Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Free Medium Pizza at Dominoes

Check out this post at Sisterly Savings to learn how you can get a free Medium Pizza from Dominoes.

Free Medium Pizza

Tried It Tuesday - Cuties California Clementines

A few years ago (probably about 10 years now), I tried my first clementine orange. I had bought a crate of them at the grocery store around the holidays. After one taste, I was hooked. Those little fruits were the perfect size and were so sweet and flavorful. They became the perfect, portable snack. They were easy to peel without any tools and they were satisfying as a snack. There were two challenges that I encountered, though. First, they weren't consistently seedless. In fact, the box would be so mixed, that I was afraid to just give some to my children without first inspecting each section of the clementine. Second, the season in which clementines were available at my store seemed to be very short, only around the holidays.

Then, a few months ago, in the Sunday coupon section, there was a coupon for Cuties California Clementines. I watched for them at my store, but never saw them. Then, on a visit home to my parent's, we stopped at Kroger to do some shopping. They had both the 3# bags and the 5# crates of the Cuties. I decided to use my coupon and try a bag of the Cuties. (I chose the bag, because the coupon value was such that it would double, making the smaller size a better value.)

I loved them. They were perfectly sweet and juicy with a great flavor. They were easy to peel just like the ones I had been buying for years. There weren't seeds in any of them that I tried. These two features together make them a perfect snack for the kids. My son is able to peel them to share with his sister and I don't worry much about them finding a seed. They are a product of the USA, which is a nice plus. Their season seems to be much longer than the traditional imported Clementines that you only see around the holidays. I just purchased a bag two weeks ago. According to their website, they are available from November to April.

It of course is April tomorrow and I won't be going to my parent's for a few weeks, so I guess that I will likely have to wait until fall to purchase these great treats, but if you have a store near you that carries them, you still have time to pick some up and try them for yourself.

Have you tried Cuties? What did you think? Have you tried something else? Share it with us. Leave a comment or post on your blog and leave a link.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What $100 Can Buy at CVS

I was a little skeptical when I started to shop at CVS last summer. I had shopped CVS before and have had my card forever. Either I never understood the program or it changed. I used to buy some things, but don't ever remember getting ECBs. I would get coupons, but not ECBs (or I failed to recognize them as such). I thought the ECBs only printed quarterly and I never seemed to make it into the store during the window when the rewards printed.

Then, this past summer, I stumbled upon Money Saving Mom. She made it all sound so simple, so I decided I would give a few of the deals a try. My first few weeks, I was so nervous when I would go to check out that I would literally be shaking. I was convinced someone was going to stop me and say, you have it all wrong, you can't do that.

Since, I started this blog so that I could share my plans and deals, I figured that it was only appropriate to track my savings. I decided a while back that when I eventually got to $100 OOP, that I would have to summarize what I had gotten for my $100. Being an engineer, I built a spreadsheet to track my purchases, my savings and my OOP. What you see here is the summation of those details.

It took me ten months to do it, but I finally spent $100 OOP at CVS. The best part is that although my recorded out of pocket was $100, $25 was on a free gift card I received with a prescription I filled and I submitted and received $10.50 back in rebates, so my net cost was actually only $64.50. In spending $100, my total reported savings (vs regular CVS costs) equalled $1893. So, for a net $64.50 out of pocket, I received products valued at $1993, a savings of almost 97%.

To me, the savings are amazing, but not only did I save a lot, I saved it on mostly branded products and products that we use everyday. I bought a few extra things from time to time, but few and far between and I usually shared those with family and friends or donated them.

Here is what I got for $100 OOP at CVS:

22 12pk of soda
25 single serve drinks (20 - 32oz)
(@ sale prices of $3/12pk and $1/20oz, these first two items would have cost me $91 alone at the grocery!)
1 2L of soda
16 boxes of cereal
1 box of cereal bars
44 batteries (AA, 9V, C)
6 boxes of tissues
42 rolls of toilet paper
24 rolls of paper towels
5 bottles of cleaning products
6 bottles of dish soap
5 packs of diapers/pullups (some Jumbo, some Mega)
5 packs of wipes
33 bottles of shampoo/conditioner
4 bottles of hair stylers
26 deodorants
6 bars of soap
14 bottles of body wash
4 razors
20 bottles of pain killers/medicines
21 tubes of toothpaste
14 toothbrushes
7 bottles of mouthwash
6 facial cleansers/moisturizers
19 packages of makeup (foundation/lipstick/blush)
9 packages of fiber supplements/nutrition drinks (Benefiber and Boost)
3 packs of gum
8 snack size bags of nuts
42 candy bars (wow!)
43 bags of candy
8 bags of snacks
15 greeting cards
4 photobooks/discs
11 bottles of laundry detergent
6 bottles of vitamins
8 hand soaps
19 packages of feminine care products
6 packages of bandages/first aid items
2 tubes of sunscreen
13 SoyJoy bars
7 packages of pens/tape/index cards

and assorted other items including, Hand Sanitizer, 2 Chapstick, 2 Light Sticks, 2 pair of kids imitation crocs, FlaVorIce, 1000ct Bendy Straws, Cotton Swabs, Cotton Rounds, 2 pks ZipFizz energy drinks, Madagascar II, I-Pod Headphones, 3 Bath Poofs, 2 Nail Polishes, Room Fresheners, and Pocket Tissues.

Do you have a money saving experience to share? Leave a comment and let us know.

Online Poster Printing giveaway

I love pictures. I remember when I got my first camera. It was my parent's old one, you had to buy flash bulbs and the film #126 (not sure what that number means anymore). I was young, film and flashbulbs weren't cheap, so I took only a few pictures. When I was maybe 12, I purchased a Cannon that you had to adjust settings on in order to take pictures. It was nice in that it came with an electronic flash. It was a little cheaper without the flashbulbs and I was making more babysitting money by then, so my picture taking steadily increased.

Over the years, I took a good number of pictures. I have stacks of pictures, good and bad to prove it.

Thank goodness for the advent of digital cameras. With a digital camera, I can take all of the pictures that I want. And, they cost me nothing until I am ready to print, and even then, I get to choose which ones to print. No more paying to print the picture of the ceiling, inadvertently snapped. An added advantage is that by being able to continuously take pictures, I have caught some great moments that I might not have gotten if I was limited to 36 exposures per roll of film and knowing that every picture would be printed, not just the ones I loved.

Sometimes, you get that really great picture that is worthy of framing. Do you have a really great picture, that you have been wanting to get enlarged so you can display it in all its grandeur? The glossy poster prints offered at Online Poster Printing are a great way to create a photo enlargement of that great vacation photo or try their photo canvas for a stunning portrait.

I was recently given the opportunity to print my own photo poster print . We didn't want to enlarge just any picture, we wanted a special picture that we could hang in our room - a good picture of both kids that was current. So, we held a special photo shoot in our basement. We had the kids play around on the bean bag chair and took some snapshots. Despite both of them having periods of being uncooperative (in fairness, it was after 7pm, so they were both a little tired), we actually wound up with a handful that we thought we could enlarge. Seeking some opinions around the office, I narrowed it down to one.

We ordered our print and the service was wonderful. The poster arrived protected in a shipping tube and the print quality was great. I went out and bought a frame this weekend so that we could add this new picture to the wall in our room.

You too can order poster prints online. The process is pretty easy. You will need to set up an account. Then, select the pictures that you want to have enlarged and upload your image. You can edit and zoom your image once uploaded, to make it just right. They offer custom size prints. The poster that I printed was 16x20, but you could order a print from 8x8 all the way up to 60x100 (wow). On the rolled products, they offer next day service for prints. Their specialist review images before sending them to be processed and will notify you if there is a concern with your file. All of their prints come with a Money Back Guarantee.


Thanks to Online Poster Printing, I am able to offer to my readers a chance to win one (1) free 16x20 poster print from Online Poster Print*.

To enter:
  • Visit their site and check out their products. Leave a comment and let me know you would use the poster print if you won.

For a bonus entry:
  • Tweet about the giveaway. Include @ABusyMomofTwo in your tweet. Leave a comment letting me know you tweeted about the giveaway.

The contest will remain open until Thursday at 6:00 PM EST. I will notify the winner and they will have 24 hours to respond, or I will choose a new winner.

*The prize will ship free to US and Canada. Other locations can still enjoy a free print, but will have to pay for shipping.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We don't have a specific budget for groceries at our house. We recognize that there are weeks where we stock up and weeks where we eat from our stockpile and only pick up a couple of items. This week I did my shopping early, to get a number of things I needed for the Land O' Lakes House Party. I got my regular weekly groceries as well. It was a pretty average week.

At our house, we don't eat breakfast or lunch together during the week, so there is minimal planning that goes into those meals. For us, the focus is dinner.

Corn Dogs
Hot Dogs/Oven Ready Macaroni & Cheese (leftover from last night)

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Hazelnut French Toast

Cube Steaks and Rice

Fish Fillets

Out with company

Weekdays breakfast is at daycare for my daughter, the rest of us eat cold cereal, frozen waffles, oatmeal, toast or whatever strikes our fancy. Lunch we pack, usually leftovers for me. My son either packs or buys lunch at school. If he packs, it is generally a lunch meat sandwich or a PB&J with some sides.

Check out other menu plans for the week at Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

CVS Scenarios - week of 3/29

Definitely a little disappointed in ECB deals this week at CVS. There are however a couple of deals, that after mail in rebates, look pretty good.

Transaction #1

1 - Lysol Toilet Bowl cleaner
1 - Lysol Wipes
2 - Paas Easter Egg Color kit

-$1 CVS e-mail Lysol coupon
-$1 Lysol Toilet Bowl cleaner coupon
-$.75 Lysol Wipes coupon

Total $6.23. Submit for $5 Lysol rebate, with pediatrician visit (rebate expires 3/31, needs to be mailed by mid-April). Earn $3.98 in ECBs.

Transaction #2

4 - Ensure 6-pk
2 - Rimmel Mascara (BOBO sale)

-$3 Ensure multipack IP
-$3 Ensure multipack IP
-$3 Ensure multipack IP
-$6.99 B3G0 free IP (requires sign up)
-$? Free Rimmel Mascara

Total $12.97. Pay with $3.98 ECBs from transaction #1 and $8.99 OOP. Submit for the Try Me Free Rebate to get back $6.99.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom, Deal Seeking Mom and the "Cent"sible Sawyer.

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1

2 - Paas Easter Egg Color
2 - Rimmell Mascara

-Free Rimmell Mascara coupon

Total $3.98, earn $3.98 ECBs.

Transaction #2

1 - Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner
1 - Lysol Wipes
1 - Lysol All Purpose Cleaner

-$1 CVS e-mail Lysol coupon
-$1 Lysol Toilet Bowl cleaner coupon
-$.75 Lysol Wipes coupon
-$.50 Lysol Cleaner coupon

Total $4.25. Pay with $3.98 ECB from Transaction #1 and $.27 OOP. Submit for $3/3 Lysol Rebate.

Total OOP $4.25. Net cost will be $1.25 after MIR.

For more $5 Scenarios, check out the CVS $5 Challenge at Keeping the Kingdom First.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Land O' Lakes House Party

Yeah!!! Today, I hosted my first House Party. It was a blast. The party sponsor was Land O' Lakes. The theme was 'Add Simple Goodness to Any Night'.

Including the kids, there were 10 of us at the party. My son was prompt to add an 11th, because by including the cat, there were two boys.

Land O'Lakes was kind enough to send along some swag to share with all of the guests. The gift included reusable grocery totes, an apron, coupons, recipes, freezer labels and more.

As the guests arrived, we gathered in the kitchen and everyone donned their aprons and we set off on a fun-filled, afternoon of baking, cooking and chatting. It was a great time. I love to cook, I love to visit and I love to eat...so it was the best of all worlds for me.

One thing I really liked is that many of the main course recipes in the recipe booklets included directions for 'Freeze and Bake Later Method'. The recipes all used very basic ingredients, nothing crazy - making them family friendly and at the same time, very delicious.

We prepared some wonderful recipes from the recipe booklet:
Veggie Wrap-Ups
Hot Swiss and Ham Dip
Cucumber & Swiss Rye Bites
Cheddar Pan Biscuits
Ranch Chicken & Rice Bake
Oven Ready Macaroni & Cheese

left - cheddar pan biscuits, middle - oven ready macaroni & cheese, right - ranch chicken & rice bake

Slice & Bake Shortbread Cookies

The recipe we had for the Cheddar Pan Biscuits actually used American slices instead of cheddar, but turned out delicious. I goofed and used too much pasta for the Macaroni & Cheese, but the flavor was good - next time, I'll read the recipe. I also added cinnamon to the cut and bake cookies, that was meant to coat them...I coated them anyway, they just had a little extra cinnamon panache.

A great time was had by all and there were even extras for the guests to take home. I hope I have the opportunity to host another House Party in the future, it was a wonderful time.

CVS Deals - 3/27

Not a large stop today, just went to exchange an item and noticed a couple of things.

1 - Pirate's Booty Snack (clearance)
1 - Huggies Wipes

-$2.49 Huggies Mfg coupon, adjusted down

Paid $1.15 OOP.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rite Aid Deals - 3/27

I headed down to Rite Aid to pick up some diapers. I still had a few of those $3 Huggies IP that were available a few weeks ago that are about to expire. Little did I know that they only recently started taking Internet coupons and they are supposed to be limited to one per transaction. They told me that if I split my transaction that I could use multiple IP, but I also had a $5/$25 that I wanted to use, so that wouldn't work. I asked if since they would take both on two transactions, could they just this once take them both on one transaction. They asked the manager and were told to go ahead this time. I was relieved, I didn't mean to be a troublemaker.

2 - Huggies Natural Fit Diapers
1 - Huggies Pull-Ups

-$3 Huggies Natural Fit Diapers IP
-$3 Huggies Natural Fit Diapers IP
-$2 Huggies Pull Up Mfg coupon
-$5 $5/$25 Rite Aid Front End coupon

Paid $10 on a free Rite Aid Gift Card from a previous month promotion, and $8.84 OOP. I will submit for the Single Check Rebate of $2 on the Huggies this month. That will make my net cost for the diapers and pull-ups, $6.84. Not bad for three jumbo packs.

For more deals, check out Drugstore Divas at The "Cent"sible Sawyer and Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom.

Fat Burnin' Friday

Well, it's finally Friday and I could use some sleep. Last weekend we went to my parent's house for the weekend. On Saturday morning, my son thought that 4 am was a fine time to start the day. Now, at home, that would have been of little consequence, as I would have told him to go play in his room with his door shut, but at my parent's he was sharing a room with the rest of us because my brother was home. Needless to say, I was exhausted by the end of the day. That was the story of my week. All week, I thought, tonight I will get to bed early so I can get some extra sleep, but best laid plans and all, I somehow found it to suddenly be 10pm. So, all week I was tired. It was a real struggle to get up and exercise every morning, but I knew that if I was to succeed in my goals, I must get up. A few mornings, I had to abbreviate my workout to make sure I made it to work on time, but I worked out. And...it paid off...I lost weight, 2 pounds, this week and I am happy about that. Woohoo!

The best part was that by balancing portions at mealtime and working out, I was able to allow myself to have a small treat a couple of nights and still have success. It was sweet success to enjoy a small hot fudge sundae complete with whipped cream. Yum!

Pounds lost to date: 10.5#
Pounds to go: 22.5#

Samples and Freebies


Attune Probiotic Bar coupon for free bar
Cottonelle mini-roll and wipes sample.
Old Spice Game Day scent bodywash.


Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse shade pallet card
Metamucil Pink Lemonade and Berry Burst sample
Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner sample
Land 'o Lakes House Party kit - wooohoo! I am excited, it is full of many awesome things.

CVS Deals - 3/25

3 - Mountain Dews
2 - GE Gummy Worms
2 - Post Trail Mix Crunch
1 - M&M (filler)

-$6 3x$2 Pepsi mfg coupons (from rebate in January)
-$4 2x$2 Post Trail Mix Crunch IP-$1 $1/2 Gold Emblem Candy

Paid with $2 and $5 ECBs and $.46 OOP, earned $2 ECBs. I had planned to spend less, but with the big bags of Gold Emblem candies on sale for $.99 (regularly $1.50), I decided to use my coupon to get two for $.98. Without those, I wouldn't have had to get the filler and would have only spent $5 ECBs and $.79 plus tax OOP.

For more CVS deals, check out CVS Superstars at the "Cent"sible Sawyer and even more deals at Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Winner - Outback Steakhouse $25 Giftcard

Congratulations to:


You are the winner of the Outback Steakhouse $25 giftcard. I have sent the winner an e-mail.

Please respond within 24 hours or I will draw a new winner.

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2009-03-26 22:51:07 UTC

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CVS Deals - 3/23

I made a quick stop to CVS on Monday. Only picked up one thing, but it was a moneymaker.

1 - Crest ProHealth Enamel 4.2oz

-$1 Crest Mfg coupon

Paid with $2 ECBs and $.59 OOP. Earned $3.49 in ECBs. Net gain of $.90.

For more CVS deals, check out CVS Superstars at The "Cent"sible Sawyer.

Bowling for 99¢ a Game

Check out this post at The Bargain Jargon to learn how you can get a coupon for up to 10 games at 99¢ each. The coupon does not include shoe rental and certain other restrictions apply. Coupon expires on 4/30/09.

Time for Mom

It used to be that I would get up in the morning at that last possible moment to allow me to get out the door on time. Once I had my son, my perspective on this changed. Suddenly, it became important to get up in plenty of time in the morning. I even flipped my morning routine. I had always been one to go from bed to the shower, get dressed and ready, head downstairs for breakfast and sort of work my way towards the door. After my son was born, I started coming downstairs and getting breakfast and packing my lunch and such, before heading to the shower. This was a necessity so that I could have some me time and let him sleep as late as possible.

As my routine changed, I came to really enjoy the morning hours. I am up almost 3 hours before I walk out the door for work. I am able to get a lot done during this time. The first couple of hours are quiet, as everyone is still sleeping. So, it really is my time to do what I want, without interruptions.

I come downstairs, do laundry, empty the dishwasher that I generally run overnight, wash pots and pans from last night's dinner, do my exercises, pack lunches, eat breakfast, and spend some time online. Then, I head upstairs to get my shower and get dressed. About this time, the kids wake up and they start to get ready for their day.

This really works for me. After a busy day, I just don't have the energy or the desire to do many of these activities. In the early evening, I want to spend as much time as possible with the kids before they go to bed. Once they are in bed, I just want to unwind and head to bed. So, it is nice to be able to accomplish so much in the morning. Plus, exercising in the morning leaves me energized and ready to start the day.

To read more tips and tricks, check out Works for Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family.

More Arby's Free with Purchase

Arby's is clearly excited about their new products. They have put out four new coupons that you can get here.

Free Roastburger Sandwich with purchase of Fries and Drink
Free Roast Chicken Club with purchase of Fries and Drink
Free Fruitea with purchase of any Sandwich
Free Chocolate Malt Shake with purchase of Roastburger

Of course, all of the purchased items have to be at regular price, so you can't combine these coupons with other deals. The coupons are good until March 31st.

Thanks to Tara at Deal Seeking Mom.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop Deal

Today only! Ben & Jerry's eCONEomic relief!

Visit your participating Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop on Tuesday, March 24th and when you bring along a donation of a non-perishable food item, you can get a single scoop of ice cream for only $1. For more information and to find a location near you, check out Ben & Jerry's website.

All donations will be supplied to your community's local food pantry.

What a great deal and cause!

Tried It Tuesday - Horizon Organic Milk

I have always been a milk drinker. I crave milk. My husband doesn't understand, he doesn't even drink all the milk out of the cereal bowl. After I have been outside on a warm day, nothing tastes better than a tall glass of cold milk. Before I had children and found myself drinking the whole milk I was buying for them on occassion, I had this perception that whole milk was thick. But, once I was drinking it semi-regularly, I decided I liked the rich, creamy texture of the whole milk. I just didn't like the higher fat content.

Then, about a year ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a BzzCampaign through BzzAgent and got to try Horizon Organic Milk. I'm not sure what it is about the organic milk, but even the low fat version has a rich, creamy taste to it. It makes you think that you are drinking whole milk. I love it. I tastes like I'm indulging, even though I'm drinking the low fat milk.

The BzzCampaign was specific to the milk with the added DHA Omega 3, which is supposed to be good for your eyes and your brain. To me, it is always a nice benefit when a product you enjoy can provide additional nutrients.

One thing that I have noticed is that when you buy the milk, the expiration date is sometimes weeks out. I believe this is a result of the Ultra Pasteurization process. Once opened, the package indicates it is good for seven days. Both of these are definitely an improvement over regular milk.

Another nice thing is that because it is Organic, you know that the cows weren't treated with hormones. Of course, in this part of Ohio, even the store brand milk is rBST free, so this isn't really any different than regular milk.

To me the only drawback of Organic milk is it's price tag. It is very hard to justify purchasing a half gallon of Organic milk for the same price, or more, than I pay for a full gallon of regular milk. As such, I have made it my guilty pleasure. I don't buy it weekly, in fact, usually only when I have a coupon or it is on sale, but I do buy it as a treat to myself. It is reserved strictly for drinking and (I know this is bad) only for me, not the rest of the family.

Have you tried Horizon Organic Milk? What did you think? Have you tried something else - what did you think? Share your comments or post on your blog, with a link back to this post, and add your link to Mr Linky.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nathan's Famous Nickel Frankfurters

This won't work for me, but if you are near a Nathan's Famous, check out this post at Living As Mom to find find out how to get a coupon for buy one get one for 5cent franks, as well as a list of participating locations. Coupon is good until December 31st.

Tried It Tuesday - coming tomorrow!

Don't forget to come back tomorrow to join in on Tried It Tuesday. Post and Mr. Linky should be up early morning tomorrow.

Outback Steakhouse

Have you cut back on dining out recently? I know my family has. With rising costs everywhere, we have become more selective in how we spend our money. When we do go out, I want to make sure that I am getting not only a good price, but a good value. If I selected where to eat out on price alone, we would be dining out at fast food. But, to me, the flavor and quality of the food that I am served, the quality of the service and the portion size are all components that impact my perception of value.

One of my favorite restaurants, especially when I am hungry for a steak, has always been Outback Steakhouse. Typically, we start with the Bloomin' Onion - that deep fried, cut onion with that great dipping sauce - it makes my mouth water, just thinking about it. Then, for dinner, I almost always order the fillet with a baked potato.

I was excited to learn that Outback Steakhouse , known for its big, bold flavors has re-invented its entire menu and the menu now features 15 meals for under $15, with meals starting at $9.95. They understand that the value equation includes the flavor, quality and satisfying portion sizes. The updated menu features classic favorites and innovative creations such as The Sweet Glazed Roast Pork Tenderloin, Shrimp en Fuego, Ribs and Alice Spring Chicken (all under $15 dollars). I'm thinking that on my next visit, instead of the Victorian Fillet, I'm likely to try the Teriyaki Marinated Sirloin, one of their new creations, available for under $15.

Want a sample of the new flavors? You can try this recipe from Outback's "Aussie-Tizers® to Share" menu at home.

“Crab Stuffed Shrimp”

1/4# Butter
1/4# Diced Onion
1/4# Diced Celery
1 1/2 tsp Chopped Garlic
2 Tbsp. Sliced Green Onions
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Black Pepper
1/8 tsp. White Pepper
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1/4# Lump Crab Meat

Place sauté pan over medium heat. Place butter in the pan and allow to melt.
Place onions, celery, garlic, green onions, and seasonings in pan and cook for 6-8 minutes.
Place mixture into a blender and blend for 20 seconds. Caution: Mixture will be HOT.
Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl adding bread crumbs and drained crab meat. Fold in with a spatula until blended.

Lemon Pepper Butter:
1/2 cup Water
2 Tbs. Flour
1 1/2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
1/2 # Butter
1 tsp. Lemon Pepper Spice
Combine water, lemon juice, flour and seasonings in a sauce pan.
Over high flame, whisk until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
Slowly add softened butter in small amounts until all is blended.

Cooking Shrimp:
Butterfly shrimp.
Place flour in a container and toss shrimp until completely coated.
Deep fry shrimp at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 minutes.
Place 1 Tbs. of hot stuffing onto each cooked shrimp.
Drizzle 1 Tbs. of Lemon Pepper Butter over each shrimp.

Serve and Enjoy!!!!!


Thanks to the kind folks at Outback Steakhouse, I am able to offer to my readers a chance to win one $25 giftcard to Outback.

There are three ways to enter.
  • Check out their new menu and let me know what dish you would order in the comments.

  • Sign up to get my updates by e-mail or in a reader. Leave me a comment, letting me know you subscribed.

  • Tweet about the giveaway. Include @ABusyMomofTwo in your tweet. Leave a comment letting me know you tweeted about the giveaway.

The contest will remain open until Thursday at 6:00 PM EST. I will notify the winner and they will have 24 hours to respond, or I will choose a new winner.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We don't have a specific budget for groceries at our house. We recognize that there are weeks where we stock up and weeks where we eat from our stockpile and only pick up a couple of items. This week was a was a light grocery week. I had been out of town all weekend visiting with my family. I made a quick stop at Kroger and got a couple of items. Otherwise, a mid-week trip for milk will be the extent of the shopping this week, so we will be eating from our stockpile.

At our house, we don't eat breakfast or lunch together during the week, so there is minimal planning that goes into those meals. For us, the focus is dinner.

Waffle House
Cheeseburgers/Hot Dogs

Saucy Cheesy Pasta


Lemon Chicken

Breakfast for Dinner

Fish Sticks/Fillets


Weekdays breakfast is at daycare for my daughter, the rest of us eat cold cereal, frozen waffles, oatmeal, toast or whatever strikes our fancy. Lunch we pack, usually leftovers for me. My son either packs or buys lunch at school. If he packs, it is generally a lunch meat sandwich or a PB&J with some sides.

Check out other menu plans for the week at Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Kroger Deals - 3/21

I headed to Kroger to check for some deals. I was very disappointed to see that the Kroger by Mom's no longer seems to carry the 4-pack single rolls of Cottonelle, so I wasn't able to pick up any free toilet paper. I did get a couple of items while I was there.

1 - Cuties 3# Tangerines
2 - Quaker Instant Oatmeal

-$.55 Cuties mfg coupon
-$.45 double
-$1.35 $1.35/2 Quaker Oatmeal mfg coupon

Total $4.64.

For more deals, check out Super Savings Saturday on Money Saving Mom.

CVS Scenarios - week of 3/22

The deals seem a little slim at CVS this week, but I did come up with a couple of transactions that I could do.

Transaction #1
1 - Crest Pro Health Toothpaste

-$1 Crest ProHealth Mfg coupon

Pay $2.49 OOP and earn $3.49 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Schick Intuition Plus
2 - Post Trail Mix Crunch Cereal (BOGO)

-$4 Schick Intuition Plus Mfg coupon
-$2 Trail Mix Crunch IP
-$2 Trail Mix Crunch IP

Total $5.58. Pay with $3.49 ECBs from transaction #1 and $2.09 OOP. Earn $3 ECBs.

Transaction #3
3 - Pepsi 12pks

-$6 3 x $2 any Pepsi Mfg coupon (from mail in coupon request)

Total $5. Pay with $3 ECBs from Transaction #2 and $2 OOP. Earn $3 ECBs.

Spend the ECBs on something else you need or hold them for next week.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom , Deal Seeking Mom, and The "Cent"sible Sawyer.

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
1 - Crest Pro Health Toothpaste

-$1 Crest ProHealth Mfg coupon

Pay $2.49 OOP and earn $3.49 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Schick Intuition Plus
2 - Post Trail Mix Crunch Cereal (BOGO)

-$4 Schick Intuition Plus Mfg coupon
-$2 Trail Mix Crunch IP
-$2 Trail Mix Crunch IP

Total $5.58. Pay with $3.49 ECBs from transaction #1 and $2.09 OOP. Earn $3 ECBs.

Total OOP $4.58 and you have $3 ECBs to roll to next week.

To see more $5 Scenarios, check out CVS $5 Challenge at Keeping the Kingdom First.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fat Burnin' Friday

Lesson learned this week: Weekends can be a big struggle when you are entertaining. We had friends over for dinner and some gametime on Saturday night. We decided to order in pizza for dinner. I could have stopped at a couple of slices, but decided I had to have that third slice, it just tasted so good. Then, I had the brilliant idea that we should have dessert - brownie sundaes, no less. Then, of course, there were the obligatory chips and dips and pepperoni and cheese with crackers that we set out while we were playing games. I needed a refreshment, so I elected to have some wine. Seeing as how I probably consumed a whole day worth of calories after 5, I started my week with a gain. A frustrating way to start a week.

I did pretty good the rest of the week. I got up every morning, as planned, to work out. I did have some ice cream, but I made sure to limit my serving size. Then, we went out to an impromptu dinner on Thursday, so despite more of a loss reflected on Thursday morning, I wound up with only a small loss, but it was a loss.

I'm confident that I will do better next time I am in that situation. There wasn't anything wrong with having any of the items that I had, I just shouldn't have had as much of the items I had. I could have had less pizza for sure and a smaller brownie sundae. Knowing how that one night of splurge made my struggle harder, I will be stronger next time.

Pounds lost to date: 8.5#
Pounds to go: 24.5#

Samples and Freebies


BreadBreakthrough Recipe booklet
Gain laundry detergent sample
Airborne Original Zesty Orange sample
All Bran Pink Lemonade drink sample


Windex Refund (Try Me Free)
Fiber One Bar - from Text requests
The Report Card by Andrew Clements - free book from PopTarts
Cream of Wheat sample and coupon
$15 in Pepsi/FritoLay coupons

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

I'm joining in the fun. I love to host a party, but being a guest will work just fine for me too!

A little about me...
I'm a mom of two wonderful children. I love to see them learn new things, but feel a little sad that they are growing up so fast.

I'm married to a wonderful man. We are about to celebrate our 10th anniversary.

We live in a comfortable, lived-in looking house and have a rather large cat, who is 11 years old. My two year old loves to follow him around, he looks for any opportunity to escape from playing with her.

I work full-time at a job I really enjoy with a great group of people. It still is hard to leave my children everyday, but I know that they are happy in school and daycare, so that makes it not so hard.

I love to cook and bake. I think I would enjoy going to culinary school. Imagine a career like that. In my MBA program, my business plan that I wrote was for a personal chef that would offer two services delivery of meals for the week or come in one day a week to prepare a personal meal.

I enjoy finding a good bargain. Having this blog has allowed me to share my finds with others. Plus, I've learned a lot from reading other blogs. I never knew the deals at CVS were out there. I had been missing out for a long time.

I love a good book. If I had a few hours to myself, I would be torn between taking a nap and reading a book. I like medical thrillers (Michael Palmer) and sappy love stories (Danielle Steel). I have read some interesting books for book clubs, but mostly, as a mom, I look for a quick read. If the storyline doesn't draw me in in the first couple of chapters, I'm not likely to finish it.

Learn more about other bloggers attending the Ultimate Blog Party, by heading over to our gracious hosts - 5 Minutes for Mom.

Oh yeah, the prizes that I most would want to win are one of the $50 Target giftcards, the Omron HJ-112 Digital Premium Pedometer, or the Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chipotle Chicken

My husband has a favorite that he orders whenever we go out locally for Mexican. It's #54. My children know that Daddy always orders #54. It is a spicy meal that my husband feels is best when he has sweat on his brow.

Since we can't go out all the time, that would be way too expensive and not very healthy, I created my own version of #54 to enjoy at home. My son didn't realize that it had an actual description, like everything else we order. We have always called it #54, even when I do my meal plan for the week, I write down #54, but in reality it is Chipotle Chicken.

Chipotle Chicken

1# Chicken Breast, cut into pieces
1/2# Bacon, cut in half
2 Pablano Peppers, sliced
1 c Chipotle sauce

In a skillet, over medium heat, cook the chicken, bacon and pablano peppers, until the chicken is cooked through. Add the Chipotle sauce and reduce heat. Simmer.

Serve on small flour tortillas with Pinto Beans and Mexican Rice.

If you are unable to purchase Chipotle Sauce, then you could always buy canned Chipotle Peppers and puree in your food processor to create your sauce.

For more hot and spicy dishes, check out this week's Ultimate Recipe Swap: Hot and Spicy at Life As Mom.

Turn Your Donut into $12,000

Dunkin' Donuts has a contest going on where your donut creation can win you $12,000.

To enter the Create Dunkin's Next Donut Contest, go to Dunkin Donuts website and create your donut using a set of available ingredients, name your donut and write your donut story, explaining the inspiration for your donut. You can enter from now until April 7th. The winner will be announced on National Donut Day (what a great sounding day!) - June 5th. You can enter three times.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's for Dinner?

As a busy, working mother of two young children, dinner time can be a real challenge. I walk in the door after work, worn out from a day of work and want nothing more than to take a few minutes for myself. I used to be able to do this, but with two young children, this is a thing of the past. They are both starving when I get home, so it is important that I get dinner going and on the table as soon as I can. Besides, there typically is only about 2 hours before we are upstairs for bath and bedtime routines.

Some meals are relatively easy to whip up in quick order, but honestly, you can get bored eating those same meals over and over. I have found that a little creativity in my meal planning and preparation can allow us to have better meals with more variety.

There are multiple approaches that I take to helping myself out.

I don't officially do OAMC (once a month cooking), but I do like the premise and apply it to certain meals. Last week when I made saucy cheesy noodles, I made two pans. One I made for dinner that night, the other I froze for a future meal. It saves me time in the overall preparation, it doesn't take 2x as long to make the 2 meals and allows me a meal that I can put in the oven one evening when I walk in and know that I can hang out with the kids and relax and still get dinner on the table at a decent hour.

Leftovers can be a real time saver. There are multiple ways that I use leftovers in my meal preparation. Sometimes, my leftovers are from dinner the night before served up in the same fashion. Other times, they are repurposed. As an example, I brown ground meat for use in tacos. The next night, I take the leftover ground meat and add the ingredients to make sloppy joes. Sometimes, I just am prepping twice as much of the main course with the intent of using it for a second meal. If I'm going to grill chicken for dinner tonight, why not put on a couple of extra pieces for use in tomorrows dinner. Again, it doesn't take longer to grill 4 pieces of chicken instead of 2. Another way that I use leftovers is from the freezer. If I make a meal that normally has leftovers, but know that our schedule won't give us a chance to eat the leftovers, I will freeze them. Then when we are ready, I can thaw them in the fridge and just reheat my leftovers for dinner.

Another tactic that I use to allow me to have more elaborate dinners in quick time is to prep ingredients the night before. After the kids go to bed, I can chop up the vegetables and do other ingredient prep. Then, everything is ready and waiting for me to simply assemble, cook and serve.

I do make some of those easy to whip together meals each week as well: a homemade pizza, pasta with sauce, breakfast for dinner - pancakes, eggs, omelets, french toast, cheeseburgers, tomato soup with grilled cheese, etc. But, because we are mixing in other meals, these options don't repeat as frequently, keeping them from getting boring.

When it comes to getting dinner on the table for my family, on a work night, that is what works for me. To learn more tips and tricks, check out Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

CVS Deals - 3/16

I headed back to CVS Monday to take advantage of the Hershey's deal and to pick up another Dry Idea deodorant.

I checked before picking up the regular bags of Bliss Chocolates, but they are part of the deal too and you get more ounces of chocolate in them than in the Easter bags. I had already purchased two eggs on Sunday, so 4 packs of Bliss was enough to get me to the $15.

While there, I also wandered around a bit. I had received a CRT the other day for $1.50 off any Kotex and there is a monthly deal where when you buy any Kotex Lightdays (40 - 64ct) you get back $2 ECBs. Coupled with a manufacturers coupon, this was a good deal, so I picked it up too.

Here's what I got:
4 - Hershey Bliss 9.6oz
1 - Dry Idea
1 - Kotex Lightdays 48ct

-$4 4x$1 Bliss IP
-$2 Dry Idea IP
-$1 Kotex Mfg coupon

Paid with $4.99, $5, and $2 ECBs and $0.49 OOP. I earned $5, $2 and $2 in ECBs. My net "cost" was $2.99 in reduced ECBs and $.49 OOP, for a total of $3.48.

To see more deals, check out Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom.

Tried It Tuesday - The Fragrance Collection by Glade

As a participant in BzzAgent, I get the opportunity to try a lot of new products (at least new to me). My most recent opportunity is The Fragrance Collection by Glade. They sent me a multi-wick soy based candle in Currants and Acai, which smells wonderful. The multi-wick candle is also available in Sheer White Cotton and Lotus Bamboo. Both of these scents are also great - they included a scent card so I could experience all of the scents. I think the next one I would try would be the Sheer White Cotton. It conjures up memories of freshly washed sheets that have been hung on the line to dry.

I am a fan of candles. I frequently will light a candle on my kitchen counter to enjoy. I find that the flickering light can be very relaxing. In addition, the scents that fill your home when these candles are burning is terrific. Candles really can create a mood and make your house feel homey and inviting. When I am hosting a party, I like to light a candle in the bathroom.

The multi-wick candle, with its three wicks is nice because it allows for it to burn down more evenly. The 10 oz candle will burn for up to 35 hours and retails for $8.99. Compared to some other fancy candles, this is a decent price and since it is by Glade, you can find it where you do your regular shopping, no need to make a second stop to pick up a boutique candle.

In addition to the multi-wick soy based candles, there are reed diffusers and smaller 4.9oz soy candles in The Fragrance Collection. The reed diffusers come in the same scents as the multi-wick candles and retail for the same $8.99 for 12 reeds and 1.62 fl oz of fragrant oil. The soy candles come in three different scents - McIntosh Apple (92.4% natural), Earthly Awakening (93.0% natural) and Orange Vanilla (94.2% natural) - and burn for up to 26 hours with a suggested retail of $5.99. I think that the Orange Vanilla is the most intriguing of these three scents to me.

You can get a $2 coupon to try anything from The Fragrance Collection here.

Have you tried any of The Fragrance Collection by Glade? What is your favorite? Share with us something that you have tried. You can leave a comment below or link to your blog. Just be sure to leave a link back to this post on your blog.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Free Roastburger at Arby's

If you haven't had the chance to try the new Roastburger at Arby's, there is a new coupon out there for a free one with the purchase of a drink. You can get it here. It expires on Friday, so you'll have to hurry.

We went and tried these about a week ago. We liked them. I do have to say, that they remind me of an Arby's sandwich that I remember from my childhood. I think it was called the "All American" or "Great American". It was an Arby's Roast Beef Sandwich with lettuce and tomato. There probably was cheese too. Am I the only one that remember this? It was probably mid- to late-80's. I can remember going there for dinner sometimes when my Dad was in school and getting this sandwich.

CVS Deals - 3/15

On Sunday afternoon, on the way to a birthday party, we stopped at CVS to pick up the free after coupon and ECB deals. It was a very frustrating experience. I inadvertently picked up the MaxFresh Toothpaste instead of the MaxWhite Toothpaste and then the Dry Idea Deodorant I picked up, the one pictured in the ad, wasn't ringing correctly. The cashier told me that only the Regular scent was ringing up correctly. I had the Unscented. I pointed out that it was the one pictured in the ad and they might want to correct their computers. She just sort of gave me a look. Now I know why I tend to go to 2 of the 4 CVS that I can easily get to two that are local to my travels to work and two that are local to my home.

Transaction #1

1 - Irish Spring Body Wash
1 - Dry Idea Regular Roll On
1 - Colgate MaxWhite Toothpaste
2 - Cadbury Eggs

-$.75 Irish Spring Body Wash Mfg coupon
-$2 Dry Idea IP
-$.75 Colgate Mfg coupon

Paid with $2.99 and $4 ECBs and $.69 OOP. Earned $4.99, $2.99 and $2 ECBs. An increase of $2.99 in ECBs...so, a net gain of $2.30.

I will go back later this week to complete the Hershey's deal and since I noticed that the Dry Idea deal is not listed as Limit Reached, I will likely repeat that one as well since it is a moneymaker.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We don't have a specific budget for groceries at our house. We recognize that there are weeks where we stock up and weeks where we eat from our stockpile and only pick up a couple of items. This week was a was a light grocery week. I need fresh fruit for snacking and some fresh vegetables for some of this week's dinners.

We had a really good, inexpensive dinner tonight at Chipotle. We had three free burritos bags, so the four of us ate for under $5 tonight. It was great and I have leftovers from my burrito.

At our house, we don't eat breakfast or lunch together during the week, so there is minimal planning that goes into those meals. For us, the focus is dinner.

Chipotle for Burritos


#54/Chicken Tacos

Stuffed Pepper Casserole


Fish Sticks/Fillets


Weekdays breakfast is at daycare for my daughter, the rest of us eat cold cereal, frozen waffles, oatmeal, toast or whatever strikes our fancy. Lunch we pack, usually leftovers for me. My son either packs or buys lunch at school. If he packs, it is generally a lunch meat sandwich or a PB&J with some sides.

Check out other menu plans for the week at Menu Plan Monday on the special host site for this week $5 Dinners.

CVS Scenarios - week of 3/15

There are some good deals this week at CVS. I found three items that are free after ECBs and coupons that I plan to pick up. Here are my thoughts:

Transaction #1
1 - Irish Spring Body Wash

-$.75 Irish Spring Mfg coupon

Total $4.24, earn $4.99 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Colgate Max Toothpaste
1 - Dry Idea
3 - Robin Eggs

-$.75 Colgate Mfg coupon
-$2 Dry Idea IP
-$1.50 $1.50/3 Hershey's Mfg coupon

Total $6.23. Pay with $4.99 ECBs from Transaction #1 and $1.24 OOP. Earn $2.99 and $2.00 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - Bliss
3 - Hershey Kisses

-$1 Bliss IP
-$1 Bliss IP
-$1.50 $1.50/3 Hershey's Mfg coupon

Total $9.14. Pay with $4.99 ECBs from Transaction #2 and $4.15 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs.

I also plan to take advantage of the Bandaids and Neosporin deal. I just need to figure out what the prices are to build the scenario.

For more deals and scenarios, check out the "Cent"sible Sawyer and Money Saving Mom.

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
1 - Colgate Max Toothpaste
1 - Dry Idea

-$.75 Colgate Mfg coupon
-$2 Dry Idea IP

Total $3.23. Earn $2.99 and $2 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Irish Spring Body Wash
1 - Gold Emblem bag candy

-$.75 Irish Spring Mfg coupon

Total $5.12. Pay with $4.99 ECBs and $.13 OOP. Earn $4.99 ECBs.

Total OOP $3.36 with $4.99 ECBs remaining. Spend your $4.99 ECBs on something that you need or hold them for next week.

Check out more CVS $5 Challenge scenarios at Keeping the Kingdom First.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Target and Walgreens Deals - 3/14

My daughter and I went out on a shopping adventure this morning. Our first stop was at Walgreen's. This time when I called to confirm sizes, I asked them to hold the Size 5 diapers for me.

Transaction #1

3 - Huggies Diapers Jumbo packs
1 - Fructis Hairspray

-$15 3x$5 Huggies Mfg coupons
-$2 Easy Saver Fructis coupon
-$1 Fructis Mfg coupon

Total $17.13, earned $10 RR.

Transaction #2

2 - Huggies Diapers Jumbo packs
1 - Huggies Pull-up Jumbo packs
1 - Fructis Styler

-$5 Huggies Mfg coupon
-$3 Huggies Mfg coupon
-$3 Huggies Mfg coupon
-$2 Easy Saver Fructis coupon
-$1 Fructis Mfg coupon

Total $21.13, earned $10 RR.

Transaction #3

1 - Colgate 6.4oz Toothpaste (on clearance)
1 - Benefiber 16 serving sticks
2 - Chex Mix Bars
2 - Orajel Toddler Toothpaste (30% bonus pack on clearance)
1 - Fructis Shampoo
1 - Colgate Toddler Toothbrush
1 - Crest Toddler Toothbrush
2 - J&J Safety Swabs
2 - Vitamin Waters
1 - Tuf Paper Towels
2 - Russell Stover Eggs (filler)
1 - Advil PM

-$.75 Colgate Mfg coupon
-$2.00 Benefiber Peelie
-$1 Chex Mix Bars Mfg coupon
-$1 Chex Mix Bars Mfg coupon
-$1 Fructis Mfg coupon
-$2 Easy Saver Fructis coupon
-$.75 Colgate Toothbrush Mfg coupon
-$1 J&J Baby Mfg coupon
-$1 J&J Baby Mfg coupon
-$1 Easy Saver Vitamin Water coupon
-$2 Advil PM Peelie

Paid with $10 & $10 RR from Transaction #1 and #2 and $2.00 OOP. Earned $2 RR.

Transaction #4
2 - Nestle Eggs 9.2 oz bag
1 - Fructis Conditioner
1 - Russell Stover Egg (had to purchase to use the RR)

-$1 $1/2 Nestle Easter Mfg coupon
-$1 Easy Saver Nestle Easter coupon
-$2 Easy Saver Fructis coupon
-$1 Fructis Mfg coupon

Paid with $2 RR from Transaction #3 and $1.57 OOP.

So, for the day, according to my reciepts, I spent $41.83 and saved $105.80 (on $147.63 total value, that is a 72% savings!).

After our success at Walgreen's, we stopped in at Target for a few deals.

3 - Mott's Applesauce
2 - Gillette Body Wash
2 - Oral B Stages Toothbrushes
2 - Good Life Dry Cat Food
1 - Kashi Entree

-$1 Target Mott's Applesauce coupon
-$.55 Mott's Applesauce IP
-$1 Target Mott's Applesauce coupon
-$.55 Mott's Applesauce IP
-$1 Target Mott's Applesauce coupon
-$.55 Mott's Applesauce IP
-$2 Gillette Body Wash Mfg coupon
-$2 Gillette Body Wash Mfg coupon
-$1.99 Oral B Stages Toothbrushes
-$3 Good Life IP
-$3 Good Life IP
-$3 Kashi Free Entree coupon

Total after coupons, $4.39 (+$1.03 in tax). My $19.64 in coupon savings resulted in 81% savings!

For more deals, check out Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom, the Drugstore Divas at the "Cent"sible Sawyer, and Shopping Superstars at Thrifty Momma.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Walgreen's Deals - 3/13

I headed to Walgreen's on Friday after work. I decided I needed to pick up some more diapers. I called the store ahead of time to make sure that they had size 5 diapers and 3T pull ups. I was told there was plenty - 4 or 5. So, I figured it was worth the trip.

When I got there though, things began to fall apart. There were no size 5 diapers anywhere. I inquired at the check out, wondering if they had checked the stock room when I called. The woman that I asked was the woman that had checked when I called (but was not the woman I spoke to on the phone). She said, oh, I only heard her ask about the Pull-Ups. She did go and check the stock room, but alas no size 5 diapers. I decided that I would go ahead and get Pull Ups, even though my quest was for diapers. Then, as I'm sorting my coupons to check out, I realized that I had forgotten my coupon for BOGO on the Glade Lasting Impressions, a money maker that I was counting on to reduce OOP. It was about this time that my daughter started to fall apart.

Not wanting to waste another minutes, I put back the Glade and proceeded to check out. I did two transactions so I could spend the RR from the Pull-ups on the second transaction.

I got the following:
3 - Huggies Pull Ups Jumbo Packs
1 - Fructis Hairspray
1 - Ensure High Protein, 6pk
1 - Walgreen's Fiber/Calcium Tabs, 90ct (clearance)

After coupons, my total OOP was $17.93. I am submitting the Ensure Try Me Free Rebate, which will get me back $8.49. After rebate, my total cost will be $9.44. Not a bad price for all that I was able to get.

Now my debate is do I try to go back to a different Walgreen's or do a price match (without the benefit of the RR) to get the diapers that I need. I'm just not sure the hassle of driving to another Walgreen's is worth the $10 added savings, and since I know I can price match the $10, that is feeling the better use of my time. Of course, I would have my Glade coupons with me, making the diapers even cheaper. What to do, what to do?

For more deals, check out Drugstore Divas at The "Cent"sible Sawyer.

Fat Burnin' Friday

I did a pretty good job sticking to my plan this week.

I have been doing the P90X workout now for over 2 weeks. I really enjoy that it is different every morning. I like that no matter how tired I am when I get up, that I feel energized and exhausted when I am done. I am finding that as I start the third week that I am able to do more of the exercises/more repetitions of the exercises.

I did a pretty good job monitoring calories. It is a little more challenging when the dinners aren't easy to measure as pieces. For instance, on Sunday we had Saucy Cheesy Noodles - it was easy to total all the calories in the meal, but difficult to estimate what portion I had consumed (or how many servings there were). I tried to find a free program on line to enter a recipe and have it figure out the calories and other nutrients per serving, but I didn't find any that really seem to work for me. Chicken breast and a side of vegetables would have been easier because I could have weighed the chicken and measured the vegetables. I am determined though to not change what we eat for meals, but to just better portion myself.

After a couple of weeks of tracking, I can tell you that I am used to eating healthy. Yesterday, there was a catered lunch for a meeting. I decided to splurge and have some chips on the side and a cookie for dessert. Something about eating the junk made me hungry for other junk in the afternoon. Normally, I don't feel very hungry in the afternoon. Perhaps it wasn't the junk making me want junk, perhaps it was the empty calories leaving me not full. I won't make that mistake again. Better to skip it and have a granola bar or fruit later. My loss was better yesterday when I checked, so clearly this slip cost me some loss.

I guess though, you live and learn and now I will know that I shouldn't allow junk to perpetuate junk.

Pounds lost to date: 8#
Pounds to go: 25#

Samples and Freebies

There seemed to be a number of new samples to request this week:

Aveda Haircare There's a short survey.
Caress Exfoliating Body Wash
Kotex Ultra Thin Overnight
Ballas Hough Band - Do It For You free track download.
Sun Crystals sweetener with Stevia, there is also a coupon for $1.50 available to print from this page.

I received the following samples and freebies this week:

Coupon for free 1 can of Del Monte 100 calorie canned fruit
Viva paper towel sample and coupon.
Head and Shoulders Sample from P&G.
Huggies Wipes sample from Walmart.
Metamucil Berry Burst and Pink Lemonade sample with coupon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

St Patrick's Day

St Patrick's Day, as you know, is coming up next week. There are some traditions that many consider to be part of St. Patrick's Day.

  • You always wear green on St. Patrick's Day.

  • You always have green beer on St. Patrick's Day.

  • There's always a parade on St. Patrick's Day.

  • You always have corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day.

I never was a fan of beer, let alone green beer, so that is one tradition that hasn't stayed with me (although I gave it the old college try, back in my college days).

I frequently struggle to align my clothes so that I have green work clothes available on that day, but try hard.

I don't live in a community with a parade and won't be driving anywhere to see one.

I usually head somewhere to get my Corned Beef on St. Patrick's Day. I really enjoy Corned Beef Hash, but haven't been adventurous enough to make it at home. I'm not sure if my family would like it or not. I found a recipe for Corned Beef Hash a while back and might just give it a try this year. I always order Corned Beef Hashed crispy, like my bacon. I think it really pulls out the flavor, so I will definitely go a little long in the last step. I think your supposed to serve with an egg - poached or fried?

Do you have St. Patrick's Day traditions? Is there a family favorite Irish dish you enjoy on St. Patrick's Day?

Life As Mom is hosting the Ultimate Recipe Swap today and the theme, you guessed it, St. Patrick's Day Feasts. Head over to find some great recipes. Her sister gives a recipe for a cake that I think I will try.

Corned Beef Hash

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I'm buying hash browns I bet)
1/4 c butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 pound corned beef, finely chopped
2 tsp prepared horseradish
salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in skillet and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 6 minutes. (Potatoes will be firm.) Drain potatoes in colander; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add butter and onion to empty skillet; cook and stir over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Stir in corned beef, horseradish and potatoes; mix well. Press down mixture with spatula to flatten into compact layer.

Reduce heat to low. Cook 10 to 15 minutes. Turn mixture with spatula and pat down. Continue cooking 10 to 15 minutes or until bottom is well browned.

CVS Deals - 3/11

Well, my trip to CVS this week was good, but not nearly as good as last week when I got all of this for 21¢ or this for under a quarter.

Here is what I got:

1 - Fiber One Bars
1 - Cinnamon Toast Crunch
1 - Total
2 - GE Candies

-$1.35 Fiber One Mfg coupon
-$1. GM Kids Cereal Mfg coupon (from All You)
-$.75 Total Mfg coupon
-$1 $1/2 GE Candy CRT

Paid with $6.99 in ECBs and $.89 OOP.

I tried to find cheaper GE Candy, but the $.99 pack was the best I could do.

For more CVS Deals, check out CVS Superstars at the "Cent"sible Sawyer and Shopping Superstars at The Thrifty Momma.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

SoBe Million Bottle Giveaway - March 11

I'm not fortunate enough to live in a participating area, but SoBe is giving away 1 million free bottles of Fuji Apple Pear, Yumberry Pomegranate or Black and Blue Berry SoBe 0 Calorie Lifewater on March 11th (today!).

You can check here to find participating locations.


I don't remember how old he was, but as soon as my son could start to form the letters in his name, we started having him write his name on things. When we would write out birthday cards, color a picture to send to the grandparents or were writing out thank you cards, we would have him write his name on them. Early on, it wasn't very legible and the letters weren't always in order. But with time, he mastered his name. Not only his first name, but his last name too. (we have a long last name, the pediatrician was impressed that he could spell and write both of his names when he went for his well visit that year - I think he was three)

As he got better at writing his letters, we started writing very brief notes on a white board for him to copy into cards and thank you cards. On pictures, he would write who the picture was to and from.

I never thought this was an unusual thing to do. He was so excited about learning his letters and writing them, that it only seemed natural to have him use his skills in practical ways. Writing out cards and letters was more fun than just writing a letter over and over (although, he liked that too) and a great way to practice and to show the family how well he could write. Needless to say, this practice led him to have better control over his pencil strokes and this led to him having nice handwriting.

When I accompanied my son's class on a field trip, the teacher's aide was quick to compliment my son's handwriting. She told me that it was very neat handwriting for a kindergartner and one of the best in the class. She asked if we worked with him on his writing. I explained to her what we had had him do and she thought that was a great way for kids to get practice at home. I plan to have our daughter do the same thing as she starts to learn her letters in the coming year, because it works for us.

For other tips and tricks, check out Works For Me Wednesday, over at We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tried It Tuesday - Kashi Cereal

Back in the fall, there was a deal at Target for Kashi products. I don't remember the exact deal, but with sale prices and a gift card with purchase coupled with some coupons, I was able to get some cereal and frozen entrees for almost nothing.

I was a little leery before trying the cereals. The whole "7 Grains" thing had me a little worried that it would taste like cardboard. When I tried them the first time, I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the cereal.

First we tried the GoLean Crunch. I found that I need to let it soak in my milk for a bit to get to a good texture - crunchy, but not so crunchy. I paired it each morning with blueberries. The cereal has a natural sweet flavor (guess that is the benefit of the 7 grains) and I really like that even after sitting in milk it is still crunchy, not mushy.

The next one I tried was the Heart to Heart Wild Blueberry Flake & Cluster Oat Cereal. This one was more of a flake cereal with clusters of fruit and grains. I found the cereal to have a great flavor and again, the natural sweetness with the 7 grains and the blueberry clusters.

My biggest challenge lately has been getting to eat the cereal. My kids love it. Given the choice, they choose the Kashi cereal. On one hand, I am glad that they choose this healthy cereal; but on the other hand, that's "Mommy's cereal" and I want to keep it for myself.

Right now, we are eating Go Lean Crunch. Unlike your average cereal, this one is loaded with not only fiber, but also protein (9g per serving, for perspective Total has 2g). This makes me feel extra good, I read in a magazine article that it is important to have protein at breakfast. The kids love to add blueberries to it, fresh or frozen. The frozen ones are almost more fun because the milk freezes around the blueberry and it's like eating ice cream in your cereal.

I did caution my husband to watch the serving size when serving it to the kids, it contains 32% of the daily recommended fiber based on a 2,000 calorie diet. A child clearly is not consuming that much and so a full serving of the cereal provides what is probably more than 50% of their daily recommended fiber.

I have learned that unlike the regular, sugar coated cereal (which I admit, I like as well), the Kashi cereal is not on sale very frequently and I haven't found coupons for Kashi, other than occasionally on their website. When I do find deals on the Kashi cereals, I make sure that I take advantage of them.

You can find out more about Kashi cereals by checking out the Kashi website.

Have you tried the Kashi cereals? What is your favorite? Have you tried something else? Leave a comment or link to your blog post. Just be sure to link back to Tried it Tuesday from your post.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Walgreen's Deals - 3/8

I headed to Walgreen's late in the day on Sunday, I was a little concerned about finding the things on my scenario. I was lucky to find some things on displays away from the main aisles where things were cleared out.

Transaction #1
1 - Huggies Diapers
1 - Huggies Pull-ups
1 - Huggies Wipes
2 - Glade Sense & Spray
2 - CoffeeMate Creamer
1 - Revlon Emery Boards
1 - Fructis Hair Spray

After coupons, my total was 8.96 (total savings $54.45) and I received a $10 RR.

Transaction #2
6 - Russell Stover Easter Candy
2 - SweetTart Jelly Beans
1 - Axe Styler
3 - Orbit Gum
1 - Newspaper (for a second Chipotle bag!!!)
1 - Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk Single (for the 2YO who came along)

After coupons, my total was 17.18. I paid with the $10 RR and $7.18 OOP. (total savings $15.21)

Once I got home, I submitted my Walgreen's Easy Saver Rebate for the Axe Styler for $6.99. Once I receive my rebate, it will make my total for the two transactions $9.15. Not a bad price for one jumbo pack of diapers, let alone everything else I was able to get.

For more deals check out Drugstore Divas at the "Cent"sible Sawyer and Shopping Superstars at The Thrifty Mama.

Tried It Tuesday - coming tomorrow!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the second edition of Tried It Tuesday. You can participate by leaving comments or linking to your blog.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We don't have a specific budget for groceries at our house. We recognize that there are weeks where we stock up and weeks where we eat from our stockpile and only pick up a couple of items. This week was a stock up week for us, plus we needed cat food. Excluding cat food and non-grocery items, we spent about $80.

At our house, we don't eat breakfast or lunch together during the week, so there is minimal planning that goes into those meals. For us, the focus is dinner.

Arby's (free Roastburgers)
Cheesy Saucy Noodles


Chicken Gravy over Biscuits

Pork Chops


Fish Fillets

Chipotle (free Burritos)

Weekdays breakfast is at daycare for my daughter, the rest of us eat cold cereal, frozen waffles, oatmeal, toast or whatever strikes our fancy. Lunch we pack, usually leftovers for me. My son either packs or buys lunch at school. If he packs, it is generally a lunch meat sandwich or a PB&J with some sides.

Check out other menu plans for the week at I'm An Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday.

Walgreen's Scenarios - week of 3/8

Now, normally, I don't make a trip to Walgreen's, because there isn't one in the town where I live or where I work. But this week, with the diaper deal, I think I will make an exception.

Here are my proposed transactions:

Transaction #1
2 - Huggies Diapers ($10 each)
1 - Huggies Wipes ($6 each)
2 - Coffeemate Creamers (BOGO @ $2.49)
2 - Glade Sense & Spray ($7.99 each)
1 - Revlon Emery Board ($1.59 each)
1 - Fructis Hair Spray ($2.99 each)

-$5 Huggies Gentle Care Diapers IP (from coupon widget in sidebar)
-$5 Huggies Gentle Care Diapers IP (from coupon widget in sidebar)
-$5 Huggies Gentle Care item (from earlier last week, new ones are for diapers)
-$1.50 Coffeemate IP
-$1.50 Coffeemate IP
-$7.99 BOGO Glade Sense & Spray IP
-$4 Glade Sense & Spray Mfg coupon
-$4 Glade Sense & Spray Easy Saver Coupon
-$4 Glade Sense & Spray Easy Saver Coupon
-$1 Revlon Any Beauty Tool Mfg coupon
-$1 Revlon Any Beauty Tool Easy Saver Coupon
-$1 Fructis Styler Mfg Coupon
-$2 Fructis Shampoo, Conditioner or Styler Easy Saver Coupon

Total $6.06 (plus tax), earn $10 RR for the Huggies products (spend $25, get $10 RR).

Transaction #2
1 - Axe Styler ($6.99 each)
6 - Russell Stover Easter Candies ($.39 each with in ad coupon)
1 - Newspaper ($1.50 each)

Total $10.83 (plus tax). Pay with $10 RR from Transaction #1 and $.83 (plus tax) OOP.

Total for the two transactions is $6.89.

The Axe Styler is Free After Rebate this month with the Easy Saver Rebate. Once I submit the refund, I will have made $.10 on 2 Jumbo packs of diapers, hairspray, candy, styler, 2 air fresheners, 2 coffee creamers, the newspaper and emery boards.

If I could always get paid to shop, I would shop more often!

For more Walgreen's Scenarios and deals, check out Money Saving Mom, Deal Seeking Mom , Surviving the Stores and the "Cent"sible Sawyer.

Free Chipotle Burrito

Did you get a brown bag in your paper from Chipotle? It came in one of the two newspapers I have delivered.


Bring in this bag by March 21st and we'll fill it with one of our giant, gourmet burritos.


CVS Scenarios - week of 3/8

There are a couple of deals that looked pretty worthwhile to me. Our cereal/granola bar stock has dwindled slightly (there's room to accommodate more), so I think I might pick that up. Here are my thoughts:

Transaction #1
1 - Palmolive Dish Soap
1 - Crest ProHealth

-$.40 Palmolive Mfg Coupon
-$1 Crest ProHealth Mfg coupon

Total $3.08, earn $2 and $1 ECBs.

Transaction #2
3 - Fructis Shampoo/Conditioner

-$3 3 x $1 Fructis Shampoo Mfg coupon

Total $7, pay with $3 ECBs from Transaction #1 and $4 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - Fiber One Bars Mocha
1 - Cinnamon Toast Crunch

-$2.70 2 x $1.35 Fiber One Mocha Bars IP (this was an older link, let me know if it is still active, I printed when it was first available, so I can't check it.

Total $6.75. Pay with $5 ECBs from Transaction #2 and $1.75 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs.

Pick up something you need or hold the ECBs for next week.

For more CVS scenarios and deals, check out Money Saving Mom, Deal Seeking Mom and the "Cent"sible Sawyer.

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
1 - Palmolive Dish Soap
1 - Crest ProHealth

-$.40 Palmolive Mfg Coupon
-$1 Crest ProHealth Mfg coupon

Total $3.08, earn $2 and $1 ECBs.

Transaction #2
2 - Arm & Hammer Detergent (BOGO)

-$2 2x$1 Arm & Hammer IP

Total $4.99. Pay with $3 ECBs from Transaction #1 and $1.99 OOP.

For more $5 Scenarios, check out the CVS $5 Challenge at Keeping the Kingdom First.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Huggies High Value Coupons

Did you print your limit last weekend of the $3 and $5 Huggies coupons? They're back. They've been reset and you can print two more per computer.

Head here or select them in the coupon widget on my side bar to get your high value Huggies Coupons.

Update: Just learned over at Deal Seeking Mom, that you can also get the coupons at RedPlum. Check out her post here.

CVS - more for under a quarter

So, when I checked out my coupons from the price scanner, I saw that I had a couple of them for the $2/2 Gold Emblem Snack Nuts, so I headed back to CVS yesterday at lunch. And, the scanner printed one more.

4 - Gold Emblem Almonds Snack Packs
2 - Gold Emblem Cashews Snack Packs
1 - Russell Stover Marshmallow Eggs (what can I say?)

-$6 3 x $2/2 Gold Emblem Nut CRT

Total OOP $0.24. Not too bad.

I spent a total of $0.69 at CVS this week and on the first transaction, as you might remember, I increased my ECBs by $.76 ~ so all in all, it was pretty much a free week at CVS - 1 box of Carnation Instant Breakfast, 1 Act Total Care Trial Size, 2 - 6 pack Boost Smoothies, 100 ct Vitamin D, 8 snack packs of nuts, and a marshmallow egg all for free.

For more deals check out Money Saving Mom's Super Saving Saturday and The "Cent"sible Sawyer's CVS Superstars.

Want to see how much others can get for under $25? Check out the $25 CVS Challenge over at Bargain Banana.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fat Burnin' Friday

I finally am back in a groove...unfortunately, I didn't lose any weight. I'm going to give it some time though. My friend said, maybe it's because your body is building muscle which weighs more - I'm not buying that.

My plan:

I am writing down everything I eat now and shooting for a target caloric intake, while also being mindful of my fat, fiber and protein intake. I think that helps a lot. If you write down what you eat, not only do you have a better feel for how many calories each bite you take is worth, but I think it makes me more likely to resist temptation. Somehow, knowing that eating xxx means I have to add xxx calories to my total, makes it less desirable. So far, I have done good. I have had a couple of treats - but I count them and make sure I stay in my range.

I am exercising every morning (well, almost every morning, overslept my alarm one morning). I have started doing P90X. It is a great work out for me. It alternates muscle toning days with cardiovascular days. The best part for me is that in the first month, there are six workouts - one for everyday of the week (plus a day off), so I don't get bored. There are many parts of the program that I can't do, but I keep trying. "Do your best, forget the rest"

I am confident that I will start to see results. I just hope it is soon. I bought a treat for myself today, because I was feeling frustrated by not losing - that won't help me - but I did go through a number of options before deciding on a nearly 100 calorie treat - not so awful in the grand scheme.

Pounds lost to date: 7#
Pounds to go: 26#