Sunday, August 31, 2008

CVS Deals - 8/31

So, I had a plan in place when I got to CVS, but when I discovered that the Covergirl Outlast Lip Color was $9.99, I was afraid to pair it with the Wetslicks AmazeMint, which was $5.99, since I was planning to use a BOGO coupon for the Outlast Lip Color. I had to wing it on the fly. I clearly did a poor job, because I wound up $1.30 negative on one transaction and had to get myself above zero or they couldn't complete the transaction. I grabbed candy from the candy counter below the check out to do this.

Here is what I bought in three transactions:

Transaction #1:
2 - Colgate Total Toothpaste
1 - Covergirl Wetslicks AmazeMint lipcolor

- $1.50 Mfg Coupon Colgate IP
- $1.00 Mfg Coupon Colgate
- $1.00 Mfg Coupon Cover Girl
- $2.00 $2/$10 CVS coupon

Paid with $5.99 ECBs and $.74 OOP. Earned $5.99 and $4 ECBs.

Transaction #2:
2 - Covergirl Outlast Lip Color
1 - CVS Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap
1 - Dentyne Ice (2-12pk), BOGO attached
2 - rolls Spree (my last minute filler to get positive)

- $1.00 Mfg Coupon Covergirl
- $9.99 Mfg BOGO Coupon Covergirl
- $2.00 CVS Skincare coupon
- $2.00 $2/$10 CVS coupon

OOP $0.28. Earned $0 ECBs.

Transaction #3:
2 - Pantene Pro V Shampoo/Conditioner
1 - Pantene Styler Hair Spray
1 - Gold Emblem Gummy Worms (for the 5 year old that was shopping with me)

- $1 $1/2 Pantene Mfg Coupon
- $3.33 Free Styler WYB Shampoo or Conditioner Pantene Mfg Coupon
- $2 $2/$10 CVS coupon

Paid with $4 ECBs from first transaction and $0.91 OOP. Earned $2 ECBs.

Total OOP was $1.93. Started the day with $5.99 & $5.00 ECBs, finished the day with $5.99, $5.00 and $2.00 ECBs. The way I see it, I made $0.07 today at CVS. Now, if only I hadn't lost that $3 ECB the other week, I would be sitting on over $20 in ECBs.

I hear that there is an e-mail deal with $3/$15 good Labor Day only. I haven't yet gotten it, but am checking my e-mail. I might have to do the 7-up deal if I get it. My husband likes the A&W Vanilla Cream Soda.

How did you do? Leave your link here and if you would, a comment back to this post on your blog.

Update 9/5....
See other's savings stories at Money Saving Mom Super Savings Saturday. You can also check out CVS Superstars at the "Cent"sible Sawyer and participate in Show and Tell at BeCentsAble.

You can see my other CVS trip here - $10. in product for $0.47 OOP.

CVS Scenarios - week of 8/31

I don't yet have a copy of the CVS September ECB book, so my scenarios only include stuff from the ad today. In addtion, because I am using some coupons from P&G that expire today in my scenarios, after today, the deals wouldn't be quite as good.

Scenario #1

2 - Pantene Shampoo/Conditioners
1 - Pantene Styler
1 - Colgate Toothpaste

- $3.33 Mfg coupon Pantene, Get one Styler WYB one Shampoo
- $1 / 2 Mfg coupon Pantene
- $1.50 Colgate IP.

$4.66 + tax. I have a $5 ECB so I will likely add a filler so that I can use it. Earn $2 and $2 ECBs.

Scenario #2
2 Covergirl Outlast Lipcolor(BOGO sale)
1 Covergirl WetSlicks AmazeMint.

- BOGO coupon on Outlast Lipcolor
- $1 Mfg Coupon Covergirl Lipstick

$4.99 + tax. Use $4 ECBs from first transaction, OOP $.99 + tax. Earn $5.99 ECBs.

Both transactions qualify for the $5 CVS challenge over at Keeping the Kingdom First. If you combine the two they are just over the $5 challenge. Total OOP for the two transactions is $5.65 (less if you had your ECBs from last week) and you have $5.99 ECBs ready to use next week.

For other low OOP deals, check out Keeping the Kingdom First CVS $5 Challenge. You can also check out others weekly scenarios at The "Cent"sible Sawyer and Money Saving Mom. BeCentsAble also has information on CVS and other retailer deals as part of the Grocery Gathering. For more information, you can head here.

I did my shopping, I didn't exactly follow my plan, but you can see how I did here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fun Website Find

I came across a website today that I think is sort of neat. It is called Teacherly. It is a blog/social network for teachers and educators everywhere. According to the website: "Teacherly is a place where educators gather to get inspired, share lesson plans, and discuss the tools of the trade". I have not joined the website, so I am just exploring the stuff everyone can see.

I am not a teacher by education or career; but I do have children, so on some level that makes me their first teacher. There are some arts and crafts ideas I have come across on the website as well that I might try. This website, amongst other things, allows you to create custom word searches.

My son, who is recently 5, loves to do word searches. I have had some fun today creating some different word searches for him to try.

You can set the difficulty level to Easy, Normal or Hard. This impacts not only the overall size of the puzzle, but also the orientation of the words on the puzzle (i.e. forward, backward, up, down, diaganol). You do have to save the puzzle in order to print it. It appears that you can also play the puzzle on-line, although I had some trouble with that application when I tried.

I think I might have to try doing some wordsearches using sight words and early reading words to help reenforce what he is learning.

Have fun!

My Wordsearch (easy setting)


Friday, August 29, 2008

Breakfast Survey Results

On my recent side bar survey, I asked what you preferred - French Toast, Pancakes or Waffles. Here are the results:

44% prefer French Toast
38% prefer Pancakes
16% prefer Waffles

So, now the question is, besides if you are eating out: Do you prepare your own from scratch, use a mix or buy frozen?

For me, I make my own French Toast. This is of course best when we have left over fresh bread like Italian or French.

I tend to use a mix for Pancakes or Waffles. When I was younger I used to make my own. But now, with two little ones, I just find it easier to mix up enough for a couple of pancakes and go.

Rite Aid Deal

I stopped in a Rite Aid after work today. Not really with any plan in place, but just to see what they had. I noticed that they had Pert Plus on sale for $2.99 with a $2 One Check Rebate deal. I had a coupon for it that I had been saving for the CVS raincheck. After 3 weeks, my CVS still didn't have it in stock, so I decided I would use the coupon and take advantage of this deal.

Transaction #1

1 - PertPlus

- $2 mfg coupon

$0.99 OOP. One Check Rebate for $2 (completed on-line). Peelie rebate for free bottle (up to $3.99) $2.99. Assuming they don't discount the peelie rebate to reflect the coupon, I figure in the end, I will be paid $4 to bring home this one bottle of shampoo. Not bad for a random stop on the way home.

Transaction #2

Didn't happen. I saw that they also had a one check rebate on Shout laundry spray. I knew I had coupons at home, so I picked them up and stopped at the Rite Aid by my house, but they were out. I got a raincheck for the sale price and was told that when the product came in, I could simply fax in my raincheck and receipt and they would honor the rebate at that time. Even if I had already filed my August One Check Rebate. I will get each of the 22 oz Shout Sprays for $0.25 ($0.50 total for two) after coupons and rebate.

You can check out Drugstore Divas at the "Cent"sible Sawyer to see other drugstore deals and Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom to see what others deals other are finding.

CVS Deals - part 2

I thought I was just going to quickly stop by CVS on my way home to complete the Sobe LifeWater deal and grab the other ZipFizz deal. But, when I got my receipt, I noticed that the ob/Stayfree/Carefree deal was no longer showing Limit Reached. So, I headed home. I checked my receipt from Monday, which showed Limit Reached. Figuring that they had increased the limit, I grabbed a couple of coupons and headed out to another CVS to try that deal again.

Transaction #1 (Store #1)
3 - 20 oz Sobe LifeWater
1 - 32 oz Gatorade
1 - 3pk ZipFizz
1 - CVS Liquid Handsoap

- $2 CVS Skincare coupon
- $2 $2/$10 coupon
- $1 Free Sobe LifeWater coupon

Paid $5.78 ECBs ($5.99 adjusted down) and $0.07 OOP. Earned $5.99 & $2 ECBs.

Transaction #2 (Store #2)
1 - 36ct Stayfree
1 - 40ct ob
1 - CVS Liquid Handsoap
1 - KitKat bar

- $2 CVS Skincare coupon
- $2 $2/$10 coupon
- $1 Stayfree Coupon

Paid with $5 ECBs and $0.35 OOP. Earned $5 ECBs. The receipt once again showed limit reached. I'm wondering though, the monthly deal on the ob was limit 5. What differentiates the two deals? If I bought just ob, couldn't I have used the monthly deal after the weekly deal which included the Stayfree and Carefree? Anyone know?

Not a bad week. You can see my first two transactions for the week here. I got a lot of feminine care products. I should be covered for a while in that department.

Check out CVS Superstars at the "Cent"sible Sawyer and Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom for other deals.

Walgreen's deals

I don't have a Walgreen's in my area, but for those of you that do, there seem to be some great suggestions for deals to use the $10/$40 coupon that is good today and tomorrow and even make money after RR and ESR.

Check them out at:

Common Sense with Money

Megan's Bargains and More

Money Saving Mommy

Deal Seeking Mom

Good luck. I wish I had a Walgreens in my community or the next. I think the nearest one is 30 minutes away.

FREE Flip Video Digital Camera

Tara, at Deal Seeking Mom, has an opportunity for you to win a Free Flip Video Digital Camera, courtesy of WalMart and Pure Digital. For all the details, head over to Deal Seeking Mom and find out how you too can enter to win.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tips for Thursday

So, after some additional blog reading, I think that my Tips for Thursday is going to move to Wednesday, so I can participate in Works For Me Wednesday, over at Rocks In My Dryer. For today, I will keep it here on Thursday (can't really go back and make it a Wednesday post now).

Today is a tip that I received from a mom friend of mine. She passed away from cancer about 18 mos ago, but I am very appreciative of a tip she shared when she dropped off a dinner for my family in the days following the birth of my son.

She suggested that I select a stuffed toy to be a "Birthday Bear" and that every month during the first year, take a picture of the baby with that bear. It provides a great gauge for how they are growing and changing. She said she started it when her kids were younger and now, they just take annual pictures with the bear on their birthdays.

I loved this tip. I decided on a birthday bear for my son, in his case it was actually a stuffed bear. I took a picture of him and the bear every month for the first year and then every three months the next year and now, every year on his birthday. My husband mocks me, asking if I will still take his picture with that bear when he is a teenager (if he lets me, I just might). When I did his first year scrapbook, I was able to build a two page layout that showed his progress from month one to twelve very clearly.

When my daughter was born, my Mom and son went to the hospital gift shop and bought her a pink fluffy bear. It became her birthday bear and I have carried on the same tradition with her.

Conveniently, though they are different bears, they are both Ty Bears, so they are the same size, so they also can serve as comparison between the two kids.

I always have to remind myself that I need to take the picture. There has been at least one occasion where the kids had had their bath, read their books and were about to be placed in bed when I recalled that I needed to take that picture. In those cases, not considering the next day to be an option, I dragged them downstairs set them in the picture chair with their bear and snapped away. Those pictures show one tired child in their PJs with their birthday bear, but it is still the milestone picture that I will always have.

I love to look back at all of the pictures to see how they have changed and grown.

Do you have a tradition by which you measure how your child has grown and changed?

My Birth Stories

Jessica, over at Life As Mom, recently had a baby and she is hosting a story swap today on the topic of Birth Stories. She has asked that others post their birth stories on their blog and link back to hers. So here are the two tales of birth in my life. For those that are bothered by such tales, you may wish to stop here.

Baby #1 - Okay, to set the stage, 23 days before my due date, I go to the doctor and I am already dilated, 2 ½ cm. As a newbie, I come home and freak out, how can it be, I'm not ready. I frantically wash clothes, clean the house; in a word - Nest. After a few days, I calm down. Fast forward, 16 days before my due date, I am at the doctor again, this time I am dilated 4 cm. I take it in stride, 4 cm; okay...see you next week.

So here it is 12 days before my due date, a Friday and I am at work. I'm walking around with the intern that is supposed to help cover some of my projects while I am off on maternity leave, trying to give him some background on what has progressed to date, what is scheduled to happen when and what still needs to be coordinated. After a while, I get this sensation of flow, something that is surprisingly noticeable probably because I haven't had this feeling in about 9 mos. I excuse myself to see what is going on. I decide that my water might be leaking, so I call my doctor’s office to tell them I think my water is leaking. The doctor's office initially suggests I come in for a 3 pm appointment that afternoon and they will check me to see if I am leaking. Then, the nurse grabs my chart as she asks me, were you dilated last time you were in. I answer that yes, I was dilated 4 cm. She says skip the appointment, head to the hospital.

Still not feeling a great since of urgency as I’m not actually feeling any contractions, I update my project log with current information, call my husband to let him know I am heading home and tell my manager that I am going to make a trip to the hospital, I think it might be time. One co-worker hears this and asks my manager if I can come back later this afternoon when they send me home? My boss says no need to come back you can take the day.

I head home and tell my husband to grab some lunch, since you never know how long we are going to be there. I head upstairs to change before we go. On the way to the hospital, I call my mom to let her know we think it might be time but wait to leave. I will call if they admit me.

An hour later, confirmation, it is amniotic fluid. I'm admitted and am told I need to stay in bed because my water is leaking. I let mom know, so that they can head to the hospital – they live three hours away.

I’m still not really feeling any contractions, so my husband decides, we could be here for a while and heads home to pick up his laptop so that he can get some work done while we wait. Finally he returns and starts to work. There’s a lot of pressure and when they come in to check me, they tell me that if I want an epidural, I need to get it now. I’m so unsure; I ask will it get worse? Finally, I decide, why not, I might regret it if it gets to be more and it is too late. My husband packs up his laptop and heads to the hallway since he can’t be there while they tap for the epidural. So, they tap me for the epidural, which they haven’t connected yet, and as they have me move back onto the bed, my water breaks. They check and I am fully dilated. My husband returns and they have him suit up. In come the doctor, the nurses and a hundred pieces of equipment – it was amazing how quickly it went from empty to full in my room.

They tell me it is time to start pushing. I am in the middle of a push and my room phone starts to ring. I turn to my husband and say, you know that is my mom. A couple of pushes later (30 minutes after my water broke; 3 hours after they admitted me), my son arrives in this world. It was an amazing experience. I had no idea what to expect, but it was amazing. A few minutes later the phone rings again and I tell my mom, “It’s a Boy!”

Baby #2 – This time I should be ready for it all. I worry though, last time the only way I knew it was time was because my water was leaking. Other than pressure, I never experienced any noticeable contractions. What if my water doesn’t leak this time?

The doctor checked me about 20 days before my due date and told me I was dilated 2 cm, but as a second time mom, I might have been dilated since the beginning.

So, one night, about a week later I wake up around 3 am. I’ve got that sensation of flow again. Maybe it’s not real I say to myself and go back to bed. I can’t really sleep, so I get up and go downstairs to finish up some laundry I have and organize a few things. If I’m going to be gone for a couple of days and others will be staying at my house, I need to make sure it is at least tidy. I have a small snack, I don’t want to be hungry and I know once I am at the hospital, I won’t be allowed to eat anything but ice chips. I go back up and try again to sleep. I doze off for a little while. I wake up and finally, I’m convinced, my water might be leaking.

I wake my husband and call my doctor. Of course, it is in the wee hours of the morning, so I get the answering service. My doctors are both unavailable and another practice is covering their deliveries for them. The doctor will call me. The doctor calls, I explain things and he says, go into the hospital and they will call him if I am admitted.

I wake up my son and since it is the wee hours, we decide to just take him to the hospital. We can call for assistance once we are admitted. We pack some snacks and drinks for him as well as some stuff to do. There’s not much in a maternity ward room for a 3 year old.

This time, we have to do admission through the emergency room entrance. We get checked in and head up stairs. The staff doctor comes into check and confirms I am leaking. We call my mom and dad, so that they can head our way. Once the sun is up, we call our friend to see if she can come over and help watch our son until my parents arrive. In the meantime, he hangs out in the room with us. When a nurse or doctor comes in to check me, my husband and son go for a walk. My friend arrives and she takes him to the waiting room to color and hang out.

They ask about an epidural, based on last time, I decline it. Again this time, I’m not experiencing notable contractions, only immense pressure. I reach 10 cm, but I was positive for group strep b, so the doctor won’t break my water and let me deliver until I have had the antibiotic drip for 3 or 4 hours. I hang out and wait for the time to pass. My parents arrive and come in to say hi. This time they arrived before the baby. They leave the rest of the time passes and the doctor comes in to break the water and deliver the baby. I start to push, he stops me - the scar tissue from last time just isn’t stretching. He snips and then I’m allowed to push. My beautiful baby girl arrives in this world. Her brother comes in to be the first to meet her. Then, everyone else joins us. Even though this was my second delivery, I am still amazed by the whole event.

You can check out other amazing stories at Life As Mom - Story Swap: Our Baby Story.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Taco Soup

Today was a cool, blustery rainy day. Aside from being great sleeping weather, it makes me ready for the fall and for all those wonderful soups and stews and warm dishes that you seem to skip over the summer. One favorite of mine is Taco Soup. I got the recipe from a co-worker. She packed it in her lunch regularly and it just smelled so good, I had to ask for the recipe. It is super easy to make and yummy to eat.

Taco Soup
3# ground meat
2 c water
Small onion, diced

Brown the above, don't drain.

1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch original dressing mix
1 c picante sauce
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans corn
2 cans diced tomatoes

Let simmer.

I serve mine with a small dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheddar cheese.

You can stretch your dollar on this soup by doubling all the ingredients under "Add".

When I make it, we typically eat it for dinner and I freeze the rest in lunch servings for packing in my lunch.

I have a couple of other soup recipes that I will have to share over the next couple of weeks. I love soup for dinner.

It's not Monday anymore, but you can still check out some other blogger recipes at Mmm Monday at Mommies with Cents. There is also a recipe swap at Grocery Cart Challenge.

How do you relax?

Jessica over at Life As Mom, who just had a new baby, is hosting her weekly Toolin' Up Tuesday and today she asks, What Helps You Relax?

For me, there are a number of different things that help me relax. A personal favorite, but one that I don't seem to have the time for, is soaking in a nice, hot bubble bath with a good book.

When I'm at work and stress levels are up and/or my mind is racing, I have found that a walk around the block can help me relax and get back in focus. It may not sound relaxing, but it really does bring down stress levels and give me a fresh perspective on things. If I'm walking with someone, we talk. A nice distraction that allows the rest of my brain to sort and sift. If I'm walking alone, the downtime allows my brain to process through stuff and by the time I return, things are back in order. You know how things that you can't remember always seem to come to you at the most random times? My theory is that our brains are so busy most of the time that they need some downtime to sort through things and "find" what you are looking for.

Another way that I relax/unwind is to work a Sudoku puzzle. I'm addicted. I love the challenge and I work a puzzle every night at bedtime. I don't always finish a puzzle every night, but I work at one until I can't keep my eyes open. It seems strange to me that working a puzzle is relaxing, but for me it is.

For other ideas/tools for relaxation, check out Jessica's post at Life As Mom. And, while you are there, check out that little "FishChick" she had earlier this week. What a cutie!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Creative Outlets

Everyone needs a creative outlet. I happen to get mine through cooking, through scrapbooking (yeah, like I have time for that!), and through my children. One example of when I get to be creative is at my children's birthdays. Each year we have a theme selected by the kids (okay, we select them when they are young, but base it on their interests). Together, my husband and I come up with an invitation. This is usually me finding samples, examples and suggestions on-line, based on the theme and him putting together the actual invitation. Then, I bake and decorate a cake based on our theme.

Just this past weekend we had an outer space party for my now 5 year old son. We created invitations in the form of a recruitment letter to join our mission leader (the birthday boy) on a space mission. The recruitment letter came complete with an official badge for each invitee to allow access to "restricted areas".

Staying with our theme, the cake was a model of the solar system. It was a lot of fun figuring out how to make the cakes to a reasonable scale (it's the technical nature in me coming out) and then how to decorate them so they looked like the planets. Saturn was a bit of a challenge initially, but I wound up using sugar cookies broken in half to create the ring. From some angles, it looked like a scalloped ring, but from the angle in my picture, it was a rather nice looking ring. I included Pluto, despite its recent downgrade to dwarf planet. I used a combination of mini cupcakes, regular cupcakes, small bowls, large bowls (Pyrex is oven safe, just be sure to preheat) and a Bundt pan to create my Solar System. The Sun was painted with frosting and Pluto, to keep scale, is just dab of frosting. Check out the results here:

CVS Deals - 8/25

I stopped in at CVS yesterday on my way home from work. I picked up a couple of the deals, but still need to head back for a couple of others that I decided I would check out.

Transaction #1:

2 40ct ob Tampons
1 20 oz Sobe LifeWater
1 16ct Kotex Lightdays

- $1.50 ob Mfg Q
- $1.50 ob Mfg Q
- $1 Kotex Mfg Q
- $2 CVS Q

Paid with $5.00 ECBs and $0.78 OOP. Earned $5 & $1.49 ECBs.

Transaction #2 (lost my receipt):

1 3pk ZipFizz
1 Kotex Ultra with Wings

- $2 Kotex Mfg Q
- $2 CVS Q

Paid $6.49 ECBs (from first transaction) and $0.13 OOP. Earned $5.99 ECBs. Thankfully, I had pulled my ECB off of my receipt before I lost it. Which leads me to a question, when I log on at CVS, it shows that I have a $3 ECB that I can't find. I called CVS and they said to have the store manager call and validate that I have it. I asked the store and they told me that they can't do anything about it, call CVS. Anyone ever have this happen? Did you get your ECB? How?

I asked if I could use the $2/$10 Q in each transaction and was told, "I don't see why not?", so I decided to go ahead and use it twice.

I still need to get my second ZipFizz and I would like to complete the LifeWater/Gatorade deal as well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Latest Bzz.

I'm a BzzAgent and last week I received in the mail, the product for my latest Bzz Campaign. The Scrubbing Bubbles Action Scrubber. With BzzAgent you get the opportunity to participate in BzzCampaigns where you get to try new things (products and services) for free (or for a small cost) and share the experiences (and typically coupons) with your friends. If you would like to be a BzzAgent too, you can sign up at

The Scrubbing Bubbles Action Scrubber is really simple to use, you attach the cleaning pad to the handle, wet it and start cleaning. The handle is ergonomically designed to make it easy and comfortable to use. It is made from extruded foam and is water repellent. The cleaning pad contains the Scrubbing Bubbles cleaning solution and it is claimed to remove two times more soap scum than some leading competitors. It has multi-layered tiny scrubbing fibers. Once the cleaning pad is attached to the handle, you simply wet it to activate the cleaning solution. It is recommended that you also wet the surfaces prior to cleaning for best results. If there are tough to reach corners (we didn't have any), you can simply remove the pad and use it alone to clean those crevices. When you are done scrubbing, rinse your tub or shower, throw out the pad and store the handle on top of the tub that holds six refill pads.

I'll confess, I am fortunate enough to have a husband who does bathrooms, so I let him put it to the test. He said that it was easy to use and felt that it did a pretty good job, even on the soap scum that seems to be ever present on the shower door. He said that the handle was flexible enough to allow him to clean all surfaces without having to use the cleaning pad without the handle. He liked it but said that he was concerned with what the refill pads might cost. I couldn't help him with this question and haven't been to the store since he asked. So, overall, he liked the product and the way it performed, but needs to understand the refill cost to determine if it is a value to him.

If you would like to try it, there is a coupon offer for $2.75 on the Scrubbing Bubbles website here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

CVS Scenarios - week of 8/24

I've reviewed the ad and I have a plan in place of how to take advantage of some of the deals this week at CVS.

Scenario #1
2 ob (on sale 2/$9 with card)
1 Kotex Lightdays ($1.49 with card)

-$1.50 ob mfg coupon
-$1.50 ob mfg coupon
-$1.00 Kotex mfg coupon

OOP $6.50 (plus tax), earn $6.49 ECBs

Scenario #2
1 Kotex Ultra Thin with Wings (on sale 2/$9 with card)
1 Zipfizz (5.99)

-$2.00 Kotex mfg coupon
-$2 $2/$10 CVS coupon

OOP $6.50 (plus tax), ($0.01 after ECBs from Scenario #1); earn $5.99 ECBs

Scenario #3
1 Zipfizz (5.99)

OOP $5.99 (plus tax), ($0 after ECBs from Scenario #2); earn $5.99 ECBs.

You will be well stocked on feminine care products after these three transactions. Without ECBs to roll over from last week, it only comes to $6.50 OOP, less if you have ECBs from last week to roll.

To see what others are planning to do this week at CVS, check out Money Saving Mom CVS: Deals for the week of August 24-30, 2008 and at the "Cent"sible Sawyer CVS Deals 8/24 - 8/30.

Share your plans here. Post your scenario on your blog and paste your URL below. Please be sure the link is directly to your post, not just to your blog.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pizza Casserole

2 c cooked shell macaroni
1 4 oz can mushrooms
1 small can tomato sauce
1/2 c chopped onion
1 c grated mozzarella cheese
1 # ground beef, browned
1 c pizza sauce
1 c Parmesan cheese
4 oz pepperoni

1 c grated mozzarella cheese

Combine macaroni and ground beef. Stir in remaining ingredients. Put in casserole dish. Top with grated mozzarella and oregano. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

I like this recipe a lot. We leave out the mushrooms at my house, as my husband and I are not big fans. You can easily double it to get two casseroles - one for now, one to freeze (or share!). If you are looking to stretch your dollar, don't double the ground beef; it still is hearty enough to feed the crowd.

For other recipe ideas, check out the Grocery Cart Challenge weekly recipe swap and Life As Mom's What's A Dish You Deliver recipe swap for helping hands meals.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tips for Thursday

One thing that I haven't seen many deals on since I started the "Drugstore Game" at CVS earlier this summer has been Shaving Cream. But, I'm not too worried. I rarely use shaving cream anymore.

I read somewhere a while back about the advantages of using conditioner in place of shaving cream or soap when you shave. I have been using conditioner for months now and it works great. It provides a better lubricant than soap and it is a lot cheaper than shaving cream. The conditioner softens the hair and since it usually has moisturizers, also hydrates your legs. I recently was able to pick up 6 bottles of V-05 conditioner with vitamins A C & E for 50 cents a piece. The bottle lasts for a long period of time compared to shaving cream and it is a lot easier to pack for travel then a bottle of shaving cream.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

CVS Deals - 8/20

I'll admit, there wasn't anything that excited me this week. I did stop to pick up some Oxy, but I could have waited for that until next week since it was a monthly deal.

2 - 90 ct Oxy Cleansing Pads

-$2 $2/$10 CVS coupon
-1.50 * 2 Oxy coupon; website

Paid $5 ECB and $2.30 OOP; earned $3 ECB. Not a stellar transaction, but we needed some cleansing pads to fight acne and we have some trouble finding the Noxema ones we always bought.

I am hoping the deals look better next week.

You can see deals that others have found by checking out the CVS Superstars at the "Cent"sible Sawyer. Also, check out Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Indispensible Baby Gear

Jessica over at Life As Mom features her regular Tuesday feature with a baby gear theme today, Toolin' Up Tuesday: the Baby Edition. She asks, what is a baby tool/thing/gadget that you have really enjoyed. There are a lot of things that I have been glad that I had and many that I wonder, why did I waste my money.

I suppose if I had to choose one item that we have gotten incredible use out of and lots of comments when we use it, it would be Kiddopotamus Tiny Diner. A really simple thing really. A reusable table mat. It rolls up neatly into itself, so it fits in the diaper bag and after use, keeps the mess inside. It has a wide and deep surface and has a tray to catch all those dropped food items. No more worrying about how clean the table is when you are dining out and the catch tray helps reduce the amount of food lost to the floor or left covering your toddler's lap. We love it so much, that I have bought them for almost everyone I know that has had a baby since my son was a toddler. We have used it for the past 4 1/2 years, through two children and it is still holding up fine. Definitely worth the $10 or $12 it costs all those years ago.

Some other favorites:
Bouncy seat with vibrator
Playskool Step Start Walk 'n Ride
Toddler Silverware with travel case (since discontinued)
Toddler Silverware from Oneida (not a match to my set, but close and the kids love using "real" silverware)
Twist crayons (they don't break as easy as the other crayons).

Some non-favorites:
Baby Einstein DVDs
Crayola TaDoodles (the crayons don't stay in the holder).

Facebook Coupons - Update

Mercedes at Common Sense with Money, has a very good update on the issue with these coupons. There is a lot of question as to the legitimacy of the coupons. Please visit Common Sense with Money to read more information.

It is disappointing when you learn that something that would have great potential is misused and/or not legit to begin with.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Facebook Coupons

I found out on-line at Common Sense with Money last night about a coupon application on Facebook. There seem to be some pretty good coupons. What I read on A Full Cup indicates that the coupons are legitimate and that there are not any print limits to the coupons. They are manufacturer coupons but the redemption address is all to the application provider. You can progress to various savings levels the more you share with your friends. This translate to more and higher value coupons according to the application. When you log on, you need to go to Applications and search Check It Out.

Happy Saving!

8/16 update:

According to Common Sense with Money, there is some question as to the legitimacy of the coupons. She is waiting to here more and I will update as I hear more.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

CVS Trip #2

I planned out a second trip to CVS, hoping to use some coupons for PediaLax and build back up my ECBs. I had seen online that it was 2.19. I had a $1.00 coupon and it generates $2 ECBs. Only, when I went to my store, it was $6.99. I don't know if there is a smaller size out there that was cheaper and still part of the deal, but since I don't really need it right now, it didn't feel like the right investment. While at the CVS though, I discovered a coupon machine for Bliss, Reese's Clusters and Cadbury. I snagged a couple and headed home to formulate a plan to take advantage of the candy deal again.

Today, I went and put my plan in place. Here is what I got:

Transaction #1
1 - 9.6oz Bliss Chocolate
1 - 12oz Reese Cluster
2 - 1.77oz rolls of Spree (I added these at the end, when I wasn't going to be able to use my extra bucks.)

- $1 Bliss Coupon (
- $1 Reese Cluster Coupon
- $2 $2/$10 CVS coupon
- $2 $2 off CVS skincare (turns out the cashier didn't ring the item, which is why I was short)

Paid with $3 ECB and $0.58 OOP.

Transaction #2
1 - 9.6oz Bliss Chocolate
1 - 12oz Reese Cluster
1 - 1.8oz roll of SweetTarts
2 - Colgate Toothbrushes

- $.75 Colgate toothbrush coupon
- $1 Colgate toothbrush CRT
- $1 Bliss Coupon
- $1 Reese Cluster coupon
- $2 $2/$10 CVS coupon

Paid with $5 ECBs and $0.32 OOP. Earned $5 ECBs.

I was about to leave and realized that my candy deal was only $1.05 shy of the next ECB, so I went back and bought two more items to complete the deal:

1 - 4oz Caramel Nips
1 - 1.8oz roll SweetTarts

Paid $1.25 OOP. Earned $5 ECBs.

So, net net on the day, I spent $8 ECBs and $2.15 OOP and earned $10 ECBs. Essentially, I paid $0.15 for 4 bags of candy, 4 rolls of SweetTart/Spree and 2 Toothbrushes. Not too shabby.

You can check out my visit earlier this week here.

For other great deals, check out the CVS Stars at The "Cent"sible Sawyer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Apple Dijon Pork Roast

Jessica over at Life As Mom is having a Recipe Swap entitled What's In Your Crockpot.

Gayle over at The Grocery Cart Challenge is hosting a Recipe Swap as well. Guess I'm sort of double dipping, but this is a good recipe!

I love my Crockpot. I use it to make soups and to make meals. I hear you can make desserts, but I haven't been that adventurous yet. As a working mom, I do use it to make my evening easier. With dinner cooking all day, when I come home from work, I don't have to do nearly as much work to get dinner on the table.

A while back, I stumbled on a recipe that I really enjoy. It is for a pork roastthat turns out super moist and tender. The apple juice makes it a favorite of mine in the fall and I have substituted apple cider for a bolder flavor. I would serve this with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles and a vegetable on the side.

Apple Dijon Pork Roast (8 servings)

1 3 1/2 - 4 # Boneless Pork Roast
1 c Apple Juice
1 can (14 1/2 oz) fat-free chicken broth
1/2 c Dijon mustard
1/4 c corn starch

Trim any visible fat from the roast. Cut in half so that it will fit in the bottom of slow cooker. In a bowl, mix together the apple juice, chicken broth, and Dijon mustard. Pour mixture over the roast and cover the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours.

When the roast is cooked, remove meat to a platter and using two fork, shred the meat. Mix cornstarch with 1/4 c water. Slowly, pour the cornstarch mixture into the sauce remaining in the slow cooker. Stir until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Ladle sauce over meat and serve.

Tips for Thursday

Wow! I couldn't seem to come up with a title for this blog. After some deliberation, I have settled on Tips for Thursday. Okay, I know, it's only Wednesday, but somewhere it is already Thursday and in the future, this will be my Thursday feature. I thought that maybe I would try to get some regular posts onto my blog in addition to the recipes and savings I have been sharing.

Over the years, I have seen numerous e-mails, some many times, with tips. I have a wealth of tips that I have learned from friends and family or read in places like Heloise. So, I decided why not share some of those tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years that make my life easier/save me money.

A while back, it was suggested to me that my hair would be healthier if I washed it less frequently (equals drying less frequently as well and drying your hair, as we all know, is hard on your hair). So, I tried it. I switched to alternating days for washing my hair. I have to say that I am happy with the results. At first, I felt like you could tell when it was the off day, but now, I don't think you can. My hair has adjusted and seems healthier to me. I didn't think of it at the time, but I am saving a good deal of shampoo and conditioner in the process. Knowing that I am using less, makes me feel better about still using the "good" stuff (although lately, I've been using Target's version of the "good" stuff and I like it pretty well and it is cheaper).

The only drawback I have seen is that sometimes I get a buildup on my curling iron from the hairspray I used the first day. I have to clean this off of the curling iron or I find myself with what looks like strange striped gray hairs where the burnt on product is sticking to my hair. Conveniently, this is most noticeable on my bangs. A quick scrub with a scotch brite pad does the trick to clean it up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

CVS Deals - 8/12

I made my first stop to CVS for the week today and got a good amount of stuff. I did two transactions, they probably weren't arranged the best to limit the "extras" but if I had done them differently, my OOP would have been higher because my ECBs wouldn't have worked right.

Transaction #1
1 - 18 ct (12-ct; 50% more free) Allavert
2 - 14 oz M&M Dark Chocolate
1 - 1.8oz roll of SweatTarts

-$2 $2/$10 CVS coupon
-$4 Allavert coupon

Paid $0 OOP and used $4.50 ECB. Earned $3.00 ECB.

Transaction #2
1 - 1.8oz roll of SweatTarts
2 - 1.77oz roll of Spree
1 - 7.5oz CVS Antibacterial Hand Soap
1 - 7.5oz CVS Aloe Hand Soap
1 - 9.6oz Hershey Bliss Dark Chocolate
2 - American Greetings Cards (for upcoming birthdays)

-$2 $2/$10 CVS coupon
-$2 $2 off CVS skincare
-$1 Hershey Bliss coupon
-2.99 CVS American Greetings BOGO coupon

Paid $.32 OOP and $5.79 ECB. Earned $5.00 ECBs.

Net cost was $.32 OOP and a loss of $2.29 in ECBs. Normally this loss of ECBs would have bothered me more, but I needed the birthday cards and I would have easily paid more than $2.61 for just the two cards.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Delicious Dessert or Breakfast

One of our local grocery stores regularly features a recipe in their weekly ad. A few weeks ago, they had a special on Michigan Blueberries and included a recipe for Bursting Blueberry Bread Pudding. I made it for dessert, but as I was eating it, I decided it sort of tasted like a French toast bake with lots of blueberries. It would work well as a breakfast as well. Bursting Blueberry Bread Pudding 3 c. nonfat milk 3 eggs 1/2 c sugar 1/4 c honey 1 t vanilla extract 1/4 t almond extract 1/4 t cinnamon 5-6 c day-old, torn whole wheat bread 2 c blueberries 3 T whole wheat flour Preheat oven to 350°. Coat an 11” x 7” baking dish with non-stick spray. Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, honey, extracts, and cinnamon. Add bread and let stand for 15 minutes. Dust the blueberries with flour; discarding any excess flour. Add berries to bread mixture; pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour, or until bread pudding is set and lightly browned. I will admit that I didn't use whole wheat bread or flour, although that would have made it healthier. I used part of a left over loaf we had had for pasta a couple of days earlier and the last few slices of a loaf of sandwich bread. I am planning to make this for breakfast, the next time we have overnight company. For other recipes, check out the recipe swaps this week at Mommies with Cents and the Grocery Cart Challenge. Happy cooking!

CVS Deals last week

We did some traveling over the weekend, so I feel like I have some catching up to do. The kids and I went to my parent's house for the weekend. I took my mom to CVS for her first CVSing experience. She was excited about all that she could get for so little.

Myself, I did two stops, one before I left town and one with my mom.

Before I left, I got the following:

2 Oral B Advantage Toothbrushes
2 Covergirl Smoother Foundations

-$1 Toothbrush Coupon
-$2 $2/$10 CVS coupon
-$7.99 BOGO coupon on Covergirl

Paid with $2 in ECBs and $0.55 OOP. I earned $3. in ECBs.

Then, when I went with my mom, I decided to take advantage of the school supply rebate from Pert and Sure that was in her coupon insert last week, but not mine. I got the following:

2 5-pk Mechanical Pencils
1 10-pk Bic Pens
1 2-pk Nemo Chapstick (clearance)
2 Covergirl Smoother Foundations
2 13.5 oz PertPlus shampoos
2 2.6 oz Sure Deodorant
2 100ct Mead Index Cards
2 rolls of Scotch tape

-$1 Pert Plus coupon
-$2 Pert Plus coupon
-$1 x 2 Sure coupon
-$7.99 Covergirl BOGO coupon
-$2 $2/$10 CVS coupon

Paid $8.79 in ECBs and $1.08 OOP. This felt completely wrong with my estimate. I was expecting closer to $6 total. I checked my receipt before leaving and realized that someone had mis-hung the Scotch tape and I hadn't gotten the one that was on the BOGO sale they were having. I had to do a return of the two tapes and a rebuy. I got a refund of $3.50. I have cash now instead of ECBs. I will send in for my $5 rebate and then, this will actually be a total of $1.37 for all of this stuff - not too shabby.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

CVS - DVD deal follow-up

I went back to CVS on Saturday afternoon to pick up my DVD. They were out of the Kodak, so they did the CVS equivalent. Since the CVS equivalent wouldn't print the ECB, the store just gave it to me at no cost.

I have to say that from what I have read elsewhere, I'm not sure that the DVDs done behind the counter by the 1 hour photo are the same as those done at the Kiosk.

The DVD did hold all 170+ pictures that I had put on it. I had numbered my pictures in a 001, 002,... format and they were in the right order. The music was all instrumental. Clearly the transitions were completely random, some pictures were sort of funny because they would start on the people's faces and pan to their toes or start on someone and pan off to nothing.

A nice feature on the DVD was a photobook, which featured all of the pictures on the DVD in order with the date listed below them. I think this would be nice years later when you are watching it and wonder, "when was that picture taken?".

Overall, I was pretty satisfied. My husband tells me he can do something similar here at home (probably better since we can select the music and control the transitions), so I'm not sure I would pay the $9.99 (or more) to have CVS/Kodak make me the DVD.

Monday, August 4, 2008

CVS Deals

I went to CVS today, thinking I was going to try to use my $10 off of $50 CRT. I decided though, that this was too complicated and would lead to too much OOP. So, I narrowed my plan, removing a few things that I was adding only for the goal of reaching $50. I did pretty well, but had to add two toothbrushes in order to use ECBs and avoid significant out of pocket. Here is what I got:

1 4.2 oz Crest ProHealth Toothpaste
2 Oral B Advantage Toothbrushes
1 0.5 oz Infants Advil
2 3.0 oz Covergirl Clean Makeup
1 CVS Antibacterial Kitchen Handsoap

- .75 Crest ProHealth Mfg Q
- 1.00/2 Oral B Advantage Mfg Q
- 1.00 Infants Advil Mfg Q
- BOGO Covergirl Foundation
- $2.50 CRT for Pain relief
- $2.00 CVS skincare

Spent $7.99 ECB, $.53 OOP. Earned $5.79 & $4.50 ECB (net profit of $2.30 in ECB).

I'm pretty pleased, but of course I learned about the $2/$10 coupon just after I got home.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Gayle over at The Grocery Cart Challenge, hosts a weekly Recipe Swap. This week's swap is for Potlucks.

I enjoy going to potlucks because I enjoy trying a number of side dishes.

This dish is actually not a bad size for a family and probably needs to be doubled for a bigger potluck. It is a nice moist and flavorful rice side dish.

Rice Dish (I got this message from the mom of a guy I dated in college, guessing the original source was a Campbell's soup label recipe)

1 can Campbell's Condensed French Onion Soup
1 can Campbell's Condensed Chicken Broth
1 cup Rice (not instant)
1 cup water
1/2 stick margarine/butter

Combine ingredients in a casserole dish, cover and bake at 350 for 1 1/4 hours.

For more potluck recipe ideas, visit The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap - Potlucks.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

CVS Deals

I missed finishing out some of the July ECB deals because I didn't make it to CVS until today. I went to do the DVD. At my store, it has to be done behind the counter and there aren't any song choices (they are just assigned?). Anyway, I still have to go back to pick it up. I just hope it turns out nice. I called a couple of stores in my area who both told me they hold 250 pictures. I saw on-line in a couple of spots that 60 pictures were referenced, so I will see what happens since I had 170 pictures.

While there, I picked up some of their other deals.

2 11 oz Palmolive Dish Soap
6 15 oz V05 Shampoos & Conditioners
2 3-pk 4 oz Irish Spring Bar Soap
1 CVS Antibacterial Soap
1 Children's Advil 4 oz

-$.40 x2 for Palmolive
-$.30 x2 for Irish Spring Bar Soap
-$2. on CVS Skincare
-$1. on Children's Advil.

Paid with $7.98 ECB and $1.63 OOP. Earned $5.79 in ECBs. So, it actually wound up costing me $3.82 when you consider lost ECB and OOP.

The DVD is just free because they are out of the Kodak ones and have to do the CVS DVD, which of course wouldn't generate ECBs. I'm fine with that.

The "free gift" that was mentioned by e-mail yesterday for me turned out to be a 2.0 oz CVS Hand Sanitizer up to $1.49. Not as exciting as I had hoped, but free is free and we use Hand Sanitizer. What did you get?

Check out other Super Savings Saturday deals at Money Saving Mom.