Saturday, February 27, 2010

Freebie Friday!

Yesterday was a day for free stuff!

FisherPapa had a Health Fair going on at work, with LOADS of people giving away samples, including a Whole Foods booth giving away yummy fresh apples, Pirate's Booty, reusable bags, dish soap, Cliff Mojo bars, and bottles of Tea. I went to a pediatric dentist booth and got a free toothbrush for BabyFish. It was fun and a great time to see friends. We even ran into our neighbors who have a chiropractic practice!

Yesterday I made a box of Fiber One muffin mix that I had gotten last month. I was amazed at how good they were, and how incredibly filling they are! It also made my whole house smell like blueberry muffins! So I realized that my paper coupon for another box was expiring, so we stopped off so I could use it. I knew they were kind of expensive, but I figured the extra dollar (.50 coupon, plus double at Safeway) would make a difference, and I was willing to pay a little bit since they were so yummy.

I grabbed the box, double checked the clearance meat sections (You never know what AWESOME deals you will find there!), and then went to the self checkout. I scanned my box of muffin mix, and then my club card, and waited to see how many e-coupons I had. (I didn't check before I left the house, and I am too cheap to buy a phone with a data plan that would let me check on the fly.) 6 E-COUPONS later, I owed $ .99! Plus my paper coupon for .50, and the checked could only double it for the amount left (You can't get money back). So I walked out without paying ANYTHING out of Pocket with muffin mix that is tasty and filling.

FisherPapa was pretty darn excited, and so was I. I LOVE freebies!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Counting Up Savings

OK, So I just got an email from that told me how much I have saved using their service. So I decided to add together the amounts I have saved since I started using e-coupons ( and

Between these 2 sites, I have saved $46.40. That doesn't include paper coupons and sales that I now watch for. Splitting that out over 2 months, I saved an average of 23.20 a month...I have gotten things free and I have gotten overage, which I then use to take the overall price of my groceries down.

It makes me so happy to know that my newest hobby is allowing me to purchase MORE than I would have otherwise been able to, and has enabled us to share more freely, and go out to eat more often (with food budget overage!).

Sweet Scores!

I've had a pretty good week with the sales and coupons!

At Target this week I got 2 packages of my Dove Ultra Deodorant each with a little body mist sample for 1.29 each. Not bad when they are normally 3.64 each, without the free sample.

But probably my best score at Target this week was toilet paper. They are clearancing out their January Stock up and save items. I found a couple packages of Quilted Northern for 7.98 (50% off). These each had 36 Big rolls, which they equate to 72 rolls of normal tp. BUT, I had coupons, making each of these guys 6.98. So for less than the cost of 1 of those large packs, I got 2...and I shouldn't have to buy tp for a month or two. :)

It makes me really happy when I can pair a really good sale with coupons!

At Walgreens, I had to use up a $3 Register Reward that was going to expire. I knew there was a $2 Register Reward for buying a Goody Hair Accessory, but even cooler was that they were being clearanced out. I thought I was paying about $1.25 for a pack of Hair Bands and then I also got a couple clips since mine have been been breaking (they were also on clearance for $2.29). I was wrong about the Hair Bands though...they were actually ringing up .75. So together, my Out of pocket was .29, PLUS I got another $2 in Register Rewards to use later!

At Safeway I got 2 of those little 8 packs of coke bottles for $1 each. We had been out of cola for a week or two, and around here, that's not good. We don't drink it all the time, but heaven help us if we want it and we're out :)

Today, I went to New Seasons Market. They are having an anniversary sale that made this trip so fun! They are giving away a smart car and tomorrow will have cake. I mostly went because they have some pretty good meat prices. The meat I bought from them today isn't treated with hormones or antibiotics, and is semi-local, which if I can get a good deal on, I'll take any day of the week. PLUS, they will wrap it up in small portions so you have meal sized amounts to pull out of your freezer.
Anyway, their Natural Beef Ground Sirloin (5% fat) is $2.99/lb and their Pacific Village Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast is on sale $3.99/lb.

I didn't stock up as much as I would have liked, but I may be headed back there tomorrow. :)

I also got 4 bags of Kettle Chips for .50 each, Organic Navel Oranges for .59/lb, and Organic Fuji Apples for .99/lb (holy smoke were their apples HUGE).

But the best thing is that they have the Chinook Book on sale for $13 (normally $20), and with coupons from that I was able to combine with sales and got:
Organic Pumpkin Flax seed Granola (YUMMY) & Organic Kids cereal for $1 each
Cage Free Eggs (2 dozen) for $2 = $1/dozen!
Free Handmade Sausage
Free Organic French Baguette
3 Sunshine Yogurts (Normally .69 each) for .36 each.
2 Pacific Natural Organic soups for $1 each

Now, I saved about $8 using the Chinook Book, BUT, this was something I had already been thinking about buying, since it features coupons for local businesses. I got even more excited when I realized that upon my first trip to Burgerville, I would definitely make up the rest of the $5 I spent on the Chinook book.

So overall, it's been a good week for deals in our household!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

That WAS Easy

So, Nolan has taken to his toddler bed in his own room better than I could have hoped. He happily stays in bed at night, and even stays there most of the time when I put him down for his nap. We've only had one bad night where he had to sleep in the Pack N Play for part of the night.

Our current problem is that he's getting up really early in mornings. We think it's because there's so much more light in his room than in our room.

So we're shopping for a way to make his room much darker. I bought the blackout curtains, and honestly they don't make the room any darker than his old curtains did, and they are stiff and won't pull to the sides to open them to let light in during the day. We bought a roller blackout shade, but the stupid thing is worthless and won't stay rolled up at all.

I'm an avid Dave Ramsey fan, and have been listening to his podcasts almost exclusively in the car for a few months. One of his main advertisers is I decided to price them on cordless blackout cellular shades, and they truly are less money than anywhere else I have found. So we've ordered some samples to choose a nice neutral color, and then we'll suck it up and spend the money on his window treatments - cause our sleep is worth it! :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sleep and Growing Up

So, my little boy has slept in our room pretty much since he was born. He doesn't sleep in bed with us, he sleeps in a pack n play next to my side of the bed. It's been easier because he still nurses at night some of the time, and I don't love the idea of getting out of my cozy bed at night to go down the hall to feed him.

We've been considering moving him to his own room, but weren't sure how to make that happen. We'd wondered if a toddler bed was right or if we should just start him on a mattress on the floor. Whether we do it in small transitions or one big one... He solved the problems for us tonight on his own, though it could very well be a fluke.

Tonight I set him down in his toddler bed (Converted crib that he has been able to climb out of since he was 14 months old). He liked it and laid there for a few minutes. We went back to our normal bed time routine, but then he pointed at the bed and said nigh-nigh. So we decided to read the bedtime stories while laying down in the bed.

We got to the last story, and I asked him if he wanted to sleep in his bed in his room tonight, and he said yes. So while I read the last book Daddy made the room ready for him to sleep in (Rocket lamp night light, baby monitor, closed the curtains). I stayed with him and helped him lay back down a couple times. Then I asked him if he wanted me to go, and he said yes.

I kissed him good night, and walked out the door, closing it behind me. He cried for maybe a minute, and has been quiet ever since.

If this lasts, it would be the easiest transition ever. It also supports my thought that kids will let you know when they are ready for the next stage. It took him a long time to sleep through the night (He was over a year before the first time it happened) but I felt like he would do it in his own time - and he did.

But I also know that toddlers change their minds about everything - so in 20 minutes he could decide that it's too scary and never want to be left in there alone again. We'll see, but it's fun while it lasts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Celebrate the Ones You Love

Happy Valentines Day!

It's been a good day for me and I'm enjoying a nice quiet day waiting for Hubby to get home from work. I'm also debating the merits of cooking what was scheduled for dinner or getting a Papa Murphy's heart shaped pizza instead.

Poor FisherPapa had a hard morning. At least, it started out rough. (Not sure how his day has been since then.) I woke up and my lovely son had slept until 9! I woke up to him crawling into bed with me, and usually I can get him to cuddle for a few minutes. Then I looked over and realized FisherPapa was still there. Confused, I asked him "Roy, isn't it Sunday?".

He shot out of bed and was half dressed before he got to the door. (I guess that's the advantage of having your clothes next to your side of the bed!) The services were starting and they got it covered, but it was a hard start for him. The last time I remember him really oversleeping was SEVEN years ago when he missed a flight to go work with a band out on the road.

I'm excited for him to get home, because our son (with the help of his wonderful teachers) made us a Valentine's card - the first one from him! And, FisherPapa doesn't know that I have his favorite cupcake and a card for him from BabyFish and I.

I LOVE to get to do little things for the ones I love - things that make them feel special and loved. I love making them smile. BabyFish is still too young to understand that today has ANY kind of meaning, and we understand that it's a greeting card holiday, but I rarely pass up the opportunity to celebrate the people who are most important to me. I remember what it was like to not be able to have my wonderful husband with me on holidays. I remember the frustration of wanting to be together, and the stress of money keeping us apart. Now, I have everything I ever wanted - my wonderful family and fabulous friends. I am unbelievably blessed. Simply being together makes my Valentine's day special.

What is your favorite Valentine's memory?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Powells Code

One of my many passions are books! I LOVE them!

Today, posted one of my favorite deals ever - a $5 code from Powells is the most amazing book store ever, covering a whole city block in Portland, OR.
And even better You can score a FREE book from Powell’s Books! Just go on over here and add any book priced at $1 or under to your cart. Start the checkout process and on the payment page enter coupon code WELU2 –which will take an additional $5 off your order (covering the cost of shipping)! Then at the bottom of the page, click “Save and Continue” and then click on the “Place Order” button. That’s it, and now you’ve scored yourself a FREE book!

I bought a book for BabyFish - I love sharing my love of reading with him!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love for the Local

Today was a day that reminded me what I love about local businesses.

We went to lunch at The Good Pizza Company. We LOVE this place cause the food is GREAT, they have a very inexpensive lunch, and it's super close to where we live. But not only is the pizza awesome, they really want to create loyal customers. So when we came in and ordered 5 slices of pizza (Lunch is by the slice, starting $1 a slice/$0.25 each extra topping) they tossed in a couple cans of soda. SCORE! But then, when they brought the pizza to us, the 5 slices that made up almost an entire pizza themselves were joined by some wings! They were yummy, and it's just something the owner does sometimes for his customers.

Then tonight, FisherPapa took me to this frozen custard place out in Battle Ground Village called Frozen Alchemy. The owner was very sweet and let us try as many flavors as it took to find what we wanted. (They have a flavor called "Blue Moon" that is the flavor of Fruit Loops!) I loved the Birthday Cake and FisherPapa got a Cocoa flavor that when eaten with the birthday cake tasted like chocolate frosting! It was SO good!

But then, BabyFish was asking for a cupcake (He was giving me the sign for please). See, they also have cupcakes and a lady who makes VERY cool cakes. It was getting to be closing time, and I decided we'd get a cupcake for Babyfish. The very sweet cake lady thought we should get a Thomas cupcake for tomorrow, and I thought I should grab a mini one for tonight. The Owner asked how much to ring up, and she said not to worry about it!
So BabyFish and I shared a mini, and we have this beautiful Thomas the Train cupcake for tomorrow.

These are the things local businesses do to get customers and gain loyalty. And it's why I LOVE local!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why Passion is Important to Me

I made a late night drive to a friends house to pick up my camera tonight, and it gave me some great time to think. I turned on an album I hadn't listened to in a long time: Sara Grove's "Add to the Beauty".

I LOVE this album, in part because when I first heard it, I was in a season of my life that was really hard, but this album reminded me of why I was going through it. There's a particular song on that album called "Just Showed Up For My Own Life" that spoke to me loud and clear from the first line. In a way, this song is an alter, a place of remembrance for me, every time I hear it.

I spent a long time trying to be numb and letting my life live me. I wasn't fully alive, and I wasn't truly happy. I was worried about how things looked on the outside, but the inside of me was so broken I could barely function.

Here are the lyrics to the song, but I HIGHLY recommend listening to the whole album.

Spending my time sleep walking
Moving my mouth but not saying a thing
Hoping the changes would take by working their way from the outside in
I was in love with an idea
Preoccupied with how a life should appear
Spending my time at the surface repairing the holes in the shiny veneer

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

I'm going to live my life inspired
Look for the holy in the common place
Open the windows and feel all that's honest and real until I'm truly amazed
I'm going to feel all my emotions
I'm going to look you in the eyes
I'm going to listen and hear until it's finally clear and it changes our lives

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

Oh the glory of God is man fully alive
Oh the glory of God is man fully alive

I love that this song made me want to live my life in a memorable way, to be present in my own life. And even more importantly, it's what God wants for me!

This is the reason passion is important to me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fabulous Target Shopping

So, all the time and effort that I have spent looking at coupon blogs and learning how to put together deals has PAID OFF!
Today, the whole family took a trip to Target. (FisherPapa hangs out with Little Fish and they do their own thing while I do the deal shopping.)

I split it between 3 transactions to best use the $5 gift cards that Target was offering for purchasing 5 Quaker items and for purchasing Gillette 2 razors. (I did the 2 razors twice.)

Out of pocket, I spent $24.20 (Those socks that LittleFish needed were $4.99 plus tax!) Once you factor in the $5 Gift card that I still have, my net will be $19.20. I saved 39.18 in coupons alone, not including the sale prices!

About a month ago, I handed FisherPapa a coupon and a catalina to go pick something up at the store for me. He was confused by the catalina, and my response was to use it first, because it's like money. He told me to other day that he likes my new hobby, because it truly is like I'm clipping money.

I do this because it's thrilling to find great prices, and even more wonderful to be able to be generous!

A busy week...

It's been a good but very hectic week!
We went to the coast on Sunday night and came back on Tuesday in time to go and enjoy the happy hour at Buffalo Wild Wings with our wonderful friends. I had a nice quiet day on Wednesday and Thursday, catching up on my in-between time work. Friday I took LittleFish on a fun outing where he got to play with LOTS of other toddlers, and then came home to work while he slept. Saturday and Sunday were more working, the gym, church, and a Superbowl party.

I'm excited to start this new week because I'm right on track with my newsletters for the month and have FisherPapa's help with LittleFish for the next two days since he's off work.

What I think I took away from this last week that really surprised me was how much more alive and mentally sharp I felt, how efficient I felt, and how balanced my life felt this last week. Normally when my newsletter cycle starts, I feel completely out of sorts and that my work is overtaking my life. This time it's been pretty easy, especially considering how heavy my work load is. I remember feeling this way when I was working, going to school, and volunteering at church. It's almost like I need the pressure of deadlines to make me take it up a notch and MAKE it work.

Am I the only one who feels they feels they get better with deadlines, or do they cause too much stress to be helpful to you?