July 31, 2010

A little light reading

Have a zippity doo-da weekend!

Tip of the day

It is the end of the month, don’t forget to print your coupons!  Coupon sites often refresh coupons at the first of the month.  If there are some you want to be sure to snag, print them before it is too late. 

July 30, 2010

Tip of the day

I recently asked followers on Blog Frog what their favorite money saving tip was.  One reader said that hers was knowing how to sew because she is able to make so many gifts for friends and loved ones.  Check out her blog and the many sewing projects—they are inspiring to even me, the gal who has barely sewed since our daughter was born 4 1/2 years ago!

July 29, 2010

Cracker Barrel Front Porch Friends $10/$10 Reward

Front Porch Friends

I logged on to my Cracker Barrel Front Porch Friends Account this morning to see what coupons I had in preparation for a short road trip to find that Cracker Barrel is wrapping up the Front Porch Friends program:

We’ve enjoyed thanking our Front Porch Friends™ with rewards this year. But, now we’re wrapping up this program, so we can focus on new ways for our guests to enjoy Cracker Barrel. To thank you for participating in our program, we’ve added a gift of $10 off your next Cracker Barrel purchase of $10 or more onto your Front Porch Friends account. Visit us soon to enjoy your $10 reward before it expires on 1/31/11. We’ll be waiting with a smile.

While I am bummed that they are closing the program, I’m also pretty happy about the $10/$10 reward! 

Tip of the day

Have a plan and have a back up plan.  What would you do if you lost your job today?  What if your hours were cut or pay were cut? 

  • Update your resume as often as once a year so that you have it ready to go when needed.  If you graduated from a college or university, many career counseling offices offer their graduates a lifetime of service through resume review and job hunting.
  • What other sources of income do you have or can you pursue?  I remember when I was a kid talking to a relative about this subject, and I was amazed to hear about all of the different sources of revenue that she had. 
  • Do the math.  Sometimes one parent staying at home is a better option financially than both working.  Consider travel expenses, dry cleaning, taxes, paid childcare, business lunches, office birthdays, and all the other little expenses.  How much are you really making? 
  • Network.  Stay active in your field, even if you are a stay at home parent by choice.  Keeping actively involved with colleagues through networking will better allow you to get a job in the future if needed.
  • Seek God’s guidance.  Sometimes one door closes so that another can open.  Pray about your experience and see how God may guide you through a difficult time.

July 28, 2010

Coupon Preview 8/1

bs01864_ Southern Savers has the coupon preview for this Sunday posted.  Happy clipping!

McAlister’s Deli Free Tea Day Reminder

Free tea for everyone at your local McAlister's Deli. 

No purchase necessary. Valid for dine-in only. Limit one per guest. Not valid for gallons or catering.

One of my favorite freebie days is almost here.  Tomorrow, July 29th I’ll be in line to receive a free tea at our local McAlister’s Deli, and if you’ve ever tasted their tea, I’m sure you will be too!  As with all restaurant freebies, be sure to phone ahead to make sure your store is participating. 

Don’t forget about their Tea Tumblers I told you about here.

Free Bacon with Egg Purchase at Earth Fare

Scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast with butter is my favorite breakfast. Now that I think of it, it might be my favorite meal combination period.  I started getting hungry when I saw this coupon from Earth Fare for a free 12 oz pack of bacon with the purchase of a dozen eggs.  YUMMMM!

Blockbuster Kiosk BOGO Code TODAY ONLY

Use code G217B4 at any Blockbuster Kiosk today only and score 2 movies for the price of one ($1 plus tax).  Enjoy!

Tip of the day

Do you stockpile?  We certainly do. Not only does it save our family a ton of money, it gives us some added security to have food on hand.  View my posts here and here to find out why I believe that stockpiling is important. 

A few months back, I would have weekly posts that would tell you the items that were either free or super cheap that you could add to your stockpile.  That became too difficult to keep up, but I recently found a blog that does the same work for you--Stockpiling Moms.  If you are interested in building your pantry or saving money at the stores, I highly recommend you check them out.

July 27, 2010

The 100 Foot Diet Challenge


The Dervaes family is at it again.  They are challenging readers and anyone interested in gardening, environmentalism, or the local foods movement with the 100 Foot Diet Challenge.  The basic idea is to prepare at least 1 meal a week with food grown in your own backyard.  Click on the link to read more about the challenge and join in.  There is a part of me that is hesitant to join—what on earth will I make with our garden being as lacking as it is this year?  Yet, I love a challenge.  What about you, are you going to give it a try? 

Easy Cobbler

I posted this last summer, but thought that since cobbler season is in full swing, I’d repost.  This recipe is super simple!

Cobblers in the South are like bar-b-que or pizza—everyone has their own idea of how it should be made.  This cobbler recipe is my favorite for many reasons.  It reminds me of how my maternal grandmother would make cobblers.  It is easy and has never turned out bad.  And, it is a crowd pleaser!  Serve it with freshly whipped cream or ice cream for an extra special dessert. Yummy!!

DSC_02371. Mix the following together and set aside

1/2 cup flour (I used a mixture of spring and hard red freshly milled flour, you can use all purpose or white whole wheat)

1/2 cup sugar (I prefer white sugar for this recipe, as rapadura adds a too much of a caramelized flavor for my taste)

1/2 cup sweet whole milk (lower fat milks will do)

1 teaspoon baking powder (if using whole wheat, make it a heaping teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2.  Clean or defrost fruit—berries and/or peaches tend to work best.  You will need about a cup worth, but the recipe is a forgiving one if you do not have that much or want to add a bit more.  If you have defrosted the fruit, I recommend you drain the juice off.  (Save it to add to your tea for a yummy treat). 

DSC_02363.  In a 350 degree oven, melt 6  T.-1/2 cup butter (the original recipe calls for a full stick of butter, but I usually cut it back a few tablespoons) in  your casserole dish.  Once butter is melted pour batter into the dish.  Drop fruit in the cobbler so that there will be a little fruit in each bite.  As the cobbler cooks, the fruit will move to the bottom.  Bake at 350 about 40-45 minutes or when the cobbler is golden brown. 

Tip of the day

Once or twice a year, sit down with your family and review your major household expenses. Examples:

  • Is it time to update your homeowner’s insurance or car insurance?  Can you shop around for a better price or service?  Can you combine insurances to get a better deal?
  • Look at phone services.  Would you receive a better price if you bundled services with cable and internet?   For some people it is cheaper to do so than to eliminate cable.  What about your cell plan?  Do you need to move to a different type of service to better meet your needs?
  • Have you refinanced your mortgage?  Perhaps you could compare rates and closing costs to see if you’ll save money in the long haul.

Look at the major parts of your budget and see what needs attention.

July 26, 2010

Thank you!

Today has had its ups and downs.  I am one of those crazy people that actually like Mondays, and I started off with high hopes for the day.  I had one major goal, which was to find a cocktail dress to wear to the wedding reception for my cousin this weekend.  With a relatively quick trip to the mall, I checked that off the list.  This afternoon, however, had a few hiccups, and I returned home feeling a little out of sorts.  I turned on the computer to check my email and saw that I now have 90 followers!!!  You have no earthly idea how much that helped to end this day on a high note!!  I know that might seem silly to some folks, but I thoroughly enjoy this blog.  I’ve so enjoyed getting to know readers, seeing comments, and picking up emails from people from just about everywhere who have stopped by the blog. 

Thank you!  Thanks for taking the time to stop by.  Thanks for reading, following, commenting, emailing, and signing up for my feed.  Thanks for your input, your encouragement, your tips, your leads, your deals, and for being you!  You made my day today!

Who knows what I’ll do when the blog reaches 100 followers!  I’m so thrilled right now that I’m doing a little happy dance in my chair. ;)

Regal Free Family Film Festival

Free Family Film Festival

Don’t miss the Regal Free Family Film Festival!  Selected G or PG movies start at 10:00am every Tuesday and Wednesday during the festival. Tickets and seating are first-come, first-served and are limited to theatre capacity.   Go here for more information or to find a location near you.

Knoxville Center Stadium 10
3051-B Mall Road North
Knoxville ,TN 37924

Flushed Away - DP (PG)

Open Season - DP (PG) 

West Town Stadium 9
7600 Kingston Pike
Knoxville ,TN 37919

Pirates Who Don't Do Anything - DP (G)

Over The Hedge - DP (PG)

Pinnacle Stadium 18 & IMAX
11240 Parkside Drive
Knoxville ,TN 37922

Kit Kittredge: American Girl (G)

Prince And Me (PG)

Nescafe FREE Sample of Taster’s Choice

This freebie rolls around every so often. It looks like it has been refreshed and is available again.  Thanks Squeezing a Dollar Out of a Dime!

Baskin Robbins BOGO Soft Serve

Go here for a BOGO soft serve ice cream at Baskin Robbins.  Thanks Squeezing a Dollar Out of a Dime!

Bath & Body Works FREE Anti-Bacterial Hand Soap with $10 Purchase


Go here to print your coupon, valid through August 29th.

Weekly Matchups and Deals 7/25-7/31

school bus 284x300 *HOT* Back To School Deals Week of 7/25: Walmart, Kmart, Target, Staples and more....

Back to School Deals here


Family Dollar Through 7/28


Earth Fare July

Co-op Advantage Stores/Three Rivers Market July Matchups and more Three Rivers Market Weekly Deals here

target frugal mom blogger  columbus ohio


kroger deals kroger sales logo


Don’t forget about the Summer of Savings Game here!!  I won free batteries last week!!







What to watch for at local farmers markets:  blueberries, blackberries, plums, peaches, melons, fresh eggs, milk, meats, greens (think kale and Swiss chard), edible flowers and cutting flowers,  garlic, onions,  hot peppers, bell peppers, summer squashes, green beans, you’ll also start to see a few varieties of shelling beans, okra, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, herbs, potted plants and flowers, honey, and home canned goods like jams and jellies.

Oscar Mayer $1/1 Select Hot Dogs

Oscar Mayer's Mission of 3 million pounds of food being donated to Feeding America has been accomplished. In return, Good Mood Mission had added a fantastic new coupon for $1/1 Oscar Mayer Select Hot Dogs! (These hot dogs contain no nitrates and nitrites and only natural preservatives).  Thanks Saving  Your Cents!

Three Rivers Market Weekly Deals 7/26-8/1


July 26th-August 1st

Yukon Potatoes
$.99/lb Save $.20/lb

Red Potatoes
$.99/lb Save $.20/lb

Tommy Atkins Mangoes
$1.29 ea. Save $.70 ea.

Below are just a few of the great monthly Cock-a-Doodle-Deals you'll find at the co-op through the end of July!

Icelandic style yogurt, 6 oz.
$2.25 Save $.34

Garlic Italian Dressing, 12 oz.
$2.48 Save $.67

Coconut Macaroon Canister,
8 oz.
$3.15 Save $.34

These Macaroons are absolutely addictive! YUMMM!

Independence Days Update

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

The peaches were ripened enough for us to pick last week.  We went with friends and their children to Black Oak Farms in Corryton, TN, and enjoyed seeing the peach juice faces and shirts of our children as they devoured the first ripe peaches of the season.  I never think that I’m getting that many peaches, but when our daughter fell ill the next day and I had a counter full of them to address, I was a bit overwhelmed with fruit.  Peaches go bad

I’ll make at least one more trip so that we have plenty of peach ice cream in the freezer and maybe another batch or two of canned peaches in the cupboard.   Since the farmer also sells corn there and I’ve yet to put up a kernel, I’ll probably make the trip for both next week.  I’ll probably overbuy then too, but I know I won’t be sorry when we are enjoying the taste of summer in the dead of winter.

The weather has been hot with thunderstorms off and on all week.  Just as I get set to plant something or make my way out to the garden, it will start to rain.  Don’t misunderstand, I’m happy to see the rain, I’m just having to work around it to get chores accomplished. 

DSC_3855 Plant— A church friend gave me some of her extra flowering plants, and they are making wonderful additions to the garden.

Harvest—peaches! At home we harvested bell peppers, onions, a few okra, cucumber, tomato, a handful of blueberries, and our very first watermelon.  The watermelon was a smaller heirloom variety, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I have only grown larger watermelons in the past, but when I inspected it, it had all of the tell-tale signs of being ready (black spots on the bottom, aren’t those called “flea bites” or something like that?, heavy for its size, and the stem had turned brown).  I was so relieved to find that it was a deep pink inside and tasted sweet.  I took such delight in seeing our daughter not even wait for me to have cut all of the pieces before devouring a slice.  Tis the season for messy faces and hands!

Preserve—Peaches!  I made two batches of jam and one large batch of canned peaches.  We made peach ice cream that is absolutely fantabulous!  I put some bell peppers in the freezer to use in the winter.

Waste Not/Reduce Waste—Since our daughter was ill this week, I shifted my plans to work inside a bit more.  I worked when she rested.  I tackled our storage room, a chore that I’ve been putting off for way too long.  I was in the mood to purge, and purge I did.  Our church is having a rummage sale this fall and has started collecting donations.  I loaded up a car trunk full of goodies that someone else will enjoy.  I found a couple of sets of china that were lost in the move to our home.  I kept one and passed the other to a friend who I knew would enjoy it.  Her birthday is coming up in September and I called it an early birthday surprise for her.  A couple of things had to be thrown away, but most was either recycled or given away to others.

It was such a waste for these to not be used for all of these years.  That is the way it is with “stuff” it can become a burden—something that you hold on to because of some vague and nameless obligation not to part with things that were passed down.  I was in the mood to release all of that and let the items go to people who would enjoy them and use them.  It is amazing how wonderful it felt to look at the completed task, almost a tabula rasa of sorts.  Not a clean slate to fill with more junk, mind you, but rather a fresh start at simplifying. 

Simplifying has been on my mind and heart a lot lately.  With all that the last year has held, both good and bad, we’ve been bogged down.  The more complicated things get, the more anxious and out of sorts I become.  Stripping down, not buying or adding to unless truly needed, cleaning and purging have calming effects.  As I cleaned the house on Saturday evening (I know, big night on the town, right??), I made a point to be thankful as I worked. 

With floods of consumerism just about everywhere, I can get caught up in the “I wants”.  When on a recent bout of the “I wants” my husband asked me, “Do you really want that?”  Of course the answer as I delved deeper within was no.  I’m thankful for what we have, and I’m humbled that we have so much when so many I work with have so little.  I am making an effort to remind myself of that daily. 

Pardon the tangent.  More on wasting not--I noticed when at my dad’s house this week that he had started a recycling bin in the kitchen.  I was thrilled! 

Want Not/Prep/Storage— In the purge and tidying above, I found a few things that we could put to use in the house and some that my dad and sister could use.  I helped my father go through some of his boxes that he had brought from Memphis, and it was amazing how many duplicates he had of things.  I helped him get things organized at his house.  In particular, we arranged the pantry so that he would use items with the first in, first out approach. 

I finally staked the second round of pole beans.  They were tying themselves together and finding anything they could to climb.  I untangled them and added some bamboo stakes to make a teepee. 

Building Community Food Systems— I made a few donations to the food pantry at church and checked to see if we needed anymore boxes made.   Daughter and I helped with the Angel Food Ministry distribution at church.  On Sunday evening, we attended an old fashioned ice cream social at church.  We brought peach ice cream, of course.  We’re planning a few more trips to local farms to pick with friends and their children.  One friend is just starting to can, and I’ll be giving her a tutorial.

Eat the Food—  MMMMM, peach ice cream was perhaps my favorite thing that I made this week.  Since I was tired and “over” the peaches at the point when I made the custard, I decided to refrigerate the peaches and custard mixtures separately and freeze the next day.  It was so much easier, and I’ll make a habit of doing so in the future. 

I also made homemade enchiladas for the first time I can ever remember, and they were delicious.  I was amazed at how much easier they were than I thought they would be.  They will definitely go into the meal plan rotation!

Tip of the day

Emergency Preparedness Tip of the Week--

This one is a tough one for me, but I’m trying to do better.  Try not to let your gas tank go down much more than a half of a tank.  You never know when you are going to need to make a fast trip to the hospital, when you might get stuck in a traffic jam with no off ramp in sight, or when you might be stranded on the side of the road and need AC to prevent heat stroke.  (When I was very pregnant with our daughter and was stuck in a terrible traffic jam, I was so grateful that I had a full tank of gas.  Of course, I was also wishing for a porta-potty on the side of the road for me to use!)

July 25, 2010

Supper Planning Sundays

I didn’t follow through with many of the meals I had planned last week, and the ones that I did I sort of rearranged in sequence.  The first of the week had some trials, and then by mid-week our daughter had fallen ill.  Sometimes things just don’t go as planned.  Even still, we didn’t go out for supper at any time in the week.  (When we dined out, I had free queso and chips for lunch at Moe’s, our daughter and I had free Chick-fil-a with coupons, and Hubby had a lunch of Chinese food that his boss splurged for). 

This Saturday evening, I called a friend I’ve known for years and asked her for her smoked trout spread recipe.  In the process of speaking with her, I was separating eggs for the peach ice cream.  She asked, “What is inspiring this urge to cook?”  While I really didn’t cook that much this week for our meals, I was inspired by a few seasonal recipes.  Sometimes I find that when I don’t “have” to cook, I want to cook new and different things.  Is it like that for you?  I read once that the people that actually cook the least in frequency are the ones that say that they like to cook the most. 

Below is our meal plan for this week.  It is for 2 adults and 1 child, with my dad probably dining with us a few times in the week. 

Note—when estimating the cost of the meal I add the cost to the initial serving.  Any leftovers are then priced at $0. Dining out pulls from a different part of our family budget and prices are not shown below as a result.


We are going to a birthday party this afternoon and will be at the ice cream social later.  We’ll most likely have a small snack in between those events as our supper.

Approximate cost $0


Lamb chops (we bought half a lamb from a local farmer last year, therefore the price is difficult to set) $6

Roasted potatoes (bought from local farmers, we haven’t dug ours yet) $1

Green beans (bought from local farmers) $1

Squash from the garden $0

Approximate cost $8


Hamburgers a la Daddy (meat bought from a local farmer) $6

Any leftover green beans and squash that need using $0

Cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden $0

If able to get corn from a farmer, we’ll roast some of it.  If only able to pick fruit, we’ll have some of it as a side.  $2-3

Approximate cost $8-9


Pasta bake (pasta free after coupon and sale, cheese part of Mega Event last week, veggies from garden) $1.88

Approximate cost $1.88


Tombstone Pizza (bought with $2 Facebook coupon and Kroger Mega Event Sale) 49cts

Any veggies from the garden or leftovers that need using

Approximate cost 49 cts


We’ll be eating supper at a family member’s home.

Approximate cost $0


We’ll be eating at a swanky bridal event for a relative.


A Happy Thought

DSC_3777 “Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind.” ― Ashley Smith

Tip of the day

Once a month check your food stores.  This not only helps to prevent spoilage and waste, but it also helps you to keep better tabs on what you have on stock to use for meals.

  • Check your freezer.  Discard what is freezer burned or what might be beyond use.  Give it a good wipe down and refresh the baking soda box.
  • Look in your fridge.  Use any leftovers, the last of the olives, that last teaspoon of jelly, anything that might need eating to make way for fresh foods.  Give everything a good wipe down and replace the baking soda box in there.  Check the temperature and make sure it is at the proper level.  Vacuum the coils so that it is running properly.
  • What do you have in dry storage?  Onions starting to sprout?  Chop them and put them in a bag in the freezer.  This will help to streamline your prep work for supper on busy nights.  Potatoes starting to sprout?  Consider planting them this year as part of your garden.  Garlic getting tough?  Roast or dehydrate it so that you can use it before it goes bad.  With warmer and more humid temperatures, check for signs of molding.  Also note that insect problems tend to worsen this time of the year.  Watch for ants in your honey or sugar or moths in your flour.
  • What about your pantry?  Organize.  I like to put the cans so that I can see the labels, because I’m anal because I like to see what is available with a quick scan.  Make a habit of putting the new cans and jars in the back so that you can use them in a first in first out method.  Check any food that you have preserved at home for spoilage and discard what is unsafe to use. 
  • Check your spices.  If you can’t smell them, then they are probably too old to use.  Most spices do best if stored for 1-2 years. 
  • Plan a meal or two using the odds and ends that you found in your kitchen quest. 

July 24, 2010

Peach Ice Cream

DSC_3870Is there anything more delicious in the entire universe than homemade peach ice cream?  If you’ve never made it with peaches straight from the trees and fresh cream, then I encourage you to give it a try.  I found a peach ice cream recipe online and tweaked it a bit to what you see below.  Enjoy!


2 cups fresh peaches, skinned, pitted and chopped
1/4 sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk (don’t skimp on this, use whole)
1 cup heavy cream (again, don’t skimp, use real cream)
1 vanilla bean, split in half or 2 tsps. pure vanilla extract (If using vanilla extract with a high amount of alcohol, the mixture may curdle a bit, it will still taste and freeze beautifully)

Add the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of sugar to the peaches and macerate for about 10 minutes. Simmer over medium heat until the peaches are soft for about 5 minutes. Let cool completely or overnight.

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale. In the meantime, heat the milk, cream and vanilla bean until steam rises. Gradually temper the hot cream to the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent them from scrambling. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cream coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes.

Strain the cream and let cool completely.  I cooled both the peaches and the custard overnight in the refrigerator without any problems.

Stir the peaches into the custard. Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a container and freeze until firm.

A little light reading—Your turn

Usually on Saturdays I post a few links to some interesting things I’ve read over the course of the week.  This week is your turn. 

  • If you have a blog and would like to highlight a post (it can be anything, just keep it clean), include a link in the comments section.
  • If you have found a wonderful recipe, something interesting about the garden, or just about anything else that you think readers would like to learn more about, post a link here.
  • If you there is a book you’ve been reading or magazine you’d like to highlight, include info so that others might also enjoy.

Have a super-duper weekend!

Tip of the day—Buy Local

We were looking into purchasing some carpet this week.  We priced at Home Depot and then went to Lowe’s.  The prices were very similar and we had a 10% off coupon.  I asked about any other discounts or deals or any way that we could get higher quality carpet for less.  The sales lady, while nice, didn’t give me the time of day.  She had no reason to—Lowe’s is a large company and if they don’t make the deal off of me, they will off of someone else.  I asked her to phone the manager, still no more they could do.  Now, I’m not talking bad about Lowe’s here.  I like Lowe’s and I shop there often, but in this case, they didn’t work with me.

I decided that we should go a few miles down the road to a local carpet store to check the prices there.  Since I knew the store was heavily trafficked and I knew people who had used their services, I felt ok about walking into a new store.  I was upfront.  I told the sales clerk what I wanted, what price Lowe’s had given me, and I told him that while I wanted to buy local, price was the ultimate decision maker.  The clerk took the time to find a high quality carpet in the color palette that we wanted, measured the room the next morning, and called back with a price.  The price beat Lowe’s by a few bucks!  Not only was we able to get BETTER carpet and a color truer to what we wanted, but we were able to patron a local store for a good price!  What a bargain!

Moral of the story--when looking to make a big purchase, shop around.  You might find a good deal at a locally owned store!

July 23, 2010

Free Chips and Queso at Chili’s with Entree Purchase


Go here to sign up for Chili’s email club to earn a coupon for a free chips and queso at Chili’s.  I just printed mine and it expires on 8/6/10.  Purchase of one or more entrees is required.  Limit one per table.

More FREE Food!

The Pizza KitchenDid you enjoy your free queso at Moe’s this week?  When I was in line, the guys there told me to mark my calendar for August 24th for Moe’s FREE burrito day.  Consider it marked!  The info isn’t yet posted to the Facebook or website, so I’m not sure if this is for all locations or not.  I’ll keep you posted as I learn more closer to time. 

Coupon Katie found this great freebie at Pizza Kitchen.  Mark your calendars for August 18th for FREE Pizza Day at Pizza Kitchen in Knoxville.

Don’t forget the FREE Tea Day at McAlister’s coming up on July 29th, too!

Earlier this week I had free queso and chips at Moe’s.  Today our daughter and I had an impromptu free meal at Chick-fil-a with coupons (free kid’s meal, free drink, and free spicy chicken sandwich—ALL completely FREE).  I’m about to sign up for a FREE gift card to a restaurant with points earned through MyPoints.com.  With all of the freebies on my calendar and all of the freebies that I will score on my birthday (August 26th), I should be well fed for the next month!

Kmart Birthday Club

Birthday Club home

We love birthday freebies, and I was excited to see this new one from Kmart.  Info from the Kmart site:

Shopping for presents for your child isn’t always easy. There are literally thousands of toys to choose from, and children’s tastes, knowledge and skills change constantly. But don’t worry...we’ll help you narrow your search and find the perfect gift for your celebration.

As a member of the Kmart Birthday Club, you’ll receive:

  • A Birthday Surprise Fun Pack
  • $5 in Birthday Bucks (redeemable at your local Kmart store)
    on your child's birthday
  • Age-appropriate toy and gift suggestions
  • Information on developmental milestones
    from 6 months through 12 years
  • Tips and advice for planning a memorable
    birthday celebration

Thanks Together We Save!

Starbucks Via Free Sample

FREE SAMPLE  Starbucks VIA®  Ready Brew

Go here for your free sample of Starbucks Via.  I can’t wait to try this.  Most of the instant coffees I’ve tried in the past taste, well yuck, and I’m hoping that Starbucks will have a little more to offer.  You do not have to be a Costco member to sign up for this freebie.  Thanks Hip2Save!



I first tasted calabacitas at a little local restaurant now named Chez Guevara.  This is one of those recipes that varies regionally and from family to family.  My own version is below, but feel free to play around with it based on what you have on hand. 


1 can of corn, drained well (fresh corn is the best and preferred, use about 2 cups of fresh if you have it)

1 small zucchini, chopped

1/2 or 1 small yellow squash chopped

1 clove garlic minced, more if desired

1/2 –1 cup green onions chopped (substitute red onion if you don’t have green)

2 T. Olive oil

Tony’s or salt and pepper to taste

1 seeded/deveined jalapeno, optional

Sauté garlic and green onions in olive oil for about 1-2 minutes.  Add squashes and sauté just until squash turns tender.  Add corn, and if using, add jalapeno.  Season to taste. 

This is a perfect side dish for tacos, enchiladas, or arroz con pollo. 

Earth Fare coupon for free mozzarella and basil

Better late than never, right??  With our daughter sick this week, I’m a little behind. 

Go here to print your Earth Fare coupon.  Remember that a very large tomato can weigh a pound, so you really don’t have to buy as much as you think to get free mozzarella and free basil!  Don’t forget their printable manufacturer coupons available here.

JCPenney Coupons

in$tant money! $15

Go here for a $15/$75 or a $10/$50 printable coupon for JCPenney, valid now through July 24th.  Go here for special VIP coupon savings of 20% and 30% off.  Both have online codes that you can use when shopping at JCP.com.

Restaurant.com $25 Gift Certificates for $2

SAVE 80%: Get $25 Restaurant Gift Certificates for only $2!

This deal rolls around pretty often, but in case you are in the mood to eat out tonight or have a date night planned you might want to check it out.  At Restaurant.com you can score $25 gift certificates for only $2!  Use code PLATE at checkout, and remember to read the fine print.  Some restaurants require that you purchase a certain amount before you can use the certificate.  These print from your home computer so you could use these almost as soon as you can pack up and go!

Tip of the day

Preventative health measures are not just good for your wallet, they could save your life.  Today perform your monthly self check breast exam and encourage those you love to do the same. 

July 22, 2010

Tip of the day—5 Ways to Break the Cable Addiction

Sorry for the lack of posts.  Our sweet daughter is sick and pretty pitiful.  I’ll be in and out of pocket for the next couple of days as a result. 

Here are some tips for alternatives to cable.  My dad just priced it for his house, and for the channels he wanted, it was going to be nearly $100 per month!!  We did away with cable when our daughter was a baby, and it was probably one of the best moves we ever made.  We don’t watch nearly as much television as a result, and we’ve saved thousands of dollars. 

  • When first switching from cable to basic free television, we eased the transition by purchasing Netflix then a similar plan with Blockbuster.  This allowed us to watch many more movies than we would have at a brick and mortar video store for the same price.  This was long before Redbox and Blockbuster Kiosks were around, but I have friends who still prefer Netflix to those options.  You can hold the rental longer and there are many more options than at kiosks. 
  • Learn what your basic television stations offer and record if desired.  My biggest addiction to cable is the Food Network.  Our local PBS offers the Create Network, which among other shows has a large variety of cooking programs.  If there is something that I want to see, I’ll record it and watch it at my convenience.
  • Weekends are busy for most people.  For that reason, programming is pretty slim pickings.  You’ll find cartoons, terribly cheesy movies, and lots of sports—that’s about it.  We will often rent a movie or two at a Redbox or Blockbuster kiosk instead of watching television.
  • Go to the internet.  Many of the shows we liked are available on the network’s webpage the day after it airs.  Another option is to check out Hulu.com and see what is available there.
  • All of those are ways to get rid of cable and still watch plenty of TV.  How about you just don’t watch as much TV?  When you look back on your life later, are you really going to say, “Gosh, I wish I’d watched more TV with my kids”????  I heard someone on NPR talking the other day about having screen free days on the weekends.  (This includes texting, internet, and all forms of TVs and video players).  Play board games.  Go to a park.  Do something fun with your family. 

July 21, 2010

Tip of the day

I learned from the bride at the shower this weekend that Bed, Bath, and Beyond gives the bride and groom a discount on the items left on their registry after the wedding date.  Call your local store to find out the details and make sure they are participating.  As a gift giver, I will most likely opt for a gift card in the future so that they can get more bang for their buck.  What a wonderful perk of registering there!  Does anyone know of other stores that do this?

July 20, 2010

Tip of the day

I recently read in All You magazine that the average couponer can save $1000 each year by clipping offers for just 20 minutes a week (source redplum.com).  I decided to give a quick peak to my budget for this year and see how close or far away from $1000 I was.  To date I have saved, including store discounts and coupons, $2493.17!  Considering that a large amount of our food is bought from local farmers, something I can’t use a coupon for, I’m very pleased with this amount. 

  • Couponing allows our family to eat well.  We buy fresh ingredients with more than half of our foods being organic or locally grown. 
  • Couponing allows us to donate and give to others.  Not only do we help support local causes through these donations, but we also share extra goodies with friends and family. 
  • Couponing helps us to stay on budget. 
  • Couponing allows us to stockpile.  I have extra food, toiletries, first aid supplies, paper products, and dog food on hand for when they are needed.  If it looks like the budget will be tighter due to unexpected expenses, I can use less of the money on groceries and eat from the freezer or pantry for a few weeks. 
  • Couponing has introduced me to so many people.  I’ve become good friends with some of the local coupon bloggers (check out my links tab to learn more about their blogs).  My readers are fantastic!  I recently told one reader Robin that it totally brightens my day when I see that she’s left a comment or has sent me an email.  Couponing is also a good opening for discussion.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve chatted with at the grocery store all because of coupons!
  • Couponing has helped me be a better steward of the resources God provides.  I could spend a lot more money on things, but why?  Why spend more than you have to?  This has carried over into other areas of our lives—we could have bought fancier cars, but we stuck with practical.  We could have a bigger or more lavish house, but this one works just fine for us.  We could remodel the kitchen, but it isn’t a priority.  The saving money drive has reinforced the environmental drive.
  • Couponing has helped me as a social worker.  I have worked with many people who do not know where their next meal is coming from—by teaching others about coupon resources I’m better able to help them help themselves. 
  • Couponing has helped me as a Christian.  I actively participate in the work of the church, helping us to give more with the same amount of money (sometimes even less!)  I help to stock our food pantry, buy for different groups in the church, and feed the children who attend our Wednesday night program in the fall and VBS in the summer.  I’m often reminded about the story of the loaves and the fishes.  God has a remarkable ability to make so much out of so little.  He makes also me “something” even when I feel like a “nothing”.  Who knew that couponing would be my spiritual gift?? God knew!

If you haven’t yet tried couponing, if you are just starting out, or if you have been doing it a while and have burned out, I hope this serves as some inspiration for you.  I don’t spend nearly as much time couponing as I did when I started out so keep in mind that even a little bit of time can save you thousands of dollars over the course of a year!  Happy Couponing!

July 19, 2010

All You Magazine Subscription Deal

imageRun over to Coupon Mommie’s post to learn all of the details on how to score an All You subscription for $10!  Thanks Jennifer!  How did you know I needed to renew my subscription????

If you want more than one of the All You subscriptions, make sure to put them under different names at the same address.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say “All You magazine” you are in for a treat!  This magazine is filled with some fantastic coupons and information related to couponing, saving money, budgeting, and shopping for deals.

Weekly Matchups and Deals 7/18-7/24

Dollar General

Dollar General


Office Max



Office Depot


Family Dollar Through 7/28


Earth Fare July

Co-op Advantage Stores/Three Rivers Market July Matchups and more Three Rivers Market Weekly Deals here


Fred’s 7/6-7/26

target frugal mom blogger  columbus ohio


kroger deals kroger sales logo


Don’t forget about the Summer of Savings Game here!!




Walgreens and more info here and here


CVS and here

What to watch for at local farmers markets:  blueberries, blackberries, plums, peaches, fresh eggs, milk, meats, greens (think kale and Swiss chard), edible flowers and cutting flowers,  garlic, onions,  hot peppers, bell peppers, summer squashes, green beans, you’ll also start to see a few varieties of shelling beans, okra, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, herbs, potted plants and flowers, honey, and home canned goods like jams and jellies.