RedPlum
18 – Smart Source & RedPlum
25 – Smart Source & (2) RedPlum

2 – Smart Source & RedPlum & Procter &Gamble
9 – Smart Source
16 – Smart Source & RedPlum
23 – Smart Source & RedPlum
30 – No Inserts

6 – (2) Smart Source & RedPlum & Procter and Gamble
13 – Smart Source
20 – (2) Smart Source & RedPlum
27 – Smart Source & RedPlum

4 – Procter and Gamble
11 – Smart Source & RedPlum
18 – Smart Source
25 – Smart Source & RedPlum

1 – Smart Source & RedPlum & Procter and Gamble
8 – (2) Smart Source & RedPlum
15 – Smart Source & RedPlum
22 – (2) Smart Source
29 – Smart Source & RedPlum & Procter and Gamble

5 – No Inserts
12 – Smart Source & 2 RedPlum
19 – Smart Source & RedPlum
26 – Smart Source & RedPlum

3 – Smart Source & RedPlum & Procter and Gamble
10 – Smart Source & RedPlum
17 – Smart Source & RedPlum
24 – Smart Source & RedPlum
31 – Smart Source & RedPlum

7 – (2) Smart Source & RedPlum & Procter and Gamble
14 – Smart Source & RedPlum
21 – Smart Source
28 – No Inserts

5 – Smart Source & RedPlum & Procter and Gamble
12 – Smart Source & RedPlum
19 – No Inserts
26- No Inserts

Official Schedule
Redplum Official Schedule
P&G (Insert schedule can possibly change as they do each year!)

Bath & Body Works $10/$40 and Sale!

In case you haven’t already heard, Bath & Body Works is having a big sale.  This $10/$40 coupon good through January 3rd will help to make the deal a bit sweeter.  Think about birthdays and gift giving occasions that are coming up.  Do you have a New Year’s party where a hostess gift would be appreciated?  What about a Valentine’s gift for your wife?  For your best friend?  What about some extra gifts to keep in your gift pantry for those little surprise occasions? 

Happy Shopping!

Mary’s Gone Crackers

Here is a fun freebie possibility.  While I was completing the Co-op Advantage Stores January Match-ups, I came across this deal at Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Per the company website, “We are on a hunt for one of Mary’s trucks…they’re driving all over the country! Snap a picture as you see it on the road, email it to us along with the location, and we’ll send you coupons for some FREE crackers and Sticks & Twigs!”

Since most folks have a camera phone these days, you might be able to snag some free food if you see one of their trucks.  I know I’ll be on the look-out!  Let us know if you find one.

Tip of the day

Thrifty folks often talk about washing out zip-top bags and reusing them both to save money and reduce the impact on the environment.  What happens when the zip-top bag isn’t in a condition to use it again?  If the bag has not had meat products or fats in it, I use them to store my compost.  My compost bin is close to the garden and away from the house.  I usually make just a few trips out to the bin per week.  Storing it in a gallon sized zip-top bag keeps the smell down and prevents me from dirtying a clean dish for storage.  Even if the bag will not close fully or has a slight tear in it, it will usually still work for this purpose.  After I dump the compost, I rinse the bag and put it in the plastic recycling. 

Meal Planning Monday

BreakfastsWhole Wheat Banana Bread, cereals, oatmeal, strata, and eggs and rice.  On Saturday I’ll be making the breakfast for the United Methodist Men at our church.  We usually put out a big spread of breakfast meats (bacon, sausage, etc), eggs, biscuits, etc.

Lunches—leftovers, sandwiches, salads, soups, and snack lunches


Monday—Turkey Soup using the bones from the Christmas turkey. 

Tuesday—Tuna Noodle Casserole


Thursday—We have tentative plans to spend New Year’s Eve with friends and family.  We’ll most likely enjoy a wide range of party and festive foods.  I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be bringing yet.  At the very least, I’ll pack some of the whole wheat Back to Nature crackers I snagged at Three Rivers last month on super sale, some cream cheese, and my homemade pepper jelly.  I have some Velveeta Cheese that my dad gave me (don’t ask, not really sure why he gave it to me since we do not normally eat the stuff).  I might use it for Rotel dip (melted Velveeta cheese and a can of Rotel in a crock pot served with tortilla chips). 

Friday—Today I’ll be making our family’s traditional New Year’s feast of cabbage rolls and black eyed peas.  My family is part Ukrainian.  In Eastern Europe every region has its own version of cabbage rolls, much like BBQ is here in the States.  I’ll try to post our family’s recipe on the blog so that you might try it.  They are yummy. 

Southern folklore tells that for every black eyed pea you eat you’ll receive that amount of money in the coming year.  As a child I would try to fill myself with as many black eyed peas as possible!  I make mine with the hambone from Christmas dinner so that nothing is wasted.

Saturday—Leftover black eyed peas and cabbage rolls

Sunday—Vegetable meal of sweet potatoes, squash from the freezer, home canned green beans, and beans

December 27, 2009

Co-op Advantage Stores/Three Rivers Market January Coupon Match-ups

UPDATEI’ve updated the list of coupons below.  The ones that are no longer available are crossed out.  The new ones have an asterisk beside them.imageI’m posting this a bit early.  Our local co-op, Three Rivers Market allows customers to shop the stores in the last 3 days of the month and shop both the current and upcoming month’s sales.  On December 29th, 30th, and 31st, you can visit and get the sale prices for December AND January! 

I don’t usually post the coupons until the first of the month because printable coupon sites refresh their coupons at that time.  This month, I’ll try and update the coupons listed below if I notice that some are no longer available and add new ones as sites make them available.  Please let me know if you catch any that I haven’t updated or find any new coupons I haven’t mentioned.  Since I’m posting this before the end of the month, you might want to go on and print any that you see and would like to use before they are gone.

Make note that Three Rivers Market is not open on New Years Day.

There are Co-op Advantage Stores located in 12 states with 44 stores. Our local Co-op Advantage store is Three Rivers Market (or TRM as I often abbreviate it). If you are outside of the Knoxville area, go to this link and look on the last page to see if there is a store located near you.

Print Three Rivers Market is a cooperatively-owned natural foods grocery store serving the Knoxville community and all of East Tennessee. They offer many certified organic foods, as well as fresh produce and offerings from our many local growers and producers. You'll find more than 200 herbs and spices, a large bulk buying section, freshly prepared deli foods, as well as refrigerated, frozen, and packaged groceries.

Their sales ad is good all through January.   Please post any additional deals you find in the comments section.


Note—my printer is out of ink.  I found the Whole Foods coupon site via Organic Deals and Coupons.  I can’t verify if these are manufacturer coupons or Whole Foods only coupons, so please let us know if there is any problem with these.

Best Bulk Buys

Organic Rolled Oats 99cts/lb Great price!
Organic Golden Flaxseeds, $1.79/lb Good price
Organic Barley, $1.19/lb Good price
Organic Walnuts, $7.99 Fair price

Coupon Match-ups

Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Organic English Muffins $2.79 Go to this link to sign up for a newsletter, which says they will send you coupons
Muir Glen Organic Soup $1.99 Go here for $1/1 coupon
Go here for $1/1 coupon
Go here for $1/1 coupon
Go here for a $1/2 coupon *
Go here for $1/2 coupon *
Stacy’s Pita Chips $1.99 Go here for $1/1 coupon
RW Knudsen Simply Nutritious Juice $2.29 Go here for coupon
Earth Fare Holiday Savings Coupon Booklet $1.50/3 coupon
Annie’s Naturals Salad Dressing 2/$5 If you signed up for your Annie’s calendar before the deadline, it contains a 75ct/1 coupon
Go here for 50ct/1 coupon
Spectrum Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $12.99, 33.8 oz

Go here for coupon
Go here for $2/3 products Spectrum, Garden of Eatin’, Sunspire, Healthy Valley, WestSoy, Maranatha, Celestial Seasonings
Go here for $3/3 coupon

Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs Cereal, 2/$5 Go here to sign up for their community and to have access to coupons.
Arrowhead Mills Organic Pancake and Waffle Mix $3.79 Go here for $1/1 Coupon
Coupon no longer available

Barbara’s Bakery Shredded Cereal, $2.99

Cheese Puffs $1.99

Go here to sign up for newsletter and receive special offers, discounts, and maybe coupons.

Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave Nectar $4.99 Go here for $1/1 coupon
Coupon no longer available
Annie Chun Soup Bowl 2/$5 Go here for $1/1 coupons
Pacific Organic Soup $2.79 Earth Fare Holiday Savings Coupon Booklet $1/1coupon
Go here for a $1/2 coupon
Annie’s Homegrown Naturals Deluxe Pasta and Cheese Dinner $2.79 Go here for $1/2 coupon
Go here for 50ct/1 coupon
If you signed up for your Annie’s calendar before the deadline, it contains a coupon for these
Rice Dream $2.49, 32 oz Go here for a $1/2 coupon
Oscillococcinum $10.99 $2 off in Earth Fare Holiday Savings Coupon Book
BioKleen Liquid Laundry Detergent $8.99 Go here for 75ct/1 coupon
Go here for a $1/1 coupon
Seeds of Change Organic Simmer Sauce $2.99 Go here for a $1/1 coupon
Little Bear Refried Beans 3/$5
Tortilla Chips $2.79
Go here to sign up for their e-mails and possibly receive coupons and promotions
Steaz Organic Energy Drink $5.79 Go here for BOGO coupon (if included)
Go here for BOGO coupon (if included)*
Zevia Natural Diet Soda $4.79 Go here to sign up for their newsletter and receive coupons
Applegate Farms Chicken Nuggets $3.99 Go here for $1/1 coupon
Morningstar Farms Hickory BBQ Riblets $3.79 Go here to sign up for the newsletter and receive coupons and special offers.
So Delicious
Coconut Milk $3.49
Coconut Milk Yogurt 2/$3
Go here for coupons
Similsan Homeopathic Remedy $8.99 Go here for coupons
Go here for coupons
$1/1 off in Earth Fare Holiday Savings Coupon Book
Kiss My Face Toothpaste $3.99 Go here, sign up for their e-mails and you’ll be directed to a coupon site to print a $1/1 and a $1.50/1 coupon (other coupons also available)
Kettle Baked Potato Chips $2.29 $1/1 coupon in 1/3/10 SS*

Stockpiling, Emergency Preparedness, and Food Security

Wondering why you are seeing this post on a couponing site?  View my posts here and here to find out why I believe these issues are important.

Stockpiling-- Here are the weekly “best buys” I found for adding to your stockpile (therefore the list is mostly of shelf stable items or toiletries).  Some of the stores are regional.  If you do not have a store listed in your area, or if you do not eat the items mentioned, then consider taking $1-$5 from your weekly grocery budget to use for building your stockpile. 

If you find some deals I missed, please post in the comments section. The scenarios are from the websites I’ve linked for the sales and match-ups.  The Target match-up is from Stretching a Buck.  The Kroger, Walgreens, and CVS match-ups are from Southern Savers.  I wasn’t terribly impressed with the deals at Ingles this week. 

While not shelf stable items, do not forget that you still have time to pick up 2 pies and a tub of ice cream at Earth Fare for the price of one pie.  Go here to find out how.

Target—They are having a dog food/gift card deal this week.  Buy any of the items below and get a $5 gift card.

  • Pedigree Dog Food (40 lb) – $18.89/ea
    Use $2/1 Target coupon here
    Final Price =$16.89/ea; It’s like getting this for $11.89/ea with gift card
  • Iams Dog Food (40 lbs) – $32.69/ea
    Final Price = It’s like getting this for $27.60 with gift card
  • Beneful Dog Food (31 lb) – $23.74/ea
    Final Price =$18.74/ea with gift card
  • Avocados are 69cts each—great price!

Organic Deals and Coupons also notes that the Method holiday versions are on clearance and  you can use a $2 coupon making these very cheap.  They were $2.58 at a local Target, but at hers they were $2.08.  Click the link for the details.

Kroger (Atlanta/Knoxville area)—

  • If I’ve done my math correctly, the Procter and Gamble deal at Kroger seems to be a bit better than the one at Walgreens this week.  In addition to the coupons doubling, you can use the P&G loadable coupons until 12/31.  Click the link to see the types of products and coupons available.  DO NOT FORGET that Olay Quench has a MIR where you can submit TWO per household! 
  • Kroger also has 1 lb bags of black eyed peas at 99cts.  While not as super duper as I’d like, this is a decent price for a bag of peas.


  • Buy $30 worth of select P&G products and get a free Tide at $8.99 value. Click the link to see her scenario for getting items free.
  • Cashews and peanuts are $1.99 this week.  (last week the peanuts were 99cts, but this is a good price for cashews and mixed nuts)
  • Honey is $3.99 this week.  It isn’t local, but it is a good price.

CVS—Use the $5 ECB from the Bayer Contour deal in your second transaction to score some free foods.

  • $3 ECB wyb Flexamin or Nature’s Bounty Vitamins on sale B1G1 Limit 6
    -$6 off Flex-a-Min Joint Care, RP 11/15
    -$4 off Flex-a-Min Joint Care, printable (IE) printable (FF)
    -$3 off Flex-a-min product January All You Magazine
    -$2 off Nature’s Bounty Your Life Vitamins, RP 11/15 or printable
    -$1 off Nature’s Bounty vitamins printable

Emergency PreparednessMy husband wears contacts and has since he was young.  As long as I have known him (almost 12 years now), he has never had a pair of eyeglasses.  He always used contacts.  After Katrina, I started being a bit concerned about the fact that if we had a true emergency situation, he might not be able to see well.  We spoke about it on a number of occasions but never did anything about it.  We always kept extra contacts and solution as part of our emergency prep, and yet, it still bothered me.  He recently had his annual eye appt, and I’m pleased to say that he now has a pair of glasses.  While he may not need to use them, he now has them if there is ever that occasion.  If his eyes are sore or if his allergies are acting up, he has the glasses available.  If you have eye problems, do you have a pair of glasses available in the event of emergencies?  If not, do you at the very least have extra contact solution and extra pairs of contact lenses? 

Food Security—I don’t write these posts to bring doom or gloom or inspire people through fear.  I hope that these posts serve as inspiration and ideas to motivate you to take care of your family.  At the same time, I’m a realist.  Many crops didn’t fair well last year due to the crazy weather we had.  I was raised in a small farm community in west TN and grew up listening to farm reports on the radio. I know from those experiences that when crops don’t do well we tend to see higher food prices within the next year.  On top of that, many farmers went out of business last year, meaning that there are less farms growing and producing the food that we need.  Don’t hide from this type of news and at the same time don’t go wild with fear from it.  Treat it as information and do your own research.  Read the news, listen to the farm reports, watch the prices of commodities.  Make informed decisions for you and your family.  This week your challenge is to analyze your stored foods.

  • What gaps do you have?  No chocolate?  No coffee?  No water? 
  • Are the food groups covered?  Do you have tons of green beans but no cans of fruit? 
  • What about foods rich in vitamins?  White beans for calcium, canned spinach for folate, mandarin oranges for Vitamin C, etc.   Store some extra supplemental vitamins if you are able.
  • How easily transportable is your food? 
  • How much water is needed to cook the food?
  • What if you lost your job and couldn’t shop for a few weeks—would you have plenty to eat?

As I recommend in the stockpiling section, buy a few extra foods each week when you see great sales.  This keeps the financial burden of food storage low and with time these extra purchases can add up.  Next week we’ll talk about building food security through gardening.

A Happy Thought

This is one of my favorites--

DSC_4529 “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The Courage to change the things I can,

And the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Tip of the day

Please recycle your Christmas tree this year.  Many cities have either pick up of the tree at your home or a central location for drop off.  My husband brings ours to the drop off and returns with a truck load of free mulch from the trees.  Since it is freshly mulched and not aged, we use it away from our home and main gardens.  Alternately, you could let it age for 6 months to a year and use it in landscaping if desired.

December 26, 2009

Muir Glen Coupon

-Save $1.00 RedPlum has released a new $1/1 Muir Glen Product coupon.  There tomato paste will often go on sale at Kroger for $1, making it free with this coupon.  There are some other great coupons on the list that you might also like to check out!

“Striking Gold at After Christmas Sales”

Go here to read Nancy’s newest article on “Striking Gold at After Christmas Sales.”  I was interviewed and quoted for her article. 

Have you already made your way to the stores this morning?  Included below are a few more tips that weren’t included in her article.

  • Go as soon as you can after Christmas to get the best deals.
  • Don’t waste your time on sales that aren’t at least 75% off.  75% off is my magic number, as the more drastically the items are reduced the less selection is available.  90% off is great, but if you can only pick from a few items that might also be damaged, it isn’t worth your time.
  • Make a list of people you need to buy for in the next few months.  Think of ways that you can buy their presents for less by shopping after Christmas sales.  What about a nice pair of warm pjs for your daughter’s February birthday?  Would your best friend like a cashmere sweater for her January birthday? 
  • Keep in mind the recipient's taste and style.  If the item is hideous and if you wouldn’t like it, it doesn’t really matter how drastically reduced it is, does it???
  • Stores like Kroger might not be your first thought when searching for after Christmas sales, but they might have more selection and better prices than a store like Hallmark for paper plates or even Christmas cards.
  • If you do not have a place to store the item, if it will be forgotten in the holiday packing, or if it is not in your budget, don’t buy it.  Like I always say, if something is wasted, it isn’t a “good deal”. 

Have fun shopping!

Tip of the day

Start looking for dramatic price reductions in holiday merchandise today.  I try to pick up my holiday cards for next year’s Christmas as soon after Christmas as I can.

December 25, 2009

Lipsmacker Coupon

Go here to print $1/1 Lipsmacker product coupon.  If you wait for holiday sales you might snag some free lip product!

Thanks to Saving Your Cents for this great coupon info!

Tip of the day

Take some deep breaths!  On a busy and fun filled day like Christmas, it is especially important to take some time to yourself.  Even if it is only for a few minutes, try and take a bit of time to focus on your breath and meditate on what today means to you.  When I speak with people about meditation, they often think that they must sit cross legged and chant.  On the contrary, meditation can take many forms—prayer, focus on nature, yoga or another form of exercise, guided imagery, listening to music, reading scripture or a devotional, etc.  Do what works best for you.  The important step is that it brings you back to your center, back to a focused place where you feel more balanced and whole.  Try to stay in the moment today rather than fretting over when the ham will be done, when guests will arrive, or if your children will like their gifts.  Ask yourself periodically, “What am I thinking about?”  If it isn’t what is happening right at that time, try to refocus your energy.  I know this can be tough, that is why it is called a mindfulness practice. 

I hope that your Christmas is a very merry one.  I hope that it is filled with many blessings for you and  yours! 

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2009

Free Coconut Oil????

tropical traditions coconut oilYes, you read correctly!  Visit Coupon Mommie’s post to find out all the details.  Hurry—the deal is only good today and tomorrow!

PawPaw’s Banana Pudding

I told you all that my father has diabetes.  This dessert has been a good alternative for him on special occasions.  While it does contain carbs, the dessert is a much better option than others.  I’ll warn you, there is artificial sweetener galore in this recipe so it isn’t in the least bit “holistic”.  ;)  There also isn’t a photo because my dad has already started enjoying the pudding!! 


1 small packet of sugar free vanilla pudding made according to package directions

1 small packet of sugar free banana flavored pudding made according to package directions

1 small tub of lite or sugar free cool whip (Contain the same carbs)  If you prefer and have the cream on hand, by all means whip your own and use Equal or Splenda to sweeten it

1 cup approx unsweetened coconut flakes

1 box of sugar free vanilla wafers (approx 2 cups)

3-4 bananas sliced

Layer—cookies, banana flavored pudding, coconut, bananas, vanilla pudding, and cool whip.  Sprinkle with crushed wafers for garnish if desired and refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to eating.

Earth Fare—more free!

Earth Fare is really wanting you to stop in and give them a try.  Not only did they send out a free ice cream with purchase coupon yesterday, but today they sent a BOGO pie coupon!  I will warn you that when I clicked the link I could not find the coupon to print it.  I’m hoping it is a glitch on my end and that you might have better luck. 

What does this mean?  You could visit Earth Fare, buy 2 pies and a tub of ice cream for the price of one pie! Note that the coupons do not expire until 12/29 so if you have your holiday baking accomplished already (as I do), you might pick these up for your New Year’s Eve celebrations. 

Coupon Preview 12/27

bs01864_ Go here to view the coupons scheduled for this Sunday’s paper.  I wasn’t too impressed with the list, as Procter and Gamble is the only flyer.  I’ll most likely take the week off for coupons.  Did you catch any that looked like they might match with upcoming deals?  If so, please leave a comment so that all might benefit. 

Tip of the day

Have a few extra items on hand for hostess gifts when visiting friends this holiday season.  Boxes of teas, nice lotions, home canned goodies or homemade treats, a nice box of chocolates—just about anything small that you can keep ready for visiting will work.  While no one expects these items, they always go over very well and show an extra appreciation for hosting you and your family.

December 23, 2009

Free Earth Fare Ice Cream with any purchase!

Go here to print your coupon.  Happy Shopping!

Tip of the day

Don’t throw away those citrus peels!  This time of the year many of us are enjoying fresh citrus fruits, and I encourage you to make sure nothing goes to waste.

  • If you want to zest the fruit, do so before you cut or peel it.
  • Zested fruit that is uncut will keep for at least another three days (more if it does not dry out).
  • Use the peels as an air freshener.  Place the peels in a saucepan of water (add cinnamon sticks and whole cloves if desired) and leave on a simmer for a few hours.
  • Use the peels to freshen your garbage disposal.  Grind a few peels at a time.
  • Peels are fine to add to your compost piles, but many worm composters recommend against use of peels for worm food. The acidity in the peels is not good for the worms.

Do you have any other uses for citrus peels?  Leave a comment so that all might benefit.

December 22, 2009

Guest Post from Senior Care Consultants

As many of you know, I am a social worker, and my preferred field is work with older adults.  I receive a newsletter from Senior Care Consultants, a local geriatric care management program.  I found the article below quite interesting, and I thought my readers might benefit from seeing it.  I contacted Brenda Southerland for permission to post it here.  I asked her to include the first paragraph, telling local readers more about the program and how to contact them if their services might be needed.  Thank you Brenda!

Senior Care Consultants, Inc.  (SCC) is a geriatric care management company that has been serving seniors and their families in the Knoxville area for over 10 years.  Geriatric care management services consist of  assessment of the older adult in their environment to determine needs and wants related to long term care services, followed by development and implementation of a care plan based on those identified needs and wants.  SCC also offers consultation, long term care placement, daily money management, and serves as an agent under power of attorney for health care and/or finances.  SCC offers the senior a one stop shop for local community resources, and offers the family a peace of mind.  To learn more about SCC, go to the website or call 865-579-5886.  SCC currently has a promotional offer which consists of one hour of free in-office consultation, with no obligation to purchase additional services.

What to Look for During Holiday Visits with Older RelativesBrenda Southerland

For many of us, the holidays offer a once-a-year time to visit with older relatives who live at a distance.  It offers a valuable opportunity to assess what assistance loved ones need, and any changes in cognitive and/or physical functioning that has occurred during the past year.   Often times, these changes are not detected during phone calls, but become evident once the older adult is visited in the home.  These changes may be even more obvious since you have not seen them in such a long period of time.  Thus, you may detect changes or decline in the senior's functioning that those who see them on a regular basis may miss.  The following are a few areas to assess:

  • Look for signs of self neglect such as poor hygiene or weight loss
  • Isolation has increased and senior no longer appears to be as active as previously  
  • Bills are unpaid and services are disconnected
  • Increased confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Depression and/or anxiety 
  • Evidence of drug or alcohol abuse 
  • Concerns expressed by neighbors, family, or church members
  • Senior seems to be experiencing increased difficulty performing activities of daily living

As a concerned family member who lives at a distance, it can be an overwhelming experience to note concerns regarding your older relative.  However, there are some ways you can help:

  • If possible, schedule another visit soon so you can investigate local community resources to help with activities of daily living and provide needed support
  • Schedule an appointment with the older adult's physician so treatable causes of the problems can be addressed
  • If problems are severe and threatened the safety of the senior, contact Adult Protective Services at 1-888-277-8366
Hire a geriatric care manager.  This professional can serve as your eyes and ears locally, assess for needs, develop a care plan, and keep you updated.  To contact SCC, Inc for a home assessment, contact us by phone at 865-579-5886 or by email  

Waffle House freebies, and a note about Saving Your Cents

Thanks to Saving Your Cents for this restaurant freebie info:

You can go here to print out a coupon for a FREE sausage biscuit from Waffle House (you can even forward the page to friends and family at the bottom!).
While you're there be sure to click on the link to sign up for the FREE 2010 Waffle House Calendar!

If you haven’t checked out the Saving Your Cents site, I encourage you to do so.  She often has information on freebies, shopping at Kmart, and other couponing info that you can’t find other places. 

I had hoped to have more time on the computer this morning, but I’ve started my holiday baking and meal prep.  I’ll try to post here and there when I have breaks.  If you have any freebies or couponing info that you think readers would like to know about, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at

Tip of the day

Many of you will be hosting overnight guests this holiday season.  Here are a few hospitality tips I’ve learned over the years:

  • Give your guests space.  They may not want to be entertained the entire time they are at your home.  Give them time alone.  On their nightstand, place a few books or periodicals that you think they might like.
  • Stay in the guest room before your guests if possible.  This will give you a better sense of what to include in the room.  In the middle of the night did you stub your toe because there wasn’t a night light?  Did you reach for a box of tissues only to find that it was empty?  Did you need a lamp on the nightstand for reading?
  • The bed--Always have clean sheets.  Have an extra blanket or quilt so that they can layer their blankets if needed.  Have an extra pillow or two so that they can choose what type of pillow (firm, soft, feather, etc). 
  • If you have a shared bathroom, put a few extra towels in their bedroom.  They may not want to look through your cabinets to find towels.
  • Either in their bathroom or somewhere in their room, place some extra toiletries.  Couponers could potentially place a crate of extra toiletries that we’ve “purchased” for free, but don’t go overboard.  A toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant and lotion make a good combination. 
  • Make sure there is a trashcan available in the room for their use.
  • If you have a shared television or one in their room, include a few general instructions on how to turn it on or how to use the DVD player.
  • Be upfront.  If you do not allow smoking in your home, set up a spot outdoors where they can smoke. 
  • Don’t have a guest bedroom?  No worries.  Add some of the same touches to the pull out couch, futon, or even some nice sheets on the couch. 
  • The extras—I’ve found that a nice bouquet of flowers adds an extra touch to the room.  In colder weather, an evergreen bough or swag of magnolia leaves looks nice.  Adding a water pitcher, a few bottles of water, or a small coffeemaker in the room is a special touch.  Or, go the 5 star hotel route, and add some chocolates to their pillows. 


  • Offering an assortment of things that will hold allows your guests to have breakfast when they are ready.  Boiled eggs, pastries, fruit, lox and bagels, juices—these seem luxurious and people can enjoy them when they are hungry and ready to eat.
  • If you know when your guests are ready for breakfast, make ahead foods like strata, quiches, and breakfast parfaits mean that you are visiting with your guests instead of slaving away in the kitchen.


Most importantly, do not be so stressed about being the perfect hostess that you forget to be in the moment.  The real blessing is that you have guests who want to spend time with you.  Don’t miss out on that connection because you are worried about every little detail.

Today only 25% off everything Eddie Bauer stores!

Find a Store Nearest You

Go here to find a location near you.

December 21, 2009

Back in

I've just arrived back from Memphis. We spent the weekend there helping begin the process of cleaning out my grandmother's house. We weren't sure we were going to be able to make the trip, as our daughter was sick last week, but it worked out that we were able to take the trip. I'm looking forward to a week of Christmas celebrations at home!

I hope to update the blog a bit in the morning. Have a great evening!

Meal Planning Monday—Christmas Time!

Good morning all!  I hope your Monday has been a spectacular one thus far.  Did you know that Mondays are my favorite?  There is something so refreshing about a new start and looking forward to what the week holds—crazy, I know. 

This week, I thought I’d talk a bit about Christmas.  As you already know, it rolls around the same time each year, and therefore we’ve been able to plan ahead.  I’ve included the list of what we will be making and some notes on how we planned ahead.  I hope this might give you some ideas for your holiday season either this year or next.

Christmas Dinner—this year we’ll be pleased to host my father as part of our Christmas celebration.  With the passing of my grandmother, future holidays will all be different.  Who knows what our new traditions will be, but this year we’ll be happy to be with “PawPaw”.  My uncle and many of my cousins live in East TN, and we’ll most likely see them either on Christmas Day or afterwards. 

The food

Turkey—When our local Kroger store was relocating, I purchased a turkey at half off, AND I had a coupon!  This made our holiday bird cost about $5.  Since we’ll use the turkey for this meal, leftovers, and I’ll make broth from the carcass, the turkey should feed us for many meals.

Sausage Dressing—Many Southern homes make dressing instead of stuffing.  Based on what we have on hand, our family enjoys eggplant, mirliton, oyster, seafood, or sausage dressing.  I purchased sausage on sale and with a coupon, making it less than $1 per pound.  I had originally planned to buy local sausage from a farmer friend, but he ran out before I made it to the market.  His sausage is amazing, and I’ll make sure to plan even further ahead next year so that we have it.  I use celery, onions, green onions, parsley, and bell pepper in my dressing as well as cornbread.  We have frozen bell pepper from the garden and still have green onions and parsley ready to pick.  We have a few storage onions from earlier this year that will also be added in.

Ham—I bought a ham a few weeks ago at Kroger at a sale price with a coupon.  The ham was the big purchase for this meal at $13.  We will use it for the meal, leftovers, and I use the ham bone to make the black eyed peas for New Years Day.

Green Bean Casserole—I purchased canned green beans on sale at Kroger a month ago. I  bought canned cream of mushroom soup on sale with a coupon at Walgreens and did the same with the French fried onions.

Corn—Our area didn’t have a great corn season, but we were able to freeze a few gallons this year.  We have saved one gallon bag for Christmas Day.  I sauté it with a bit of butter.  I purchased organic butter half off at Kroger when our local store was relocating.  The butter was around $2/lb which is an amazing price for organic butter.

Turnip Greens—while turnip greens are not a traditional food, they are ready to pick in our garden, and my father loves them.  Since he has diabetes, this will be a healthy choice for him.

Sweet Potato—I’ll probably roast some sweet potatoes for my father and make Yum Yum Sweet Potato casserole for us.  We purchased locally grown sweet potatoes.  The farmer uses organic farming practices.  These were much more expensive than the grocery store sweet potatoes, but the flavor is far superior.  I bought these about a month ago and have stored them for Christmas.

Honey Whole Wheat bread—While this is not a perfect choice for my father, it is a better option than white bread or rolls.  He will not be able to eat much.  The fact that the whole wheat is freshly milled makes this a much healthier option for all to dine upon.  As far as preparation goes, I purchased the wheat in January of last year.  The honey was bought on sale (shame on me for not buying local honey, I know).  The organic butter sale was mentioned above.  If our daughter wants jelly on top, which she often does, we have some home canned strawberry, apple butter, and peach jam.

Relishes—We have home canned pickled beets, dill pickles, bread and butters, jalapeños, and onion relish—all but the bread and butters were from our garden and those were given to us by my sister-in-law.  I bought some black and green olives at Walgreens on sale with a coupon a few months ago.

Cranberry Sauce—I bought this on sale at Kroger a few weeks ago.  I’m not certain that we will use it since it is such a concentrated sweet, but we have it on hand just in case.

Gravy—Folks, I had in my hand a bag of gravy mix before I came to my senses.  Really, gravy from a mix?  We’ll have the drippings from the turkey and will cook down the turkey neck with the gizzards and some hard boiled eggs.  Waste not, want not.

Deviled eggs—I’ll make these without sweet pickles so that my father can also enjoy them.  I bought the eggs from a friend who owns chickens.  I’ve been saving the smaller eggs from each dozen just for this occasion.  I mix the yolks with a bit of Hellman’s Mayo (the ONLY mayo that I use if I can help it), minced green onion tops, chopped pimento olives, and Tony’s.  How I wish we could splurge on some caviar to top these!  I don’t know of any sales on caviar and have NEVER seen a coupon…alas!

Sautéed pears—I’ll take a quart of home canned pears and put them juice and all in a sauce pan.  I’ll add a tablespoon of butter and a few dashes of cinnamon.  This will cook down and the liquid will reduce until it makes a syrup. I’m not 100% sure I’ll make these, as they’ll be a major temptation for my father.  It is in the plan, though, so I thought I’d mention it.

Desserts-- a sugar free banana pudding for my father made with sugar free pudding that was a filler item at Walgreens, sugar free cool whip free with a coupon, milk from our local dairy Cruze Dairy Farm, marked down bananas, and sugar free cookies (too bad those weren’t on sale!)  Daughter dearest and I will make gingerbread men.  I’ll either make homemade pumpkin pie or butternut squash pie.  I have canned pumpkin and have the butternut squash puree ready in the freezer.  I have some lard that a friend of mine gave me earlier in the year.  (I use it for the pie crust, and I am aware that this will sound strange to folks in different regions of the country).  I have canned evaporated milk that I bought free after coupons and Mega Sale at Kroger.  I stocked up on sugar a few weeks back when there was a sale and I had some coupons.  I’ll pour the cream off of our whole milk and whip it for the topping to the pie.  If we are really needing more sweets, which is doubtful, I’ll make some rice krispie treats and cut them in Christmas shapes with a cookie cutter.  (I bought the cereal at a great price with the $5/4 coupon at Walgreens a couple of weeks ago).

What will we be eating the rest of the week?  Just like on the week of Thanksgiving, most of our meals before Christmas will be simple dishes that were made ahead from the freezer or quick meals from the pantry.  Then after Christmas we will enjoy the leftovers, and I’ll make a big pot of vegetable soup with the turkey carcass and vegetables we put up from this year’s garden.