Friday, February 27, 2009

Lessons Learned

This week I learned a few valuable lessons in the couponing world.

  1. The Target advertisement that said you could get a $5 gift card when purchasing certain objects--leading me to believe that I would get $5 per item that qualified--was not so true. Turns out you have to buy TWO of those qualifing items to get ONE $5 gift card. Bummer.
  2. Publix honors other stores' coupons. Well...other GROCERY stores. No Target, no Walmart, no Walgreens, no CVS. Ugh. I lost out on well over $5 I could have saved today had I been able to use those coupons.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More Coupons

A & D Ointment coupon...not sure if it is $1 off 1 or if it is a $1 for 1 but either way, a good deal.

Save $1 on Affrin nasal spray

Save $.50 on Clorox Green Works product--you'll need the "coupon printer" for this one.

Save $2.00 on ANY Aveeno product (woot woot)
$1 on Aveeno diaper rash cream--need coupon printer

Save $.50 on one box of new Banana Nut Cheerios--they are yummy and are on sale at Target for $3 a box right now, get them for $2.50! printer

Save $2.00 on Bertolli oven baked meals

Get 2 Campbell's cooking soups for $1 here

$2 off one Febreeze Laundry Oder Eliminator

$1 off Johnson's & Johnson's Bedtime Products--need coupon printer

Save $.50 on Johnson's & Johnson's Vapor Bath

Save $.50 on Nature's Own bread or buns--coupon printer

Coupons for Nursery Water

Register for $1.50 off Pedialyte

$1 off Stonyfield Yogurt products...they make organic yogurt, including the popular Yo Baby

$1 off any two Uncle Ben's rice products

$1 off 1lb or more of Velveeta

Save $1.50 off two ziploc products (bags/containers). Right now they are on sale at CVS for 2/$4 and with this coupon, you'd get the $1.50 off that!


So for all my life, I have been Lent stupid. Didn't know what it was or what it had to do with. Lately I've been looking into it because several of my friends/members of my mom's group are all giving something up for Lent this year. I felt challenged.

For all you other people who are "stupid" like me, here are the basics:

Lent is the 40 days before Resurrection Sunday. It is a "a time for looking at the depth of one's own sin, and turning away from them. A time for learning what it means to follow Christ, and to listen to the Spirit. A time for actually going about changing one's ways to be more as Christ would have them be." (for source, see website at bottom)


"In Lent, it's traditional to give up (or 'fast from') something(s) that we do a lot of and that we find pleasure in. This giving up or fasting is done:
  • as a discipline for learning self-control, to free our minds from the chase after material things, to tell ourselves 'no' and make it stick;
  • to identify with Christ's sufferings, and remember what the true pleasures are for followers of Christ;
  • as an act of sorrow over our wrongdoings and our state of sin."

For more information, go to Lent

As I thought about what I was going to give up, I came up with three options: I could give up ebay (spending my time and money), I could give up sugar (all things sweet, not natural sugars found in fruit), or I could give up napping and try to spend more time with the Lord.

Eventually, after much thought and debate, I decided to give up ebay. This means not looking at ebay just to see what's there, no bidding on items, and I've even stopped my email notifications and cleared out my "watched" list.

Hopefully I will use the time I waste on ebay to spend more time doing things with my family, working on household things, and spending more time with the Lord.

Pray for me as I usually spend about 3 hours a day on ebay.

Prepare to be Amazed.

Ok so I've planned out all the things we needed and scoured the sales ads to see what things we will always need that are on sale.

With all things considered, it boils down to a visit to three stores--Target, CVS, and Publix.

I ended up running in CVS today allowing more time tomorrow to get groceries and the Target trip.

This is what I purchased:
  • 1 8 ounce Aveeno lotion (reg. $8.99)
  • 1 12 ounce Aveeno bodywash (reg. $7.99)
  • 1 Organix Tea Tree Shampoo (reg. $8.99)
  • 1 Organix Tea Tree Conditioner (reg. $8.99)
  • 1 Physican's Formula foundation (reg. $13.99)
  • 1 Physican's Formula concealer stick (reg. $7.98)
  • 1 "megapack" of Pampers diapers (reg. $18.99)
Total spent should have been $75.92 not including tax.

Actual total spent.....


$39.34 including tax!!!!

That's right kids, I saved $36.58 but when you include my $4.99 mail-in rebate that I've already put into the mail, I saved $41.57!!!

$41.57 savings!!!

That deserves a woot woot in all its glory!

***If you want the details of how I did this, just ask. I'd tell you now, but I'm currently busy patting myself on the back. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bargain Huntress

Most of you know that I'm always up for a good deal. Lately, I've really been looking into this "coupon-ing" thing.

Some people get super crazy with it and end up buying a ton of stuff and getting paid for it. Which is awesome, if it is stuff you need and will use. Otherwise, I feel like it is just wasteful (unless you are donating it...then more power to you!).

Anyway, last week I made my first attempt at scouring out coupons and went to Publix for my weekly trip armed and ready. I ended up saving a little over $20 which kind of excited me. The check-out girl was excited too, which kind of made me smile. :) Ok. Let's face it. I was excited and I did smile...a lot.

This week I've been looking more into it trying to find coupons for things I need. Sometimes it is frustrating because online coupon hunting is well...not easy. It seems like every other site I visit wants you to fill out 732 surveys before you can get to your coupon and I'm just not wasting my time with that. Sorry.

One thing I have noticed from reading blogs of people who coupon is that they shop around...CVS, Target, Walgreens, Walmart, Local Grocery Store, etc. Just the idea of that stresses me out. Having multiple lists...driving all over creation...ahhhh!!!!

Well, I seem to have "buckled under pressure" this week because, I am planning on visiting 3 stores to save the most moolah. However, if I go to Target first, the other two are on my way back home and I would pass by them no matter what, so I don't feel too bad.

A few things I have learned:
  1. Publix and Walmart accept other store's coupons
  2. There are manufactor coupons all the freakin time if you just look for them.
So...I was searching through all the local ads (online of course) b/c Publix matches prices. Well I noticed that there were several things at Target and a few of them come with Target gift I need to go there. Then, I saw CVS. I discovered that you get AMAZING prices on AMAZING things if you have their CVS card thingy. Signed up for one of those ASAP.

I will be getting $15 on a gift card at Target for buying things I buy anyway (paper towels, laundry detergent, and dryer sheets). Score.

At CVS, I will be getting organic make up B1G1 50% off, Aveeno bodywash for $5.99 (doing a little dance), Organix shampoo and conditioner for $4.99 each (usually $8-10), and the Pampers Megapack of diapers for $14.99.

How does this help you????
  1. check your local Target and CVS ads
  2. I'm giving you some links I've searched LONG and HARD for so you can save some moolah too. If you are pleased, you are welcome to send me all the money you save :)

First of all, for general purposes, check out,, and often for new deals with printable coupons.

If you have a Publix (and I'm sure it applies to whatever your store is too), check the weekly ads for sales and B1G1 free. When non-perishable things are on sale, that's the time to buy it so stock up :) Also, check to make sure your store matches other prices and see if they double coupons (if you have two, you can use both on the same item). You can usually find this info online.

Go to (you may have to register) for printable organic and healthfood coupons. You can print each of these coupons twice!

Go to for coupons on organic dairy products. I REALLY love their stick butter and the coupon makes it cheaper than the parkay I used to buy. Most of these coupons are for $1 off the product and I'm pretty sure you can print them twice too.

Go to, click on the pop up menu where it says "get a coupon" and then you have to give them your email and name. No biggie. Then print your coupon. Print these twice and double them (use two on one product).

Go to (after you register with the site...they won't attack you, just send you more coupons) and print your coupons for AMAZING stuff. You can print coupons to save $2 off any one baby product (wipes, diapers, etc.), $1 off any one cleaning product, or $1 off any one laundry product. Print all three, as many times as it will let you. :)

And last, but not least, go to to find some awesome coupons that change on a regular basis. The one I was really interested in is save $.50 on any method cleaning product.

I know couponing can seem like it is "not for you" or just a pain or whatever, but seriously, save some money. Especially if you stay at home. I figured out that doing the bare minimum, I can save enough in a month for half of my Wii :)

It isn't so hard. Do the simple stuff. Buy what is on sale. When all else fails, do a google search for the product you want to buy...chances are you'll find a manufactor's coupon somewhere.

Items Not to Buy at the Supermarket

***I found this article when I was searching for tips on saving moolah at the grocery store.

Items Not to Buy at the Supermarket (if you are looking for lowest prices):

Spices. Expert cooks have told me that spices should be discarded after one year because they lose their flavor after a year. That would be a good way to organize my spice cabinet—I think I’d have to throw out 90% of the items in it. How many of us have purchased a full $5 bottle of a spice for a recipe, and five years later we still have 95% of that bottle left in our cabinet? Perhaps a better way to buy gourmet spices is to see if your natural foods market sells spices in bulk. I was able to buy two tablespoons of high-quality dried rosemary for 17 cents at my natural foods market, which was much fresher and flavorful than the decade-old bottle in my cabinet! Everyday spices that you may use more often such as cinnamon, oregano, pepper, and chili powder sell for 50 cents to $1.00 per bottle at discount stores and drugstores. At the very least, check the ethnic section of your supermarket instead of the baking aisle for spice bargains.

Cleaning supplies: My full price comparison of the name-brand cleaning supplies I use were 20% to 40% less expensive at my discount store than the grocery store. It’s bad enough that we have to clean; we shouldn’t have to pay a premium for the cleaning products! For an even less expensive cleaning alternative, use vinegar and water to clean just about everything.

Paper products: Wholesale clubs and discount stores frequently have lower unit costs on paper towels, bath tissue, paper products, dinnerware and more. Although supermarkets carry their own store brand that is a lower-cost alternative, the name brands are generally more expensive at the supermarket. Stock up on your paper products at a discount or wholesale store and “shop” from your own inventory to make fewer trips to different stores. However, be sure to use a calculator to compare unit costs as larger packages can be deceiving. For example, a recent price comparison in my grocery store of diaper costs found that the large package of diapers actually had a higher unit-cost than the smaller package of diapers.

Birthday and party supplies: Although it’s easy to grab what you need at the supermarket as you are rushing to get ready for your party, you will pay a big premium for that convenience. Go to the dollar store for inexpensive birthday décor, candles, cake décor, paper products, gift bags, wrapping supplies and even bargain greeting cards. Organize yourself to buy supplies in advance in one big trip and you’ll appreciate having everything on hand when you need it. Take advantage of clearance sales after holidays to really save and stock up for next year.

Pet food: Compare the prices of your pet food on a per-unit basis to see if you can find lower prices at your discount store or pet superstore. Pet stores frequently carry more varieties and larger-sized bags than the supermarket can. For example, I found that the 37.5 pound bag of our dog’s food cost 33% less on a per-pound basis than the 20 pound bag of the same brand at our supermarket (which is the largest size they carry). You can check the advertising circulars for your pet store to buy the large bag when it’s on sale to really save.

Stephanie Nelson has shared her savings tips on ABC News’ Good Morning America, Good Housekeeping Magazine and hundreds of local radio and TV stations. You can find more of her savings tips in her book “The Greatest Secrets of the Coupon Mom” and on her website at

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Challenge: Week 2

Last week I started my personal challenge to use the Sabbath to reflect on what God was doing in my life during the previous week.

Monday, Ansleigh had complete and total grossness in her diaper for the 11th day in a row. I finally broke down and called the doctor's office just to see if there was something else I should be doing. Triage nurse freaked out on me and told me she had to be seen as soon as possible. They got her an appointment for 4:15 so figuring since she was a "work in" I'd get there early to get her seen earlier. After an hour and a half of waiting, I was irritated and Ansleigh was screaming her brains out, you know, with all the other parents staring at me. Good times. Finally they called us back where I sat with her throwing fit after fit for 45 minutes. More good times. We saw a nurse practitioner who told me Ansleigh seemed to be having severe stomach cramps and likely had some kind of bacteria (the bad kind) in her stomach. She sent me home with a new, strict diet to put Ansleigh on and a stool sample kit. EVEN MORE fun times.

I was supposed to have cheerleading practice that day and ended up having to cancel it because I couldn't be there and be at the doctor's office at the same time. Plus, Anthony had a softball game. Two softball games to be specific. When I got back home, I was HOPING that he could stay home but he ended up going and told me if he could, he'd leave. I was SO stressed out from the doctor's office and from Ansleigh screaming at me all day that I was in tears when he left. He didn't want to leave me. He got to the ball park and everyone could tell he was freaking out and sweet, sweet Kristy came to the rescue. She came over to the house so that I could go buy all the things Ansleigh was supposed to be eating.

I am not a patient person and I do not know when to ask for help. Even when I need help and KNOW I need help, I can't bring myself to ask someone. The whole time I was gone rounding up all the stuff for Ansleigh, I felt SO guilty for Kristy having to stop what she was doing to come watch Ansleigh.

The lesson God was teaching me (aside from patience), is that it is perfectly fine to let other people help you. This was reinforced this morning in Sunday school. We were talking about how sometimes, by not letting someone help us, we are making them miss out on a blessing too and not letting them use their talents God gave them. Talk about humbling.

Tuesday I went running when Anthony got home. Well, let me rephrase thatI *tried* to run. For various different reasons, I haven't gone in over two weeks. I started having coughing attacks and could hardly breathe. I slowed down and was just briskly walking but even that didn't help. I even slowed down so that I was walking turtle speed and still was having trouble.

How can this be something God is using to teach me? Easy. Satan is very present in our lives, even in the mundane things, like honoring a commitment to exercise and keep our bodies healthy. By putting roadblock after roadblock in my way in the past few weeks to prevent me from doing what needed to be done, I was letting Satan win, and with each victory Satan had, my laziness started to creep back up into my lifestyle.

I have to keep the focus on God and find a way to make things work, even when there are roadblocks.

Wednesday was simply a day of rejoicing and praise! After getting her new diet in her system, she was a totally different child! She was back to herself and as happy as she could be. I think sometimes God just wants us to be still and be able to enjoy the positive things he gives us.

Thursday I was once again challenged at cheerleading practice. Again, I had SEVERAL kids out for various reasons, a few acceptable, although most of the reasons were just plain ridiculous. The kids were irritated that they had to be there when others didn't and wouldn't try. The routine is no where close to being competition ready and they compete March 7 (two weeks!!!!). What is even worse, I videoed the kids and showed it to them and they thought it looked good. I was so incredibly frustrated. I'm still frustrated. The closer we get to competition, the more anxious I get. I'm worried. I'm terrified.

God is sending me out of my comfort zone and Satan is really doing his best to push my buttons (which is not that easy to do) to see if I'll crack. I'm scared I will.

Friday was a day of accomplishment. I got A LOT done in the house. As silly as that seems, motivation can make a huge difference. We even went to Target, ate dinner, AND went to Best Buy without Ansleigh freaking out which is really saying something.

On the other hand, towards the end of this week, I was really sort of getting down. Sometimes my life seems so predictable and boring. By Friday I was really feeling the need to shake things up a little bit. God heard my heart's cry.

Saturday I had the BEST day I've had in quite some time. Everything about my day was different that my Saturdays usually are. I got to sleep late. I got dressed up and went to Katye's baby shower and spent some quality time with some amazing ladies. Then, I got to go grocery shopping with three of my best friends. It has been a LONG time since I have had a random trip to Walmart with several girlfriends. I came home for just a few hours and then left again for a night out with some other girlfriends, but not just any night out, a night at the Melting Pot. Cheese and chocolate. Mmmmm. I didn't get home until 12:30! I felt like such a kid againlike such a person, someone other than Mommy who spends her life sitting on the couch. It was amazing and a real blessing.

God taught me that sometimes it is important to do things for yourself and while Satan did try to make me feel guilty about it, I was blessed abundantly

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This Week's Lessons & Experiences

This week:

· My little girl won the award for whiniest kid on the planet. She was constantly upset the majority of the week. She threw her food, or wouldn't eat. You could just look at her and she'd start crying. She would only "behave" if her tv shows were on, not ours. To an outsider (and to us), she was being bratty. God is testing and teaching me patience and compassion. There must be something wrong. There is *some* reason why she is behaving the way she is. It is my job as her mother to figure out the problem and do my best to solve it while lovingly disciplining her when she does wrong all at the same time. How is this bringing glory to God? I honestly can't tell you but I do know that He is teaching me and molding me through this experience. Once that is done, I will be better equipped to serve Him more and hopefully, I will be a better mother.

· Several of my cheerleaders were missing from BOTH practices. Why does this matter? Because they have a competition in three weeks that they are not prepared for and when they don't show up for practice, we can't do the full routine. It really is frustrating but there isn't much you can do when these kids have the flu and actually cannot come. Competition is something I hate. Seriously. High school cheerleading showed me how competition can ruin what cheerleading is about if the conditions become out of control. To me, cheerleading is not even about competing against other cheerleaders. It is about building school spirit and cheering on your team. To me, as a cheerleader, you are there to build excitement. Competition doesn't really do any of this. I don't like it. BUT, I was convinced to let these kids do it because it is important to them. God is pushing me out of my comfort zone. I'm not sure if he's teaching me a lesson in that sometimes we need to do things we don't like in order for some good to come, or if he is teaching me patience and understanding.

· Tuesday night I worked really hard to take an amazing snack spread to METime. I made chicken salad sandwiches shaped like hearts, had chocolate covered strawberries, and assorted fruits. I'm not the world's greatest whiz in the kitchen so I was really proud of myself. 90% of the ingredients were organic and everything was completely healthy. Later in the week I found out 5 of the moms at my group were sick with "stomach" problems. I know all my ingredients were fresh and several people ate the food without getting sick, but I just can't let it go. I feel guilty that these people ate food I made and then were sick (be it the food or not). As trivial as it seems, God is teaching me that things aren't always as big of a deal as I make them. He is also teaching me that no matter how hard we work, sometimes things just don't go right and we have to accept that and move on.

· This week (or maybe last weekend) Ansleigh received a package in the mailno, not from Ebaybut from my sweet friend Cathy's little girl Maddie. Maddie is exactly 14 days younger than Ansleigh. The package, obviously was from Cathy. It had a book (I Love You Through and Through) and a heart shaped ring pop with a note from Maddie to Ansleigh. It also had a book in there for me to read. I grew up with VERY generous parents and I like to think of myself as more of a giver than a receiver, but it was amazing how BLESSED I felt just from receiving a simple packing. God is teaching me several things just from this. One, you don't have to live down the street from someone to have a good friend. Two, sometimes you have to not be the giver and just be the receiver in order to get a blessing from God. Three, little things mattertelling someone when you thought about them during the day, sending a simple gift, sharing God's love and practicing true friendship.

· This week we got confirmation of my sister's pregnancy (YAY!!!). Pregnancy was really a challenge for know, I hated it. I'm a studier. I study everything, I read everything, I ask everyone everything. I also really like sharing what I've learned with people. I learn lessons from watching other people's mistakes. My sweet sister is not like that. She doesn't study things. She doesn't really ask people. She is more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of girl. I feel urges to call her and tell her to start limiting her intake of that nasty diet coke. I find myself trying my best to tell her what NOT to register for because she won't need it. God is teaching me that people don't always need to know the same things I felt I needed to know beforehand. People are different. Some people need to learn from their own mistakes. And most importantly, God is teaching me to BE PATIENT (a reoccurring theme, I think). When she wants to know something, she will ask me.

What did God teach you through your experiences this week?

A Challenge...not health related or a survey!

This morning our pastor was preaching on what makes the Sabbath day special. He was preaching from Luke 6:1-11.

He really got my attention because I don't really know a lot about the Sabbath. In fact, until today, all I could have told you about it is that it used to be on Saturday and that it involves not working. Seriously, that was all I knew.

While I was in college, my sweet roommate Kelli was really searching out for the truth and what the Bible actually teaches, not just a 45 minute, 3 points lecture on 2 lines of scripture. The first time she said that to me, it blew my mind. There are pastors that really preach more than just that? Anyway, she started attending a Messianic Jewish church in Montgomery to go and learn more. She was always so fascinated by what she had learned and was really eager to share it with me when she got home on Saturday nights. Sometimes I wish I had paid more attention. I vaguely remember her mentioning some things about the Sabbath and something about the Jewish week starting on Saturday, not Sunday or something to that effect.

This morning, when Brother Larry started preaching, my ears perked up just a little. I was very excited to see what the Bible has to say about the Sabbath.

The passage he was preaching from is where the disciples are walking through a grain field and they begin plucking some of the heads of grain and eating them and the Pharisees freaked out because they were doing something unlawful on the Sabbath day. Jesus explains to them that the revered King David and his men ate the consecrated bread from the Temple because their need was more important than the ceremonial regulations. Jesus knew that was how to get their attention, by mentioning things the man after God's own heart had done. Then Jesus tells them that the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath. As the passage continues, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath and when the Pharisees attack, Jesus asks them if it is better to do good or evil, to destroy life or save it.

Brother Larry explained this morning that the Sabbath is about relationships, not rituals. It is about bringing more glory to God, even when you need to go out of your way to do it.

He also said that the Sabbath is about rest. Now, to me, rest means laying on the couch watching television. That isn't the kind of rest the Sabbath is about. God wants us to work, but even God took a day to rest. God took his day to rest not out of a sense of exhaustion, but out of a sense of accomplishment. He used it as a day to reflect on what he had done and how it was good. See Genesis 2 for this information.

There were several other things mentioned, including the fact that the Sabbath was on Saturday, but moved to Sunday due to the fact of Jesus rising on Sunday (the first day of the week). Anyway, Brother Larry said that the Sabbath is a day for reflection of what God has done in your life throughout the week. He didn't challenge us, but as he was speaking, I felt God challenging me, and in turn, I'm going to challenge you.

Each Sunday, take some time to reflect on the things that have happened to you that week, why it may have happened, and most importantly, how God received glory from your actions and situations that week. Post it on here as a comment to mine, post it on your own blog, write it in your journal, email it to a friend. Do this in whatever way is most functional and useful to you. I encourage you to share it with someone because seeing how God is working is ALWAYS an encouragement to yourself and to others.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why Organic Dairy?

Why should you spend the money to buy organic dairy products?

1. They taste SOOOOOOOO much better. Seriously. Milk, cheese, and butter.
2. They last longer. Longer shelf life, longer fridge life. For instance, last night I was at Publix and a regular gallon of milk's "sale by" date was February 16. The organic milk I bought had a "sale by" date of March 9. This can save you money in the long run....if you don't have kids drinking you out of house and home.
3. It is better for you! Just look:


In 1993, the FDA approved the use of a product called recombinant
bovine somatotrophin (rbST) to increase milk production in dairy
cows. Should you avoid milk from cows that have been given this

The authors of "Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World"
are experts in pediatric medicine, and for this reason have an
interesting perspective. Here is what they say:

" This additive increases the level of the hormone IGF-1 in milk. A natural and necessary hormone, IGF-1 has also been linked to a number of types of cancer: breast cancer, osteogenic sarcoma (the most common bone cancer in children), colon cancer, and lung cancer. Although research is in its early stages, prudent avoidance indicates that you should avoid serving your children milk and milk products from cows treated with rbST. Instead, buy milk and milk products that are certified organic because organic dairy farmers can't treat their cows with rbST. If your local grocery store doesn't stock organic milk, ask them to do so.

Save your boobies, bones, colon, and lungs! DRINK ORGANIC MILK!

Drop 5


You heard me.

Lose 5 whole pounds in 36 hours.

Not possible you may be thinking, but it is.

Let me tell you the story:
This weekend, hubs and I took Ansleigh to the Gymboree Play & Learn place for a Valentine party. Afterwards we decided we'd grab some quick dinner because Ansleigh was being super fussy. We stopped at Sonic. Yes, I know, fast food. The devil.

Anthony ordered some kind of burger with bacon, bbq sauce, onion rings (complete nastiness). I got a regular cheeseburger. We both got cheese fries and cherry limeades.

2 am comes...and I wake up throwing up. 12 hours later, I was still throwing up.
3 am comes...and I get up with the "other." 16 hours later, I still had the "other."

Food Poisoning.

Nice, huh?

Now I DO NOT reccomend this for dieting, but I guess I learned my fast food lesson.

We will not be eating Sonic anytime soon. You shouldn't either.