August 31, 2010

Energizer Facebook Freebie

Go to Energizer’s Facebook page here and "Like" them to sign up to receive a coupon for a Free Energizer Rechargeable AA 4 pk. Sign up fast because this is for the first 30,000.  Thanks Together We Save!

Gymboree Fill-A-Bag Sale=30% OFF

Everything 30% Off (2) Fill-A-Bag-Sale

Gymboree is having a Fill-A-Bag sale, which means you’ll get 30% off of your purchases.  It is still Gymbucks earning time, and online you can score $5 shipping.  Discount now through Labor Day.

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. 

August 30, 2010

End of the month report August

This month we did things a little differently, and I was pretty pleased with the results.  Normally we budget $350 each month.  This includes all groceries, paper products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, medicines/herbals, and hygiene items (razors, deodorant, etc).  This month, I decided that I wanted to keep it much lower.  In August we spent $153.77.

The first two weeks of the month, our family had an “eat from the pantry” challenge.  We ate mostly stored foods from the freezer, pantry, fridge, and garden.  This really helped our food budget.  We didn’t deplete our stockpile much more than using the foods needed to be rotated out of the pantry or cold storage.  I baked our bread for those two weeks, and I was creative with what we had for our meals.  I won’t say that I completely enjoyed the process, but I did learn a lot.

With that money we bought $296.80 worth of items.  If I’m doing my math correctly, we had a savings of only 48.19%.  Much of the food that we bought this month was produced locally.  What veggies we bought at the grocery were organic, and all of our beef and chicken purchases were organic.

What did we buy with that money?

Free items—  5 boxes granola bars, 1 hefty freezer bags, 1 Luna bar, 1 Oscar Mayer hot dogs, 1 Gardetto's, 2 warm delights,  2 granola clusters, 2 goat cheese, 2 Honest Tea, 1 Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese

What did we stock up on? 

  • Preserved foods—we froze some local corn that I bought.  I bought 10 lbs of sugar and used some of it to can the pears that were given to us.  I bought a pound of garlic which will be added to what we pulled from our garden.  The garlic should last us until next summer.  We bought jalapenos and cucumbers at the farmers market to pickle, too.
  • The Mega Event at Kroger allowed us to stock up on some packaged foods that we added to our lunches.  We found some great deals on bread this month and paired them with coupons, including some organic bread.  When we find good prices on breads, I store some in the freezer to use during weeks when the prices are higher. 
  • At Target I bought a few boxes of Tom’s of Maine silly strawberry toothpaste for our daughter.  She now has at least a 9 month supply of toothpaste!
  • At Three Rivers Market I bought organic rolled oats (more than a gallon container’s worth) and organic popcorn (over a half of a gallon sized container’s worth). 

So, what could you glean from this post to help with your budget and shopping? 

  • I didn’t go to a drugstore for shopping one time this month.  I had planned on working some moneymakers so that we could purchase more for the same price this month.  On the weeks when I would have shopped, I didn’t see any deals that were all that thrilling to me.  This week at Walgreens, there are quite a few freebies and moneymakers.  I’ll probably venture out after the 1st and see what I find at the stores.  Shopping more often also means that you are more likely to buy things not on your list.  By cutting our shopping excursions by more than half this month, we saved.
  • Freebies and cheapies keep you from feeling deprived.  We had some coupons that made things like a Luna bar and Honest teas free.  Those little snacks and treats kept me happy.  Things like cheap M&Ms and Nature Valley Granola Clusters added some happy to my Hubby’s lunches.
  • Use what is free.  When we would pick a watermelon from the garden and enjoy it with breakfast or as a snack, I would think to myself about how much it would have cost if I had bought it at the market.  Venison steaks that were free from my brother-in-law felt special even though they cost us nothing.  I ran out of the type of shampoo that I normally use this month.  I decided to use up all of those little samples and hotel bottles that we have around the house instead of buying any yet.  Since we have a more generic version of shampoo as a back-up for when those run out, I’m going to see if I can manage to not pay out of pocket for shampoo.  When you become a couponer, you realize there are certain products that you really don’t have to pay for.  Toothpaste, razors, and shampoo/hair products are at the top of the list.  Before anyone starts feeling sorry for me and sending me shampoo, we can afford to buy these things.  We could have spent more than we did this month on food, but in the words of a friend, “Why pay more when you don’t have to?” 
  • Eating with friends and family is a wonderful way to save.  We had a few potlucks and meals with friends and family this month.  When everyone contributes to the meal, the financial and work burden is lifted.  We have more variety in the foods that we enjoy, and the time spent with friends and family is enjoyable. 
  • Compare the price of homemade vs store bought.  I had the hospitality table at church this last Sunday.  When I saw that the Nestle Toll House refrigerator cookies would be 99cts after coupon and sale at Target last week, I jumped on the bargain.  Because Nestle chocolate chips are usually over $2 not to mention the cost of the other ingredients, the buy saved me a bit of time and money.  I looked at what other foods we had in the pantry.  I had some muffin mixes that I bought at closeout price with a coupon.  The only ingredient I needed to add was a bit of milk.  Done.  Then I found a cake mix that needed using before it went beyond the expiration date.  I mixed 2 boxes of cream cheese, a bit of butter, and some powdered sugar to make a homemade frosting.  Topped with a few sprinkles, the kids loved them.  I won’t say that these were healthy options, but when I’m feeding the masses, I tends to go with popular and inexpensive choices. 

Weekly Matchups and Deals 8/29-9/5

Co-op Advantage Stores/Three Rivers Market August

In September Co-op Advantage Stores will change to a 2 week sales ad. 

earth-fare-market August matchups for Earth Fare

Dollar General

Dollar General

target frugal mom blogger  columbus ohio

Target  and here

kroger deals kroger sales logo

Kroger  and here

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

advantage_card

Ingles

Food Lion

Food Lion (Through 8/31)

FamilyDollarLogo

Family Dollar 8/1-8/28

Walgreens

Walgreens Finally some freebies worth me stopping in for!

New Walgreens coupon policy here

cvspharmacy

CVS  and here and here

Staples

Office Depot

What to watch for at local farmers markets:   melons, fresh eggs, milk, meats, greens (I saw arugula at our local market, for instance), edible flowers and cutting flowers,  garlic, onions,  hot peppers, bell peppers, summer squashes, smaller varieties of winter squashes, green beans, shelling beans, okra, corn, cucumbers, ground cherries, grapes, pears, eggplant, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, herbs, potted plants and flowers, honey, and home canned goods like jams and jellies.

Supper Planning

I didn’t manage to get this posted yesterday.  Below is our meal plan for this week.  It will feed 2 adults, 1 child, and an occasional guest or relative here and there.

We did really well with our grocery budget last month and were still able to stockpile a few items.  I’m hoping to do the same this month.  Dining out at restaurants tends to be my weakness.  It is just so easy to succumb to the myth that it is quicker and easier.  It really isn’t though.  Not only do you have the drive and wait time, but as our daughter has become a little older, dining out isn’t as easy as it once was.  Even with coupons and budgeting, a few dollars at a restaurant here and there adds up.  I’ve been packing a few easy to make meals in the pantry and freezer for Hubby to pull out when I am not able to cook.  Is it weird to have Hamburger Helper with fresh from the farm, organically raised, grass-fed beef?  Probably, but I’m sure you’ll see it on the menu at some point soon! 

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.

Sunday

Leftovers

Approximate cost $0

Monday

Hamburger patties sans buns (meat purchased from a local farmer) $5.50

Squash from the garden (free)

Salad (marked down organic lettuce and veggies from the garden) 50cts

Either okra or green beans from the garden, whichever there is more of (free)

Approximate cost $6

Tuesday

Sausage biscuits (sausage bought from local farmer, biscuits homemade) $6.50

Pinto beans from the freezer (free from my uncle)

Sliced tomatoes from the garden (free)

Any leftover veggies from Monday (free)

Approximate cost $6.50

Wednesday

I’ll be helping with the children’s program at church tonight.  Because we have some things that need using in the freezer and pantry, this will be a hodgepodge meal.  Since we’ll be finishing the meal with ice cream sundaes, I don’t think that the kids will mind too much, though. 

Approximate cost $0

Thursday

Pasta with pesto (I’m going to experiment and use some nuts that a friend from church gave us instead of pine nuts.  Basil is free from the garden.  Whole wheat pasta, cheese, and olive oil were bought on sale and with coupons.) $1 

Pears for dessert (free from a friend)

Approximate cost $1

Friday

Pancakes a la Daddy with fruit from the freezer (wheat is home milled, fruit bought at pick-your-own farms)

Approximate cost $2

Saturday

Lamb with rosemary (bought from a local farmer, herbs from the garden) $6

Roasted green tomatoes with goat cheese (I saw this recipe on a cooking show.  We’ll see how it works.  Tomatoes free from the garden.  Cheese was free after coupon).  $0

Organic red lentils (bought on sale at Three Rivers Market a while back) $1.50

Approximate cost $7.50

Tip of the day

Emergency Preparedness Tip of the Week--

While I’m most familiar with the Lifeline medical alert system, there are many companies that make these services available.  If you or a loved one has limited mobility or is a fall risk, you might want to look into a program in your area.  If you have ever been injured or have ever fallen when you were alone and couldn’t reach a phone, you know how helpful these systems can be. 

I once knew a man who could not afford a medical alert system and so he would clip his portable phone to his pants so that he could call for help if needed.  You could do the same with a cell phone.

Independence Days Update

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

The weather has finally started to feel more comfortable outside.  We’ve had less humidity in the East TN area, and although temperatures have still been in the 90s, it hasn’t been too unbearable when working outside. 

When inspecting the garden this week, I found that the onions are starting to sprout green again.  The basil is full, and it looks like I need to make a big batch of pesto for the freezer as soon as I can pick up some pine nuts.  The brandywine tomatoes are cooperating and making a few more red tomatoes.  If the weather continues to cool, though, I’ll need to make a batch of green tomato relish so that there is no waste of the tomatoes.  The butternut squash have continued to cooperate, and I saw another 3 or so fruit on the vine.  The crop won’t be what it was last year, but at least we’ll have a few.  Something has been getting into the watermelon, and I had to put one in compost because it had been eaten by something other than us.  The okra and yellow squash continue to produce, though not as much as in previous years.  The bell peppers have been the best crop of the year, and they are still fruiting and producing large peppers for us. 

Plant— Nothing planted.  Not sure why, just didn’t get to it.

Harvest—Bell peppers, 1 watermelon (and one for the compost bin), squash, tomatoes, onions, green onions, herbs, okra, green beans

Preserve—A friend emailed me last week and said that she had some pears that she would share with me.  When I arrived to help pick them, she had already done all of the work and gave me half of what she had!  I was thrilled!!  I canned most of them in syrup and have a few more that I’ve left to ripen a bit in hopes of making jam with them.  If it doesn’t work, we’ll either enjoy them fresh, or I’ll can more.  That same day, our daughter and I went to a pick your own farm where we buy peaches.  I had hoped to pick enough peaches to preserve some more since we’ve been going through the peach jam pretty quickly. While the peaches were very large after the bit of rain we had, they weren’t as sweet as they had been earlier in the season.  I picked about 9 lbs of them, and we enjoyed them fresh instead of worrying about preserving them.  I froze a few more bell peppers and some green onions.  I bought a pound of garlic at the farmers market.  Some was shared with my dad, some will be used for “seed”, and the rest is in dry storage and will be used throughout the year in addition to what we harvested from our garden. 

Waste Not/Reduce Waste— Hubby called the local agricultural extension agency to ask about the Thousand Canker Disease and what we can do with the walnut trees that are dying on our property.  They don’t really have much of an answer at this point, and they only told us to leave them standing.  We can’t have the wood, which is beautiful BTW, sent off to be milled.  If we want to mill it, we will have to hire a miller to come to the house like we did a couple of years back with the maple and walnut. 

A friend at church passed some more clothes to our daughter as hand-me-downs.  I visited a local children’s consignment sale and bought a few winter and fall pieces that we needed to fill in for our daughter’s winter gear. 

Want Not/Prep/Storage—  As I said above, with the garlic we already have harvested, we probably have enough to last us until we harvest next summer.  I caught a great deal on Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and stocked up for our daughter. 

Building Community Food Systems— We visited the farmers market this weekend and bought garlic, milk, and ground beef.  I tidied up the food pantry at church.  My cousin and I plan to barter her okra for our bell peppers. 

Eat the Food— No new recipes tried this week.  I discovered that the syrup/juice from the pickled beets that I make are fantastic with a bit of oil as a salad dressing and salt and pepper.  YUM!

August 29, 2010

Walgreens $5/$15 Photo Orders

$5 OFF Photo Orders of $15 or more ! Enter coupon code PHOTO15 at checkout thru Tuesday, August 31 only.*

Use coupon code PHOTO15 now through Tuesday, August 31st for $5 off of photo orders of $15 or more at Walgreens.

A Happy Thought

DSC_1508 

Summer’s End by Holin Kennen
"The gates of summer, once open wide like the arms of absent friends
begin to close, haltingly, with rusty hinges creaking in cool mornings.
The fireflies that rose in steaming clouds from humid backyard lawns
have disappeared overnight as though deported to another country,
leaving thrumming cicadas overhead, pulsing like high voltage wires.
Now great baskets of tomatoes, sunset crimson and dusky orange,
delicate raspberries, their jeweled caps painting picking fingers purple,
with seeds like tiny pearls, sweet and tart with days of rain and sun,
await the sauce pots and canning jars to hold their garnet ripening.
Standing at the counter putting up fresh corn long after time for sleep
knife swiftly parting kernels from the cob, white and gold, milk dripping;
the corgi puppy gnawing fiercely at the one cob left for him
scatters kernels, golden beads tossed along the blood red floor…"

 

I found this while blog hopping.  Beautiful!

August 28, 2010

A little light reading

Have a beautiful weekend!

Tip of the day

I liked this great tip for watching your weight and dining out.  I’ve packed on a few pounds lately and liked the idea for keeping things in check.  Restaurants can be a dangerous place when you are trying to be healthier—huge portion sizes, free bread or chips, extra salt and butter, and tons of temptations.

August 27, 2010

Blockbuster Express, Rent 2 and Get the 3rd FREE

Enjoy this Blockbuster Kiosk code for a 3rd movie free when you rent 2 more.  Use code G218D4 now through 8/30/10.  Enjoy!

Tea at the Gallery—Restaurant Review, Knoxville

If you read my blog, you know that yesterday was my birthday.  I was talking with friends earlier in the week about getting together for lunch to celebrate, and my cousin suggested we go to Tea at the Gallery.  What a delightful lunch we had! 

I had never visited this little tea shop, gallery, and restaurant all in one located in the Bearden area of Knoxville.  Since we planned an early lunch, we were the first customers.  The waitress was absolutely wonderful.  She made every effort to explain the teas, ensure we had what we needed, and make my birthday luncheon special.  My cousin had visited before and said that the Signature Tea Tray was perfect for one.  Since our daughter was with me, I ordered a plate of hummus and veggies to supplement, though I don’t think we would have needed it.  I was absolutely stuffed when I left, and our daughter was thrilled with the tea that she and her best friend shared with all of the special foods.  She wanted to go straight for the bottom tier of desserts, but I managed to get a few bites of other foods in her first.  ;)

The atmosphere was beautiful without feeling stuffy.  It was nice to look around at the art on the walls and read about the artists, though none of the art was in my price range.  The tea shop section had a nice assortment of tea accessories, pots, and cups.  There was a wide variety of teas and a tea sniffing table.  In the front of the store, there were couches and comfortable chairs that looked perfect for sitting, sipping, and sewing.  OK, maybe I won’t be sewing, but all of my knitting friends could.  With a full pot of tea only costing $4 and many of the tea snacks in single serving bags for $1, it would be a perfect and less expensive alternative to a coffee shop. 

My favorite parts of the signature tray were the curried tuna sandwiches and the scones—absolutely fantastic!  The signature tray cost $16, which includes a pot of tea.  To price compare, I have enjoyed tea time at other semi-local spots with the same amount of food and tea for $27.  Both prices are before tax and tip. 

Visit their Facebook page for a few more photos of the interior and checkout their website.  I hope you’ll stop by.  Will I return?  Most definitely! 

Note—I’m in no way associated with the Tea at the Gallery nor do I know any of the owners or people who work there.  I received no payment or discounts for writing this review, and the waitress only learned that I was planning to write a review after we were through with our food.

Woodcraft $15/$75

Spend $75 & Get $15 Off

Do you have a woodworker in your family?  If so, you probably know about Woodcraft stores.  There aren’t many times we’ve been in our local store and not spent at least 30 minutes.  If you are interested in learning woodworking skills, I highly recommend you check out the list of classes at your local stores.  I took a pen making/lathing class, and if I can do it, anyone can do it!

Woodcraft has a coupon code right now on their website for $15/$75 purchase.  The offer is not to be combined with other offers and excludes all SawStop and Festool products.  Use code 82010 for the discount.  No expiration date noted, so act fast!

If you sign up for their mailing list, you’ll also receive a coupon on your birth month. 

Tip of the day

I was talking with a friend earlier this week about hair.  Her daughter and she are both blessed with beautiful, very thick hair.  She was talking about how years ago one of her daughter’s classmates had lice.  She looked at her daughter’s very thick hair and realized that if she were to ever get lice it would be even more difficult to remove the nits from such a full head of hair.  Luckily, she never had to test her theory.  Since that time, she’s been adding a bit of tea tree oil to all of the family’s shampoo to help prevent lice outbreaks.  I found this article which tells a bit more about tea tree oil as a prevention method.

Earth Fare Healthy Lunch Challenge=Free Organic Celery

Go here to sign in, plan your lunches, and reap your reward—FREE organic celery.  I just bought organic celery at Kroger and paid around $2 for it, which makes this freebie a pretty good one. 

Bath & Body Works Free Signature Collection Body Care Item with Purchase

FREE SIGNATURE COLLECTION BODY CARE ITEM

Go here to print your coupon or use the following coupon codes:

Use code 3216 in U.S. stores only
Use code SC4FREE ONLINE AT CHECKOUT

Valid through Sept 26th.

August 26, 2010

Shoney’s Kid Care ID, Knoxville THIS WEEKEND

Kids

Shoney's Restaurants hosts a series of Shoney's KidCare PhotoID events each year around Knoxville and surrounding communities.  The events provide FREE KidCare Photo IDs for children, which enable parents to have information readily available for authorities in the event their child is ever reported missing. The IDs include a color photograph; fingerprints; important information such as height, weight and date of birth; a medical profile; the Seven Rules for Safety; and a 24-hour NCMEC hotline number.

Free KidCare Photo IDs: August 27-29, 2010  One Weekend Only! Join us at:

Knoxville Center Mall on Friday, August 27, 1 - 7 pm
West Town Mall on Saturday, August 28, 11 am - 5 pm
Foothills Mall on Sunday, August 29, 12 - 6 pm.

Go here for more information.

Ball Park $2/1 Coupon

Go to Ball Park’s Facebook page here and "Like" them, and they will email you a coupon for $2.00/1 Ball Park product. This is a great high dollar coupon that can make for free hot dogs when paired with a sale, store coupon, or catalina.  Thanks Squeezing a Dollar Out of a Dime!

Tip of the day—Birthday Freebies

Today is my birthday!  Yippeee for me!  On this day, I remind you to sign up for birthday freebies so that you can score some freebies when your special day rolls around.  I found that most of the freebies I received this year required some sort of purchase.  My favorites:

August 25, 2010

Knoxville Penny Performances

This information was from Jamie Woodson’s weekly email:

The Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville in cooperation with the local arts community is proud to announce Penny Performances, a new program developed to meet the local arts community’s long-term goal of serving and educating East Tennessee's children.  Penny Performances provide every child in Knox County, including home-schooled and private-schooled students, an opportunity to attend local arts and culture events/activities by more than 28 organizations at the maximum cost of $0.01 when accompanied by an adult during the 2010/2011 academic school year. Concerts, theatrical performances, historic home tours, museum admissions, festivals, arts workshops, and more are part of Penny Performances. Organizations whose admission is regularly free are offering special programs or gifts for attending Knox County students.  Notices announcing this program will be given to every Knox County public school child with their First Day Packets. A schedule of participating performances is listed on the Penny Performances web site at www.Penny4arts.com.

When you go to the website you can sign up for email reminders and can look on the calendar of events for participating shows, museums, and other art programs.  

I still remember seeing my first ballet as a child.  It was an absolutely magical experience that I can’t wait to share with our daughter.  (I’ve already planned to take her to The Nutcracker as part of my Christmas gift to her—shhhh, don’t tell).  I hope that you will not only participate in events such as these with your children, but that you will also pass the information on to others so that they might enjoy these experiences as well. 

Lane Bryant 40% off sale

In Store And Online - 40% Off On Absolutely Everything

UPDATE—Coupon Mommie said that she received one of these coupon codes too and it was different from mine.  By all means try to use the coupon code that I’ve mentioned here, but if you don’t have any luck, the Lane Bryant website has a code there you can key in.  Let me know if you have any problems!

Go here to shop on line with code 000408028 or go here to find a store near you.

September Culinary Events at Williams-Sonoma

TECHNIQUE CLASSES

Presented free of charge, each hour-long-class is dedicated to a specific topic led by one of our culinary experts. Class size is limited, so reserve your space today.

DEMONSTRATIONS

Regularly scheduled demonstrations focus on seasonal foods and entertaining. All are led by culinary experts and offered at no charge.

Sunday, September 12

Risotto

A specialty of northern Italy, risotto has earned a place as a legendary Italian dish and is now a favorite outside its homeland as well. Risotto can be embellished with savory ingredients, including cheeses, vegetables, meats and seafood, as well with as sweet additions like dried fruit. As you’ll discover in this class, risotto will quickly become one of the most versatile and well-loved dishes in your repertoire.

Sunday, September 19

Indoor Grilling

Even with the arrival of fall, you can still enjoy the succulent flavors of grilled meats and vegetables. This class will focus on the technique of indoor grilling — how to capture those summer favorites in your own kitchen. We’ll show you how to make classic pollo alla mattone (chicken under a brick) and share tips and other recipes that will inspire you throughout the fall season.

Sunday, September 26

Fall Baking

As the chill of autumn sets in, it’s time to fill your house with the enticing aroma of home-baked goods. In this class you’ll learn to bake tempting cool-weather treats that showcase the best of the autumn harvest, including apples, pears and other seasonal ingredients.

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. 

August 24, 2010

Feed Knoxville—August 28th and FREE Chick-fil-a

Feed Knoxville

Thanks to Coupon Katie for sending me the following information:

Feed Knoxville 2010 will be held Saturday, August 28th at World’s Fair Park from 3pm-8pm. The goal is to collect 100,000 items of food to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank.

During the event there will be a lot of free family fun, including inflatables, live music and free food! For every food item you donate you will be given a ticket that enters you into some great giveaways. (Think motorcycles, vacations,spa packages.)

How do you get free Chick-fil-A?  Now thru August 27th from 5–8 pm you can drop off donations for Free Knoxville 2010 at the Turkey Creek, Kingston Overlook and Double Drive-Thru (Kingston Pike) Chick-fil-A locations. For every 3 non-perishable food items donated to Feed Knoxville you get a free Chicken sandwich as well as tickets!

Click here to visit the Feed Knoxville website.  I can attest to how important food drives and collections for Second Harvest really are.  Our church, Faith UMC, has a food pantry with which I’m very involved.  Many people think that most of the people who go to food pantries are “abusing the system”—not so.  Many have had unexpected bills or a series of unexpected bills.  Some come because they have to choose between eating and taking medications.  Others struggle when schools are out for the summer or vacation because they rely on the school lunch program to help feed their children.  Many are in tears when they enter for help.  Some don’t want to take one of the large boxes we offer because they just “need a few things to help get by”.

From my experience, the foods that are most needed are jars of peanut butter, jelly, canned meats, boxes of cereals, beans, and rice.  When you donate to a food pantry, check the expiration date to make sure that the food is still of high quality.  Thanks for supporting Feed Knoxville!

Tip of the day

Emergency Preparedness Tip of the Week--

Look into an emergency road side assistance plan for your family.  We have a AAA membership but some insurance companies and car companies also offer similar services.  I can’t tell you how much peace of mind it offers me knowing that we have this service. 

August 23, 2010

Great buys on Ball canning products—Target

I was just in Target on Washington Pike in Knoxville and found some excellent buys on Ball canning products.  They are all clearance priced.  I didn’t take the time to write down all of the prices, but the Ball Blue Book was under $5, canning lids were $2-3 per box, the starter kit was around $7, and cases of quart jars were around $6.  The coupons for $2 off of the Discovery Kit from the 6/6/10 RP do not expire until 8/31/10 so you might want to make a shopping trip before then.  I haven’t looked at other Target stores, but you might want to phone your local Target to ask about prices and availability of products.  If you don’t can, these might be good gifts for friends. 

Children’s Consignment Sale and Tagging Service, Knoxville

I ran into Kristin this morning of Little Red Hen Consignment Tagging Service who reminded me that this week is The Picky Chick Consignment Sale in Knoxville.  She said that she had a chance to look at some of the things being consigned and there are some fantastic deals to be had.  Be sure to check out the sale and check out the Little Red Hen Consignment Tagging Service to make consigning a cinch.  Happy Shopping!

Sherwin-Williams Store Coupons

Bed Bath & Beyond® in partnership with Sherwin-Williams® is helping you create beautiful rooms PRINT SHERWIN-WILLIAMS® STORE COUPONS

Go here for a BOGO paint sample coupon and a $10/$50 coupon for Sherwin-Williams valid through 11/24/10.

Mayfield Ice Cream Coupon and Rebate

YUMMMM, Mayfield’s ice cream.  Please excuse me while I wipe the drool off of my face.  Who Said Nothing in Life is Free???? posted a new Mayfield ice cream coupon and rebate form that makes for some free ice cream AND a $1/1 couponEven though the rebate form does not say it, the website says that it is not available for any of the zip codes I typed that were for the East TN region.  If you are outside of our area, though, you might want to key in your zip to see if you can access it.  I would guess that if you are not in one of the zip codes that it accepts, your rebate might not be processed.

If you have never tried Mayfield Ice Cream, I highly recommend that you take advantage of this deal.  I had the opportunity to meet the Mayfield family many times when I was in college, and they are down-to-earth, wonderful people.  Plus, their ice cream is fantastic!

Independence Days Update

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

We had more rain in our area this week, which has been good for the plants.  Most of the summer vegetables are showing signs of slowing down.  I finally saw a fruit on the butternut squash, which gives me hope that we might actually have some this year.  It is about the time that I start planting the fall garden, and I’ll be working on that later this week when the beds dry out enough to be worked. 

Plant— Nothing planted. 

Harvest—cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, shelling beans, 1 watermelon, okra, bell peppers

Preserve—Canned pears in syrup, froze bell peppers, froze about a quart of tomatoes.  These are the first tomatoes we have had enough of to preserve all year long!  It is a good thing that I still have a few from last year that I canned.  I made refrigerator pickles.  I would have had another quart, but I had a jar crack on me for the first time in all of my years of canning.  UGH—how frustrating to go through all of the steps and have that happen!  I made a few quarts of easy jalapeno rings.

Waste Not/Reduce Waste— We cleaned out the church refrigerators, a job that needed tackling for months now.  There was way too much that needed discarded, meaning that we need a new system for organization.  I am going to make a sign for the refrigerators encouraging people to mark anything put in the fridge if they want to keep it or if it is only to be used for a certain purpose.  Otherwise, anything in the fridge is assumed to be used for anyone who needs it.  I’ve found that sometimes people will put leftovers or something that they want to share in the fridge, but people are too timid to use it if they don’t know why it is in there.  I’ll clean out the refrigerator once a month to make sure that the containers are recycled.  We’ll see how the new system works. 

Want Not/Prep/Storage—  I found some navy drapes that Hubby and I weren’t using anymore.  These were perfect for the office in my father’s home, and we brought them over for him.  Hubby tiled a backsplash in the kitchen there and is painting trim this week.  Hubby put up the monkey bars as part of our daughter’s play area.  She LOVES them!   She appreciates them so much more because her daddy made them than she ever would have something that was store bought.  I was the same way.  My jungle gym that I had as a kid was a hodgepodge of leftover construction materials from my dad’s jobs, but it felt tailor made for me. 

Building Community Food Systems— On of our daughter’s teachers gave us some pears from her tree.  I was absolutely thrilled to have them, and she said she might have some more this week for us.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed.  I baked her some homemade whole wheat banana bread as a little thank you.  We went to the farmers market, and it was so nice to visit with farmers and friends after having been away from the market for almost 4 weeks. 

Eat the Food— Inspired by Blue Frog Creations post on fried okra, I made some this week.  Folks from around the country tend to think that Southerners fry all of the time, which is funny because most of the people I know rarely if ever fry at home.  Because I do it so rarely when I do go to the trouble, I find that I fry just about everything in sight.  As part of our supper that evening I became a little overzealous—I fried okra, green tomatoes, and when we had leftover home milled cornmeal Hubby and I whipped up some hushpuppies to go with them.  We had a ridiculous amount leftover, but the meal was a nice treat. 

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. 

August 22, 2010

Weekly Matchups and Deals 8/22-8/28

Co-op Advantage Stores/Three Rivers Market August

earth-fare-market August matchups for Earth Fare

target frugal mom blogger  columbus ohio

Target

kroger deals kroger sales logo

Kroger

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

advantage_card

Ingles

FamilyDollarLogo

Family Dollar 8/1-8/28 

Walgreens

Walgreens

cvspharmacy

CVS

Toys R Us Crayola Deals

Staples

What to watch for at local farmers markets:   melons, fresh eggs, milk, meats, greens (think Swiss chard), edible flowers and cutting flowers,  garlic, onions,  hot peppers, bell peppers, summer squashes, smaller varieties of winter squashes, green beans, shelling beans, okra, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, potted plants and flowers, honey, and home canned goods like jams and jellies.

Supper Planning Sundays

Below is our meal plan for this week.  It will feed 2 adults, 1 child, and an occasional guest or relative here and there.

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.

Sunday

Leftovers

Approximate cost $0

Monday

Salad Nicoise (without the potatoes unless the ground has dried enough to dig them)

(Marked down organic salad, free after coupon goat cheese, tomatoes, onion, and green beans from the garden, tuna and eggs bought on sale) $2

Corn on the cob (bought at the farmers market) $2

Approximate cost $4

Tuesday

Taco Night (organic beef bought at the grocery b/c the farmer wasn’t at the market due to a broken leg, taco shells and sour cream bought on sale, veggies from the garden) $6

Organic Black Beans (bought at Three Rivers Market when on sale) $1

Rice (free after coupon) $0

Approximate cost $7

Wednesday

I’ll be at a planning meeting for supper.  Hubby will make macaroni and cheese, carrot sticks, apple slices, and blueberries.

(Mac and cheese free after coupon, veggies and fruit only expense) $2-3

Approximate cost $2-3

Thursday

Thursday is my birthday.  I’ve asked Hubby to take me out to a restaurant to celebrate.

Approximate cost $0—out of entertainment budget

Friday

Chicken with lemon and olive oil (marked down organic chicken bought with coupon, olive oil bought with coupon and sale) $3

Confetti Rice (veg from the garden, rice bought on sale and with coupon) 50cts

Tomato and cucumber salad (free from the garden)

Approximate cost $3.50

Saturday

Vegetable meal with foods bought on same day at the farmers market

Approximate cost ????  Depends upon how much and what we buy

Whole Wheat Pear Bread

DSC_1349

This is a reprint from last year.  Since I just received a bag of pears from one of our daughter’s teachers, I thought it time to repost it.  I adapted this recipe from one I found on the internet with plain flour.  It is yummy!

Whole Wheat Pear Bread

2 sticks of butter, softened

2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cup sugar
4 eggs

1 T. vanilla
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (if freshly milled use half spring white and half hard red)

1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon salt
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup sour cream

2 cup peeled and diced pears

Instructions
Cream butter, cream cheese, sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda & nutmeg. Add alternately to creamed mixture with sour cream; fold in pears. Bake in a 350° oven until a toothpick comes out clean and top is golden brown. For mini loaves or muffins approx 15 minutes, for loaf pans or 9x13, 45 min-1hour.  Enjoy!

A Happy Thought

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“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” ~Albert Einstein

Tip of the day—Preserving Corn

For best results when preparing or preserving corn:

  • The sugar in corn quickly changes to starch.  Buy corn that has been picked that same day. 
  • Keep it cool or at least out of the heat if you can’t use it immediately.
  • To check and see if the corn is fresh, you can press a kernel with your fingernail.  If it releases a milky juice and seems full, it is pretty fresh.
  • Freezing is the preferred method for preserving corn.  It becomes a bit mushy when pressure canned.  If you don’t have a lot of room in your freezer, watch for corn relish recipes that are high enough in acidity to be water bath canned.  (The recipes will indicate them as such).
  • To freeze corn—
    • Cut the kernels loose from the cob, being sure not to remove the pointed end that is inside of the cob (that part is tough). 
    • If you like a creamy corn, “milk” the cob by wringing your hands on it as if to wring out a towel. 
    • Cook the corn, corn milk, and enough water to keep the corn from scorching on medium heat in a skillet stirring often.  You will know it is cooked enough when you see the corn to just start to turn a deeper shade of yellow (or a deeper shade of whatever color of corn you have). 
    • Let the corn cool at room temperature. 
    • Once it is cooled, put it in freezer bags or another type of freezer container.  If still a bit warm, put in the refrigerator overnight and then move to the freezer in the morning.
    • NOTE—this is the way that the older ladies at church and my grandmother always froze corn.  You will see in some cookbooks and on some websites to blanch the corn.  I prefer to blanch it only if keeping it on the cob and then freezing it.  (To blanch means that you are cooking something for a limited time and then submerging the food in an ice bath and then draining it). 

The best part about preserving corn?  It is much, much better than canned corn.  For Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, it is so nice to pull that beautiful corn out of the freezer and have a little taste of harvest for those special meals.  YUM!

August 21, 2010

Tip of the day

Unless you absolutely, positively know what you are clicking on your computer, do not click it.  Yesterday morning I had what very much looked like our virus protection pop up on my computer.  Before I thought it completely through, I clicked on it.  BIG mistake, and what is worse, I knew better!  My poor husband spent most of yesterday evening getting the viruses off of the home computer!  Please learn from my mistake and know with certainty what it is that you are accessing before you start pushing buttons.

A little light reading

Have a great weekend!

August 20, 2010

Coupons and Spirituality

Last night I was thinking about how amazing God is. Isn’t it fascinating how he works in our lives? Meeting people, seemingly little decisions, and even problems can be used for His bigger picture to work for good. I was thinking about how the last few years have been some of the most exciting spiritually for me since I first became a Christian.

I have been reflecting on my life quite a bit in the last months. During this time, I’ve had 2 occasions to read through the book of Job and reflect on how it relates to my life. I’m especially awestruck when God answers Job, demonstrating just how amazing He really is. This is my favorite part:

"Can you bind the beautiful [c] Pleiades?
Can you loose the cords of Orion?

32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons [d]
or lead out the Bear [e] with its cubs?

He uses not only the challenges in our lives, but also the smallest things that we can’t even imagine being a big event at the time for His work.

Years ago I was working a garage sale fundraiser for Peninsula. Being the friendly gal that I am, I met one of the shoppers. We started talking about a multi-generational program that I was facilitating at the time, and she told me about a book that she had just written that might be useful. Nancy Twigg gave me a copy of her book before leaving the sale.

Fast forward to the year 2006. I was sitting on the couch, nursing our daughter and watching Live at Five. Nancy was a guest on the show talking about coupons, of all things. I was a stay at home mom trying to find ways to save our family money. I was taking not just hours, but days, getting all of my coupons organized, making my grocery list, and working to do the best I could to save a little money. She mentioned the blog Money Saving Mom, and it was like the sky had parted and the angels were singing. Having access to that blog taught me how to coupon and energized me to use the skills to help others.

Fast forward a couple of more years to, of all things, a social work continuing education class when none other than Nancy Twigg was talking about saving clients money. She and I started talking and exchanged contact information. A short time after that we started a Yahoo group called Knoxville Bargain Buddies as a way to network thrifty folks in our area.

God took what was a simple meeting that I might not have thought another thing about and turned it into a life changing experience. I learned how to coupon, became energized and led to use the skills to start a coupon ministry in our church, that led to a coupon workshop that I led called “Couponing in Critical Times”, which in turn led to a close relationship with Coupon Mommie, which in turn inspired me to start this blog, which in turn led to more opportunities to teach and help others.

Couponing has given me an outlet to minister and reach out to others. I start up conversations with people in grocery store aisles and check out lines almost every time I’m in a store. The Knoxville Coupon Fair that we hosted earlier this year was even in Outreach magazine, and I’ve heard from other churches from around the country who want to host similar outreach events. It has been so exciting to look back and see how God has used my life and something as unusual as coupons to help meet human need.

I’m not sure what God has in store for the next few years of my life. In many ways I’m in a transition period right now, and I feel pretty certain that I’ll see some changes in the coming months and years. Being human, I have some anxiety and worry about that, and I’ve been reflecting and pondering a lot lately. Just like Job, though, I have been humbled by God and cannot question how my life will unfold with His guidance. If He can use something as small as an off the cuff meeting at a garage sale to work for good, it will be amazing to see how He uses other events and situations in my life.

Kids Day in the Garden—THIS Weekend!

Saturday, August 21st / 9:00a-1:00p @ Knoxville Botanical Gardens

Share charity with your children during a fun-filled day of activities! On Saturday, August 21st, the Knoxville Botanical Garden comes alive with free fun for children of all ages including a Create-A-Craft area, Yoga for Kids demonstration, StoryTime with the Imagination Library, Kids-Art exhibition, HABIT dogs, bounce-house, food, and much more!

All proceeds from Kids Day in the Garden benefit Random Acts of Flowers, a local charity dedicated to uplifting a person’s spirit. Our volunteers repurpose flowers and make botanical deliveries to needy patients in area hospitals, nursing homes and hospice care centers.

Price = FREE!!!

Tip of the day

Today’s tips come from Blue Frog Creation’s post containing tips and ideas for a healthy school lunch.

August 19, 2010

Coupon Preview 8/22

BS01178_1 Southern Savers has posted the coupon preview for this Sunday’s paper.  It looks like there will only be 1 insert this week.  It might be a good time to catch up on your coupon organization.

Free Samples Kungaloosh Gourmet Tea

Kungaloosh Gourmet Tea Company

Go here to sign up for your 5 free samples of Kungaloosh Gourmet Tea.  Thanks Mojo Savings!