Friday, September 23, 2011

A Resourceful Tip - Pizza Slicer Double Duty

This tip is from Real Simple's October 2009 issue:

Your pizza slicer is good for more than just slicing those pies - How about using it to chop lettuce or other salad toppings for nice, bite-sized pieces?

I love salad and all the yummy things we put on top add such flavor and variety! How easy to use this slicer to make preparation faster.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Purging 26 Things a Day for a Year

I have been giving a new idea some thought and after discussing it with DH, we're going to move forward.

I mentioned it here before and I think it will be a good challenge for me to discipline myself into giving, purging, and being less attached to material things.

The goal is to purge 26 items each day for a full year (That's over 9,000 items in total), and keep a blog tracking my journey.

I have been trying it out for about two weeks and so far it isn't too hard. Mail doesn't count, nor do the many little projects and papers the girls bring home from their classes. I can only include 'trash' if it's something that has been lying around for months causing me grief and time wasted every time I trip over it, have to move it to find something else, or wonder why I can't just throw it away!

We plan to start the project on October 1, but I'm getting a few days done ahead so I can miss a day if I get sick or something.

Here's the dilemma: what do we call this project? It'd be fun to have something kind of catchy but my non-creative self can't dream up something and even the very creative DH is at a loss.

Here are some of our more lame ideas so far:
26 Things
Tossing 26
Purging 26
26 a day
26 goodbyes
Parting with 26
Removing 26

See? All kind of lame. Please give us some ideas!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Albertsons Coupon RoundUp!

I just saw a very cool bit of news in the Albertsons ad for this week!

Albertsons is rounding up all manufacturer's coupons to $1.00 this week! Obviously coupons over $1.00 will be their face value but this is a good chance to use all those $.25 and $.35 coupons for great deals!

I'm headed to the Redmond Albertsons because they consistently have a great markdown section.

I'm also going to use some very old manufacturer's coupons I inherited from my mother-in-law with no expiration date. Some of them are awesome. Here's a photo of a few $0.15 favorites.

And these are just hilarious. I don't know what a store would even do with these because there are no bar codes and are dated 1977!

I also plan to get some Honey Nut Cheerios for $1 per box with these babies.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Resourceful Tip - Color Coded Keys

Have you seen those specialty keys that have a design or team logo on them? You can purchase a blank key and then have them cut to match one or more of your own keys.

The idea is that you won't have to search for a key on your key ring. You'll know the Mariner key is for the boat (get it? Mariner? Boat?) and be able to identify it easily.

You can also use a key wrap. There's no forgetting which is the house key when you use one of these:

Both of these options cost at least a little bit of cash, but I read about a free alternative in All You Magazine's June 2011 issue.

Why not paint a key with nail polish? It will adhere to the key easily and last a long time. It won't wear off like marker ink, for example, and it might save you a few valuable moments when you're trying to hurry a kid into the house for the potty or frantically trying to get into your car because you're going to be late for the pediatrician - again!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Menu Plan

Really, you'd think I could come up with something better after a whole week away, right? Sheesh!

It was a crazy week getting homeschool rolling along with all our church activities. Additionally my computer is running terribly slowly so I can only post when I sneak onto Hubby's computer. We're hoping to get me a new computer day after Thanksgiving when electronics are at their best prices.

I decided a menu plan is a necessity this week for my sanity. Last week's winging it showed in our dinner selections. =^) Anyway here's the menu plan:

Monday - Mac'n'cheese
Tuesday - pbj with pears (packed lunch)
Wednesday - quesadilla
Thursday - bagels (packed lunch)
Friday - pizza pockets
Saturday - leftovers
Sunday - grilled cheese

Monday - pulled beef with pasta salad
Tuesday - soft tacos
Wednesday - sausage veggie soup (seriously old celery in fridge)
Thursday - Velveeta chicken skillet
Friday - Baked artichoke pasta
Saturday - Crockpot mac'n'cheese
Sunday - breakfast for dinner (unless we end up with company)

I still have majorly old food to use up. Despite my best intentions I don't seem use some items even though I plan to. Next week I'll try to photograph all that.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pharmaca Coupon

Does anyone use Pharmaca products?

I have a coupon for a free 12 oz. hand soap with $30 purchase at Pharmaca. Let me know if you'd like it (please include email address) and I'll email you for a mailing address.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tully's Gift Card Deal! - 20% Free

Tully's is running an excellent deal for loading up your rewards card or purchasing a gift card.

With a minimum purchase of $30, an additional 20% will be credited to the card. For example,
$30 buys $36 value. $50 buys $60 value.

This special only runs through tomorrow, September 11, 2011 so head over soon if you want to snag this deal!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Little Instrument Fix

It seems like little toys and gadgets are always getting broken at our house. Usually I just toss pieces of this or that in a bucket and then attack the bucket about twice a year. I'm coming to realize that usually the this or that isn't worth my time to fix and the kids don't even notice it's been living in pieces in the bucket. So I've gotten pickier.

I did choose to fix this little guy because we love to make music at our house and even DD#4 can shake this baby.

I'm also re-evaluating my time resources as we start homeschool and the days are just plain packed! So my posts here might be shorter or less frequent as a result. We'll see. I'm kinda excited about an idea I have to discard 26 things a day and blog about it - maybe for a whole year! I'm betting 26 things a day will get hard after just a few weeks!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Month of Coupons

We were out of town for over four weeks earlier this summer. When I got home, I had a pile of coupons from the mail and circulars from the newspapers to get through. Here's what the pile looked like.

The best coupon was for $10 on a $10 purchase at Kohl's. Unfortunately it arrived and expired while we were gone.
Another good one was for a Free men or boys' haircut at Sportcuts.
I also had a Free Starbucks postcard for 15 drinks purchased.

It took me one naptime of watching a movie and clipping to cut all these out. It took another three or four sessions of sorting and filing to get everything squared away. I finished it up on August 30, about three weeks after we got home from our big trip.

Couponing can be time consuming so I always trying to combine it with another activity like my relaxing at naptime or during family movie night. It pays off when I'm at the store though and I can find coupons quickly and efficiently, especially when it's those surprise clearance deals I'm not expecting.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Menu Plan - Pantry Dates Update

A huge thank you to my mom for feeding me and the 4 littles these last 10 days. It has helped very much with the grocery budget. We're not quite home yet, but I still wanted to get a menu planned for as soon as I get home.

Here's what I have that is still past date:
ridiculous amounts of frosting & marshmallows
stir fry seasoning
boxed rice, chicken flavor
cereal, Annie's

Monday - still out of town
Tuesday - stir fry (using seasoning & garden veggies)
Wednesday - baked pasta (using garden tomatoes)
Thursday - soft tacos
Friday - Small Group (take dessert for DD#4 birthday)
Saturday - Dinner out
Sunday - Macaronda with chicken (company for dinner)

Monday - still out of town
Tuesday - Mac'n'Cheese
Wednesday - Quesadilla
Thursday - PB&J (at church)
Friday - French Toast
Saturday - BBQ with family
Sunday - All-Church BBQ

Other thoughts:
1. If anyone sees Rice Krispies on sale, please let me know. I have to use up the marshmallows somehow.
2. I ground up those coffee beans from 2011 and just added them to coffee can. DH hasn't said a word, so I think they must be OK.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Resourceful Gifting - Used Items

This is a big gifting time of year for our family. We have three little girl birthdays in September, October, November, then of course Christmas in December. We try to be conservative in our giving - meaning no huge piles of gifts and no piles of money spent on gifts.

One of the ways I limit my spending is to give used gifts. The kids could really care less at age 5 and under and my husband prefers used gifts because he knows they are less expensive! I also welcome used gifts because I know they are less expensive and it's better for the earth.

Here is a photo of some used items I've picked up at thrift stores and garage sales this summer in preparation of birthdays and stocking stuffers.
Just for fun here's the costs breakdown:
Barbie furniture - 7 pieces $4.00
Magnet doll pieces - $.79 (will add to DD#2s set)
Pretty fan and box - $.10!
Ken doll tuxedo - $2.50 (new Barbie/Ken outfits are like $7.00!)
Barbie jackets - $1.00? (in a bag with doll clothes & barbie clothes, mixed)
Ken lifeguard outfit - $2.50
Jane Barbie - $.25!
Pocohontas Barbie - $3.00
Ken - $3.00 (bought him for his outfit. Bonus that he's black.)
Fawn, Tinkberbell's friend - $3.00
Finger puppets - $1.00
3 sets of bracelets - $.25 each set
Fancy purse pad of paper - $.10!
Color Wonder markers - $.79
Little figurines - $.20ish each
Potato Head pets - $.50 each
Stamp roller - $1.29
Slinkies - $.99 each
Perler beads - $2.49
Duplos - $2.99

Just a side note - I also get new gift items at thrift and garage sales sometimes.

Decorative 'E' for DD#1 - $4.00
Ken outfit - $1.00
Bible activity pads - $.10 each
Nutcracker magnet set - $2.50
Stickers - $.50

I know used gifts are welcome by my kiddos and husband and I even know which of my siblings, parents, and other friends & family are fine with receiving used gifts. I also know which would not appreciate anything used. As a general rule of thumb I err on the side of caution and don't give used gifts if I don't know for sure it will be welcome.

I would never, ever give a used gift for a wedding - it's just a more formal event. And I would be cautious about anything used for a baby shower - but would go ahead depending on the item. For example, I would use a secondhand basket if I was assembling a gift basket with all new items inside. Or if the nursery theme was The Snorks or something and I have to find a gift on eBay. I would happily offer hand-me-downs at another time.

Have you given a great used gift? I'd love to hear about it!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Yellow Pages Opt Out

Did you know you can opt out of receiving all those yellow pages that arrive on your doorstep?! I just found out yesterday reading this blog, written by a high school friend.

You head to this site and just enter your zipcode. It lists all the yellow pages available in your area. Transalation: those that will arrive on your doorstep as a free 'gift.' There are 7 for my own address and they're all huge. After you register with the site, you can choose which, if any, you want to receive and which to decline.

Maybe if enough people opt out, the phone companies will get a clue and fewer of these bulging books will be printed!