Sunday, November 15, 2009

Some random Pics

NOTE: * I started this post a while ago and am just now getting around to actually posting it! :)

How do you get a two year old to calm down and forget her disappointment from not being able to do something she wants? Have her wash dishes!  No...really! She currently LOVES to wash dishes. Even though we have a dishwasher I will put a few of her items in the sink with some bubbles, water and a sponge and she will be busy for quite a while - usually wanting to stay much longer than I have patience for. I had to take pictures to show her this when she is older and whines about having to do dishes. Look at how intent she is on it. Not only does she do the dishes but I usually end up getting at least part of my kitchen floor washed in the process!

I had purchased these matching sweaters for my girls last winter on clearance with visions of beautiful, outside, fall family pictures. Sadly the weather did not cooperate and with snow in October it was too cold to be outside for pictures. Once it warmed up in NOVEMBER the pretty leaves were long gone. Maybe next year? So I settled for some on the couch. Once again Miss Rebekah had other ideas. This is probably the best one of her where she is not crying, fighting or covering her face. Can you tell by how I'm gritting my teeth that I'm not real pleased with the behavior? SO there will more than likely be NO family picture in our Christmas card this year - so enjoy this one! :)

Here are Lizzie's 11 month pictures. She makes a pretty cute duck I must say! :)

I just like this picture of DH with his girls so thought I would share. That chair certainly seems to be the spot to cuddle. It's held us many, many hours with happy kids, sad kids, sleepy kids, naughty kids, newborn kids and so on. I will be sad if we ever have to say good bye to that chair! Many, many memories in it.

I recently watched my friend's daughter for a few days. She's almost 4 months old but since she was a preemie is still pretty tiny. I think she's about 7.5 lbs in this pic. Lizzie wasn't so sure about her. She certainly wasn't real fond of my holding her. When she was sitting in the bumbo seat she would bend down and look at her like "Who are you and what are you doing in my house?"

Lizzie is standing!  Watch out world! Only for short periods of time but I have a feeling it won't be long now!

There will be more update soon - Lizzie's turning one on the 14th so I am sure I will have many pictures and stories to share!

God Bless!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I love me some coupons!

I have always loved coupons. I find it even harder to pass up a "good deal" - sometimes even when the product isn't needed. However, now that I have a family to feed and care for my search for ways to save has taken on a whole new meaning (and life one might say). 

I remember as a child my mom joined a coupon club or something like that. She would clip all the coupons she could find and then get together with other ladies and trade coupons for items they used. It seemed like a lot of work to me - too much work to save $.10 here or a quarter there. I don't remember it lasting long but I think she did a lot of it while we were at school so it may have lasted a lot longer than I remember.

Today I am so thankful for the Internet. Not only can you now find a gazillion coupons online through a variety of different sources there are people out there who do all the research for you and post it on their blogs so you can find some awesome deals and match-up coupons with sales and all that fun stuff.

Often when I go shopping I have a pile of coupons like this.

Usually Target is the store where I use the most coupons. There are several reasons for this. First - it's the closest store to us that has pretty much everything we need. However, I will not buy most produce from our SuperTarget (Sorry Target) as 1) it is usually more expensive than other stores (at times double the price) and 2) I have not had much luck of it lasting more than a couple of days. It seems to come to them already ripe so if I need it that night or the next day I will get it but otherwise I will head out to Rainbow, Cub or Walmart to get more fresh produce (Today for example I watched them unpack huge boxes of bananas which in most stores are still slightly green when put out. There wasn't a green nanner in sight. They were all already quite yellow and a few with brown on them already. Good for banana bread but not so good if you want bananas for the week. I usually buy a small bunch of yellow bananas and then a larger bunch of green ones that will be ready by the time we are ready for them).

The second reason is that Target has a fantastic policy that they will take a Target coupon for an item as well as a manufacturer coupon at the same time. This can save you a whole boatload of money. You can find Target coupons at their website, however, they only have them on there a week and then change them. I have found this website that stores them until they expire so you can go back and print them if you forget or you decide you want more. Also you can tell it how many to print of each one and it will print only the ones you want. It's fantabulous!!! :) The website is called Organic Grocery Deals Coupons Generator. Use it, love it, save a lot of money!!!

For example, today I got a Christmas present for Rebekah. We decided to get her a Leapfrog Tag Junior. She loves to read books with us and this will give her a head start to reading them on their own. It's a little pen that you can hook up to your computer and download information for each of the books. Not only will it read the story but it also will do different sounds and songs and activities with the kids. You can also print off certificates, activities and coloring pages on your computer. I'm pretty excited about it.

Anyway, the Tag Jr. (which is for 2-4 year olds) was on sale for $28.99 at Target this week (Sorry this is late notice for the sale though I am sure it will be on sale again before Christmas). I got a $10 coupon from Organic Deals (look under the 11/25 list of coupons). I also got a $10 off coupon from Leapfrog. That was $20 off so got the Tag Jr. with one book for $8.99 (orginally $34.99). Also with the LeapFrog coupon was a coupon for $5.00 off each book You can print as many as you want). The Tag Jr. books are $10.99 normally but were on sale for $8.99 today so got each book for $3.99 after coupons. SO something that would have normally cost me a total of $67.96 cost me $20.96 today. Whoo hoo. That leaves more $$ for other gifts! :) It will be so great for her to have on the long trips to the grandparent's house. I can't wait to play with it myself but I already had my DH hide it so I wouldn't be tempted to open it and try it (I did play with the one in store though!).

The three books I got were these three:

(This is for anyone wondering what to get her for Christmas/Birthday coming up! :) hint, hint! lol) If you do decide to get a book for Bekah or a set for your own child/grandchild be sure to use those coupons!!! Every penny counts!

At the checkout today I saw the total on the screen of $219.08 and just about had a heart attack! That was way over my budget but I had hope! :) Then the young man asked me for my coupons. I gladly handed them over and prayed that it would be down to $120 which was my original goal. I try to keep track in my head as I go but I know I sometimes get distracted (can you believe it???). Final total..................$119.68

That is a savings of $99.43! I was pretty proud of myself. I can't take all the credit though. A few other sites that have been a big help are:
Attention Target Shoppers

This is an awesome site. It's way more than I need but I have learned to scan quick and find what I need/want and can use.

Deal Seeking Mom

This site has a lot of different stores - many we don't have up here in the frozen tundra but have found a lot of help on this site. One awesome thing they have is coupon policies for many of the stores. I have printed them out and carried them with me. I had one bad experience with Target once where both the cashier and then the manager told me I couldn't use the coupons as I wanted. I whipped that ole policy out of my purse and showed them exactly where it said I could do that and lo and behold they allowed it. I have only had the one bad experience but that was enough. Let's just say I will never go through Theresa's lane again (although I haven't seen her there in the past few months so she may be gone).

Red Plum


A couple of tips with these coupon sites: You can usually print off two of each coupon you want. Either reload or hit your browsers back button. Keep checking back because often during the month and almost always at the beginning of the month the coupons are reset so there are new ones or you can print off more. We have two computers at our house so I will print two from each computer and if it's a really good coupon will print at a friend's or at work.

Here is another trick with the and the Smart Source Coupons. IF you sign up for My Points you can earn 10 points for every coupon you print and redeem. You can also earn 25 extra points for if you print and redeem 10 or more in a month. (I used probably 15 today -that's 175 points). What do you get with these points?  Gift cards!!!! For example you can get a $25 gift card for Target for 3800 points or a $50 gift card for 7500 points. They have them for pretty much anything you can imagine - well almost anything! Our favorites have been Target, Walmart and Red Lobster! (That's how we got Rebekah's play kitchen for her birthday last year). You can also earn points by shopping online (stores will give you anywhere from 1 to 10 points per dollar), subscribing to magazines and looking at ads. If you choose to do this first please let me know so I can recommend you (then we both get extra points) but also set up a different email as you will get a lot of mail. You get 5-20 points for looking at a web page. From there you can earn extra points by subscribing, buying, or taking a survey. I think last year my DH and I earned about $150 in gift cards. We then used some of those gift cards ordering online through the mypoints site and received more points for doing so! :)

Hope this helps some of you save some pennies! I'm looking for great ideas from all of you.

I am wondering how others organize their coupons. I have mine in a small accordian file and organized by type of coupon (such as frozen foods, dairy, healthy and beauty, etc.).

What do you do? What works for you? What hasn't worked for you?