July 31, 2009

Walgreens Children’s Activity Book

The photos and info are from I Heart Wags, one of the best sites for up to date info on Walgreens.  These activity books were filled with some great coupons last go around.  I could never find them in our stores, and I hope to see them on the shelves so I can snag some!  Since these are Walgreens coupons, they can be used with manufacturer’s coupons.

The children's activity book is $.99 and has a page of coupons in them that expire 3/30/10:

    Band Aids $2.00 OFF
    Benadryl $1.00 OFF
    Braun ThermoScan $5 OFF
    Crayola Color Explosion or Wonder Color $1.00 OFF
    Gerber Tooth and Gum Cleaner $1.00 OFF
    Huggies (Diapers or Training Pants) $1.00 OFF
    Lil' Critters Gummy Vitamins $2.00 OFF
    Listerine $1.00 OFF
    Neosporin $2.00 OFF
    Tylenol $ 1.00 OFF
    Zooth or Oral B Toothbrushes $1.00 OFF
    Walgreens Allergy Relief $.50 OFF
    Walgreens Ibuprofen $.50 OFF
these books are usually found by the pharmacy or with the other children's coloring books. it may be in a separate cardboard display this time. they may not be available at all wags locations.

Last day of the month—print your coupons

bs01864_ Just a quick reminder that today is the last day of the month.  Websites like coupons.com and smartsource.com often update their coupons beginning at the first of the month.  While some of the same coupons might still be there tomorrow, you might want to check out the list and see if there are any you want to be sure you have.  Happy Couponing!

Free Nakana Rice Vinegar after survey


Go here to sign up for a free recipe booklet and a free product coupon from Nakana and Holland House. In addition, you can go here and fill out a short survey and you'll get a coupon for a free bottle of Nakana Rice Vinegar.  Thanks again Money Saving Mom!

Another Home Made Simple Coupon Booklet

Home-made-simpleThanks to Money Saving Mom for the following info:

There's a new free Home Made Simple Coupon booklet you can sign up for here. You should be able to sign up for this one even if you've already signed up for another one in the past. These books are packed with coupons for P&G products and include a coupon for a free product, too!

10 Free Books!

Thumbnail for Lorax Activity Book publication.

You can get Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Activity Book for FREE HERE.  You can download the PDF, or have up to 10 copies  mailed to you.  This would be great to get some extra books for donating or stocking stuffers.  Thanks Thrifty Mama!

Free Sensible Portions Sample

Sensible portions

Wow!  More free chocolate!  Go here to sign up for your free sample of Cheating with Chocolate from Sensible Portions.  Thanks Money Saving Mom!

Free Chocolate Friday

I didn’t put this on the blog last Friday.  I guess part of me thought that most people have probably signed up for their 4 candy bars by now.  However, when speaking with family and friends, I realized that some of them didn’t even know about the free chocolate bars from Mars available through September on every Friday from 9:00am-11:59am.  Sorry if you missed out last week.  I’ll try to keep these posted until the giveaway ends.  Go here to sign up for your free chocolate bar.

Subway $5 Footlong= $5 Concert Ticket


Go to this website for more details.  They are available while supplies last.

Tip of the day

Have a potato that is starting to sprout?  Did you make guacamole for dinner?  Turn those “throw away” items into a science experiment for the kids!  Insert 3-4 toothpicks around the center of the potato or avocado seed and balance those toothpicks on the rim of a cup or glass.  Fill the glass with water so that the bottom part of the seed or potato is submerged.  Place in a sunny window and wait.  The kids will get a kick out of seeing them grow.  We grew many an avocado plant in my youth—too bad we weren’t in the proper climate for them to fruit!  Go here for some photos.

July 30, 2009

Update on the garden

I haven’t updated you all on the garden in some time, mainly because I haven’t been at home much in the last two months due to births, funerals, our vacation, and my grandmother’s illness. Sorry that there are not photos of the actual garden this time.  It has been rainy here, and I didn’t think I could get any good photos.  I hope to have my sweet hubby (the photographer in the family) to shoot some soon.

Last night when we arrived home, we went to the garden to see how it was doing.  It was amazing how being out in the garden even for just a few minutes last night helped to calm my spirit.  On a whim, I used the pitchfork to pull a couple of plants of red potatoes with which to make some soup today.  I looked down at my hands covered in fresh smelling soil and breathed deeply.  Aaah, relaxation!

DSC_1083 Today, I went out to the garden again.  It began to rain a slow warm rain of summer—cleansing, soft, fresh, lovely. 

After an hour in the rain I returned to the house with 5 gallons of ripe tomatoes to can tonight.  Because of the rain and my mistake of planting the romas a little too closely together, they have a powdery mildew on the plants.  If I had caught it earlier, I don’t think it would have been a problem, but at this point it almost resembles fusarium wilt.  It does not have any of the defining features of the wilt, but all the same, it is causing the plants to start to die back.  My plan is to pull more of the red/orange tomatoes in the next couple of days and put them up.  Then I’ll pull all of the green tomatoes to make relishes and salsa verde.  I’ll remove the plants (being sure to not place the plants in the compost pile).  I’ll then prepare the bed for my fall plantings.

I found a HUGE zucchini that was missed.  It is too large to use even for baking, and so I’ll save the seeds from it for next year’s garden.  I yanked our first zucchini plant, as it had completed its cycle of fruits and was starting to I pulled some more of the shelling beans (Jacob’s cattle) that the rabbits did not demolish.  I will most likely pull all of the bell peppers at once this weekend so that I can make some more pepper jelly. 

I picked some red okra (see photo below).  I love growing heirloom red okra for a number of reasons.  The blossom is lovely.  It is related to the hibiscus, and the red okra blossom is a creamy yellow with a deep maroon throat.  Just beautiful!  Red okra is more forgiving than green okra.  See how large the 2 are in the photo?  If this were another variety of green okra, those would be too tough to use.  When okra gets older, no matter how long you cook it, it will not soften.  Red okra allows you to have a few extra days of leeway before it starts to toughen.  Red okra turns a darker green when cooked and can be used in all of the same ways as green okra.  It also doesn’t have as many of the spines on the plant as some green varieties might.  The only cons I can see is that it fruits a little later in the season than green okra. 



With all of the rain that our area has had this year, I’ve seen a lot more garden pests than I have noticed in any previous year.  I cannot blame the rain completely, though.  I have not been home enough to be vigilant about treating the pests and preventing problems.  My husband and I killed the first Japanese beetles that I have ever seen in our yard.  I can only hope that we will not see an infestation of those voracious creatures!  As I pulled the zucchini I was dismayed to find cucumber beetles near the soil.  With so many relatives of the cucumber in our gardens (cucumbers, squashes, pumpkins/butternut squash, and melons), I pray that I can keep them from spreading elsewhere.  When I pulled the potatoes last night, I found them to have potato scab.  I’m guessing that among the three main causes of the scab—soil not acidic enough, improper crop rotation, and soil being too wet at time of germination—that the later one is the most relevant.  These were the last of the potatoes I planted and were near where I planted potatoes last year.  Perhaps some of the soil from last year’s planting was mixed into the part of the bed that this year’s crops were in, but I do not know.  Luckily the potatoes are still edible, but they cannot be used for seed potatoes for next year.  We’ll hope that the scab will not be found in the potato boxes where the rest of this year’s crop are being grown. 

What is good about all of the problems and mistakes from this year?  I have learned a ton from them.  Gardening mistakes are in many ways little gems on the road to success.  I try not to be frustrated with them because they serve me in my ongoing education so well.  Besides, we have more than made our money back on what we paid for plant materials and seeds this year.  How could we complain about that? 

Hope to have more photos and updates soon.  Until then, happy gardening!

All You deal ends today

Special Offer: ALL You Magazines for $.75 eachGo here to find out all of the info on the All You deal that Coupon Mommie is running. The deal ends today!

Walgreens and CVS for week of 8/2

BS01178_1 Go here for the deals at Walgreens for next week.  Go here for the deals at CVS for next week.  Happy Shopping!

Coupon Preview 8/2

bs01864_ Hey, that rhymes!  Go to Southern Savers for the coupon preview for this coming Sunday.  There are lots of inserts scheduled!

Gluten Free Desserts!

GF_Home_Main2I have many friends with gluten intolerances or allergies, and I know how tough it is for them to find baking products that they can eat.  My sister has a wheat allergy and works, and she is often on the look out for easily prepared meals and snacks.  I found this info on Money Saving Mom that might be of help:

If you or someone in your home is eating a gluten-free diet, you can get a free coupon for one of Betty Crocker's new Gluten-Free Dessert Mixes ($4 value). Here's how to get yours:

  • Call General Mills Consumer Services number at 1-800-446-1898 and select option #4 on the main menu.
  • Tell the customer service representative on the line that you are interested in the free gluten-free baking coupons.
  • You'll be asked a few questions regarding your household's consumption of gluten and then you'll be asked for your address so they can send you the free coupon.

Walgreens Friends and Family Discount

Walgreens Friends and Family | 1 Day Only - July 31, 2009 | 15% off eligible store items and 20% off Walgreens and W Brand products * | use at photo or cosmetics register only. Please present to cashier at beginning of checkout. | * Valid in Walgreens store on Friday, July 31, 2009 only, during regular store hours. Offer not valid on prescriptions, cigarettes, dairy products, liquor, liquor department items, phone cards, newspapers, magazines, stamps, and gift cards or where otherwise limited by law. Also, not valid towards Prescription Savings Club membership fee. Limit one card per person per purchase. Card must accompany purchase.

15% off your transaction or 20% off Walgreens brand. Use at photo or cosmetics registers only. Present to cashier at beginning of checkout. Good for one day only - 7/31/09!

Thanks I Heart Wags!

Photo Stamps deal

photostampsGo here to read how to get a great deal on photo stamps.

Planning on making a World Market purchase?

g_cpwmLogo Go here for coupons to World Market--$5/$25, $10/$50, or $20/$100. 

Tip of the day

Want to get that garlic and onion smell off of your hands? Instead of purchasing a stainless steel tool to rub when washing, use your stainless steel sink. Simply rub your hands around the basin of the sink and wash with soap and water. It works every time!

July 29, 2009

Great list of freebies

Check out this post at Money Saving Methods for a list of freebies. Happy Freebie'ing!

Tip of the day

Most baking recipes do not absolutely require that you preheat the oven before adding them in. While the oven is heating, you are using electricity. You might as well be cooking your dish during that same time. I would first try this with dishes such as casseroles or roasts. Foods like souffles and pita bread are a little more temperature specific.

July 28, 2009

New Cellfire Coupons Available

There are some new cellfire loadable coupons available. The best one is the Cheerios coupon, which could be paired with a $1/1paper coupon and sale to make for free cereal.

Delta Airlines Boosts SkyMiles

I have a few friends who fly frequently to see family and for business. I thought some of you might be interested in reading this article to see what Delta is doing with their frequent flyer program.

Last Chance 80% off at Restaurant.com

Go here to place an order. Offer ends today.

Free movie ticket with World Market purchase

These will surely be gone fast. Note tha the dates are Tuesday and Wednesday (July 28-29). I'd head in today if you want to take advantage of the offer. If in doubt, call ahead to see if they have any left. Go here to find a store near you.

Tip of the day

Have an electric stove? Use carry over heat to reduce energy costs. The eye of the stove will stay hot for a few minutes after it is turned off. When your dish is near completion, turn the eye of the stove off and leave the pot/skillet there. The extra time and remaining heat will complete the cooking process. Not only do I use this tool because it saves a little money, but I also find that it keeps me from over cooking dishes such as scrambled eggs.

July 27, 2009

Target 7/26-8/1

The Target deals are up at Stretching a Buck. Head on over to check out what good buys are in the stores this week.

I love comments

I have heard from a couple of people now that they have tried to post a comment on my site but it never showed up. I haven't deleted any of your comments. On the contrary, I get so excited when I see a new one on the blog. If you have a problem posting a comment, please send me an e-mail so that I can try and figure out the problem. couponingincriticaltimes (at) gmail (dot) com

In the meantime, keep the comments coming and know I appreciate feedback! Thanks!

Ingles 7/26-8/1

The Ingles match-ups for the week have been posted at Southern Savers. Happy Shopping!

Free Family Film Festival

Check out Regal Cinemas for free movies this week. Movies begin at 10am and seating is first come first serve.

Knoxville Center Mall
Space Chimps (G)
Flushed Away (PG)

West Town Mall
Kit Kittredge: American Girl (G)
Kung Fu Panda (PG)

Polar Express (G)
Flicka (PG)



As many of you know, I am a social worker.  One of the many parts of being a social worker is linking people with resources.  I thought I might highlight some local and national resources available to people at little or no cost over the next few weeks.  I’ll try to have these being posted early each week.  If you know of a program that you would like for me to post about, please feel free to e-mail me or post the info in the comments section. 

I receive no financial benefit from giving information on the programs, and I offer details on the programs in good faith.  It is my hope that all may benefit from any information posted on this site and will share what they learn here with others. 


Every hour of every day, hundreds of people need essential human services - they are looking for training, employment, food pantries, help for an aging parent, addiction prevention programs for their teenage children, affordable housing options, support groups and ways of becoming part of their community. 2-1-1 allows people to give help and to get help.

2-1-1 is an easy to remember telephone number that, where available, connects people with important community services and volunteer opportunities. In 2008, 2-1-1 services in the United States answered more than 14 million calls. The implementation of 2-1-1 is spearheaded by United Ways and information and referral agencies in states and local communities. United Way of America (UWA) and the Alliance for Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) strongly support federal funding so that every American has access to this essential service.

2-1-1 provides free and confidential information and referral. Call 2-1-1 for help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more.   Go here to view the 211 website.  Go here to find your local 211 service.

Independence Days Update

I participate in Sharon Astyk's Independence Days Challenge. This is my weekly update.

Plant something--I haven't planted anything in the ground this week, but I did root some basil.

Harvest something--hot peppers, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, peaches, red okra, green onions, yellow onions, bell peppers, various herbs, and flowers for arrangements. I was disappointed that the figs haven't ripened yet--maybe next week.

Preserve something--I did two batches of peach jam and 8 quarts of canned peaches. The hubby and I made 3 batches of dehydrator peaches, or as we like to call them peach candy. Delicious! I dried some dill and put some parsley in the freezer. Hubby put some basil in the freezer and made some more refrigerator pickles.

Waste Not--We continue to compost, recycle, and use our rain barrels. I've been mostly in charge of food preparation for the family while my grandmother is in the hospital. I've made an effort to "use what we have" before making any purchases. We've been carpooling to and from the hospital whenever possible.

Want Not/Preparation--My sister and I swapped some clothes to reduce the need to purchase new. I brought some of the freebies from the stockpile for family members and to help with meal preparation. Hubby continues to work on preparing the space for the play area. Cleaned out downstairs freezer to make way for the corn we hope to put up this week or next.

Build Community Food Systems--Prepared some boxes of food at our church's food pantry. Organized incoming items and made purchases for the pantry. Passed coupons on to a church member who will be buying supplies for the Wesley House in Knoxville. Taught my cousin and father how to make mozzarella. Visited a farmers market while traveling in an effort to support local farmers and producers. I was tickled to find hoop cheese for purchase and brought some to my dad to enjoy. When I was a child and lived in a small town, the local store carried the best hoop cheese. Having the cheese this week brought back some good memories.

Eat the food--The best have been the loads and loads of peaches and blueberries we've been able to eat and share with friends and family. There is nothing better than a fully ripened, freshly picked peach. We picked up some fresh purple hull peas from the farmers market, and my sister made up 3 pounds of them for the family and freezer. No new recipes of note this week, just fresh and simple food.

Stuff the Bus, Knoxville

Where: Wal-Mart, Turkey Creek
When: Wednesday, July 22 – Monday, August 3, 2009

107.7 WIVK, Gentry Trailways and Knox Area Rescue Ministries are working together once again to support homeless and needy children in the Knoxville area through the Stuff the Bus campaign, which aims to provide hundreds of children the supplies they need for back-to-school success.

The following supplies are needed to help kids head back to school, ready to succeed. (Notice that many of these can be bought for free or cheap this week. Go to Southern Savers for a listing of the cheap school supplies.)

• Loose-leaf notebook paper
• Spiral notebooks
• Pencils and pens
• Pencil boxes
• Crayons and markers
• Rulers
• Glue
• Scissors
• Three-ring binders
• Paper folders
• Boxes of Kleenex
Click here for details!
Call 865-633-7676 for information

Free Sample of Organic Pet Food

UPDATE--these are no longer available.

Tomato Tasting on Market Square

When you are down at the market this Saturday, August 1st, be sure to do some tomato tasting. The tasting will take place from 9:00am-12:00n. Below is the information from the market. Go here for more details.

All tomatoes are not created equal. Each variety of tomato has its own
unique qualities in taste, color, shape, and texture. Our vendors will be
providing an opportunity for you to taste a selection of varieties and vote on
your favorites.

Three Rivers Market Weekly Deals

I have had some difficulty viewing the photos of the weekly deals at Three Rivers Market, but I still wanted to mention a couple of great buys. They have ORGANIC lemons on sale for 39cts each and ORGANIC limes on sale for 29 cts each. This is pretty close to what you might pay in the grocery for regular lemons and limes (or maybe even cheaper). Since many dishes call for the use of the zest of the fruit, organic is the way to go on citrus. Happy Shopping!

Sundaes on Mondays

On Mondays through the end of August, Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops are offering a" Sundaes on Mondays" BOGO promotion. Go here to read more information. Thanks Money Saving Mom for the info!

Tip of the day

Going to the beach? Bring your own beach towels.  If you are staying in a hotel or condo, most will not allow you to bring their room towels to the beach.  Bring a few extra plastic bags to store wet clothes and towels in once you leave the area.

July 26, 2009

A few more freebies at Walgreens

Head over to Common Sense with Money to get all the info on a few more freebies this week at Walgreens. I love free chocolate!

Kroger Weekly Match-ups 7/26

Go here to view the weekly match-ups for the Atlanta/Knoxville area Kroger stores. Happy Shopping!

Stockpiling, Emergency Preparedness, and Food Security

Just a few minutes after I posted my weekly update on stockpiling last Monday, I caught the end of a news story on stockpilers. The story was discussing how many more people are paying attention to food security in the wake of the recession. There was a definite negative slant by the reporters on how these measures are driven by fear and anxiety. While I didn't see the beginning of the report, I found myself frustrated that they were so negative and emphasized hoarding behaviors in the piece.

What bothered me the most? That so many people I know personally do not have even the Red Cross recommendation of 3 days worth of food, water, and first aid supplies in their homes. Pieces like this tend to discourage them from taking precautions rather than encouraging them. What did I like about the piece? That they noted that emergency supply retailers are having more sales. I'm glad that there are more companies and retailers making products that are helpful. Years ago, I would not have been able to afford a solar powered, crank flashlight with radio. Now we are seeing these in mainstream stores.

In discussing the news piece with a friend, I said that if for no other reason having these supplies on hand makes my life a little easier. We all were sick with a winter cold this year, and it was so nice to not have to go out and buy food and treatments. During this experience with my grandmother this summer, it has been nice to know that we have food in the pantry and freezer so that I do not have to rush out to the grocery. Stockpiling also saves us a great deal of money. If I can get free canned pineapple with a coupon and sale, why wouldn't I? "I don't eat canned pineapple" you say?? Well, what about donating it to all of the food pantries around the country who are in serious need of help? Stockpiling has allowed our family to donate thousands of dollars worth of food and supplies during the last year. (I know because I keep a tally of how much we are able to donate)

I hope this better explains my purpose for these weekly updates. I hope very much that nothing ever happens in your family to warrant need for your emergency supplies. If it does, though, hopefully these coupons and deals will help you to have the things you need on hand. I've had too many people I know in circumstances when supplies and preparation were vital to not take precautions for my own family.

Below are shelf stable items that can be purchased free or cheap at stores this week:
  • Kroger Atlanta/Knoxville area: Thursday, July 30th Kellogg's cereal/cereal bars, Keebler or Sunshine cookies and crackers, and Eggo waffles are on sale for 50% off. These deals paired with coupons and the Kellogg's rebate can make for some very good buys.
  • CVS--Kashi cereal is on sale 3/$10. When you spend $10 on Kashi you get $5 ECB. Go here to view the coupons available.
  • Ingles Markets--Ingles brand of vinegar is on sale for $1.98 for 128 oz (large size). This is a little less than I paid for the same size at other stores. I use white vinegar for everything from house cleaning to making pickles. Ingles brand white rice is also on sale 2/$1 in one pound packages. Remember how I told you about making the rice bags here? This might make that craft project a little cheaper. White rice is a good stockpile item because it stores longer than brown rice.
  • Three Rivers Market (or any Co-op Advantage Store, go to the last page here to find one near you)--if you go into the store during the last 3 days of the month, you can take advantage of the Double Days Sale. You will be able to get the items from both the July and August flyers on sale. The August sales flyer shows some great buys on bulk goods. The organic rolled oats at 99cts and the organic yellow popcorn at $1.19 are the better of the deals on the ad. Remember that popcorn is a great stockpile item because it can be used for popping and grinding into grain.

Emergency Preparedness--Do you know how to perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver? Because I work in health care, I'm blessed to have those refresher courses paid for by my employer. Even if you are not in health care, ask your employer if these are ever offered or offered at a discounted rate. If not, contact the local branch of the Red Cross to see when classes take place. I performed the Heimlich maneuver recently at a church function, and I was so happy that I knew what to do in the situation. In debriefing with the ladies present, I discovered that none of them knew how to perform the Heimlich on themselves if they were to choke alone. When you are in the training, be sure to ask your instructor to demonstrate this procedure as well.

Food Security--I've recently encouraged you to be thinking about your fall vegetable garden. This week, I encourage you to think about adding edible plants to your landscape this fall. We had to take down a silver maple last year, and this fall, we hope to plant pecan or another edible in its place. Last fall we added blueberries, and this year we are already munching on a few. They have been lovely in the landscape, and I can't wait to see how they form a hedge in the next few years.

Free Chips and Salsa at Qdoba

Thanks to Coupon Katie for the following info:

Want some free chips and salsa? Join the Qdoba e-club for
. They will send you exclusive offers, information about new products
and restaurants, local event invitations as well as a gift on your
The best part- for signing you’ll get a voucher for FREE chips
& salsa, no other purchase required. I have also see a lot of buy one get
one free coupons out there in newspapers and coupon mailers (like Mint
Magazine). Paired with one of those you could have a great, cheap dinner

A Happy Thought

DSC_0204 "Slow and steady wins the race."--Aesop

Tip of the day

Going to the beach?  You do not have to buy a shovel and bucket for playing in the sand.  Bring a clean garden trowel and various sizes and shapes of plastic bowls for your kids to play in the sand.  (OK, for yourself to play in the sand.  I think my husband and I had as much fun building sand castles as our daughter did). 

July 25, 2009

Have you preserved any food yet?

Last week I encouraged you in the stockpiling, emergency preparedness, and food security post to try your hand at food preservation. If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to pick some herbs to dry or start some herbs to root.

If you pick too much of an herb or it is starting to go to flower/seed, bring it inside, give it a good rinse, pat it dry, and hang it upside down to dry. Remember that herbs retain more of their natural oils when picked in the morning. I did this a few times this week with dill. I had picked a few too many fronds, and I tied them together with a rubber band and hung them to dry. In a few days they are fully dried and ready for storage (I prefer to store herbs in glass jars).

If you do not have a garden, you could try your hand at rooting herbs when you bring too many home from the market. The easiest of all the herbs to root is basil. Simply keep at least 4 of the leaves on top, place in a vase of water in a sunny window, and make sure no leaves are on the bottom part of the stem in the water. Wait a week and you should have the basil forming roots. When the roots look like they are full, you can plant it in wet soil. Voila! You have a new plant.

See, food preservation doesn't have to be hard. Give it a try.

Free Quaker Sample and Giveaway

Head over to Coupon Mommie's site for all the info on the sample and giveaway. Happy Freebie'ing!

Christmas in July

Life as Mom will be having a series this week titled "Christmas in July". I've been thinking about holiday gifts this week and have even checked some people off of the list with a recent gift order. Be sure to check out her site this week for some gift ideas.

Listed below are some of the crafts and homemade gifts I plan on making this year. I will be making extras to donate to our church's fall bazaar--when you already have the supplies out, it is pretty easy to make a few extras.
  • Jams, jellies, relishes, etc. One of the reasons I can as much as I do this time of the year is that they make a nice hostess gift or present around the holidays. I especially like making up my own gift baskets to give to a family. I might include pepper jelly, cream cheese or homemade yogurt cheese, fancy crackers or homemade crackers, and some spiced cider mix.
  • Rice bags. I'll try to post more information on this soon. I take a piece of fabric and sew it into a small square, leaving a whole at the top in which to fill the rice. (Think of how you might make a pillow and leave the whole to stuff it). I take a funnel and fill the bag with plain white rice. Then I sew the hole closed. Recipients are given instructions for use and a disclaimer not to get the bag too hot. "Instructions--heat in the microwave for a minute or until hot but not scalding. Use to ease sore muscles or as a bed warmer. Do not get wet." I've made pocket sized ones for my husband to keep in his coat on warm mornings. I've made long, skinny ones to drape across shoulders, and I've made multi-purpose 10 inch squares. All seem to go over well.
  • I'm hoping to make quilted pot holders this year. I quilted before our daughter was born, and I have many squares that I have pieced. I plan to add a potholder batting and sew each square as an individual potholder. I would love to be able to make a few quilts for my new nephew and our daughter this year, but I'm not sure if that will transpire.
  • The gift of time. I have some close friends that I exchange gifts with each year. I give them choices of a handful of recipes and then bring the completed menu of foods to them to make life easier around the holidays. They can pull a quiche out of the freezer to serve to guests so that they can dedicate more time to preparing their holiday meals. Breakfast foods tend to go over really well--think homemade granola, quiches, or pound cake.

Making a few items here and there throughout the year will help keep your costs down and prevent burn out. Setting aside stocking stuffers as you pick up free or cheap items throughout the year reduces that expenditure greatly. Budgeting for the gifts you plan to purchase keeps you from being broke when the holiday bills show up. When you do purchase gifts, try and support local craftspeople or businesses when you can. Many artisans and small business owners are struggling in this economy.

I urge you to be pondering the question that Life as Mom posted on her site today--

What do you want to do differently this Christmas?

Cheese Its Coupon

Thanks The Thrifty Mommy for info on this printable:

Cheese It's are a favored snack in our house...and it look like Sunshine
has just introduced new Whole Grain Cheese It's! Here is a printable coupon for $.75 off any 13.7 oz package of them. Coupon expires 9/17/09.

Free Ensure

Thanks to Coupon Katie for the following info:

Do you know anyone who needs or just likes Ensure Nutrition Shakes?
Go here and sign up to get 2 free coupons. One will be for a Free Ensure 8-fl-oz shake and one for savings on an Ensure six-pack. You will have the option to
print your coupons or have them mailed to you.

A little light reading

  • Go here to learn how to make your own hand cream.
  • Will forced frugality last?  Read this post and contemplate whether or not you will continue to be frugal once the economy picks back up. 
  • Go here to check out the list of preschool printables.

Have a great weekend!

Tip of the day

Going to the beach?  Wear your sunscreen even if it is overcast.  We forgot our sunscreen one day when it was pretty cloudy.  Needless to say we were red later that afternoon.  There are some conflicting views about whether or not conventional sunscreen is a good choice.  If you do not choose to wear sunscreen, then be mindful of the sun or dress in loose fitting clothes that will offer some coverage and protection. 

July 24, 2009

Free Sample of Total

Total is offering a free sample of their new Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal. Thanks The Freebie Blogger!

PF Chang's Warrior Club

Become a P.F. Chang’s Warrior! Sign up to receive the latest news and information from P.F. Chang’s and we’ll send you a personalized 2009 P.F. Chang’s Warrior™ Card.

What is the current offer?

Bring your Warrior™ Card to any P.F. Chang’s nationwide and receive 10% off your bill through December 31, 2009. Card must be presented at time of purchase. Tax and gratuity are excluded. Limit one 10% discount per table. Void where prohibited. Not redeemable for cash. May not be combined with any other offer or discount. Not valid on the purchase of gift cards.

Free Program at Ijams Nature Center

Living Clean & Green! Butterflies are Free: Saturday, July 25, 1 p.m.Butterflies are the flying jewels of the garden but how do you attract them? Create or improve your butterfly habitat with tips and tricks gleaned from years of trial and error. Free program. To register call Sheila at 577-4717, ext. 10.Sponsored by Alcoa Foundation and Knox County Air Quality Management
For a full list and details of upcoming Ijams programs in August click here

Free Gain Sample

Go here to request a free sample of Gain with Febreze Freshness. Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Tip of the day

Going to the beach?  Bring along a pair of nutcrackers to make for easy opening of shellfish such as blue crab if you plan to cook them yourself.  Many condos may not have these as part of the kitchen supplies.


Go here for more details on how to get a $25 gift certificate for only $2.

July 23, 2009

Technique Class at Williams-Sonoma

Culinary Events at your local Williams-Sonoma

As the leading retail authority on kitchen products and
entertaining, Williams-Sonoma offers a variety of
in-store events:

Technique Classes
We’re pleased to offer hour-long technique classes at your
local Williams-Sonoma store. Presented free of charge, each
class is dedicated to a specific topic and led by one of our
culinary experts. Class size is limited, see below for class
descriptions and reservation information.

At select Williams-Sonoma stores, regularly scheduled
demonstrations focus on seasonal foods and entertaining.
All are led by culinary experts and offered at no charge.



Flavors of Summer
Sunday, July 26

When we think of summer in the
kitchen, visions of tomatoes, corn
and zucchini take center stage.
Join us for a class devoted to new
and exciting ways to enjoy
summer vegetables at their
freshest and most flavorful.

All You and Freebie

Head over to Coupon Mommie's site here to find out all of the info on a discounted rate of All You and where a freebie can be found in the mag.

Thanks to Deal Seeking Mom for this coupon info:
T.G.I. Friday’s has done it again with another great promotion! Now through
August 31st, take $5 off
each additional entrée
when you visit T.G.I. Friday’s. That’s $5 off if you
buy two entrées, $10 off if you buy three, and so on (valid for up to ten people
per party)!
With entrées starting at just $6.99 (for the Gourmet Mac ‘n Five
Cheese), you could really take advantage of this coupon to enjoy a great meal
with your family and friends that doesn’t break the budget!

Free Sample of Airborne

Thanks to The Freebie Blogger for this info:

Sign up to get a free sample of Airborne Immune System Defense for you and a friend. Just click “Free Sample” in the middle of the screen. After you fill in your email address and a friends email address (I just used one of my junk emails for the friend) the form will come up. US only.

Tip of the day

Going to the beach? Remember yesterday, I gave you info on buying seafood straight from the boat?  Most of the time, shrimp will be sold head on.  For folks who did not grow up eating fresh seafood this may be alarming, but I promise you are getting a much better deal by having them on.  Save the heads!  You can put the shells and heads together along with any crab shells to make a seafood stock.  Simply bring them to a boil then simmer for an hour or longer.  While not necessary, the addition of garlic, onion, and salt makes the stock much nicer.  Pour the stock through a sieve to remove the shells, and store in the fridge (up to 3 days) or in the freezer (will store for at least a month).  This makes an excellent base for soups or as a liquid in which to cook rice.

Also of note, shrimp sold with the head on will not keep as long as shrimp that are deheaded.  Plan to use shrimp as soon as possible after purchase.  Keep them on ice for storage.

July 22, 2009

Coupon Preview 7/26

Jenny has the coupon preview up for this coming Sunday. Go here to check it out.
There is another coupon for a free can of Mighty Dog (these are great for donating to an animal shelter if you do not have a dog).

Great Deals Coming Up--8/2

Head over to Coupon Mommie's site here to read more about the great deals coming up at CVS. You'll want to go on and print your coupons now to have on hand. Not only will the coupns be hot, but per my experience, if you want to snag these deals like these you had better head into the stores EARLY. Happy Savings!

Tip of the day

Going to the beach?  Ask the locals about where to buy seafood.  Many shrimpers and crabbers will sell you seafood straight from the boat.  Not only is this food much fresher, but you know that the money will go to those who worked the hardest to get it to you.  This is the same idea as buying straight from a farmer at a farmers market.  Seafood bought straight from the boat is often much less expensive than from the store.

National Night Out—August 4th

Go to this website to learn more about the National Night Out.  This year’s NNO will take place on August 4th (TX on October 6th).

Free Tea at McAlister’s

Welcome to McAlister's restaurants

Head into McAlister’s Deli tomorrow (7/23) and get a free tea.  Go here for more details.  Thanks Shop4Freebies!

Update on my grandmother

Many of you have e-mailed to ask about how my grandmother is doing.  She continues to be under intensive care in the hospital.  We didn’t think she would be with us as long as she has been, and so each day holds its blessings.  She’s one amazing lady!  Thank you for your concern and your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.  I’ll be in and out on the blog for the next week or so, as I’ll be helping with her care. 

Thank you—you have no idea how much your kind words have meant to me.

Walgreens and CVS 7/26-8/1

BS01178_1 Wow—I can’t believe that August is almost here!

Go here to view the CVS deals for the week.

Go here to view the Walgreens deals for the week.

Lay’s Coupon

Go here to print a $1/1 Baked Lays coupon.  Thanks Saving Your Cents!

ConAgra Coupons

chefThanks to Couponing 101 for this info:

Con Agra is offering some new Back-to-School Printable Coupons which include:

  • $1 off ONE (1) Chef Boyardee 15-oz can
  • $.50 off any ONE (1) Peter Pan Peanut Butter
  • $.50 off any TWO (2) Crunch ‘n Munch
  • $1 off any FOUR (4) Snack Pack 4-packs

The coupons can only be printed once and you must log in or register to be able to print them. 

July 21, 2009

Grainger County Tomato Festival this week

The annual Grainger County Tomato Festival starts this week in Rutledge, TN. Go here for more details.

Tentative Festival Calendar and Schedule

Free Admission,  Free Parking,
Food, Fun, Crafts & Demonstrations
Antique Engines, Civil War Encampment, (beside the Art Show), National Guard
Fresh Grainger County Tomatoes & Produce for Sale

Friday, July 24, 2009
Dealer Setup - 8AM until ??
Early Shopping - Noon until ??
Art Show Entries due by 5 PM - Rutledge Elementary (Old Middle School)
"Grainger County Opree" - 7PM. Ticket required.


Saturday, July 25, 2009
5K Fun Run 7:30 AM
Festival Opens - 9 AM
Tomato Festival - 9 AM through 9 PM
Art & Humanities Show - 9 AM through 7 PM - in the Middle School
Ridge Runners Tomato Festival Car Show 9 AM - 4 PM -
Children's Activities 10 AM through 6 PM
****The Famous Tomato Wars 10 AM**** - Behind Vo-Tech Building
Live Music & Dancing 9 AM through 6 PM Stage 1 & 2


Sunday, July 26, 2009
Sunday Morning Vesper Service - 10 AM - Civil War Worship
Art & Humanities Show - Middle School - Noon through 5 PM
Live Music 12 PM through 5 PM
Children's Activities Noon through 5 PM


Tip of the day

Going to the beach? Consider renting a condo or camping instead of a hotel.  You might save more money because you are able to cook your own meals.

Home School Day at Dollywood

Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, TNThanks to Nancy for the following info:

I know August 21st is a long way away, but this is a special event for homeschoolers that requires some advanced reservations. Friday, August 21st, Dollywood is hosting Home School Day for area homeschoolers. On the day, homeschoolers will get a special admission price ($43.50 for adults, $34.55 for students). There will also be a special all-you-care-to-eat buffet meal served for homeschoolers that day. If you purchase your tickets for the meal before August 7th, you get one free child's meal with every adult buffet meal purchased. Also, there will be special demonstrations and fee-based craft classes/activities offered throughout the day (classes require advanced registration).
For more information or to learn how to make your reservations, visit the Home School Day on the Dollywood website.

Stockpiling, Emergency Preparedness, and Food Security

Here are the weekly “best buys” for adding to your stockpile.  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. 

This week I encourage you to look through your pantry, refrigerator and freezer to see what items need to be used before they go bad.  Rotation is the key to successful stockpiling.  Use what you buy!


  • Kroger—the Mega Sale is still going on in our area.  There are quite a few items to be had for free or cheap.  The best deal is to buy 10 boxes of Kellogg’s cereal, use 10 coupons, and complete the Kellogg’s rebate.  This will make 10 boxes of cereal free (you will still have to pay for tax and a stamp).  Go here for a full list of match-ups.



  • Walgreens-- Tylenol Extra Strength $4.99, receive $3 RR, use $2 coupon from 6/21 SS insert, this will make it free.

Excedrin pain relief 40 or 50 ct $6.99 bogo, get $5 rr wyb 2 (july 2009 rr deals 6/28 - 7/25)
-$1 Excedrin 20 ct + SS 7/12/09 (use 2 coupons)
-$1 excedrin migraine
-$2 Excedrin 80 ct + SS 7/12/09


Food Security—Last week I encouraged you to start thinking about your fall garden and to save seeds for next year.  This week I encourage you to try some form of food preservation—freezing, dehydrating, fermentation, canning, etc.  The simplest of all of the recipes I can think of is to make refrigerator pickles.

Emergency Preparedness—Do you have a living will?  I strongly encourage you to complete one whether you have children or not.  Years of working in healthcare have reinforced the importance of not only having one of these documents but also talking about your wishes with your family and friends. 

Refrigerator Pickles

This is one of the easiest food preservation recipes that I have.  Pardon me for not having a photo for you, as this week has been a little busy so far.  Trust me, the recipe is worth making! You do not need to use new lids, as the prepared jar will stay in the fridge and does not need to be sealed.  My experience, though, is that the older lids will still form a seal with the hot liquid.  They are not shelf stable, so no need to worry about a water bath.

2-2 ½ cups sliced cucumbers, about ¼ inch thick

2 ½ teaspoons pickling salt

2 sprigs of fresh dill 6 inch long

2 cloves of garlic

½ c. white vinegar

½ c. water

Prepare pint sized jar and lid by washing in hot soapy water, rinse and drain. Combine sliced cucumbers, 1 ½ teaspoon salt and cover with cool filtered water. Let stand from 2-3 hours. Drain. In a clean hot pint jar put the dill, garlic, remaining 1 teaspoon of pickling salt. Add cucumbers leaving ½ inch head space. Push slices down and firmly pack. Combine the water and vinegar and bring to a boil. Pour hot mixture over cucumbers in jar. Use a plastic knife or non-reactive spatula to release the air bubbles by pushing the pickles towards the middle and letting the vinegar run in between the slices. Pour on more hot vinegar solution if needed, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe rim and put on lid and screw band. Refrigerate for 6 weeks before eating to let the flavors meld.

Note—this is a recipe from my sister-in-law. When I first ate them, I was amazed at how delicious they were. Enjoy!

Free Full Sized Bottle of Sunscreen

SUNSCREEN-163x300Thanks to Money Saving Mom for the following info:

I'm usually leery of full-size samples as many times these are not legitimate, however, from what I can tell, this one is. Go here and sign up for free to be a member of GalTime and they'll send you a free full-size bottle of Ultra-Light Sunscreen Spray Lotion SPF 55. Open to residents of the US and Canada while supplies last.

Free Heroic Measures

heroic treasures

Thanks to Faithful Provisions for the following info:

Download Jill Ciment’s irresistable new novel, Heroic Measures for free until 10:59 a.m. ET Wednesday July 22, 2009.  Oprah.com is offering this book as a free download for Oprah.com members.  It is on her top 25 list of summer reads.

::  If you already are an Oprah.com member, click here to log in and you’ll be redirected to download the book.

::  If you are not a member, click here and you will be prompted to become a member. It’s free!