Friday, May 31, 2013

Hot Deal** Save $10 off $25 Gift Cards at Save-A-Lot!!!

UPDATE** I did this deal tonight and got 3 Home Depot gift cards for only $45 instead of $75! I had to ask for them because the managers stashed them in their office. They said someone came in to get 100 Home Depot cards. Smart man (or a contractor)! Now the limit is 3 per customer per day. We don't mind. Anything to save a little and get my man going on those woodworking projects! 

Wow! This is an Awesome deal!

Photo From For The Mommas!
Get $10 off select $25 gift cards at Save-A-Lot through June 15! So only $15! This seems to be a regional deal, so check the local Save-A-Lot circular (it's on page 4). They have gift cards for Kohl’s, iTunes, Home Depot, and Barnes & Noble. Perfect for graduation and Father's Day presents! 

These are some cities I've found this deal to be valid:
Pensacola FL area
San Diego CA metropolitan area
Charlotte NC area
Lancaster PA area

Richmond VA area

Check your store. You don't want to miss out on this deal! Thanks to Crystal at MSM and also The Frugal Thrifty Mom for the heads up!
Photo source, photo source

HOT**Get $2/Gallon Off At Martin's!!!

If you have a Martin's nearby, check out this deal good thru Saturday, June 1st. Martin's Fuel Perks Program is a great way to save money on gas. Buy 8 items, Get $0.20 off per gallon. This is the best deal I have seen all year: (Speaking of great store deals, don't forget to check out the Save-A-Lot Gift Card deal!)

Kool-Aid packets are BOGO $0.25 each, so buy 8, pay $1, get $0.20 off per gallon. The best part is you can do this deal 10 times in one transaction and get $2 off per gas!
Buy 80 Kool-Aid Packets
Pay $10 (BOGO deal)
Get $2 off per gallon

Even though 80 packets seems like a lot,
it is only half of one of these boxes.

I made a few trips over the week and was able to do this deal multiple times. There was plenty until Thursday afternoon. They are pretty stingy with rain checks but I got a couple anyway. That way I can still do the deal in July!

Company Girls: Pool Time!

Besides finishing off a month-long Clutter-Busting Challenge, this week had a few highs and lows. Like going to friends' block party, staying out way too late (a high) then the car battery dying and not getting home 'til midnight (a definite low). I guess the flashing battery light was a true car trouble warning! My husband also changed the alternator himself (a high!) and the vicious mosquitos have begun attacking the kids and I (a real low).

We had our annual pool party on Sunday (one more high). Even though the water is still freezing, no child could resist a dip in the pool. It was a great time: bbq sandwiches, mac n' cheese, potato salad, apple cobbler, umm-mmm. Nope, it did not matter that the water was only 60 degrees.

We  found inexpensive bathing suits at Sam's Club. I bought them during the Sam's Club Open House (free shopping pass!) We also bought a couple of pool toys at the end of the season last year. So except for getting more sunscreen, we are all set for a great summer of swimming.

Swimming Laps!
The children swam 4 times this week already. Not me! The lifeguard said it was too cold for her so that's enough reason for me to stay poolside. I was very surprised to that my children remembered the back float. Isabella even swam freestyle and backstroke!

Big Pool = Huge Fun!
I taught them how to swim since they were in preschool. We did not have money for swim lessons but had a pool access in the neighborhood. So, I had to toughen up and get over my fear of water. I watched a couple of swimming tapes from the library, got them some goggles, and months and years of lessons later they can float by themselves! Also, one summer, a friend's teenage daughter gave them weekly lessons. It really helped learning from a cool, big kid!

But freestyle and backstroke are all I know. I'm hoping the lifeguard or my husband can teach them (and me) the breaststroke this summer. We shall see!

How about you? How has your week been? Share and link-up at Company Girls Coffee!

Day 31: Final Day of the Clutter-Busting Challenge!


30 VHS tapes for the Community Room
Day 30: Games for the Community Room -10 items 
Day 28: Old Alternator and 8 Boxes -9 items
Day 27: Memorial Day- took a day off
Day 26: What to do With Contact Lens Cases? -7 items
Day 25: Took a Day off from the Challenge
Day 24: Samples to Give Away And Then Some -17 items
Day 23: Check Behind What Kids De-Clutter! -42 items
Day 22: Mad Rush to Finish Donation Pile By Evening! -42 items
Day 21 Part 2: Children's Magazine Given Out as Good-Bye Gifts -18 items
Day 21: 160 Books to Donate!!!
Day 20: Costumes and Toys - 21 items 
Day 18-19: Challenge break- no post
Day 17: Clutter Busting Challenge- Not Much Luck -4 items plus storage bags
Day 16: Children's Books - 8 items
Day 15: Clothes and Shoes Land in Donation Pile- 42 Items!
Day 14: Threw Out 9 Items in 1 Minute
Day 13: Swords Forfeited- Lil' Son Helps Declutter -9 items
Day 11-12: Challenge break- no post
Day 10: Satisfaction Guarantee on Cosmetics at CVS = Easy Returns! -36 items
Day 9: More Amazon Movies For Trade-In & Toiletries to Give Away -26
Day 8: Giving Away Tomato Plants -9 items
Day 7: Get Paid For Old DVDs with Amazon Trade-In -15 items

Day 6: Decluttering Crafts and Preschool Game- 15 items
Day 4 and Day 5 Decluttering: Box Tops, Boxes and Old Timer - 31 Items!
Day 3: Threw Out Old Meds and More Bottles- 30 items
Day 2: Cans and Empty Bottles- 27 items
Day 1: Give Magazines Away for Mother's Day! 45 items  

Day 30: Games for the Community Room

Two more days to this Clutter-Busting Challenge! I got rid of 10 items. A giant homemade 3-d snowflake on the ceiling of my daughter's room has been hanging there since Christmas. I kept forgetting to pull it down. This 3-d snowflake was so pretty and easy to make again that we don't need to keep it.

I just remembered today that our neighborhood community room has lots of games, movies and books available for anyone to use. Since we go there often, we can bring our games, books, and movies there to "store". An A-Ha! moment. Technically, we are donating it to the community room. But we can still use it anytime we want as long as no one is using it. Perfect! This is the perfect solution to still get more books out of the house but still have nearby access to them.
I also found 4 gardening pots to get rid of in the backyard. An idea sparked by Crystal at Money Saving Mom!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Possible $4 Money Maker on Neutrogena at CVS!

CVS has a great deal on suncare: Buy 2 Neutrogena suncare get $5 ECBs. And it works on the trial size lotions, too! Thanks, Hip2Save for the heads up!
Buy 2 Neutrogena Beach Defense trial size, $2.49 each
Use two $1 off coupon (register first)
Use $2 off 2 CVS coupon from Magic Machine or CVS account
=Pay $0.98, Get $5 ECBs
= $4 Money Maker!
I had problems printing the $1 coupon so I didn't have those to use. But had the $2 CVS q, so still $2 MM for me! I also used a $2 Almay q from 5/19 RP and paid only $0.49 for this Almay concealer.


Woodworking Projects: Hand Made Chair

For the Clutter-Busting Challenge, I shared that my husband changed our old Jeep alternator and car battery. But not only is he a budding mechanic (at least for Jeeps!), he is also becoming quite a carpenter.
My hubby made this chair for me! Using only 1x4 and 2x4 wood pieces, he followed a pattern from a the 2x4 Projects for Outdoor Living. I think he made a few adjustments, like using a pocket-hole Kreg jig to make it sturdier but pretty much made it like the book suggested.

This is a great book for outdoor projects. I found it a while ago at a used bookstore. I do love me some Ana White patterns as well and have prepared a honey-do list of woodworking projects for him this summer. He also made the $10 Book Ledge by Ana White using her pattern. I'll post a picture of that next time!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 29: 11 Local Magazines

I hardly took any time de-cluttering today. Instead, I prepped for next couple of days of cooking. While I was looking for some forms I misplaced, I found 11 magazines that I got rid of. They were mostly local magazines. Since we have only been here a year, I felt like I needed to keep all these magazines because they featured all these local restaurants and stores, and events. 

But really, I just needed to let it go. After all, looking up info is what google is there for! I really hope to get more done tomorrow. How is your Clutter-Busting Challenge working out?

Day 28: Old Alternator and 8 Boxes

On Memorial Day, we visited with friends til late night. As we were leaving, the car conked out and Tony, my handy hubs, had to run to Wal-Mart and get a new battery. Yesterday, he also changed the alternator. I am adding that to the de-cluttering list. As you can see the new one the right is super shiny compared to the old one. It was the original from 15 years ago! Did you know that recycling the old parts will give you money back for the core charge of new part? He got $9 back today for recycling it at Auto Zone.

So proud of him! This was a relatively easy repair that saved us lots of money doing it ourselves. There it is sitting pretty. Now, we can use our AC in the car!

As for other de-cluttering, I remembered to get rid of some boxes last night but I didn't pull them out until today to take a picture. The Land O' Lakes hot cocoa is awesome! We have fun "ordering" our flavors. But I didn't really need all the boxes so they got consolidated into a plastic storage bag.

Monday, May 27, 2013

10 Weely Goals: May 27

Last week my 10 weekly goals did not pan out so well because I missed one important step: Print Out and Display Goals! Since our old printer only works with our old computer, I kept off printing it and forgot about the goals I listed. Not going to happen this time! How do you stay on top of your 10 Weekly Goals?

I did have a great birthday. We finally had a date; we went to see Iron Man 3. We went to the strawberry patch for at least one nature walk. And I did get a lot of de-cluttering and reading done.

For this week, I am continuing much of last week's goals and doing some of what did not get done. Plus the pool is open so swimming is a big priority this week!

Ten things I plan to do this week:
1. Continue taking weekly pictures of the children.
2. Take tea and reading time outside.
3. Continue reading Platform and So Long Insecurity.
4. Grandma's Attic as lunch read-aloud.
5. Continue with violin lessons. Start art and swimming lessons.
6. Enjoy following Monday Menu Plan.
7. Go for at least 2 nature walks with the children.
8. Write at least one blogpost a day.
9. Work on Clutter-Busting Challenge, finish strong for last week!
10. Create Summer Bucket List.

CVS Shopping Trip and Deals- May 26 thru June 1

The smaller 3 oz Jergens Lotions are Buy 2 Get $5 ECBs. The limit is also 8! The Magic Coupon Machine is also printing out a $2 off 2 lotion CVS Q. So... if you can find this many, you could get 16 FREE Jergens lotions plus $0.88 overage! Worried about getting off the Clutter-Busting Challenge wagon? These would be great donations for the women's shelter in your area!

Here is what I bought at CVS on Sunday:
3 Special K Cereal, $9 (-$1/3)
1 Cheerios Cereal, $2.29 (-$0.50 CVS Q)*
1 Twix bar, $0.75
BOGO Dentyene Gum, $1.49 (-$1 Blinkie)
4 Jergens Original Scent 3 oz, $10.28 (-$2/2 lotions CVS Q)*
-25% off Q emailed by CVS
=Pay $17, Get $13.75 ECBs

*CVS Q from Magic machine printed out Sunday for me.

Notes: I used $5 ECBs from the Beauty Club, plus $12 ECBs from last week. So my out-of-pocket expense was only for tax. There is also a $0.70 Kellogg's Q and $0.50 Cheerios Q that can also be used.

Check out other great CVS deal scenarios to make your CVS shopping even better!

I also found these two other deals:
*Buy 2 John Frieda trial size products, get $1 ECB (limit 5- monthly deal)
($1.49 each, Pay $2.98, Get $1 ECB)

*Also, there were lots of $2 Qs on John Freida products like the Sheer Blonde Shampoo above. They are part of the Buy 2 Get $5 ECBs. As with the Jergens deal, there is a limit of 8!

Day 26: What to do With Contact Lens Cases?

It's the home stretch for the Clutter-Busting Challenge. And after this week's donation bonanza, now, I can focus on one final big sweeping cleanup. June will be a great time to organize.

While I have taken the last two weekends off, I did look through our toiletries stash hoping to de-clutter them this weekend. But it was like the same situation with getting rid of our books. It was so hard to get rid of anything. So Saturday was a bust. I did reorganize the toiletries. But I am hoping for another inspiring breakthrough like when we gave away 160 books last week.

Last night, I did remember the 7 contact lens cases we have. Only one person wears contacts in our family. The problem is that every new bottle of contact lens solution comes with a new contact case. That's something I just cannot see myself donating to the thrift store or giving to a friend. And I don't think they can be recycled. So, I've held on to them until last night. It's ok to just toss some things and not feel guilty about the environment being messed up.

Besides, I can't worry about cleaning up the environment when I can't even keep my own house clean. Can anyone relate?

Menu Plan May 27

Our menu for the week is again pretty simple. But I am trying out some new recipes for dinner like escabeche. Loved that fried-fish with peppers when I was growing up. I am looking forward to Saturday's FREE Chick-Fil-A breakfast (for wearing pajamas).  

French Toast Casserole
Continental Breakfast
Overnight Waffles
Chick-Fil-A Pajama Day
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Burgers and Hotdogs (Memorial Day)
Rice and Beans
Spinach Scrambled Eggs
Filipino-Style Spaghetti (with banana ketchup and hotdogs)
Slow-cooker Cauliflower-Rice Casserole
Lentil Rice Casserole (from $5 Dinner Mom)
BBQ Sandwiches
Sweet and Sour Pork (Ham and Sweet Peppers)
Fried Fish Escabeche
Nachos Supreme
Ham and Sweet Potatoes
Meatball Subs
Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup
Beef Stew with Homemade Beef Broth
Have a menu or recipes to share. Link it up with Menu Plan Monday or at Susie's QT Pie Cafe!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fashionable Finds at Goodwill

Before we moved to VA, I already got rid of closets worth of clothes because, having lived in FL 6yrs, how many pairs of shorts does one really need? And now, since participating in the Clutter-Busting Challenge, we've given away even more clothing items and shoes. I had a plan behind that. What we really need is a new wardrobe that better fits our new 4-season environment.
Now that I have less of the same things, it was time to get new items that fit better and that will get more wear.

I went thrift shopping yesterday at different consignment shops to spend some birthday money. The clothes I saw were very cute but meant for very small people and I don't mean short. I came up empty-handed and started to feel bad about myself. Then I realized that most of those clothes were not my style anyway. I then went to the Goodwill just a few short miles away and boy, it did not disappoint!

For the price of one summer dress at the nicer consignment shops, I was able to get 8 items:
4 skirts (Banana Republic, Horny Toad, Access, DKNY)
2 shirts (Julie Mango, Xhiliration)
1 sundress (Old Navy)
1 babydoll sweater (Merona)
Having to get rid of so many clothes in the past year, and especially being mindful of clutter in general this month, I became very focused while shopping. My mantra was: "Buy it only if you LOVE it, not like it." Otherwise it's going back to Goodwill anyway for donations.
The clothes were organized neatly by color and type. Many items were well-known brand names. Prices were displayed prominently at the end of each rack of clothes. And people shopping there were happy: giggling teens, young grandmas, happy families, even the baby was crying only softly. If the clothes were grouped by sizes too then it would be perfect.
Somewhere a long time ago, I read a tip to wear leggings, a tank top and slip-ons or flip flops when thrift-shopping for clothes to make changing easy. It really does work. I was still trying on clothes at the check-out line and found a couple of skirts that way. Just pulled them up over the leggings and went up to one of the mirrors to check the fit.

I think I'll stop by at least every few months to add a couple items to build my new wardrobe. The best part is, of course, it is so frugal!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Day 24: Samples to Give Away And Then Some



 I've had a great few days getting rid of clutter by donating items for a church yard sale. (Check out my day-to-day accounts at the bottom of this post!)

Today, I was organizing our toiletries and thought I had more than I did. I guess I need to make a list and do an inventory that I can stick on the inside of the bathroom cabinet door so I know what we have.

Even though that was a bust, I did set aside a few samples of laundry care and shampoo/conditioner samples for a friend I'll see this weekend. There were also 4 empty boxes, 3 very old grapefruit in the fridge, 3 expired items to toss. The total for today's Clutter-Busting Challenge is 17 items! Yay!

So far so good. With only one week left to this challenge, I know we can finish strong... still have a bit to go through. Here is the damage so far:
Day 23: Check Behind What Kids De-Clutter! -42 items
Day 22: Mad Rush to Finish Donation Pile By Evening! -42 items
Day 21 Part 2: Children's Magazine Given Out as Good-Bye Gifts -18 items
Day 21: 160 Books to Donate!!!
Day 20: Costumes and Toys - 21 items 
Day 18-19: Challenge break- no post
Day 17: Clutter Busting Challenge- Not Much Luck -4 items plus storage bags
Day 16: Children's Books - 8 items
Day 15: Clothes and Shoes Land in Donation Pile- 42 Items!
Day 14: Threw Out 9 Items in 1 Minute
Day 13: Swords Forfeited- Lil' Son Helps Declutter -9 items
Day 11-12: Challenge break- no post
Day 10: Satisfaction Gusrantee on Cosmetics at CVS = Easy Returns!
Day 9: More Amazon Movies For Trade-In & Toiletries to Give Away
Day 8: Giving Away Tomato Plants
Day 7: Get Paid For Old DVDs with Amazon Trade-In
Day 6: Decluttering Crafts and Preschool Game- 15 items Day 4 and Day 5 Decluttering: Box Tops, Boxes and Old Timer - 31 Items! Day 3: Threw Out Old Meds and More Bottles- 30 items Day 2: Cans and Empty Bottles- 27 items Day 1: Give Magazines Away for Mother's Day! 45 items  

FREE Shopping at the HEAV Convention

There is nothing like going to a homeschool convention, especially if it is a state convention. I went two years ago to the Virginia homeschool convention in Richmond and it was jam-packed with 11,000 visitors.

But last year, due to scheduling conflicts, I could not attend for the whole event. I was able to stop by during the FREE shopping time Saturday afternoon. It was a great way to get all our curriculum. I knew what I wanted to get so I was able to purchase it there and have it shipped for free. So no lugging those huge carts you see at convention around for me.

I am doing the free shopping again this year and would recommend it to other homeschooling families out there. Check out your area state homeschooling convention and see if they have this option available. I had to dig around the website for HEAV faqs before I found this info:
Q:What is Free Shopping?
A: Free Shopping is open on Saturday, June 8, from 3 to 6 p.m. ONLY.

No registration or fees are required; however you will be asked to sign in at the Exhibit Hall.
The Used Curriculum Sale will be closed by that time and is not included as part of free shopping.


Redbox Rental FREE this Sunday at Kroger

Use the code KROGERFREE to get a free 1-day Redbox rental at Kroger this Sunday only, May 26. Then check back on the Kroger website next week for a new Redbox deal that Sunday at Kroger. Here is what Kroger is offering according to their website:

Sunday Movie Night Offer!
From Sunday, May 26 through Sunday, June 16, you’ll get exclusive Redbox offers right here every week! Visit us each week to get great deals on DVD, Blu-ray™ and game rentals.

Photo Source

Strawberry Picking- A 5 Year Dream Come True!

This Friday, I'm sharing our strawberry picking trip as my highlight of the week over at Company Girl Coffee.
We lived near the beach in Florida and despite the sandy soil, many farms dotted the area with u-pick offerings for blueberries, strawberries and other produce. Many sweltering days in June, friends and I would sneak past sleeping children and leave as early as 6am to pick blueberries at Beulah Farms. Even though it was already in the 80's by then, it was better than waiting until 8am when it would already get to the high 90's.

Why we never got together to pick strawberries in May when the temps were more bearable, I don't know. But I always fancied picking strawberries. Maybe it was because of watching Strawberry Shortcake during my daughter's preschool years. But every year, I just plain forgot.

When my birthday rolled around this week, I knew the perfect outing for me was picking strawberries as a family. We didn't have much time to pick but it was worth it! Unlike picking apples up in the mountains, all the strawberries are within reach by our feet. It was like an Easter egg hunt. Each bright green leaf revealed red jewels of fruit. Not even the bugs on some of them dampened our spirits.

Next time we will come earlier on a cloudy day, wear long sleeves (the leaves make our skin a little itchy),  bring a picnic lunch, stay longer to take the free hayride and play in the playground.  Strawberry picking will surely be a new springtime tradition. Have you enjoyed u-pick strawberry farms? I always check my local area for seasonal u-pick offerings because it is so much fun!


Day 23: Check Behind What Kids De-Clutter!

I love how my children have helped me so much with the Clutter-Busting Challenge. They have put a lot of effort to collect items for the church yard sale like magazines, books, stuffed animals, costumes and swords. All I'd have to do was remind them that their things can go to some other child who could enjoy their things and they happily got rid of it. We also made it easier by stacking up magazines and some books in a pile that they could read in a couple of days before donating them. Giving them a chance to read them one more time made it easier to let go.
So after dropping off our donations yesterday, I took it easy and my husband encouraged the children to tidy up their room. He put the trash can in there to make it easy for them as they sorted through their loose papers and toys. When I looked in the trash can, however, I found two paystubs and freaked out a little... well, a lot! Apparently, he told them to look around for more things to clean up. But then added, he was also going to personally check-up behind them so I ought to calm down. Whew! They filled up two-thirds of the can so I'm not sure how many items are in there. I've closed the lid for now!
Every year, we also participate in Operation Christmas Child by putting together two Christmas Shoeboxes. I got a head start today and set aside 42 items collected over the year and neatly put them in the shoe boxes. Good thing too because now I know we have enough to fill them and I can stop buying little things every time the Target Dollarspot has 50% off sale. It's easy to stock-up between back-to-school, Halloween, Christmas and Easter clearance sales. All in all, there are 42 items between these two boxes, some practical items and lots of very fun items too!

I'm not sure if these should count for the Clutter-Busting Challenge as these will not be donated until October. But having them already neatly organized and packed away in the shoeboxes has freed up physical space and mental space. Now I don't have to try to remember where I put all the different clearance toys meant for the Christmas Shoeboxes because they are ready to go! 

Day 22: Mad Rush to Finish Donation Pile By Evening!

After much success boxing up  160 books and 18 children's magazines, I realized that I won't even be able to get the donations to the yard sale this weekend.  We have to drop them off the same morning of the yard sale and I can't swing it that morning! I called a friend who can take them for me but I have to get it to her today, 3 days sooner than I had planned. So I went on a manic search for clothes and extra things to donate.  

After pulling out 42 clothes and shoes for donations last week, I gathered more items in a mad one-hour dash to get all the donations together. My friend who is bringing in our stuff to the yard sale told me that a company pays $0.15 per pound for shoes, clothes and stuffed animals. So any of these items that do not sell at the yard sale will be taken here for extra money. Plus that company sends all of these to Central America missions; even soiled or torn clothes are recycled. Amazing to be part of this yard sale!
After passing one winter here in the Mid-Atlantic and not using certain coats, I knew we had to donate them. It was pretty tough because I had to get rid of one coat from my dad that he used in his younger Navy days and that I used all through college. Another was the suit my husband wore when we got married that doesn't fit him anymore and my someday jeans that I hoped to fit into this year. I kept reminding myself that someone else can use it, the youth at Church need the money, and Central America missions will be blessed too.
So all in all, 32 items were added for donations including: 3 coats, 2 suits, 1 blazer, 2 girl's dresses, 5 pants, and much more. We also gave away our little TV that we got for free 6 years ago.
I also gave 7 teacher's guides, 1 reader and 2 workbooks to my friend. She started using Christian Light last year and I offered to let her have some of my teacher's guides.  I've wanted to sell these at the used curriculum fair but I wasn't able to go last week so I was going to keep it for next year to sell. How silly of me! Here's a new friend who has done so much for our family this year who could really use these books. That would be a $43 savings for them and I felt really good to give these to a friend rather than making a few dollars selling them.
The back of our Jeep was full of donation items. Wish I took a picture of that. I am praying that the yard sale will be a success Saturday! Day 23 was a successful Clutter-Busting workout!


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