February 28, 2010

Free Redbox Code

We just  used this Redbox code successfully thanks to the heads up from Money Saving Maine-iac.  The code is good Sunday and Monday only:  RBXLUV4U

Weekly Match-ups 2/28-3/6

Click the following links to access the match-ups.  Money Saving Maine-iac is helping me with the Co-op Advantage Match-ups for March.  As soon as she has them posted, she’s going to send me her link, and I’ll update at that time.  I am so thankful for her willingness to help with this—with the planning for the coupon fair, I didn’t have a chance to work on these yet.

target frugal mom blogger  columbus ohio

Target 

kroger deals kroger sales logo

Kroger

advantage_card

Ingles

Walgreens

Walgreens

cvspharmacy

CVS

TomatoEarth Fare Matchups for 2/24-3/30

Free lunch at Zaxby’s

Sign up for Zaxby's email newsletter, and they will mail you a coupon for a FREE lunchThanks Saving Your Cents!

Free Sample of Tena Products

TENA Briefs
Tena is offering a free sample on their site.  Choose from 5 different products.  Thanks Hip2Save!

Free Sample of Bounce

i only use bounce dryer sheets lrg Free Sample: 4 In Bounce Dryer Sheets

Sam’s Club is offering a free sample of Bounce Dryer Sheets and you DO NOT have to be a member of Sam’s Club to sign up!  Aren’t freebies great?  Thanks Hip2Save!

WBIR highlights The Knoxville Coupon Fair

The Knoxville Coupon Fair

Wow!  What a fun day! 

 DSC_2874DSC_2872   DSC_2875 DSC_2876  DSC_2881 DSC_2882 DSC_2883 DSC_2884   DSC_2887         DSC_2897  DSC_2899

A Happy Thought

CIMG1250

"Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky,
How beautiful it is?
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness
There is a poem, there is a song.
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring.
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree with
The music of many leaves,
Which in due season fall and are blown away.
And this is the way of life."

--Krishnamurti (1918-2007)

Tip of the day

Today is the last day of the month, print any coupons that you want to be sure to have.  Printable coupon sites such as Coupons.com and Smartsource.com update their coupon listings at the first of the month.  While some coupons might still be there, others will not.  Print while you can.

February 27, 2010

Welcome Coupon Fair Attendees!

DSC_9627Welcome to Couponing in Critical Times!  I’m glad that you stopped in, and I hope you’ll visit often.  You can sign up to be a follower and/or subscribe to my feed in the left hand column to make staying on top of money saving tips and freebies easier. 

About me
I am a mother of a darling daughter and have a wonderful, patient husband. It is he who started this blog for me. With encouragement from him and some wonderful friends, I have been blogging since May of 2009.  You’ll learn more about why I blog at this post.

What will you find at this site?
You will see just about anything that is related to frugality on my blog.  I love to get a good deal, so you’ll find posts on saving money, budgeting, and shopping sales. I believe in the importance of buying locally made products, protecting the environment, and building food security.  Therefore, you will see posts related to green living. On this site, you’ll find everything from food preservation to gardening with daily frugal tips mixed in. I hope you enjoy what you see here and let others know about the site. It is my hope that what you learn here will be used to help your family and community. I have been blessed with many people in my life who took the time to teach me skills and the importance of being a good steward of the resources presented to me. Please “pay forward” any tips or tools you learn here so that others might benefit from your knowledge.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

DSC_0355 Thank you to everyone who helped to organize and execute The Knoxville Coupon Fair.  A special thanks to Faith UMC and all of the wonderful volunteers who helped with the event.  Thank you to my kind and caring husband and sweet daughter who were very understanding through all of the craziness these last few weeks.  Thank you to the wonderful coupon experts, resource booth reps, and businesses who donated door prizes and goodies to us.

Katie of Coupon Katie, Jennifer of Coupon Mommie, Melissa of Frugalissa Finds, Hannah of Frugally Farming Family, Jennifer of Living on More for Less, Isha of Knoxville Mamabelle, Kathryn of Knoxville on a Dime, Angel Food Ministries, East TN Rewards, Knoxmoms, Kroger of Fountain City, One Call Club for Seniors, Regions Bank, Silver Lining Children’s Consignment, Three Rivers Market, CheapKnox.com, Andy Anderson of State FarmPilot Corporation, Curves, and the Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency

Thank you to everyone who helped advertise for the event both via media and word of mouth.  Thank you to all who took time out of your day to attend the event. 

My sincerest appreciation goes to all of you.  Thank you for helping to make our corner of the world a better place!

~Gabrielle

A little light reading

  • Crunchy Chicken has inspired me to try to grow blackberries in a container.  Have any of you tried this?
  • Hubby and I have been using this 40 days of prayer resource from the Holston Conference.
  • Have you tried the 5 minute bread recipe yet?  If not, you’ll find some whole wheat options here.
  • Want an idea for simplifying the morning routine?  When we leave early for a trip, I dress our daughter in a comfy knit dress and leggings at night so that she is ready for the next day. 
  • Bribes let tomato vendor sell tainted food—I guess nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to our food system.  All the more reason to grow more of your own food this year and to support local farmers at your farmers markets!!  This summer, I’ll have posts on preserving your own foods, and this spring I’ll tell you when I plant what to help you out.  If you would like to take a look at some of last year’s posts, please click on the Gardening or Food Preservation tabs on the left hand column of this blog.

Have a super duper weekend!

Tip of the day

The best tip for today that I can think of is for you to attend The Knoxville Coupon Fair!  If you are not in the East TN area, search message boards, contact your newspaper, or look for local money saving blogs to find a coupon workshop near you.  Even the most seasoned of couponers can benefit from attending workshops!

February 26, 2010

Free Bora Bora Organic Bar and a chance to win

imageThanks to Coupon Mommie who gave me the heads up on this great freebie and chance to win:

I’m not sure which is more exciting.

The free sample of the new organic Bora Bora bars you can request here.

Or the chance to win a Trip for Two the island of Bora Bora that you’re automatically entered to win when you request the sample.

They both sound exciting!  Crossing my fingers!

Not available for AK, NY & FL.  Thanks Cindy!

If I don’t win, I hope one of you do!

Eddie Bauer 30% off everything 2/27 ONLY

Eddie Bauer ® est 1920

* Offer valid on your purchase of Eddie Bauer merchandise at 800-426-8020, eddiebauer.com, firstascent.com, at Eddie Bauer stores or Eddie Bauer Outlet stores. Offer valid only on February 27, 2010. Does not include and cannot be applied to previous or pending purchases, credit card balance, taxes, shipping/handling or monogramming charges, gift cards or gift boxes. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer.

The Knoxville Coupon Fair—TOMORROW 2/27

 image

Tomorrow is the big day!  Faith UMC hosts The Knoxville Coupon Fair on February 27th from 9am-12n. Attendance is free and child care is provided on a first come, first serve basis. Local couponers and other money saving resources will host booths, answer all of your couponing questions, and provide information and education.

Browse booths, trade your extra coupons and freebies, hone your couponing skills, and learn all you need to know about saving your family $$$!

Where—Faith United Methodist Church, 1120 Dry Gap Pike, Knoxville, TN 37918 Go to www.faithseekers.org for directions and more information on the church

When—Saturday, February 27th from 9am-12n

Booths to watch for—Gabrielle of Couponing in Critical Times, Katie of Coupon Katie, Jennifer of Coupon Mommie, Melissa of Frugalissa Finds, Hannah of Frugally Farming Family, Jennifer of Living on More for Less, Isha of Knoxville Mamabelle, Kathryn of Knoxville on a Dime, Angel Food Ministries, East TN Rewards, Knoxmoms, Kroger of Fountain City, One Call Club for Seniors, Regions Bank, Silver Lining Children’s Consignment, Three Rivers Market, CheapKnox.com and more!

For more information, contact Gabrielle at Couponingincriticaltimes@gmail.com or phone the church at 865-688-1000.

Additional Information

Will there be door prizes?

We'll have a number of door prizes to draw throughout the day. You must be present to win. If you are a business that would like to donate a door prize for the coupon fair, please feel free to e-mail me. In addition the first 100 people present at the fair will receive a complimentary cloth shopping bag thanks to Andy Anderson of State Farm,  a coupon from Pilot Corporation for their yummy hot beverages, and a free trial at Curves!  The first 200 will receive a ready bag from the Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency.

Will there be coupons given away?

We'll also have a couple of "swap" tables. One will be for "freebies" those items that you might pick up for free after a coupon or receive as a sample from a company. For every item you bring in, you'll be able to swap it for another item on the table. Any items left after the end of the day will go to the food and toiletry pantry at Faith UMC.

There will be another table where people can swap coupons--leave what you do not want and pick up what you can use.

Some of the resource booths will have coupons at their tables for attendees to pick up as they browse.

Do you have to make reservations for the childcare or is it just drop in?

Because the event will be set up like a fair where attendees can drop in and out at their convenience, visit the booths that are applicable to what they want to learn, and can speak directly to experts, we thought that reservations might be too difficult to set for folks. We have volunteers who will be at the church to help with childcare. Due to limited space, childcare is first come, first serve.  If the childcare rooms are filled to capacity, parents are also welcome to bring their children to the fair in the sanctuary.

Do I have to leave my child in the childcare rooms?

Absolutely not. Since the sanctuary will be set up with booths, smaller strollers will also work. The reason we included the childcare information on the poster is that so many people from the community had requested it when we had our last coupon workshop at the church. We want people to know that they are happy to do whatever they feel comfortable with regarding child care.

Do I have to make reservations to attend the coupon fair?

No reservations are needed. Admission is free of charge and is provided as a community service by Faith UMC and the many generous coupon experts and resource booths that have volunteered their time.

Will I have to be present for the entire three hours?

No. The Knoxville Coupon Fair is unlike any other coupon workshops. There will be introductions of the coupon experts and resource booth representatives, but there will not be a formal presentation or speech. Instead you’ll find various topics addressed at different booths that address almost every aspect of couponing and saving money for your family. For example, Coupon Katie will have a handout and will be the expert addressing couponing and shopping at Target. Coupon Mommie will have handouts and information on shopping the drugstores (Walgreens and CVS). Because of the way the fair is set up, you’ll be able to come and go as your schedule allows. You’ll be able to focus on the tables that are of the most interest to you and meet your needs. I do hope you’ll check out each one, as all of them will contain great information!

What topics will be addressed at the booths?

How to organize your coupons, Learning the Coupon Lingo, Couponing on the Computer, Shopping at Walgreens and CVS, Couponing at Target, Saving Money on Organics, Meal Planning, Growing and Preserving Your Own Foods, Healthy Lunch Options, Saving Money on Items for Babies and Children, Starting a Coupon Ministry, Giving through Couponing, Budgeting, Saving Money at Restaurants, Savings for Seniors, and more!

We hope you’ll join us!

JC Penney Coupons

JCPenney. Every Day Matters(R)

Go here to print your JC Penney coupons for $15/$75 or $10/$50.  Coupons good 2/26-2/27.

Tip of the day

Remember that it doesn’t hurt to ask.  I hear the word “no” a lot, and I’m not talking about my daughter.   I am a little brazen about asking questions, especially when it comes to questions about coupons, discounts, or sales.  I don’t mind hearing no from people because every once in a while I hear a yes.  Either way the information is useful.  Let me give you some recent examples:

  • I asked at the Target customer service desk if they would honor the price match guarantee for a 3 day sale (Food City is having a wonderful one this Thursday-Saturday!)  They have Charmin bath tissue discounted to $3.99.  I have a $1 off coupon.  If Target would honor the price match I could have used my Target $1 off Charmin coupon too!  The rep said that they do not.  I didn’t remember that being in the verbiage of the price match policy and asked her to show that to me in writing.  I was polite in my request.  I said that I didn’t want to give readers incorrect information, and I said that I didn’t remember seeing that when I read the policy.  She and another representative searched their files and found the exclusion for me and were super nice about it, which I told them I appreciated.  (Lord only knows how rude they might have been to me at another discount store which shall remain nameless!)  In this scenario I could have had a few options:
    • To have taken her word at face value and not pursued seeing the policy in writing—what if she had been wrong?
    • To have not asked her about the price match in the first place—that would have gotten me nowhere
    • To have asked her as I did—now I know the information for the future and can share it with others
  • Hubby, daughter, and I decided to scratch our menu plans at home and grab dinner out.  I had two coupons in my purse for restaurants.  One was expired.  I really preferred to go to the restaurant where the coupon had expired.  I called the restaurant and asked to speak with the manager to see if they would honor an expired coupon.  I told him that it meant the difference between our family dining there or another restaurant.  He said that they do not honor expired coupons.  We went to the other restaurant and enjoyed our BOGO deal (the entire family ate our own meals, we had a leftover box, and tipped 20% for $17!)  Now, I want to be clear here.  I AM NOT ADVOCATING FOR YOU TO BE SNEAKY ABOUT EXPIRED COUPONS!!  Every chain grocery store that I know of other than commissaries do not honor expired manufacturer coupons.  Sometimes, though, restaurants and hotel chains will honor expired coupons because they figure that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  I ALWAYS call first to ask.  The call took me about 2 minutes total, and now I know the information.  Did it hurt me to hear no, absolutely not!  We enjoyed a nice dinner out as a family at another locally owned and operated restaurant.
  • I have a relatively new job where I work a few hours each week.  My boss knows that I love to coupon.  I asked her if she minded if I print coupons at the office on occasion.  I told her up front that it wouldn’t be very often and it might be 10 tops per week.  She laughed when I asked her as if I were being ridiculous and said, “Of course, print away!” 
  • Knoxville schools have a fundraiser selling coupon books for $10 each when the school season starts.  I make a habit of carrying the coupon book in my purse.  When I’m checking out at a register, I’ll ask if they are in the school coupon book.  If the cashier says no, my next question is to ask if the store accepts competitor coupons. You would be surprised at how often they say yes!

February 25, 2010

Jennie-O Turkey Rebate

Jennie-O

Thanks to Lauren for e-mailing me the following info:

Jennie-O Turkey Store has developed a comprehensive, online wellness center to help people maintain and achieve a healthier way of life.  A full product rebate at sign-up and opportunity to win a gym membership and year’s worth of product  further supports users on their journey to better health. 

WellnessDaily.com, is an online community that collects the latest news, healthy living blogs, expert opinions, easy, nutritious recipes and videos on a variety of topics including weight loss, healthy eating, exercise and mental well-being.  

Jennie-O Turkey Store will provide a rebate for the purchase price of one product (up to $5.00) for the first 25,000 registered users. Additionally, users who help share the news of the site via Twitter are eligible for a chance to win a prize package which includes coupons for a year-long supply of Jennie-O Turkey Store product and a one-year gym membership, valued at $1,250. Details can be found here.

Kohl’s 3 Day Shopping Pass 2/26-2/28

Go here to print your coupon.

Tip of the day

To get a good caramelization on vegetables, do not salt them initially.  Heat the oil or fat in a skillet, add the vegetables and pepper, once they have a good color to them, THEN add your salt.  Salt draws the moisture out of vegetables, and if you salt them at first they will steam instead.

February 24, 2010

Last Day of FREE Breakfast at Chick-fil-a Tomorrow (2/25)

That’s right, FREE BREAKFAST at Chick-fil-A is back!

Knoxville Chick-fil-A restaurants  are offering their Box Tops Thursdays deals every Thursday in January and February. (If you are outside of the Knoxville area, you might want to phone your neighborhood locations to see if they are participating). 

Just bring in a cereal box top (doesn’t have to be the school box tops) and receive the featured breakfast entree FREE.

Here is the featured entrees:

February 25… FREE Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuit®

Newspaper Subscription

paperartAfter missing a few Sunday papers this month Hubby and I decided to subscribe.  There was one Sunday that I wasn’t able to get a paper because of the snow, and there was another week when I just totally forgot to run by the store on my way home from church.  I decided to give a subscription another chance and see how it would work for us.  While I still suspect that there will be weeks when I buy more Sunday papers out at a store, I’m looking forward to this experience.  Hubby and I decided that instead of purchasing only the weekend subscription we would opt for the entire week. 

While a little more expensive than a weekend subscription rate, I have liked the delivery thus far.  In the past, there were many times when a friend, our church, or I was in the paper and I missed it because I didn’t buy a paper in time.  Not only am I noticing that I’m a little more informed about the community, I’m finding out about more local coupons, discounts, and free programs.

Do you have a newspaper subscription?  In what ways do you find that it is worth the expense?

Earth Fare Match-ups 2/24-3/30

TomatoFrugally Farming Family has the Earth Fare Matchups for 2/24-3/30.  Happy Shopping!

Free Earth Fare Pizza Dough and Mozzarella with purchase of sauce

Go here for your Earth Fare Coupon.

Facebook Freebie—ZonePerfect

Thanks to Who Said Nothing in Life is Free???? for this info:

Become a fan of ZonePerfect on Facebook and then click on the ZonePerfect Tab and then you’ll be able to click on a link to register for your FREE sample!

**Limit one free sample per name, address and/or household. Allow 4 - 6 weeks for shipment.

Physicians Formula Moneymaker at CVS

Head over to Who Said Nothing in Life is Free???? to learn how to make money off of these Physicians Formula bamboo compacts at CVS this week.

Yoga Freebie!

free yoga dvd Free Yoga DVD

Thanks to Thrifty Mama for this yoga freebie:

I’m not sure how long they will offer this freebie, so get it now while you can.  Go HERE to get a free copy of the My MS Yoga DVD.

Note: This freebie is specifically targeted for people with MS.

 

Free Uni-ball Pen Reminder

Uni-Ball is offering 10,000 pens every day until 4/30.  To get your freebie just visit the Uni-Ball website after 12 noon CST and sign up for this freebie—I signed up and it was a cinch!

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Coupon

Go here for a $1/5 Kraft Macaroni and Cheese CouponThanks Organic Deals and Coupons!

Tip of the day

Make a kit. 

Is your morning routine a little hectic?  Are you rushing to make sandwiches for school or work lunches?  Use a small plastic storage box, one that will easily fit in your refrigerator.  Store condiments, cheeses, lunchmeat, jelly, natural peanut butter—anything you might need to make a sandwich.  In the mornings, you won’t have to hunt for all of the ingredients.  

Do you make bread?  If you store your ingredients together, it will streamline your process.  Vital wheat gluten, yeast, salt, honey, flour can be stored together, and the kit can be pulled out when you are ready to use it.

February 23, 2010

My Target Trip

Since I stopped by the church on the way home to drop off some things, this is a photo free shopping trip report. 

1 Johnson’s Buddies Soap 97cts, free after $1 manufacturer coupon adjusted down

1 Scotch Fur Fighter $3.99, free after $4 manufacturer coupon adjusted down

4 Gillette $1.99 each, free after $4/2 manufacturer coupon adjusted down

1 Rimmel Mascara $2.24, free after $3 manufacturer coupon adjusted down

5 Poptarts $4/2 price match from Kmart ad, received $5 Target gift card

5 Special K Fruit Crisps $2.50 each, used 4 $1/1 and one 75ct/1, received $5 Target gift card

5 100 calorie Right Bites $2.39 each, used four 75ct/1 coupons (These have been donated to the church.  It was one of those days when it was just easier to put it all on one tab and pay the tax than to deal with a separate tax free order), received $5 Target gift card

3 reusable bag credits= 15cts off

Total--$28.70, Total after $15 gift cards= $13.70, Total Saved $43.66 or 68.62%

 

NOTE—I looked for the Baby Alive to see if they were on clearance, and they are still priced at $19.99 at my Target store.

Pacific Foods Souper Hero

Be a Souper Hero every night of the week! Enter for a chance to win a fabulous Le Creuset 12-piece cookware set, plus an assortment of our delicious soups, and you could be saving dinner in no time.

Enter here to rescue your dinner from the doldrums.  We’ll choose a winner March 31, 2010.

If you're on Facebook, become a Pacific Foods fan, and we’ll donate soup to the food bank.

Return to Origins Recycling Program—FREE Sample

Information about the Return to Origins Recycling Program from their website:

Now you can bring your empty cosmetic tubes, bottles and jars, etc. - regardless of brand - to your nearest Origins retail store or department store counter nationwide.* All returned packaging will be sent back to a central location where products will be recycled or used for energy recovery.

In an industry first, Origins will accept packaging from any cosmetic company regardless of the manufacturer. We believe that the more we collect from consumers, the more we can keep cosmetic packaging out of landfills. And we hope this program will encourage other companies into following our example.
To thank you for joining us in our commitment to the environment, we’ll treat you to a FREE sample of your choice of one of Origins high-performance skincare products.

The Return to Origins Recycling Program will accept only empty cosmetic primary packaging.
Primary packaging is the packaging that protects the actual product (glass and plastic jars, bottles, tubes, caps, lipstick covers). The following are not accepted as part of the recycling program:

  • Secondary packaging of any sort including paper boxes, plastic or cellophane wrappers, shopping bags, etc.
  • Samples containers, special/trial size products from promotional kits
  • Cosmetic applicators or tools such as disposables, puffs, sponges, scissors, spatulas, swabs, sharpeners, tweezers and curlers
  • Makeup accessory items including bags, belts, makeup cases, etc.

Thanks Sugar & Spice and Frugal Advice!

Tip of the day

When was the last time you checked the air in your car tires?  Properly inflated tires get better gas mileage.  It only takes a couple of minutes to check.

February 22, 2010

Bag-A-Bargain Sale, Knoxville

Thanks to Sharing Savings with You for this info:

Mark your calendars!  The annual Junior League of Knoxville's Bag-A-Bargain is coming to the Jacob Building on Saturday, March 6, from 8am to 1pm.  Tickets are $5 at the door and they go on sale at 6:30am.
Want $1 dollar off admission? Click here for details!

Departments include the following:
Appliances  • Arts & Crafts • Baby needs • Building supplies • Children’s clothing • Furniture • Holiday decorations • Lawn & garden Adult clothing • Pet supplies • Toys & games • Silver and brass •Electronics •Housewares • Linens

 

Free Sample Olay Total Effects Body Wash

Walmart is offering a FREE sample of Olay Total Effects Body Wash on their sampling page.  Thanks Sugar & Spice and Frugal Advice!

Annie’s--$15 in Organic Coupons

annies_logo_72

Thanks to Julie who gave me an e-mail reminder about these coupons from Annie’s.  Here is the info from Southern Savers:

During the months of February through April, purchase any Annie’s Homegrown or Annie’s Naturals product and receive a free downloadable Memorable Mealtimes Picnic Guide filled with recipes, activities, and tips for planning the perfect picnic outing with your family.

You will also get access to $15 in organic coupons from Annies, Knudsen, Earth Bound Farms, Kettle, Smuckers and many more brands!!

Free Sample South Beach Living Bar

Answer a very brief questionnaire and you can sign up for a  FREE sample of South Beach Living Fiber Fit S’mores Bars. I love free!  Thanks Hip2Save!

Bath & Body Works Freebie with $15 purchase

Go here to print your coupon. 

Gardening 101 Series

 DSC_9888 I have been gardening since I was 2 years old, and I think that when I’m 90 I’ll still call myself a novice.  One of the things that I like most about gardening, in fact, is that it is constantly a learning process.  Different people can grow the same plants with completely different results.  The variations not only depend upon soil type, ph, microclimates, zones, and watering schedules but also on the personality of the gardener.  Therefore when people tell me that they cannot grow anything, I respond that they simply haven’t found the right plant yet.  And yes, artificial plants are included in that scenario!

Since I have received so many questions from people wanting to garden, I thought I would start a series, passing on some of the gardening know-how that I’ve learned over the years.  I encourage you to send me any questions you would like addressed about beginning gardening.  If I can answer them, I’ll do so.  If I can’t answer them, I’ll do what I can to either find the answer or direct you to a resource for the answer.  Keep in mind that I’m not a master gardener.  If you want information on landscaping, soil structure, or some exotic plant species, I’m not the gal for you.  If, however, you are interested in growing more of your own foods, teaching your children about plants, or clipping your own flower arrangements from your yard, I’m happy to help.

The first step in the process

Before you order your seeds or till up your yard, you first need to know in which gardening zone you are located.  The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides the country into different zones based upon how warm an average winter is in each zone as compared to the adjacent zones. 

I prefer the maps that offer an “a” and “b” behind the zone number.  For instance, in Knoxville we are in zone 6b.  In the higher elevations of East TN, they are zone 6a.  The letter designations give you a little more accuracy for how far you can deviate from what a plant’s hardiness level is. 

Example, if a plant tag says that it is hardy in zones 7-9 then I can usually grow it in our area during most of the  year.  Whether or not the plant will “overwinter” is determined by how close I am to the correct zone.  If I’m in zone 8, I should be safe.  Since I’m in zone 6b, though, I will be taking a chance to leave the plant outside.  If it were an inexpensive plant, then I might treat it like an annual and leave it in the ground—if it survives, great; if it dies, no big loss.  Otherwise, it will be best to move the plant inside or at least to the garage where it is warmer.

DSC_1083Why do I include this as the first step in the process?

Gardening magazines and seed catalogs can give you the same feeling as a kid in a candy shop.  I want it all!  They are all so pretty.  They all have such neat descriptions!  This would be beautiful as a cut flower, that one would look lovely near my garden bench. 

Research has shown that people given too many choices are significantly less satisfied and are much more unhappy than those given limited choices.  The zone range helps to limit your choices.  My relatives in southeast TX can grow oranges and lemons.  My cousin living on the Gulf in Mississippi can grow bananas in his front yard.  I won’t have much luck growing those foods in our climate. 

The garden zone map helps you to succeed.  By choosing plants that are realistic to grow in your climate, you will save money.  You will have significantly less plant failures (aka dead plants).  With those successes you will build momentum and get a little more courageous with your plant choices. 

Understanding your zone will help you to determine when you should start planting what.  If you were to plant tomatoes outside right now in my zone, they would surely die by the time spring rolled around.  And, if they didn’t die, they would probably be stunted because they spent so much of their energy trying to survive.  I wait to plant my tomatoes until after April 15th, and even then, I look at the forecast. If it is still cold outside and if the forecast is scheduled to remain that way, I might wait another week or more before planting tomatoes.  Peas on the other hand like cold weather.  They can handle frost and are fine to plant as soon as you can work the soil, meaning when the ground is no longer frozen.  If they get a little snow on them, they will most likely bounce back.  And, if they don’t, peas grow fast and can easily be planted again. 

Your homework

If you do not already know in which zone you are located, find out now.

Meal Planning Monday

With The Knoxville Coupon Fair scheduled for this Saturday, Feb. 27th, this week is expected to be a busy one.  Here are a few tips for making meal time easier when busy:

  • Streamline the process as much as possible.  Meals that involve very few dishes and utensils for prep and only a few dishes for cooking are ideal.  Use ingredients that you have already prepped.  For instance, I keep chopped green onions and parsley in the freezer that I can pull out whenever I’m more hurried with my cooking.
  • Martha isn’t coming over. Don’t make elaborate or time consuming meals when you are feeling pushed for time.  A simple meal will suffice from time to time.  Think macaroni and cheese, soup and sandwiches, or even a TV dinner.  The exception to this rule is that sometimes cooking can be relaxing.  If it is a stress reliever for you, then by all means awaken your inner Martha Stewart or Julia Child. 
  • When you do cook, get in the habit of doubling your recipes so that your “TV dinners” are still homemade and healthy. 
  • Move from cooking to preparing.  (I love that part of The Blind Side when the father says to the children that they should thank their momma for going to the store and buying the food for them.  She had spent the morning moving Thanksgiving dinner from the grocery store deli bags into her own platters.)  Putting together a salad requires very little time or expertise, and it is one of the healthier foods we can serve our families.  Open and drain a can of tuna or garbanzo beans to add some protein to the salad.  Throw a few mandarin oranges or cashews to the bowl.  Add some other veggies and a dressing, and you have a meal.
  • Enlist the help of others.  My hubby has a few special recipes that he will prepare when needed.  Daughter dearest sets the table and helps to clear plates when we are done eating.  A friend and I have cooked together in the past. We spend the morning cooking meals while our daughters play together.  By the afternoon we each have about 6 dinners to bring home for the week.

Since our breakfasts and lunches will be pretty simple this week, I’m skipping those details and moving on to the suppers.

Monday—Italian Sausage, mashed potatoes, braised cabbage

Tuesday—Rotisserie Chicken from Kroger (on sale $3.99 and I have a $1/1 coupon!), red lentils, green beans

Wednesday—I’ll be making supper for the children’s program at church.  Since we had to reschedule our supper on the 10th because of a snow day, we’ll have that meal tonight.  Pasta with sauce, garlic bread, and punch.  I always try to include an extra vegetable or fruit with their meals.  I’m leaning towards canned peaches or pears.

Thursday—Macaroni and Cheese, carrot sticks, and fruit salad

Friday—Baked potato bar (broccoli, cheeses, onions, sour cream, butter, salsa) and salad

Saturday—Chili from the freezer with all of the fixings.

Sunday—Salmon Patties with homemade remoulade sauce on a bed of salad greens, homemade bread, sautéed pears for dessert

The Knoxville Coupon Fair THIS Saturday!

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Due to snow and icy roads on the previously scheduled date, Faith UMC will now host The Knoxville Coupon Fair on February 27th from 9am-12n. Attendance is free and child care is provided. Local couponers and other money saving resources will host booths, answer all of your couponing questions, and provide information and education.

Browse booths, trade your extra coupons and freebies, hone your couponing skills, and learn all you need to know about saving your family $$$!

Where—Faith United Methodist Church, 1120 Dry Gap Pike, Knoxville, TN 37918 Go to www.faithseekers.org for directions and more information on the church

When—Saturday, February 27th from 9am-12n

Booths to watch for—Gabrielle of Couponing in Critical Times, Katie of Coupon Katie, Jennifer of Coupon Mommie, Melissa of Frugalissa Finds, Hannah of Frugally Farming Family, Jennifer of Living on More for Less, Isha of Knoxville Mamabelle, Kathryn of Knoxville on a Dime, Angel Food Ministries, East TN Rewards, Knoxmoms, Kroger of Fountain City, One Call Club for Seniors, Regions Bank, Silver Lining Children’s Consignment, Three Rivers Market and more!

For more information, contact Gabrielle at Couponingincriticaltimes@gmail.com or phone the church at 865-688-1000.

Additional Information

Will there be door prizes?

We'll have a number of door prizes to draw throughout the day. You must be present to win. If you are a business that would like to donate a door prize for the coupon fair, please feel free to e-mail me. In addition the first 100 people present at the fair will receive a complimentary cloth shopping bag thanks to Andy Anderson of State Farm,  a coupon from Pilot Corporation for their yummy hot beverages, and a free trial at Curves

Will there be coupons given away?

We'll also have a couple of "swap" tables. One will be for "freebies" those items that you might pick up for free after a coupon or receive as a sample from a company. For every item you bring in, you'll be able to swap it for another item on the table. Any items left after the end of the day will go to the food and toiletry pantry at Faith UMC.

There will be another table where people can swap coupons--leave what you do not want and pick up what you can use.

Some of the resource booths will have coupons at their tables for attendees to pick up as they browse.

Do you have to make reservations for the childcare or is it just drop in?

Because the event will be set up like a fair where attendees can drop in and out at their convenience, visit the booths that are applicable to what they want to learn, and can speak directly to experts, we thought that reservations might be too difficult to set for folks. We have volunteers who will be at the church to help with childcare. If the childcare rooms are filled to capacity, parents are also welcome to bring their children to the fair in the sanctuary.

Do I have to leave my child in the childcare rooms?

Absolutely not. Since the sanctuary will be set up with booths, smaller strollers will also work. The reason we included the childcare information on the poster is that so many people from the community had requested it when we had our last coupon workshop at the church. We want people to know that they are happy to do whatever they feel comfortable with regarding child care.

Do I have to make reservations to attend the coupon fair?

No reservations are needed. Admission is free of charge and is provided as a community service by Faith UMC and the many generous coupon experts and resource booths that have volunteered their time.

Will I have to be present for the entire three hours?

No. The Knoxville Coupon Fair is unlike any other coupon workshops. There will be introductions of the coupon experts and resource booth representatives, but there will not be a formal presentation or speech. Instead you’ll find various topics addressed at different booths that address almost every aspect of couponing and saving money for your family. For example, Coupon Katie will have a handout and will be the expert addressing couponing and shopping at Target. Coupon Mommie will have handouts and information on shopping the drugstores (Walgreens and CVS). Because of the way the fair is set up, you’ll be able to come and go as your schedule allows. You’ll be able to focus on the tables that are of the most interest to you and meet your needs. I do hope you’ll check out each one, as all of them will contain great information!

What topics will be addressed at the booths?

How to organize your coupons, Learning the Coupon Lingo, Couponing on the Computer, Shopping at Walgreens and CVS, Couponing at Target, Saving Money on Organics, Meal Planning, Growing and Preserving Your Own Foods, Healthy Lunch Options, Saving Money on Items for Babies and Children, Starting a Coupon Ministry, Giving through Couponing, Budgeting, Saving Money at Restaurants, Savings for Seniors, and more!

We hope you’ll join us!

Tip of the day

If you buy 2 liter sodas, store them on the counter instead of the refrigerator.  They will get flat in the fridge much faster than they do on the counter.

Three Rivers Market Weekly Deals 2/22-2/28

Weekly-Deals

Feb 22nd-Feb 28th

Baby Peeled Carrots
Organic Baby Peeled Carrots 1 lb. Bag
$1.59 Save $.40

Amy Thai Coconut
Amy's Organic 14.1 Oz.
Thai Coconut Soup
$2.39 Save $1.00

Amy Tomato Bisque
Amy's Organic 14.5 Oz.
Chunky Tomato Bisque
$1.89 Save $1.00

Amy's No Chicken
Amy's Organic 14.1 Oz.
No Chicken Noodle Soup
$1.89 Save $1.00

Amy Lentil
Amy's Organic 14.5 Oz.
Lentil Soup
$1.89 Save $1.00
Gaia Sound Sleep

Gaia Herbs
Sound Sleep
60 Vegetarian Capsules
$15.99 Save $7.66

Gaia Herbs
Echinacea Goldenseal
60 Vegetarian Capsules
$15.35 Save $7.40

Gaia Herbs
Oil of Oregano
60 Vegetarian Capsules
$15.39 Save $7.36

Gaia Herbs
Olive Leaf
60 Vegetarian Capsules
$15.39 Save $7.36