Blue Frog Creations posted some great info on social media marketing. Since I’m practically a novice to social media, I look forward to learning more and am guessing some of you might as well. Check out the link and info here. Thanks Margaret!
June 30, 2011
It is the end of the month and time to print any coupons you want to make sure you have. Printable coupon sites often refresh their lists at the beginning of the month, and some coupons may no longer be available. Others may be refreshed so that you can print additional coupons. Now is the time to print if you spot any you think you might use! Remember that when you print from bloggers’ sites, they earn a little money off of each print. It is a great way to support your favorite bloggers and get your coupon fix. (I do not make money off of this blog and do not have that option here. For some of my favorite bloggers, check out my links tab). Other coupon printable sources:
June 29, 2011
I haven’t added a Ways to Save post in a while, and I thought it was about time. Recently I needed to find ways to lower costs for someone, and we discovered that incontinence pads were a big part of his monthly budget expenses. I did a little research to find ways to reduce costs, and I hope that the information below might be of help to some of you or some of your friends or family members.
There are two choices for incontinence pads—cloth and disposable. Cloth will be less expensive in the long term because there is one purchase cost. Factoring in whether or not the person can clean the pads him or herself and if they live in a facility which will clean the pads for him or her, may or may not eliminate this option. One must also weigh the time and cost of cleaning the pads into whether or not this is a good option. One benefit of the cloth pads that I have seen in more than one person is that they are easier on the skin. I knew a lady who had a long experience with skin breakdown and finally a CNA realized that it was around the areas where the disposable diapers would rub. They switched her to cloth and almost instantly the problem was resolved.
Use coupons. Periodically there are coupons in the Sunday papers for incontinence pads. Do a quick search at Taylor Town Preview under their Master List heading of all of the major brands (Depends, TENA, etc). There are also printable coupons available on the Attends, Depends and Poise websites. You may have to sign up for their mailing list before you can access coupons. Other companies may offer coupons if you phone their customer service line and ask to receive some.
Free Samples. For free samples click the links below. Often, these samples have high dollar coupons inside of them. If you are a physician, you might be able to receive more free samples for your patients through these companies. Remember that you can sign up for free samples at multiple addresses. My dad was a little taken aback when he saw the free sample for TENA pads arrive in the mailbox and thought I had inquired about them for him. I had completely forgotten to tell him that I had signed up for the sample at his address so that I could give the friend another pad.
Walmart frequently offers Poise and TENA samples.
Buy generic. A friend said that he found that the cost of the name brand products, even with a coupon from the free sample I gave him, was higher than the Assurance brand at Walmart. As with any purchase, I recommend that you look at the price per unit and compare which will be better.
Use catalinas. CVS and Walgreens regularly offer catalina deals on incontinence pads. Look at the price with that discount and any coupons you might have to see if the deal is worth working.
Buy in bulk or online. Contact your doctor’s office and see which companies and pharmacies he or she recommends. Usually the nurses in the office work pretty closely with those businesses and are able to tell you which ones have the client as their priority. If you don’t find much information at your doctor’s office, I recommend contacting a local assisted living facility or nursing home to see where they order from. Many businesses offer free and discreet shipping for orders. One more place to check is your local warehouse store (Sam’s and Costco, being two). My experience is that sometimes the cost per unit is lower there.
Watch for them in unusual places. One reader Lecia Moreau let me know the following tip when I inquired on Facebook about ways to save:
I meant to let you know that the 407 flea market has store brand adult briefs for $5.00, there is a little store in the front of the indoor part, that carries all kinds of things pretty cheap.
The next time you are at a flea market, you might want to watch for them there. (Lecia is referring to the flea market off of I-40 Exit number 407 at the Sevierville exit. You can see the flea market from the interstate). I’ve also found them from time to time at estate sales, yard sales and church sales. If the bag is unopened, the contents unused, and the sizes are right, you might want to pick up as many as you can if the deal is good. Thanks Lecia!
Insurance and reimbursement programs:
- If you have Medicaid and your doctor prescribes the incontinence pads due to a medical reason, insurance will most likely pay. I recommend working with your PCP and a pharmacy who regularly purchases incontinence pads for clients. I phoned my doctor’s office to inquire about this, and his nurse recommended Riggs Pharmacy in Powell. I phoned them and found the staff willing to help and extremely knowledgeable.
- Save your receipts from purchases of incontinence pads which aren’t reimbursed for your accountant. If the pads are related to a specific medical condition, you can ask your accountant about claiming them as a medical expense. It might not hurt to keep a prescription or letter from your doctor in your file just in case you are audited.
- If you have a HSA or FSA account, you can most likely submit receipts for reimbursement. Plans may vary, and I recommend speaking with your representative to be sure.
- If your condition is a result of a service related disability and you are a veteran, you should contact your state’s office of veteran affairs about filing a claim. I asked our local Knox County office about this, and he said that in some circumstances that this can be covered. As with any claim, it is best to bring your paperwork to the Veterans Affairs office and review it with the representatives there. Many people think of service related disabilities as only being gunshot wounds but exposure to radiation and certain chemicals could relate to infections or illnesses later in life (urinary tract cancers being one).
- Some pharmacies offer discount programs where you can receive a percentage off of certain purchases. Walgreens, for instance, offers a Prescription Savings Club and it is my understanding that the Walgreens brand of incontinence pads are offered at a lower rate for people in this plan. As with any plan, I recommend speaking with the pharmacist or representative before signing up to answer any questions you might have.
- At one time the Caregivers Marketplace offered rebates for incontinence pads. I contacted them directly, and they do not at this time. However, they said that may change in the future and to check their site periodically.
Charity Organizations. Contact your local Office on Aging and inquire about any charity organizations that give adult diapers to those in need. I phoned our local 211 and learned that the Ladies of Charity give adult diapers to those in need in the community no more than 4xs/year with at least 30 days in between requests.
If you know of any other programs or discounts for incontinence pads, please leave a comment so that all might benefit. If you’ve had a personal experience with a company or product and would like to share information, please also feel free. (SPAMmers who leave comments with their websites will not be approved). I very much hope that this information will be of benefit to some of you. I will try to update the post with any information that I learn of in the future.
In case you haven’t looked at any deal blog this morning (this is all over the blogosphere), there is a new $1/1 coupon for Hot Wheels through Target. The small cars usually sell for around a buck, and so with this coupon they will be free or close to free. The funny thing is that our daughter just got a Hot Wheels free in the Cheerios I bought this week at Kroger. She said, “I love Hot Wheels, Momma—can we get some more?” Guess this coupon came just in time!
I liked this tip from one of my favorite magazines, Organic Gardening. Looks easy enough to do, and I might give it a try. My dad has so many onions in his garden and isn’t using them very fast. If I braided them and they were handy in his kitchen, maybe it would be easier. I’m going to see how it works.
June 28, 2011
Kroger and the Knoxville Zoo are offering buy one get one free tickets now through July 4th when you purchase with your Kroger Plus Card. The tickets are valid through the end of the year. Go to their Facebook page for more info (some readers had some questions that were answered there). Thanks Knoxville on a Dime!
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I am excited about this freebie!
I met Rebecca of the local blog Brown House News almost 5 years ago when I was attending the local chapter of the Holistic Moms Network. Her blog is a fantastic source of inspiration and information, and I find myself constantly asking myself questions like, “How did she think of that idea? Where did that craft come from?” She’s a super mom of three gorgeous girls whose home, The Brown House, is a warm, inviting, fun place to be. I will never forget the first time I went to her home. It was a Christmas party, and I knew I was entering a magical place. The decorations and architecture, while gorgeous, aren’t what you notice first. You notice all those little details that she’s put into making her house a home for her family and guests.
A few summers back, Rebecca mentioned to me that she had some pears that were going to waste on her tree. She invited a friend and me over to pick what we wanted. While picking, we got to talking, and she said that while she wanted to learn to can, she hadn’t yet had the opportunity. An hour later, she was in my kitchen peeling and chopping pears and learning how to can them in a light syrup. Now, she’s a super canner, and each time I see her post something about food preservation my heart swells with pride.
In addition to being super-mom extraordinaire, Rebecca is also a freelance writer, and contributor to the Knoxville News Sentinel where she is the weekly South Knox Columnist, covering community news from her section of town, at The Brown House.
Below is my interview with Rebecca of Brown House News. I hope it gives you a glimpse into why I’m so proud to call her my friend and so happy to be one of the followers of her blog!
CICT: Tell us a little bit about how you started blogging?
Rebecca: It all started in January of 2010. I had a three-month old baby and had gotten really into sewing for her. I was inspired by other bloggers who blend their crafting and writing talents, like Amanda Soule. Instead of continuing on with the 45-page journal I had typed in my computer since I began my journey of motherhood, I started a blog.
Also, I have a journalism background and at the time I was really missing that aspect of my life. My other children were 3 and 5 then, so I had zero time be accountable to an editor. Blogging became an outlet for me write, document our family and share the types of stories I like to read, find inspiring, and helpful during this season of parenting.
CICT:. What do you like most about blogging?
Rebecca: Definitely the writing aspect, I also enjoy taking photos and incorporating them as part of the stories I share.
CICT: Your blog focuses on your sweet family. What is your favorite thing about being a mother?
Rebecca: Right now I’m loving watching the different phases of development and discovery my children are experiencing, from the excitement of learning to talk to my almost 7 year-old taking on the role of reading to her sisters. Pregnancy and the newborn days will always remain my favorite times in life. I’m passionate about birth, breastfeeding and natural parenting. I love those aspects of motherhood.
CICT: What do you think the most challenging thing is about parenthood? What have you learned through those challenges?
Rebecca: Having the continuing patience to parent each child individually, while honoring her emotional needs can be very challenging for me. I mean, there’s a lot of estrogen in our house! Staying in sync mentally, in order to turn moments into teachable opportunities that inspire the girls to make good choices and take ownership of their decisions, is something I practice daily.
There’s a sign hanging in my kitchen that says, “It’s never too late to start the day over.” When things get too hairy at The Brown House you might find me brewing a cup of coffee and declaring the whole day a do-over. Through all this I’ve learned the beauty and peace that comes from taking a timeout, to hug my girls, be a listener to them and just say, “I understand.”
CICT: Where do you come up with all of those great ides for activities and crafts?
Rebecca: I have a ridiculously difficult time putting things in the trashcan and dooming them to a life in a landfill. Many of our craft projects come from repurposing objects, fabrics or to fulfill a practical need, such as sewing new comforters for new beds. Right now I have a box full of old Mason jar lids I want to do something with. Inspiration also comes from my girls, as I prefer them to be able to lead the way on a project versus me doing it for them.
CICT: What a great lesson that is—letting the children lead the way in crafts and activities instead of the parent. Often I find myself thinking, what am I going to teach our daughter today? What crafts can we do? I like the idea of letting her lead more and thus drawing on her creativity and enthusiasm. Love that!
CICT: What are some of your favorite posts that you’ve written or types of posts that you write?
Rebecca: My favorite posts are ones I know people enjoy. My aunt almost peed in her pants reading my post From Peace to Poop, making humor out of the events of one day – with me documenting what a luxury it is to experience a moment of peace with three kids, to catching my baby from crawling through poop after our old dog got sick in the living room. I like posts that show off ideas and moments I’m proud of and document our growing lives, but I also like a little laughter and a dose of reality along the way.
CICT: What do you hope that your readers get out of your blog and your work?
Rebecca: Recently, I had a friend jokingly tell me about some mommy bloggers that she said make her want to poke her eyes out. Mommy blogs have the real potential to make other moms feel inferior to the lives they lead. I sure hope my words do the opposite! I focus on the positive and post pretty pictures of things at The Brown House because that’s the way I choose to remember things. But there are more days than not when the beds never get made and weeks go by before the laundry gets put away. I hope my readers take away ideas, inspiration and happy thoughts they can realistically implement into their own lives and homes.
CICT: I agree. Sometimes bloggers want to give the perception that they are perfect, to not show their weaknesses. I have never understood why. I so much prefer reading from bloggers like you who are real people with real challenges and real lives. Your work simply shows a glimpse into your families life, which is why I think it is so powerful. You aren’t preaching to anyone or giving anyone a pep talk that they can do it too. You are showing how it works for you, and through that the readers take snippets that they can use with their children and in their home.
Rebecca, thank you for taking part in the local blogger highlights. Thanks for your inspiration and sweet friendship over the years…and all those pears! ;) I hope all those reading will be sure to hop over to her blog, sign up as a follower, and make a habit of reading it regularly. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!
I hardly ever look at the back of my grocery receipts, but the other day I noticed a $2 off coupon for the place where Hubby gets his hair cut. Now I’m going to start watching for coupons and deals on the back of my receipts. Most of the time they are just cheesy ads, but every so often, I might catch a good deal.
June 26, 2011
June 25, 2011
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 if needed.
- 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 at least a couple of times a year.
- 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.
- What about your pantry? Organize. I like to put the cans so that I can see the labels,
because I’m analbecause 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.
June 24, 2011
As y’all know, we had about a day and a half without power at our house. I joke that we were living like pioneers, but really we didn’t skip much of a beat in our everyday lives. Hubby stayed home to work on cleaning up the yard, as we had a few trees down. Other than that we didn’t have any major damage, and we are very thankful for that.
A few tips that might help with your next power outage:
- Do you have flashlights in more than one room of your house? Do you know where they are? Do you put them back in the same place each time? Are the batteries charged? Having a crank charge and solar powered flashlight/radio/weather radio combo came in very handy.
- Do you have a gas powered chain saw and do you know how to safely use it?
- Do you have a few extra tarps and bungies available if you need to cover part of your house if it receives damage?
- Do you have a plan for what to do in case of a tornado? Does the entire family know of that plan?
- Do you have an evacuation route if you need to leave your home and roads are flooded? Do you have a paper map in each car if your GPS isn’t working?
- Do you have a way to cook food? We have a grill and a camp stove. For breakfast yesterday I made eggs with veggies and eggs in a basket outside and we dined on the back porch.
- Do you have activities for the family for when you can’t go outside and play? Hubby and I worked the crossword puzzle together, and daughter enjoyed reading books. Card and board games are also a big hit.
- Yesterday I needed to go to work because of something time sensitive. I normally iron my clothes right before using them instead of letting them risk getting wrinkled in the closet. I learned that this really wasn’t the best plan for power outages. Instead of worrying about bringing a blow dryer to work with me for my hair, I let it air dry for a bit and then tied it into a bun.
- Do you know what food is safe at room temperature and what isn’t? Do you know when you need to start discarding food? I’ve always heard that the rule of thumb is 24 hours unopened for a refrigerator and 48 unopened for a freezer. If in doubt, throw it out, though. I cringed to throw away a full gallon of milk, but I felt better about dumping it than us risking getting sick. (At the same time, I remembered when I was in the Ukraine for part of the summer and how differently food there is stored. American views on food safety are not shared by the entire world.) Luckily, the power was restored before we lost any of the beef and lamb that is in the freezer. Whew! We would have been making a lot of BBQ for the weekend!
Check out the info from Bounty:
Fans, we heard you loud and clear and have some great news! We will be doing TWO 5,000 $5 coupon drops tomorrow. The first 5,000 will be given between 8-10am EST and the second 5,000 between 10am-1pm EST. That’s 10,000 $5 coupons! Remember, it’s first come, first serve on both instances and they will go quickly.
Watch for these today!
June 23, 2011
June 22, 2011
Yesterday I went shopping with the goal of finding a new dress to wear to a ceremony for my husband at his work. Often when I shop I’m frustrated when I return home to find that the shoes that I thought would work perfectly with an outfit don’t look quite right. To avoid that problem, I decided to bring a pair of heels with me, and I was so glad that I did. A few of the dresses that I would have normally thought would work with the heels didn’t, and after a few tries, I found one that I liked, fit well, was the right price, and worked with my shoes.
Next time you are shopping for something special, bring your shoes along!
June 21, 2011
I met Thrifty Christy about a year ago at a local blogger luncheon that I had organized. Coupon Mommie introduced her to me, and I was so impressed with her. Christy is easy to talk to, funny, and open, while at the same time professional, organized, and resourceful. During this year, she switched her blog title from Coupons are Money to Thrifty Christy, and she’s been rocking out fantastic deal posts. If you met her at the Knoxville Coupon Fair this year, you already know that she’s a fantastic source of information on deals and activities in the Maryville area and one of the friendliest and most enthusiastic people you will ever meet.
Christy and her husband, who is Minister of Youth and Outreach at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, have two precious daughters, ages 4 & 2. The couple hails from Alabama but have lived in Maryville since 2005. Christy is member of both the Junior League of Knoxville and the Junior Service League of Maryville, both of which she supports through her blog work. Her spirit of philanthropy shows through on her posts, and you’ll regularly find information on community events, outreach projects, and ways to give back to others.
If you haven’t yet viewed her blog, I hope you’ll stop by and make it one of your favorites! Read my interview with her below to see why she’s definitely one of mine!
CICT: Tell us a little bit about how you started blogging.
Christy: I started blogging because I was constantly emailing friends about deals I thought they’d like, or ways I thought they could be saving money. I finally decided it would be more efficient to bring to bring it all together in one place. I had a personal blog for about a year when I was approached by Sarah Herron, who edits the Blount Moms Today section of the Blount Today, about writing a monthly column on thrifty living. We decided to call the column “Thrifty Christy,” and renamed my blog accordingly. I like to focus on ways to save and serve in the Maryville/Alcoa/Blount County area.
CICT: You and I share a similar story. Like you, I couldn’t imagine not sharing those deals with others! Since I’m in Maryville at least once a month, it is nice to hop over to your site and the Blount Moms Today site to see what is happening in that area.
CICT: What do you like the most about blogging?
Christy: I love sharing deals I know will help people provide for their families as well as give back to their local food banks and shelters! In addition to coupons and deals, I also post about fun free events and other ways to get involved in our community. Finally, I like to support local businesses as well as national ones.
CICT: What are some of your favorite posts that you’ve written or types of posts that you write?
Christy: As part of the 3/50 project I’ve been posting the weekly deals at The Market in Maryville and the weekly movies featured at the Parkway Drive-In. I love the idea that I might be able to get people excited about supporting local business!
CICT: It is so important to support local businesses, especially in today’s economy. I’ve heard that The Market is opening a new location in downtown Knoxville. Your deal posts will soon reach an even larger audience!
CICT: What are some things that you’ve learned through blogging?
Christy: I’ve learned that there’s SO much information available for free online, as long as you’re willing to take the time to look! I enjoy reading other blogs as a way of self-improvement; for example, this year I’ve started cooking more, have attempted gardening, have started considering ways to teach my preschoolers more at home, and all of these things have been fueled by posts on blogs that I read!
CICT: What do you hope that your readers get out of your blog and your work?
Christy: I know that couponing can be really overwhelming for many people. I hope my blog can help people in my community stay motivated to save money. For those who are like me and have more time than money, I also hope I can offer ideas for how to use their ability to clip coupons as a way to help the needy in our community. (I also refer people to Margaret’s posts on Couponing for Charity at BlueFrog Creations as a great resource for this purpose!)
CICT: One of the best things about Thrifty Christy is the way that her enthusiasm is contagious. You read her posts and know that you can do it, too! She’s the kind of person that makes you want to be a better person. I hear about all of the wonderful things she does, and it is inspiring. Christy, you are a gem, and I’m so glad to know you! Thank you for your blog and the way that you serve this community!
June 20, 2011
We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge. I’m getting the idea that Sharon won’t be posting these updates anymore. I’m changing the format slightly. Since these were inspired by her work, I’m still going to call it my weekly “Independence Days Update”.
This year I have more tomatoes in the garden than I’ve had in a long time. I had planned to scale back on tomatoes this year to make room for other foods, but that wasn’t what the garden had in mind. I originally planted 7 tomatoes of different varieties. Then a friend gave me a Peace Vine, and I had a couple of Amish paste that volunteered. Another tomato is coming out of my compost bin (hasn’t fruited yet, so I’m guessing it is a Brandywine), and I can’t bring myself to yank it. This week a neighbor gave me another 2 tomato plants, this time Sweet Million. I think that means that my count is now up to 13 plants! That’s more tomatoes than I think I’ve ever grown just for our family!! I’m hoping and praying that we can avoid diseases, and if we do, we might have plenty to can.
The eggplant haven’t done a thing this year. I’m not really sure what I’m doing wrong, but they are barely growing at all. Perhaps they are being shaded by other plants too much? I will talk with some of our farmer friends this weekend to see what they recommend.
The rain came and poured. Now the ground is soaked and the grass looks as if it instantly needs to be mown. The rain barrel is full, along with all of our other buckets, and that is a good feeling.
What did I plant this week?—Our neighbors gave me a couple of Sweet Million tomatoes they had grown from seed. I pulled out some of the pea plants that had gone to seed and added the tomatoes in their stead. I need to do another round of pole beans, and I’ll try and add them to the ground later today.
Planted to date in 2011--
Super Sugar Snap Peas, 7 tomatoes (brandywine, grape, Early Girl, Better Boy), Choko Baby bok choy, One Kilo Chinese cabbage, 4 eggplant, Blue Lake Pole Beans, Christmas Lima Beans, Kestral Baby Beets, Touchstone Gold Beets, Chioggia Beets, Bull’s Blood Beets, Waltham 29 Broccoli, Rouge d’Hiver Romaine Lettuce, Matina Sweet Butterhead Lettuce, Galia Melon, Gooligan White Baby Pumpkin, Gourmet Rainbow Radish Mix, Gigante Inverno Spinach, Cavili Zucchini Squash, Milano Black Zucchini Squash, Supersett Yellow Crookneck squash, Sweet Beauty Watermelon, Marketmore cucumber, Genovese Basil, dill, flat leaf parsley, Jenny Lind melons, Butternut Squash, Garlic (planted in the fall), yellow and red onions, 8 bell peppers, 6 jalapeno peppers, 4 cabbage plants, 4 broccoli plants, daylilies, surprise lilies, sedum, 4 o’clocks, hollyhocks, red cockscomb, moonflower, zinnias, sunflower mix, marigold, butterfly flower garden seed mix, thyme, chives, carrots, coriander, horseradish, garlic chives, Peace Vine tomato, another type of basil (friend gave it to me), Sweet Million Tomatoes.
What did I harvest this week?—the first of the tomatoes, Caveli squash (thus far my only squash to produce without the rabbits getting to them first), carrots, jalapenos, lettuces, dill, flowers for arranging, a few peas, green and a few bulb onions, the first of the beets, the first two blueberries from our bushes.
What did I preserve this week?—chopped green onions and froze them
How did I work to reduce waste and live more simply?— We don’t watch TV as often as most, but I’m finding myself a lot less likely to watch it these days. Crossword puzzles, reading, thumbing through magazines, and talking together seem to fill our evenings more often. The AC is set relatively high. When we aren’t here it is set at 85. When we are it is set at 80 and we adjust it down to 79 or 78 if needed. When it is cloudy or rainy, we don’t tend to need it as much.
How did I work at building and strengthening community food systems?—We visited 2 farmers markets this week, and I loved having fresh black raspberries for snacks. I worked in the food pantry this week. I brought a friend whose parent was in the hospital a meal. I spent some time this week researching and planning more of my talk at next month’s Weston A Price Foundation meeting. I worked on a couponing class that I have planned for late July.
This week I borrowed a cup of milk from my neighbor. My next door neighbor whom I have done this with a couple of times was out of town, and I was making that meal I mentioned above for my friend. I was planning on going to the farmers market later that day to get milk and completely forgot that I was out until I had the potatoes already boiling for mashed potatoes. There was chicken in the oven, and so I couldn’t easily stop and go to the grocery. I phoned, very apologetically, and asked if I could borrow some milk that I would return to her in a couple of hours. She was very sweet about it and though I said that I would bring her milk back she said, “Please don’t worry about it.” Then she confided that it made her feel good to have a neighbor she could do that with. Another one of our neighbors, whom she had lived next to for more than 40 years had moved into an assisted living. She said, “She and I would swap back and forth, a cup of this at a time and never kept count….It makes me feel so good to know that I have another neighbor like that.” Her eyes swelled with tears, and it reinforced for me what a sweet set of neighbors we have.
Today we live in an age when most people don’t know the people who live just a few feet away. Getting to know your neighbors, helping them, sharing with them—those are the kind of activities that I think build community food systems more than anything.
Did I try any new recipes or were there any special meals at our table?— Enjoying roasted beets in my salad with a bit of feta was probably the most pleasing meal I had all week. I didn’t try any new recipes this week, but I have a few in mind to try soon. I’ve been reading what I call “candy for the brain” lately and have enjoyed some of the mysteries from author J. Fluke. She includes recipes in different chapters of the book, many of which sound very tasty!
I’ve decided to change up my meal planning posts a little bit. Normally I would post which days I plan to prepare what, but I’ve found that I rarely follow that for every day. Instead, I’m going to post Meal 1, Meal 2, etc. I might switch meals around based on how busy our evening is or what leftovers we have on hand. Sometimes I prepare these meals at my dad’s, sometimes we stay in, sometimes we abandon the plans altogether and enjoy a night out at a restaurant. Having the plan is key for me, though. When I don’t make up a meal plan, I find we are much more likely to dine out and spend more money.
This meal plan is for a family of 3. We often have at least one friend or family member over to share a meal with us during the week. Since I factor the cost of the meal when I first prepare it, leftovers will be marked as $0. When we dine out, it comes from a different part of the family budget and those expenses will also show $0.
Pasta with veggies and feta
Ways I saved on this meal—The pasta was free after coupon and sale at Kroger. The veggies will be mostly from my garden with a bit of broccoli and cauliflower from the farmers market mixed in. To make the sauce/binder, I’ll add the feta to the pasta and veg while still warm. The feta will melt slightly, giving the pasta a creamier taste. Then I’ll add some olive oil and a bit of lemon juice and chopped fresh herbs to make the final product. The feta was from the farmers market and is $6 a pack. I’ll use about a third of it tonight.
Steak stir fry
Ways I saved on this meal—I’ll slice a little meat off of some of the sirloin we have in the freezer, saving the rest for another meal. The sirloin was part of the 1/8 of a steer we purchased earlier in the year at about $3.10/lb (local, pastured). The cabbage, onions, Chinese cabbage, peppers, carrots, and squash will come from my garden. I’ll add a little garlic I bought at Three Rivers Market (TRM) when it was on sale and some of the broccoli and cauliflower I mentioned above from the farmers market. The brown rice was bought in bulk on sale, also at TRM. The sauce is a little different each time. I add some ginger (might get some fresh since TRM has it on sale this week for a great price), a little cayenne, sesame seeds and soy sauce. I sometimes add a bit of molasses or honey to the sauce, sometimes I don’t. I use coconut oil which I buy through Mountain Rose Herbs in bulk as my cooking oil.
Ways I saved on this meal—We have plans to enjoy a meal at a restaurant this week thanks to a freebie through MyPoints.
Ways I saved on this meal—I have some stock in the freezer that I’ll use as the base of the soup. The potatoes are from the farmers market, and the onions, carrots, and kale are from our garden. The milk was bought from a local farmer at the market, cheaper per gallon than organic in the grocery. The flour is some that we mill at home with wheat we bought in bulk.
Ways I saved on this meal—Cook once, eat twice. Love that!
Supper with family
Ways I saved on this meal—We’ve been invited to have supper with family this week. I’ll bring something from the garden and a hostess gift as a thank you.
Chips and Salsa
Veggies and dip
Ways I saved on this meal—In summer months I try to avoid heating up the kitchen with cooking when I can. Sometimes it is nice to just have a simple meal of a few different kinds of sandwiches (made from whatever we have on hand) and some sides. I’ll use whatever we have from the garden with a little homemade vinaigrette and some extra Ranch we had leftover from a trip to Chick-fil-a. The salsa is locally made, and we buy it in a case through TRM in order to get an extra 10% off with our share discount. The chips were some I picked up at Kroger when on sale.
About 8 years ago, Hubby and I started hiking together. We had been on a couple of hikes and decided to challenge ourselves with a bigger trail. Perhaps I’m remembering it incorrectly, but I remember the hike being 7 miles to the summit and another 7 for the return trip back to the car. I wasn’t in very good shape, and I remember the hike being an incline walk from the start.
I’ll stop there and add that when I hike, well really when I do most anything, I tend to charge full force until I complete my goal. I don’t really like to stop and rest. Hubby encourages me to rest when I need, to stop and smell the roses more, to be in the moment. He’s such a good influence on me!
During the hike I mentioned above, I became annoyed with myself when I had to stop and rest soon after we started walking. Farther into the hike, I began to wonder if I’d make it. About 4 miles in I became angry at Hubby—how could he make me hike a trail this hard?? (Note sarcasm in my words since Hubby never makes me do anything.) About 5 miles in I started to cry, and I’m embarrassed to say that I threw a full fledged temper tantrum. “I can’t do this,” I said. We would ask hikers on their return trip for an estimate of how much longer it was to the summit, and they would tell us, “Not far now.” I would get up and start walking again. Then, Hubby changed his approach with me. He encouraged me to focus only as far as I could see and to make it to that point in the trail. As soon as I would get there, we would redirect our focus to the next landmark and walk to that point. Pretty soon, we were at the top and were rewarded with one of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve ever seen. We had a picnic and rested by the water for about an hour. The return trip was all downhill, literally, and I remember almost bouncing with my step as I walked down the trail towards our car.
So to answer the question, “How does an ant eat an elephant?” the response is “One bite at a time.” This week as you are working on your goals and to-do lists remember that sometimes the best approach is to focus on each step while keeping the bigger picture in mind. Slowly but surely, just like that ant, you’ll complete your goal.
June 19, 2011
Last year, I incorporated into my weekly matchups post information about what to find at farmers markets. Many readers said that it was helpful, as they weren’t yet familiar with what is in season and when. I thought I would make them a separate post each week to give you an idea of what you might find at the markets. Note that farmers markets in different areas of the country vary greatly. What is ripe in East TN is not going to be what is ripe in AZ or CA.
What to watch for at the farmers market this week:
- Summer squashes
- Green tomatoes and the start of the red tomatoes
- Lettuce and salad greens of all sorts, including spinach and kale
- Hot peppers and bell peppers
- Beets and beet greens
- Lambs quarters
- Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries—maybe some strawberries from a few farmers
- Southern greens, such as collards and turnip greens
- Chard/Swiss Chard
- Green or Spring onions and the start of some bulb onions
- Cabbages and Chinese/Napa Cabbages
- Broccoli and Cauliflower—will be more limited as the summer continues
- New potatoes
- Sugar snap peas and snow peas—will be more limited as the summer continues
- Beans (shelling and green beans)
- Cut flowers
- Dried peppers and garlic
- Home canned items such as salsas, jellies, jams, chow chow, salad dressing, pickles, etc
- Carrots—watch for some really beautiful shades of yellow, purple, reddish pink, and of course orange
- Potted plants, shrubs and trees
- Cheeses, butters, local milk, locally made ice cream, cream
- Beef, pork, chicken, and related meat products such as sausages, cured meats, and jerkies
- Eggs (chicken and duck)
- Dog and cat treats
- Baked goods of all sorts
- Grits, corn meal, flour
If you are in different parts of the country, I’d love to hear what other things you have at your markets.
The only place in town I’ve found this is Ingles. Anyone else seen it another place?
Disney Movie Rewards is one of my favorite rewards programs because it is so darn easy to earn points! If you haven’t yet signed up, click the link and start earning. The program is free, and when I redeemed my points earlier in the year, I didn’t even have to pay shipping for my freebie! The newest point code is face200 for 25 points. Happy Savings!
Good morning folks! I was tickled to wake up and see my guest post on Knoxville on a Dime, and I thought some of you might enjoy reading it. Kathryn, the blog’s author, and I met a few years back when she joined us for the first Knoxville Coupon Fair. She’s one of those people who you meet and instantly feel a connection to—she’s warm, open, and a lot of fun! If you haven’t yet been over to her blog, I highly recommend you do—she’s also a wealth of information! To read my guest post, go here.
Have a wonderful day!
Since Father’s Day might mean a steak and potatoes meal for some of us, I thought you might like a few steak tips.
- Compare the price per pound of already packaged meat to meat at the butcher counter. Sometimes one will be less expensive than others.
- If you want your steak cut at a thicker size, ask the butcher to do this for you. Usually they are more than happy to cut to order without an additional fee.
- If you don’t know what cut of steak will be best, ask your butcher for advice. Be sure to tell him or her how you want to prepare the meat so that they can give you what cut will work best.
- If you don’t already have a family recipe, my easy marinade is a cinch and yum!
- Make sure that your grill is hot before adding the steaks. You should be able to hover your hand a couple of inches away from the grate for about 3 seconds. While some foods work better for less direct heat or might do better if rotated from hotter area of the grill to colder, this tip works for most steaks.
- Use tongs instead of a fork. When you puncture the steak the juices will run, leaving a dryer end result.
- To get the hatch marks on steaks, put them on the grill. After a couple of minutes when the grill marks are starting to show, turn a quarter turn. Let it sit there for another minute or so before flipping. Do the same on the other side. You will have perfect hatch marks every time.
- Let the meat rest for about 5 minutes before cutting. This allows the juices time to reconstitute. During this time the meat will also continue to cook slightly. Therefore, I prefer to remove the meat from the heat just before it reaches the level of doneness that we prefer.
- Sometimes meats are cut to an uneven thickness. This is especially true for venison that we have processed. Sometimes it is better to cut the meat and skewer it rather than to cook it whole. This will allow you to better control the time that the thinner cuts are on the grill.
- Don’t ever use the marinade that the steak was in raw again. Instead when making the marinade, reserve about a third of it in case any of your guests want extra on their steak.
- For Pete’s sake, please don’t make your guests use a butter knife to cut their steak. While some cuts are tender enough to use a butter knife, this isn’t going to be the case most of the time. If you don’t have a set of steak knives, I recommend that you watch for a sale and pick up some. Even a hodgepodge of designs will do, and you can probably pick up some at a local thrift store. Otherwise, you can use some of your small kitchen knives if you don’t have another option.
- If you have a doggie that doesn’t have a sensitive system, he or she will be very, very happy to have any of the scraps. Our dog loves it when we make steak!
“There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.” ~John Gregory Brown
In case you can’t tell by the photo, this was our daughter when she was around 18 months old in her sweet daddy’s shoes. Happy Father’s Day everyone!
June 18, 2011
I can’t tell you how often having my coupons in the car with me saves me money. I make sure I have the Knox County School Coupon book along with my coupon bag. (Y’all, my couponing organization skills have dipped drastically over the last year, but at least the bag helps to keep them all in the same place! LOL!) Whenever I make an unplanned trip to a drugstore, Target or the grocery, I have my coupons available if they are needed. For instance, this week my dad hurt his foot. He wasn’t able to go to the grocery for himself and when I went to check on him he asked for me to go instead. I was glad to have my coupons with me because some of them matched to the list that he gave me.
I also bring coupons with me when going out of town or on vacation. When in Florida, we had to make an unexpected trip to Walgreens, and those coupons saved a little money off of our ticket. Every little bit helps!
June 17, 2011
Bounty on Facebook offers 5000 coupons to fans for $5 off on Fridays. I haven’t posted this before because they are usually gone so fast that it is disappointing. Yet, since it hasn’t gone live yet today, I thought I’d mention it if you want to give it a go.
I added the two words “on tomatoes” because I figured that some people would wonder what on earth I was talking about if I didn’t. I’ve been meaning to post something on this for a while now, and I’m so glad that Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op did it for me! Check out this great post for today’s tip.
June 16, 2011
If you are a frequenter to Chuck E. Cheese, I recommend that you sign up for their email newsletter. In my most recent one, I received coupons that included one for 20 free tokens. They also have a new game online where you can play skeeball (one of those games I have always loved playing) and earn tickets to be redeemed when you visit next. They even have rewards programs for kids where they can work towards earning 10 free tokens. The rewards calendars are for every kind of good behavior from reading over the summer months to not picking your nose!
We’ve been to Chuck E. Cheese once for a friend’s birthday party, but I’ve stayed on their list just in case we ever decide to return. Since it is a popular spot for children’s birthday parties, chances are the coupons will come in handy!
I’ve heard from friends that you cannot bring outside food into Dollywood. I’m not sure what drinks are available in the Fill and Chill Zone, but if you or your family members drink soda, this might be a good deal for you to scope out. Theme parks often sell drinks at huge mark-up, and this might help you save a little money. Check out the details below:
We’ve got a great deal to help quench your thirst and save you money at Dollywood’s Splash Country.
Purchase a Fill & Chill Souvenir Mug for $12.99 (plus tax) and receive free refills of Coca-Cola® beverages all day at the Coca-Cola® Fill & Chill Zone. For your entire day’s visit, you can enjoy free refills of your favorite fountain drinks.
If you plan on returning this season, your best deal is the Fill & Chill Season Mug for $26.99 (plus tax) which includes free refills each time you visit all season long!
Purchase your Fill & Chill Souvenir Mug at Dollywood’s Splash Country on your next visit and save!
Order at Origins now through 6/19, and when your order totals $30 or more, you can receive 3 free samples and free shipping! (If your order is less than $30, you’ll still receive the freebies. Since many of their products will total that amount, I think it is probably a better deal to make your order total $30 and receive the free shipping.)
Whenever I am shopping, I watch for markdowns in the grocery store. Organic chicken is pretty pricey, but we prefer to buy it whenever we can. One of the ways that we are able to do so is by watching for manager specials and discounts near the sell by date. I then take it home and pop it in the freezer until we are ready to use it. Whenever I’m in the produce section, I look for bananas that are getting a bit ripe. If they aren’t yet marked down, I ask the produce attendant if he/she is willing to mark them down for quick sale. They almost always are more than happy to do so. When I’m shopping for just about anything that has a sell by or expiration date, I try to pay attention to it. If the current date is just a couple of days before that date, I’ll ask if the attendant is willing to mark them down. It is my experience that if the item’s expiration date is that day or beyond, the clerks will pull the products and not sell them.
The stores at which I shop still allow coupons with manager markdowns. Frugally Farming Family noted recently that her Kroger is no longer allowing the matchup. If in doubt, you might want to ask your store’s manager how they are handling this.
June 15, 2011
Money Saving Maine-iac has posted the deals and matchups for the most recent store flyer for Three Rivers Market, our local Co-op Advantage Store. Some of my favorite deals are below with another couple I added. Be sure to check out the entire list of deals here.
Seventh Generation Dish Liquid $2.50
- $ .50/1 Household Product @ Seventh Generation
- FREE Seventh Generation Dish Liquid - 50 points @ Seventh Generation Rewards mailed offer
(Remember to bank your code @ Seventh Generation Community)
Luna Bars $0.99
- $ .50/1 printable coupon from Mambo Sprouts (no longer available, but the coupon I printed hasn’t yet expired)
RW Knudsen Organic Juice $2.99
- $1.00/1 @ Mambo Sprouts (if Just Juice variety included)
As low as $1.99 after coupon
OG Blueberries, $4.29 pint. (reg. $4.99 - save 70¢) The superfruit of summer. Sweet, juicy and packing a serious supply of antioxidants and vitamin C. Put 'em on cereal, or on your tongue and the world seems a better place, instantly.
OG Ginger, $4.99 lb. (reg. $6.99 - save $2) Long an herbal remedy for nausea, morning sickness and digestive problems, Ginger also contains vasodilators, ACE inhibitors and diuretics, all useful in reducing blood pressure and keeping the circulatory system humming along in fine form. Tastes and smells great too!
Local Chard, $1.99 ea. (reg. $2.69 - save 70¢) We'll be carrying Chard from Martha Snyder in Jefferson County (CNG) and also John Ledbetter in Loudon County (OG). All of it is loaded with vitamins A, K, and C and also rich in minerals, dietary fiber and protein.
When you visit a restaurant next and they give you more than enough condiment packages, save them. All too often I see restaurant servers and staff throwing those extra packets away. Next time you plan a picnic, camping trip, or food for a vacation, you’ll have a few of those packets available rather than having to deal with an entire bottle of something.
You might also be able to use them when you run out of a product. A couple of weeks ago, I was making potato salad. I looked in the fridge and realized we were almost out of mayonnaise. I try to NEVER run out of Hellman’s mayo, but the last time I saw a good deal on them was the week that we were at Disney. Since I had the deal in my mind, I thought we were stocked up, but the reality was that we weren’t. Luckily, I had a few extra mayo packets, which when added to what I scraped out of the jar was just enough.
Two other points—I’m not advocating that you steal extra packets. Don’t go to Wendy’s and leave with a purse full of ketchup! There is a difference in bringing home extras so that they won’t be thrown directly in the trashcan and taking more than you need intentionally. Next, those little packets impact the environment. Whenever you a restaurant has them, use a bottle or refillable cup for condiments. When you can recycle, do (some containers are recyclable).
June 14, 2011
Thanks Southern Savers!!
Scan your CVS card at the big red coupon center and you’ll get a coupon to make a Pepsi or Diet Pepsi 12 pack cost 99¢!
There is a limit of 1 at this price and it is only good on Wednesday 6/15. This deal was mass emailed out by CVS this afternoon, if you didn’t get it don’t worry just scan your card anyway!
The first is that Target has officially changed their coupon policy. It doesn’t sound like it will be quite as couponer friendly, which may change the way you shop from week to week. However, the changes aren’t really that drastic. As it is now, I only visit Target about 1 time a month, and unfortunately, my experience is that many of the deals are gone by the time I make it into the store. Even still, I prefer Target to Walmart!
The next coupon update is related to how TLC’s show Extreme Couponing is changing the world of couponing. I really liked Faithful Provision’s post because she highlights the positives that can come from the show. Many times couponers are focused on how that show may be giving us a bad name, how they sensationalize couponing to the point of not being realistic for the average person, etc, etc. This is a different slant, which I much prefer.
There is a new printable coupon that my sweet mother-in-law sent me to share with readers. Score 50% off of 1 item at Michael’s now through June 18th. Thanks, Lynn!
I remember the first time I came across the blog Frugally Farming Family. I saw her post linked by another big blogger and realized she was local to the East TN area. We started emailing, and I immediately felt a sense of camaraderie and friendship with her. She’s one of those people who shows God’s love in everything she does, and people can’t help but like her. I invited her to participate in the Knoxville Coupon Fair the first year we hosted it, and she was a hit there. I feel so blessed to know her and to learn from her work. If you’ve never visited Frugally Farming Family I hope you’ll check it out!
Hannah’s blog offers a little of everything for readers. It is a great resource for homeschoolers, homesteaders, and “anyone who wants to live an organic and frugal and God centered lifestyle”. Hannah is a homescooling, farming, healthy eating, gluten free, Christian stay-at-home mom who teaches readers how to do everything from gardening, to canning, to staying on a budget. She is the mother of 7 darling kiddos, yes you read that correctly, from ages 9 years old to 9 months old. She and her husband Tim have a small farm where they raise beef cattle, dairy and meat goats, guinea fowl, chickens, and an organic vegetable garden and fruit orchard. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys gardening and farming, cooking/baking, reading, playing piano, blogging, and meeting new people. I have no idea how she does all she does, but let me tell you that she does it with a sweet spirit that is a blessing to so many people who know her.
Below is my interview with Hannah of Frugally Farming Family:
CICT: Tell us a little bit about how you started blogging.
Hannah: I started blogging after a friend encouraged me to share with others how our large family could live comfortably on one paycheck. I also enjoy writing, and blogging has become a form of expression. After I lost a good friend (unexpectedly), two grandmothers (cancer), and an uncle (unexpectedly) in one year, blogging became a therapy. I have continued blogging because I enjoy helping others!
CICT: What do you like the most about blogging?
Hannah: I like connecting with other people. I like knowing I can help others to save money, to learn, to be a better person for their family (children, spouse), and to be encouraged.
CICT: Hannah is indeed an encourager. Read just a few of her posts, and you’ll see what I mean. Her words give you the motivation to do better, to be better, to be more frugal and a better steward of what you have.
CICT: What are some of your favorite posts that you’ve written or types of posts that you write?
Hannah: My favorite posts I write are inspirational or encouragement to readers. I think we often forget there are others out there who are going through the same struggles as we go through. Letting others know I am real seems to help me connect more to my readers. Letting others know we have a commonality (imperfection), has seemed to help me build a loyal reader base. It also helps me to know my failures and even successes can help others from making the same mistakes or to succeed from the beginning. I love posting the deals for grocery savings, but there are so many other things out there besides getting the best deals which I feel are more important to thriving as a family or an individual!
CICT: Some of Hannah’s posts that you should watch for if you want to save money are her matchups for UGO and Earth Fare, along with her highlights of good buys at local stores for healthy and organic foods.
CICT: What are some things that you’ve learned through blogging?
Hannah: I have learned many things through blogging. I have learned I enjoy it. I have learned I wish I had more time to do more blogging! I have learned there are people out there who actually read my blog and enjoy reading it! Blogging is a wonderful source of communicating my thoughts and feelings as well as help others in the process. I love helping others, and I have learned I can help others through blogging! I have made many new friends blogging which has been a blessing and well worth the time I spend blogging.
CICT: What do you hope that your readers get out of your blog and your work?
Hannah: My hope is that my readers will see God through me. I give HIM the honor and glory for any successes and failures. I want to help others through my blog. I want to make a positive difference in the life of others. I want to give words of encouragement. I want my readers to know I have their best interests at heart, and I really do love and care for them as well as pray for them! I have just recently begun monetizing my blog only because we need the extra income. However, helping and blessing others is far more important to me than any amount of money I could receive blogging. God has continued to bless and provide for our family! I want my readers to see there are many possibilities out there to be successful and to help your family to grow and to live frugally! I also hope readers will see just because you live a frugal lifestyle, does not mean you have to do without the things you love and enjoy!
CICT: Bloggers are a dime a dozen. What sets apart the blogs that you want to return to time and again is heart. Hannah definitely has that. I hope you’ll visit her blog, become a follower, and learn why I am so proud to know her. Thank you Hannah for participating in the blog highlight, and thank you for the work you offer this community!