Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekend Shopping - Double Coupons

I made one small grocery shopping trip this weekend to use the Albertson's double coupons that were in the Sunday paper. There were 4 coupons this week instead of 3 so that was a nice surprise. I spent $16.52 - nothing fabulous.

Cooking Spray $2.39 - Regular price, but I was completely out. Oh well.
Formula - $3.99 ($5 Manufacturer's Check) = FREE + $1.01 Overage
Bananas - $.59/lb
Celery - $.89
Bell Peppers - $.69 each
Green Onions - $.69
Strawberries - $2

Double Coupons:
Ritz Crackers - $2.49 ($1.00/2 doubled) = $1.49 each
Oreos - $2.49 ($1.00/2 doubled) = $1.49
Nestle Cookie Dough - $2.49 ($1.00 doubled) = $.49
Mountain High Yoghurt - $2.50 ($.50 doubled) = $1.50


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Old Savings Bonds

My goal is to complete a "Friday Project" each week so I can feel more on top of the non-daily housework and chores that accumulate.

This week I read 9 Sunday papers that were gathering dust on top of my fridge. It's not a huge accomplishment, but it's a pile of junk that is no longer driving me crazy. And, hey I have a seven week old - I can start small!

Anyway, I found an interesting article in the August 29, 2010 edition of the Seattle Times that I wanted to summarize for you. It's titled "Web Hunt for Old Savings Bonds Can Yield Unexpected Treasure."

The basic idea is that there are many U.S. Savings Bonds that are sitting unclaimed and you should check and see if your parents or grandparents might have purchased some and never cashed them in. If those relatives are deceased you definitely should have a look on their behalf and those still living might appreciate the reminder that there is money available. You might check for yourself as well if you ever received Savings Bond gifts as a kid. I know I have two floating around somewhere from a library contest and a 'paper carrier of the month' award.

The website to check is, but the online search capabilities are limited to Series E bonds issued 1974 and later.

My checked my deceased grandparents' social security numbers but no luck - Rats! At least I learned something and got a blog post out of this week's Friday Project!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Resourceful Gifting - Gift Stockpile

Back to the Resourceful Gifting Series! I've reordered the planned posts for this series so that topics applicable to Christmas will be coming sooner rather than later.

Gift Stockpile

One way to keep gift prices low is to purchase quality items when you find an excellent price any time of year. These should be general/neutral gifts that you could give to a variety of people.

As Christmas approaches I keep an eye out for small gifts that would be appreciated widely in case I receive an unexpected gift and want to reciprocate or if I inadvertently leave someone off my list (teacher, mail delivery, girl scout leader, swim coach, a gift exchange, etc).

Some things you might consider year-round:
  • Baby Gifts
  • Toys that are age-appropriate for your children for birthday parties they will attend
  • Hostess Gifts
  • Gift Cards (look for good deals around Christmas like a free $5 card with purchase of a $50 card)

Things to avoid include:

  • Any food items
  • Perfumes - really anything with a scent that can sour over time
  • Baby gifts if you don't get invited to baby showers
  • Baby gifts that meet specific needs like preemie clothes or cloth diapers
  • Wedding gifts
  • Toys that are not age-appropriate for the children in your life
  • Fads

In general, a gift purchased with the recipient in mind is much for fun for me to give. However, my gift stockpile has been helpful many times including:

  • A busy week and no time to shop for a gift
  • An unexpected invitation with no gift money budgeted
  • An out-of-town birthday sneaks up on me and I have to send a gift immediately

Having a few things tucked away has served me well. However, I would caution you not to overbuy for your stockpile. Don't go buy 20 packages of Silly Bandz just because you find them for $2 each - your kids won't want to give them as gifts when they lose popularity. Don't buy 15 items from the Gymboree clearance rack just because you have Gymbucks on top of the sale - your friends will stop having babies eventually.

Just keep your eyes open as you shop the sales this season. If the price is right, let yourself buy an item or two for the gift stockpile instead of just the people on your list.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Sales

I've heard about a couple of sales I wanted to pass along to you readers.

First, Small Threads in Issaquah (a great consignment store) is having a 20% off all yellow tags sale on Saturday, October 30th. Costumes are 50% off and Halloween shirts are $.50. There is also a Halloween Bash happening that day for kids from 10AM to 5PM, so if you want to shop bring the kids for the fun!

Next, Plato's Closet in Bellevue is having a sale on Saturday and Sunday. You can take 75% off all orange tagged merchandise. Now Plato's Closet tends to be for a younger, hipper, and skinnier crowd than this mama of four, but I have found some cute shoes and accessories there including a Coach bag. There is a good selection of designer clothing and accessories, too, and I stop in from time to time just to see the handbags.

Any other weekend deals you've heard about?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thrift Store Deals!

I went to Children's Hospital Thrift Store this weekend. This is my favorite thrift store around here because they usually have a higher quality of merchandise than Goodwill and you don't have to sort through so much junk. Also, CHTS has various levels of discounts related to how long the merchandise has been on the sales floor unlike Goodwill where only the very oldest are reduced to 50% off.

Here's what I found:

Pollyanna double DVD - $4.00 (In beautiful shape with nice, shiny discs)
2 wood crafts - $.75/each (brand new stocking stufferes - 25% discount)
Pampers Swaddlers - $2.62 (opened, but had all 36 diapers in it - 25% discount)
3T dress - Just $.50! (for Joanna's 2 year pictures - 75% discount)


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Macaronada Recipe

Brooke noticed I had Macaronda on the menu this week and commented, so I thought I'd post the recipe. It's also really appropriate for Brooke because it's an easy vegetarian dish.

I learned to make this while working at Luigi's Restaurant through college and it's a big hit when we have company. It's basically spaghetti sauteed in garlic & butter, then topped with feta cheese.

Luigi's Macaronda

12 oz. spaghetti noodles
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 T. fresh garlic, crushed
3 T. butter

Cook spaghetti. When the noodles are finished, turn on a frying pan and drop the butter in. Drain the noodles. Add the fresh garlic to the now melted butter and stir it until it just starts to turn brown. Add the drained noodles to the pan and let it cook about three minutes, tossing the noodles several times to coat them with the butter and garlic. Divide the noodles onto four plates and top with 1/4 cup feta each and sprinkle with oregano. Voila!

  • I usually use olive oil in place of some of the butter. The butter tastes best and you have to use at least 1/2 butter to sautee the garlic well and not burn it.
  • You must use fresh garlic in this dish. Refrigerated garlic-in-a-jar doesn't do this justice.
  • I sometimes add 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken during the tossing stage.
  • You can adjust the feta amount depending on how much you like it This is also tasty with mizithra cheese if you don't care for feta.

I've never written a recipe before and I almost never measure when I make this dish, so I hope it's understandable!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Meal plan & more shopping

So I thought I was done shopping for the week, but then a great Safeway coupon for Tyson breaded chicken for $3.99 at Safeway. I also had a $10/$50 coupon! Then I updated the budget and was bummed because there only $20 left for the month and I'd have to spend $40 on groceries to use the coupon. I would just get the chicken nuggets.

Then a friend asked me to pick up a few things for her and as it worked out I was able to use the $10/$50 coupon and only spent $19.27 on my own groceries!

I got some great clearance deals at Safeway including 1/2 gallon organic milk for $1.49, Gerber DHA infant oatmeal for $1.09 each can (original $3.19), and an Activia 4-pack for only $.25 ($1.00 and a $.75MC).

The menu plan is weird this week because I'm taking the girls to visit my mom for 5 days and DH is staying home.

Monday Dinner - Macaronada, Salad
Tuesday Dinner - Lasagna (leftovers for DH), salad
Wednesday to Saturday out of town (I've been packaging up leftovers for DH to eat)
Sunday - hamburgers


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekend Shopping - Check Your Receipt!

I had fun shopping this weekend. I haven't had a big shopping trip at Fred Meyer in a long time, and I enjoyed walking the familiar aisles of my favorite grocery store again! I spent $25.11.

Coffeemate - $2.00 sale (1.00 MC) = $1.00
FM preserves - coupon for $1.00 each
Formula - $3.99 sale ($5.00 MC check) = FREE + $1.01 Overage
Tea - $1.19 regular price
Darigold flavored milk - $1.00 sale ($1.00/2 MC) = $.50 each
Yogurt cups - $.30/ ea sale
String cheese - $2.50 sale ($1.00 MC) = $1.50
2# White cheddar cheese - $3.99 coupon
Campbell's healthy soup - $1.00 sale ($1.00/3 MC) = $.66 each
Yogurt Danimals - $1.29 clearance ($1.00/2MC) = $.79/4 pack
Tomato - $.98/lb sale
Organic Apples/Pears - $.78/lb sale
Tortellini - $1.99 clearance

I went to QFC specifically to buy formula they had on clearance and ended up with a bunch of other stuff. I spent $20.05.

Powder Formula - $13.29 clearance ($5.00 MC check) = $8.29
Liquid Formula - $4.49 clearance ($5.00 MC check) = FREE + $.51 overage
Oatmeal - $1.50 sale
Food Should Tast Good chips - $2.00 sale ($1.00 MC) = $1.00
Organic NF milk - $2.89 clearance
Oscar Meyer turkey breast - $1.99 clearance ($1.00 MC) = $.99
Snickers - $.50 sale (B1G1 MC) = $.25/ea

I generally review my receipt before I leave the store but have gotten a little lazy about it recently. I had picked up a sugar-free jam at Fred Meyer that I wasn't sure would qualify for the $1.00 coupon, and sure enough, when I checked the receipt, the discount hadn't been taken off. So I waited in line at customer service hoping for the discount, but alas, the sugar free jam wasn't included on the coupon even though it didn't say 'selected varieties' or anything like that. Oh well. So I returned it.

At QFC I also checked my receipt and I'm glad I did because I was charged for 4 gallons of milk instead of 3. Again, I waited in line at customer service to get refunded.

Because both of my shopping trips had errors in the checking process, I'm recommitted to reveiwing my reciept before leaving. It won't work for me to check it when I get home or even when I'm in the car because there's no way I'm getting four kids out of the car for my $2.00 or whatever. So my new plan, and I encourage you to do this to, is to just leave the chekcout line and step to the side to look your recipt over before heading to the car. You might be surprised at what you find.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

September Wrap-up - Totally late!

Here we are on October 23rd & I'm very tardy in filling you in on my September goals!
  • I hoped to pay down the timeshare a bit more. We did make a small payment, but it was only 3% of the total payoff. That's 43% all together in 3 months though which is still pretty great. It was all 'found money' including babysitting pay, a 'cash back' rebate from our credit card (used to buy plane tickets several months ago, paid off immediately), and grocery rebate check.
  • I hoped to keep up with the Resourceful Gifting posts, but that didn't happen.
  • $160 for groceries ended up $201.25 after we adjusted mid-month to $200.
  • I am caught up on laundry (amazing!) but am not using the clothesline. I am recovered enough to carry it, but it's been cold and my time has been consumed.
  • I did have a quick recovery, but I did too much too fast and had to slow it down a couple of times. I'm 100% now, physically, but we haven't found our new 'normal' yet.

Goals for October (or the last week of it anyway!):

  • Use the clothesline at least once - small, but hopefully manageable if these nice afternoons linger.
  • Start pulling out the garden - I have two weekends to accomplish this one.
  • We planned $200 for groceries this month.
  • Pay another bit of Timeshare off. Again it'll have to be "found money" so I'm going to start searching!
  • Get Eve's homeschool rolling again. We've really been hit or miss since Phoebe's arrival.
  • At least one Resourceful Gifting post.
Wish me luck!


Friday, October 22, 2010

We're Back!

Hello! Baby Phoebe is six weeks old and I thought it was about time I got down to business. Silly me, I thought three weeks would be enough and loaded up blog posts for that time period SO confident I'd be back to 'normal' life by then. Ha!

While the adjustment to Phoebe has been smooth, she does take up lot of time! Sitting down to feed an infant five times a day definitely a time-sucker - and another sucker!

OK - so DH had a good idea for the blog that will make me feel more organized and less overwhelmed. He thought I should try a general schedule that will give me a plan for the week. He knows me so well and how a plan and the possibility (no matter how remote) of accomplishment makes me feel in control.

Mondays - Menu plan
Tuesdays - Kitchen tips or recipes/meal swap posts
Wednesdays - Updates: Monthly, weekly, encouragement & other cool stuff
Thursdays - Non-kitchen tips
Fridays - Article/Series (seriously the hardest part of blogging for me!)
Saturdays - Friday Project
Sundays - Weekend Shopping

I'll of course, be posting about other deals and cool stuff I hear about, too, but this is just a general guideline to help me feel like I can still blog with 4 kids!

Welcome Back to Me!