Sunday, October 31, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Once again, there wasn't really a trip to the grocery store this weekend. I picked up some cereal at Rite Aid and made a quick stop at Walmart for a few items for the week. Otherwise, I plan to go mid-week to prepare for a birthday party for my little lady next weekend. She gets to have turkey and all of the fixings for her birthday party. The theme is princess, so I will be preparing a Princess Doll Cake.

While there is of course turkey in my menu, it's a whole turkey that I am roasting, not the turkey that I won.

Sunday
cereal
lunch out
Meatball Hoagies/Mac'n Cheese

Monday
Chicken and Dumplings

Tuesday
Orange Chicken

Wednesday
Roasted Tomatoes and Shrimp

Thursday
Fish Fillets

Friday
TBD - Birthday Girl's choice

Saturday
cereal
sandwiches
Turkey and fixings

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.

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

CVS Scenarios - week of 10/31

First, let me start by saying, I'm not ready for a full spread of holiday deals - when I turned to that page in the CVS ad this week, I thought really, it's only Halloween!

The buy $25 in P&G product and get the Toy Story 3 DVD for $3.99 with card, feels like a pretty decent deal, especially when paired with coupons. I think though, that I am likely to skip this offer though, and use the $8 IP for the combo pack that includes the BluRay - I saw it in Target's ad for $24.99 - anyone know where it is cheaper?

Transaction #1
1 - Olay Regenerist Moisturizer
1 - Olay Ribbons Body Wash

-$7 Free Body Wash wyb Olay Regenerist Mfg coupon

Total $24.99 OOP, earn $5 and $3 ECBs.

Alternatively, I have seen that you can get a trial size Secret for about $1 and then you might want to do this scenario:
1 - Secret Trial Size
1 - Olay Ribbons Body Wash

-$5 Olay Body Wash WYB one Secret (no size rqmt)

Total $3 OOP, earn $3 ECBs.

I'm more inclined to do the second offer, so I'll continue my scenario from there.

Transaction #2
2 - Oral B power toothbrushes

-$3 Oral B battery operated toothbrush mfg coupon
-$3 Oral B battery operated toothbrush mfg coupon

Total $3.98, pay with $3 ECB from Transaction #1 and $.98 OOP. Earn $4 ECB.

Transaction #3
1 - Covergirl Outlast Lip color

-$1 Covergirl mfg coupon

Total $7, pay with $4 ECB from Transaction #2 and $3 OOP. Earn $3 ECB. This one, I might consider trying to add some of the Revlon Cosmetics to bring my total to $15 to use the coupon that the ad indicated would be printing at the coupons machine this week. I think that it would be $15 before the the 50% off the second item. I have a few $1 Revlon Color Cosmetic coupons. I will have to play with this and see what works out. It will mean more OOP.

Transaction #4
1 - Schick Razor

-$4 Schick Razor mfg coupon

Total $4.99, pay with $3 ECB and $1.99 OOP. Earn $4 ECB.

For the day, the total OOP is $8.97 with a $4 ECB left to roll, for about $35 in product at sale prices. Not too shabby - a 77% savings.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom.

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
1 - Secret Trial Size
1 - Olay Ribbons Body Wash

-$5 Olay Body Wash WYB one Secret (no size rqmt)

Total $3 OOP, earn $3 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Schick Razor

-$4 Schick mfg coupon

Total $4.99, pay with $3 ECBs from transaction #1 and $1.99 OOP. Earn $4 ECB.

Transaction #3
2 - Oral B Power Toothbrushes

-$3 Oral B battery operated toothbrush mfg coupon
-$3 Oral B battery operated toothbrush mfg coupon

Total $3.98, pay with $4 ECB from Transaction #2 adjusted down. Earn $4 ECB.

For the day, the total OOP is $4.99 with $4 ECB to roll, for a total of about $27 in product at sale prices, a savings of 84%.

For more $5 scenarios, check out the CVS $5 Challenge.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Drug Store Deals

It really was a quiet week for me and drugstore deals. I headed out to CVS and Rite Aid today, but left with very little.

CVS

1 - Hand Sanitizing Spray Pen

-FREE e-mail coupon from Twitter offer

Total $0 OOP.

I had hoped to pick up some rain check items, but they seemed to be out of everything that I was looking for.

Rite Aid

2 - Banana Nut Crunch

-$4 Up+ rewards from a prior visit

Total $.99 OOP.

I had headed there to pick up the Pepsi deal, but they didn't have many varieties, so I skipped it.

Hoping for more deals next week!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Samples and Freebies

Requested:
Tom's of Maine Wicked Fresh sample

Received:
Mariani Cinnamon Raisin Bread Flavored Raisins
Shout Color Catcher and coupon, plus coupon for Growing Tree Toys
Jergens Daily Hydration and Nightly Restoration sample and coupon
Aleve sample
Playtex Sport Sample and coupon

Free Restauarant Deals

It's last minute, but today only, at IHOP, kids 12 and under can get a free Scary Face Pancake. Offer is limit one per child and is available for dine in only.

This one you will want to verify your local Applebee's is participating. On Sunday, Trick or Treaters (children 12 or under, in costume) can receive a free kids meal with the purchase of an adult meal. I can't find this on their website (they do mention their Veterans Day offer), but I know that they did it last year, have seen it in articles online and was told that my local Applebee's is participating.

If you or your family is planning to dress up as a Horrifying Processed Food Item, head to Chipotle on Halloween for a $2 Burritto, Bowl, Salad or order of Tacos. This seems a little more challenging then dressing as a Burritto, where they will accept it as long as you have foil on.

TGI Friday's has some Halloween weekend deals that start today at 5 pm and running through Sunday. You can find the details here. Today and Saturday, the offer is a free appetizer on Friday and Saturday (need to be in costume) and on Sunday, the kids in costume eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.

Chili's is also offering free kids meals on Halloween. You need to sign up for their E-mail Club to get the coupon. Plus, it looks like if you sign up, you can also get the free Chips and Queso coupon still.

I'm sure that there are other deals and offers out there...have you seen any? Share them in the comments so everyone can enjoy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Family Taco Night Prize Pack

Congratulations to Theresa! She is the winner of the family taco night prize pack.

An e-mail will be sent to the winner.

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:

19
Timestamp: 2010-10-29 02:28:46 UTC

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Southwest Deal


This deal is just too good to not share.

Right now, you can get tickets on Southwest for as little as $30 each way (lowest available fare varies with distance). Simply purchase your tickets by October 28, 2010, 11:59 pm Pacific Time through Southwest.com or Swabiz.com. Fares are available for travel December 1 — December 15, 2010, and January 4 — February 16, 2011. There are of course rules and restrictions, but you can learn more here.

I looked at a couple of potential itineraries and there seemed to be decent availability of the sale fares still for the dates I was looking at, but all of the flights had connections for me. I really like their Low Fare Calendar which you can link to after you've entered dates and cities for travel - it lets you look at the cheapest fare by day for the month so that you can see how to tweak your trip to get the best deal.

I haven't booked anything yet, but I'm still thinking some place warm and sunny for a weekend in February would be a nice getaway from likely snowy, North East Ohio.

Letting Kids Carve Their Own Pumpkins

Every year at Halloween, the kids look forward to choosing their pumpkins and then carving them. It used to be that I did most of the carving. I would let them draw on the pumpkin and then I would cut it out with their guidance. Carving pumpkins can be a scary proposition using sharp knives in a confined space with kids eagerly standing next to you, wanting to be close so that they can see it all.

A couple of years ago, I found (and purchased) two My Safe Cutter knifes from Pampered Chef. These knives are great. They have a small blade with large serrations. The edge is not sharp, yet somehow because of that serration, they still manage to cut things easily - including pumpkins.
My daughter still needs some help getting started, but my son completely carved his own pumpkin this year. He even removed the top - no starter cuts were even required. He says that the big opening beneath the mouth is a beard. I asked why he chose to cut out the beard rather than color/draw it, especially since he drew on glasses and ears. His response was "I just wanted to" - which is fine with me, it was his Jack-o-Lantern.
Letting my kids be creative (and safe) works for me.

This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

Wordless Wednesday


This post shared at Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mamavation Monday

I am fully back in the swing of things and it feels good. I got up each morning last week and fit in my current workout - The 30 Day Shred, level 3, followed by a 2-mile Walk at Home routine for a cool down. It feels good. The Level 3 workout is really a good one, it is hard and I feel like I am getting progressively better.

I have decided that when I finish the 30 Day Shred, that I will return to P90X. I think my goal will be to do the workouts in the morning and then in the evening either fit in a 1 mile walk or Ab Ripper X, depending on the day of the week. After really starting to be able to do some of the Ab exercises in the 30 Day Shred, it inspires me to want to do Ab Ripper X. Let's see if I can stick by it when I start in a couple of weeks.

After a family wedding and a lot of eating out this weekend, I think I am ready to get back on track with eating and tracking. I started out really great today, until I got to work and found out I had a lunch meeting. I guess I could have brought my packed lunch, but in the end I decided to do my best to eat a balanced meal. I filled my plate first with salad and then treated the meat and other sides as sides, having only a minimal amount. I almost avoided the temptation of the dessert, but grabbed a cookie to go after the meeting.

This post shared at Mamavation Monday. Subway is sponsoring the Mamavation Monday post, and by mentioning them, I am entering to win a $50 gift card from Lulu Lemon, a green Gaiam gym bag and yoga mat. That would be fun to win.

Menu Plan Monday

I skipped the grocery store this weekend. One of our stores is doing an in-store trick or treat one evening this week, so I figured I would combine my trip - entertain the kids, use their costumes again and get my shopping done.

Our menu includes turkey two times this week, in the Sloppy Joes and in the Skyline Chili.


Sunday
cereal
lunch out
Pasta

Monday
Pork Chops

Tuesday
Macaroni and Cheese

Wednesday
Sloppy Joes
Thursday
quick dinner - sandwiches/roll-ups

Friday
Skyline Chili

Saturday
cereal
sandwiches
TBD

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.

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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Walgreens Deals - 10/23

While my parents were entertaining the kids yesterday, I made a quick stop at Walgreens to pick up some of the week's deals.

Transaction #1
1 - Blistex Ointment

Total $2.76 ($.17 was tax), earned $2.60 RR.

Transaction #2
2 - Oral B Toothbrushes

-BOGO Oral B Mfg coupon.

Paid with $2.60 RR and $0 OOP, earned $1 RR. Actually, the transaction was a little more tricky than that, but the net effect after returns and re-rings was the above.

Transaction #3
1 - Mucinex Nasal Spray

Paid with $1 RR and $7.53 OOP ($.54 was tax). Earned $8 RR.

Transaction #4
1 - Gillette Venus Razor bonus pack with free shave gel
2 - Arizona Iced Tea can

-$2 Venus Razor mfg coupon

Paid with $8 RR and $1.73 OOP ($.74 was tax), earned a $4 RR.

Transaction #5
4 - Benefiber Sticks
2 - Arizona Iced Tea can

-$8 4x$2 Benefiber coupon (there was a sign in the aisle that coupon was available at the counter, ask cashier)
-$2 Benefiber mfg coupon
-$1 Benefiber mfg coupon

Paid with $4 RR and $6.03 OOP ($.07 was tax).

If I had known that they had that coupon for the Benefiber, I would have brought more coupons with me - I was glad I had two, but know that I had a few more at home. The cost before my coupons for each box was $2.99, which isn't too bad considering shelf price seems to be $7 - $7.50 for them normally.

For the day, I spent $18.05 OOP for $68.60 in product.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Circus is Coming To Town

The Circus is coming to town! (Okay, it actually arrived the other day).

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey presents Barnum’s FUNundrum playing at the Quicken Loans Arena from October 20-25.

    Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is roaring into town with Barnum’s FUNundrum!SM, a new jumbo-sized, un-miss-able event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of legendary P.T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman on Earth!

    From the moment that you arrive, the momentum explodes as The Greatest Show On Earth® comes to life in a way that can only be inspired by the greatest showman who ever lived. At Barnum’s FUNundrum!, the funtastic and funbelieveable experience answers the FUNundrum! so get your tickets today before this train leaves the station!


If you are planning a trip to the Circus, I have a coupon code for you to get a discount.

When you order your tickets enter the following coupon code: MOM2 and you will get:

    4 for $44 on all weekday performances: Wed, Oct 20 at 7:30pm/ Thurs, Oct 21 at 7:30pm/ or Mon, Oct 25 at 7:30pm

    or


    $4 off on all weekend performances: All Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances
    RESTRICTIONS: Not valid on Circus Celebrity, Front Row, or VIP seats; no double discounts; limit 6 per order


I'm disappointed to be missing the Circus this year, as it doesn't fit into our schedule. Both of the kids had such a great time last year when we went.

No compensation was received for this post. Information was provided by Feld Entertainment.

Samples and Freebies

Requested
John Frieda Luxurious Volume (Kroger offer)
Wisk with Stain Spectrum
Yogi Tea Well Wishes - sent to friends
Crest ProHealth

Received
Cold-Eeze sample - Mint Frost Flavor
Cold-Eeze sample - Cherry Flavor
coupon for Free Advil Tablets 24ct or Liqui-Gels 20 ct
Crest ProHealth for Me Sample and coupons (Vocalpoint)
Garnier Moisture Rescue

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Knights of Arrethtrae

I love to read. I hope that my children, as they grow, share this love with me. We have always read with our children. Now that my son is old enough to read, we encourage him to read on his own, but also read aloud together. When we read together, often times, we read books that are more complicated than he might understand reading on his own.

Recently, through MamaBzz, I had the opportunity to receive a copy of each of the last two books in The Knights of Arrethtrae series - Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor, and Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest (Multnomah Books, October 5, 2010).
    The Fate of the Kingdom Lies in Their Hands.

    In Series’ Final Two Books, Youth are Inspired to Live for More

    Colorado Springs, COLO – In a culture where expectations for today’s young people are at an all time low, author and home schooling father Chuck Black challenges kids to live for more. In the magic-free Knights of Arrethtrae series, Black transforms powerful messages of courage and faithfulness into adventurous tales your son or daughter will love. Releasing this October are the final two installments of the six-part series: Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor, and Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest (Multnomah Books, October 5, 2010).

    “Many kids today are being let off the hook,” says Black. “They’re abandoning activities that encourage creativity and self-development for forms of escapism like addictions to video games or social media.” He believes stories of everyday heroes who find courage in the face of fear will help youth rise above the norms set for them in today’s world and realize God has a quest for them as well.

    Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor Two friends are called into duty, but only one has the courage to follow. Will Quinlan choose a life of comfortable apathy or faithful service to the Prince? When things go wrong, will he face his past and overcome distrust to bring the Valor Knights back together?
    Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest Sir Rowan, Cameria’s most prestigious knight, is attacked and left for dead. Meanwhile, his people suffer as the Dark Knight expands his tyranny. The final battle looms – will Sir Rowan recognize his true purpose as a Knight of the Prince in time to save Cameria?

    The Knights of Arrethtrae series is written for ages 9-12, but will be enjoyed by all. Each allegorical book encourages a virtue like compassion or courage and confronts a vice like greed or apathy. With maps, author commentary, illustrations and discussion questions, the series is also useful for homeschooling curriculum, church libraries and Christian schools.

About the author:
    Chuck Black, a former F-16 fighter pilot and tactical communications engineer, is the best-selling, award-winning author of the Kingdom series and the Knights of Arrethtrae series. He has received praise from parents across the country for his unique approach to telling biblical truths. His passion in life is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and to love his wife, Andrea, and their six children. He lives with his family in North Dakota.


I was assured, before receiving the books, that there would not be a problem that we hadn't yet read the first four books in the series. We recently started to read the book, and although it has taken a little bit of time to adapt to the style of the writing, I don't feel that not having read the first four books is an issue. I haven't ready many knight stories in general, in fact, the last (and only time) might have been when I read about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round table back in high school, so the style is different than other books I read.

The author does a nice job providing background and description of the characters. A lot of care is also taken in describing the physical features of the locations in the story and there is even a map at the front of the book to provide geographical relationship between locations. Together, the character and setting development really helps the reader picture the locations and relate with the characters.

The story has many parallels to Christianity. Some of the terminology in the book, feels forced to help you draw those parallels. Once I got past this and adapted to the style of the book, I like how the author is trying to teach lessons through the story. The lessons are based in the story and if you are reading with your kids, can lead to discussions about the actions and outcomes of the characters.

Also at the end of the book, there are a series of Discussion questions, as well as the answers to those questions. I really like this feature. We have read some books before that have discussion questions. When my son reads a book on his own, questions like this allow us to talk about the story and make sure that he is understanding what he is reading - generally, in order to do this, we have to skim the book ourselves. The fact that this one includes answers, would make some of the discussion easier. Many of the answers include references to specific Bible verses that relate to the topic of the discussion/question. It also provides some review questions for the Symbolism in the Knights series, which is a good thing to review if you are new to the series.

You can purchase the books online for $9.99 each from WaterBrook Press. Learn more about the rest of the books in the Knights Series and Chuck Black's other series, the Kingdom series here. You can also follow WaterBrook Press on Twitter or Like Chuck Black on Facebook.

Giveaway
Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah and MamaBzz, I also have the opportunity to giveaway to one A Busy Mom of Two reader a copy of each of the final two books in The Knights of Arrethtrae.

To enter - Leave a comment sharing your favorite book series.

Additional Entries (leave a comment for each additional entry)

Follow A Busy Mom of Two on Twitter.

Tweet about this giveaway. This can be done once daily, please be sure to leave a link to the tweet in your comment.

Post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment with a link to your post.

Sign up to receive daily updates. Leave a comment letting me know you subscribe (or that you already do).

Giveaway will remain open until November 9th at 6 pm and is open to residents of US only. Winners will be selected using Random.org random number generator. The winner will be contacted by e-mail (Please make sure that your email address is either in your comment or clearly visible on your profile or blog) and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be selected.

No compensation was received for this post. A copy of each book, as well as a pair for a giveaway were provided by Waterbrook Multnomah through MamaBzz.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sound of Music Sing-A-Long - 24 hour Giveaway

Attention all North East Ohio readers! I have a giveaway just for you.

Yesterday I shared about The Sound of Music Sing-Along event, today I have a giveaway for the event. If you are available next Tuesday, October 26th to see The Sound of Music Sing-Along Event: 45th Anniversary Celebration please enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the show at Regal Montrose Theater in Akron.

To enter:

Leave a comment sharing your favorite song from Sound of Music.

Additional entry:

Share this giveaway with your friends on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know that you did.

Giveaway will stay open until 10/21 at 12 pm and is open to those who are able to attend The Sound of Music Sing-Along event at Regal Montrose theater in Akron on October 26th (no substitutions or alternate dates available). Winner will be selected using Random.org random number generator. The winner will be contacted by e-mail (please make sure that your email address is either in your comment or clearly visible on your profile or blog) and will have 12 hours to reply or a new winner will be selected. Sorry for the short turn around, but it is the only way I can get the tickets to the winner in time for the show on Tuesday.

No compensation was received for this post. Rodgers & Hammerstein/Imagem company provided a pair of tickets for the giveaway.

Mamavation Monday...errr, Wednesday

I keep meaning to post my weekly Mamavation Monday post to share with you my journey to becoming healthier and more fit. I just have been motivated - I think because I'm not really progressing, which makes me feel like my post won't be motivating and who wants to post a downer post?

Unfortunately, like many people, I tend to use my weight as one benchmark on this journey and it is just not cooperating. Some travel, some dining out, some desserts, and some more, I'm sure, have left me maintaining at best - there have been days (yes, I weigh daily, even though you aren't supposed to) where I have been up and thankfully, days where I am right where I have been since the end of summer.

The good news is that I did fully return to my workout routine this week. Two weeks ago, you may recall, I took a break because I had a cold and couldn't breath and felt that the rest was a good thing for my body. It was. Then last week, I did only cardio workouts and only 3 of the 5 days, due to my schedule. This week, I have resumed the 30 Day Shred Challenge, followed by 2 miles of Walk at Home with Leslie Sansone. I jumped back in at Level 3. Guess What?!? When you take a couple weeks off, it is an intense workout and I can feel it in my muscles the next day (at least in my legs). My plan is to continue the 30 Day Shred, which will wrap up for me at the end of the month. Then, I plan to restart P90X - which will carry me through the end of January.

I feel so much better when I am eating right and working out. Now that fall sports are over, I need to figure out my schedule and find a new Weight Watchers meeting that will work for me. My husband has class the night of my regular meeting and dragging two kids along is more work than I want it to be.

I know that with a renewed focus on my diet and the further discipline of maintaining my food log online with eTools, accompanied with a return to P90X, that I can move past this plateau. I must say, I am thankful that at least with my regular exercise and the lifestyle changes that I have made as a member of Weight Watchers, I have been able to maintain. In years gone by, a lack of focus on eating could have been a bigger issue.

This post shared at Mamavation Monday.

I am an advocate for Weight Watchers. No compensation was received for this post.

Changing Beds

There is something that I really just love about climbing into a freshly made bed. The sheets are so cool and crisp, it is wonderful. A freshly made bed, with linens that were hung on the line to dry is even better than just a freshly made bed. That is something that I can experience when I visit my parent's house, but we don't have a clothes line outside to dry our clothes.

How often do you change your bed linens? A survey on Mothering.com suggests that most people do their sheets either weekly (32%) or every other week (30%). I would love to say that I always change my bed linens weekly, but life happens and it simply doesn't always happen that way.

One thing that I have found that is really helpful in keeping up with changing my linens is to have multiple sets of sheets and mattress pads available for all the beds. This allows me to strip all of the beds on Saturday morning and remake them immediately. Then, the sheets can be washed on my schedule - I don't have to become a slave to my laundry. If I have the time and am around the house, I do all of the sheets on Saturday and Sunday. If not, then I simply fit them in my everyday/every other day load of laundry cycle.

Having extra sets of sheets and mattress pads comes in handy too when the kids have accidents or someone in the house is ill. Of course, for some reason, my kids seem to have accidents on the same night - is it that they are both overtired and neither gets up or is there some sort of other physiological reason for that?

Having extra bed linens allows me to keep up on my sheets without disruption to life. This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Coupon Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Jan, LaVonne, and Paula, they were selected as the winners of the coupon giveaway for natural, organic and Earth-friendly products.

An e-mail will be sent to the winners. Thanks everyone for entering and check out the other giveaways going on now at A Busy Mom of Two.

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:

3
10
9
Timestamp: 2010-10-20 00:15:16 UTC

The Sound of Music Sing-Along Event

One of my all-time favorite shows is the Sound of Music. For years, I would look forward to the movie being shown on TV, as this was my only way to watch it. Then, when I was older, and we had a VCR, I found a copy of it at the library that I would check out from time to time so that I could watch it without waiting for the movie to be on TV. The first time I watched the movie on VHS, I was very surprised to learn how much had been edited out of the movie for television. It was a long movie, it was one of only a few titles that the library had that took up two tapes.

I have also been fortunate to enjoy seeing The Sound of Music performed on stage. When I was in high school, my parents took me to see The Sound of Music at a Dinner Theater for a Sunday Brunch. I also saw it performed in my hometown. I can't recall if it was a high school production or the local theater, but either way, I enjoyed seeing it live.

When I was in college, my family took a family vacation to Europe. One of our stops was Salzburg, Austria, where we took a self-guided Sound of Music tour. To me, it was a highlight of the vacation, I'm sure my brothers were less than excited, but they were good sports. I loved seeing the landmarks that had become so familiar after years of enjoying the movie.

I now own the DVD, but as a mom don't get many chances to watch it. I'm hoping soon that my daughter will be old enough to enjoy the movie and sit still for the almost three hours that it runs. The DVD came with many special features which have helped me learn more about the movie, the musical, the actors, the city of Salzburg and more.

The one place that I haven't seen the show is on the big screen at a movie theater. But, guess what! Now is my chance!

This year marks 45 years since the movie was released. In celebration, they are holding The Sound of Music Sing-Along Event: 45th Anniversary Celebration!. Tonight (October 19th) and next Tuesday (October 26th), at select theaters, you can enjoy the Sound of Music on the big screen and sing-a-long to all of your favorite songs. You can find a local participating theater, purchase tickets online and learn more about the show here.

There's more:
    Plus, see I’ll Sing Once More: The Sound of Music Today, an exclusive piece that pays tribute to this timeless classic by looking at The Sound of Music effects on popular culture. Audiences will get a unique look at the brilliant restoration The Sound of Music, be whisked back to Salzburg for a travelogue where the movie was filmed, and be treated to contemporary and surprising tributes ranging from modern dance and rock band salutes to an all-marionette version. All brought to you by NCM Fathom in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment in celebration of the release of The Sound of Music on Blu-Ray™ and DVD Combo Packs available November 2.

I can't get my husband excited about going to see this one, but will have to see about going with a friend. A few years ago, my husband was gracious enough to take me to a Grease Sing-Along event and I loved it (he tolerated it, because he knew that I loved it).

I am also pretty excited about the upcoming release on Blu-Ray and DVD Combo packs early next month.

Doesn't hearing about all of this event just make you want to break out in a Do-Re-Mi?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rite Aid Deals - 10/17

Inspired by my trip on Saturday and the deals that were available again this week, I made a quick run to Rite Aid on Sunday night. I talked to the shift manager (or was it supervisor?) as I was shopping, trying to confirm what coupons I could and could not use together. Surprisingly, there were things I didn't think I could do that he told me I could. He explained that it was all in the presentation. Making sure to use $/$$ coupons first, then any $ off coupons, then any BOGO coupons - this would allow me to maximize my savings. He confirmed that I could use an ad coupon and a manufacturer coupon, or a video value coupon with a manufacturer coupon.

Armed with that info, I headed to the register and the cashier was super helpful as well.

Transaction #1
2 - Old Spice Red Zone Body Wash
1 - Simply Saline
1 - Simply Saline Children Cold
1 - Oscillococcinum Children
1 - Dayquil
1 - Nyquil
1 - Thermacare Back
1 - Blink Tears

-$5 $5/$25 Rite Aid coupon
-$1 $1/2 Old Spice mfg coupon
-$3 Old Spice Bodywash BOGO coupon
-$1 Simply Saline mfg coupon
-$1 Simply Saline mfg coupon
-$2 Oscillococcinum Children IP
-$3 Oscillococcinum video value
-$1.50 Dayquil mfg coupon
-$1.50 Nyquil mfg coupon
-$1 Thermacare Video Value coupon
-$1 Blink Tears peelie
-$1 Video Value, any non-prescription purchase

Total $15.95 (plus tax, $17.96 total). I earned $2 and $3 Up+ Rewards. I will submit for $23.95 in SCR.

Transaction #2
2 - Old Spice Red Zone Deodorant
2 - Old Spice Red Zone Body Sprays (never used these, but they were free)
1 - Reese Snack Size
6 - Arizona Iced Tea

-$1 $1/2 Old Spice mfg coupon
-$4.49 Old Spice Buy One Deodorant Get One Body Spray mfg coupon
-$4.49 Old Spice Buy One Deodorant Get One Body Spray mfg coupon
-$1 Reese video value coupon
-$1 Video Value, any non-prescription purchase

Total $5.52 (plus tax, $6.37 total). Paid with $2 and $3 Up+ Rewards and $1.37 OOP. Earned $2 and $2 Up+ Rewards. Turns out that she didn't scan my Up+ Rewards card until after ringing my BOGO coupons, so she took off the shelf price instead of the sale price. I wasn't expecting the second Up+ Reward for the Body Spray, but evidently that is how it works at Rite Aid.

For the trip, my total OOP was $19.33. I have $4 in Up+ Rewards remaining and I will be submitting for $23.95 SCR. (So, would that be a profit of $8.62?) What a deal! Now I just need to make sure that I don't fail to spend my $4 in Up+ Rewards.

Menu Plan Monday

Life has just been so busy lately, this weekend seemed to be a bit of an exception. We had plans, but somehow the weekend didn't seem too busy. We spent Saturday afternoon at a corn maze, hayride and pumpkin patch. It was a nice outing, although I was a little disappointed in the corn maze. The stalks were all dried up and the maze was built on a hill, so you could see where you were going and not. The kids still found the maze to be fun and since it was all about them, I guess that is what matters most. Next year, we will have to go to one of the other ones that we usually go to. Sunday was the Senior Bowl and picnic for the Flag Football league. All of the kids that are advancing to tackle next year played a game and everyone else came out to watch and celebrate. We squeezed in a post Church shopping trip to get donuts and a few essentials for the week. Of course, I hadn't planned my menu then and I hadn't brought all of my coupons, so I might need to run out for a few items that we need and/or are on deal.

Our menu includes turkey three time this week, in the taco meat, the meatballs and of course, turkey meatloaf.

Sunday
cereal
Football Picnic
leftovers

Monday
Chicken Sausage and Homemade Hash Browns

Tuesday
Tacos

Wednesday
Turkey Meatloaf

Thursday
Pizza

Friday
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Saturday
cereal
Skyline Chili
TBD

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.

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

Sunday, October 17, 2010

CVS Scenarios - week of 10/17

I have to say that compared to some of the other deals at the other drug stores, I'm a little disappointed in the offers this week. There are a couple that I think are worth pursuing. Perhaps, I will find some other deals while exploring other sites and/or based on the coupons I get.

Transaction #1
1 - Hand Sanitizing Pen
1 - Benefiber Orange Powder

-Free Hand Sanitizing Pen (Twitter offer)
-$2.50 Benefiber Orange IP (coupons.com)

Total $7.49 OOP, earn $3 ECBs.

Transaction #2
2 - Nutri Grain Bars
1 - Fiber Plus Antioxidant Bars

-$1 $1/2 Nutri Grain mfg coupon

Total $9, pay with $3 ECBs and $6 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - Nutri Grain Bars
1 - Fiber Plus Antioxidant Bars

-$1 $1/2 Nutri Grain mfg coupon

Total $9, pay with $5 ECBs and $4 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs.

Transaction #4
1 - Schick Hydro Razor

-$4 Shick Hydro mfg coupon

Total $4.99. Pay with $5 ECBs, adjusted down to $4.99. Earn $5 ECBs.

Total OOP $17.49, with $5 ECBs to roll for $39.97 in product at sale price (savings of 57%). Not great, but still that's a lot of granola bars.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom.

CVS $5 Challenge
Transaction #1
1 - Hand Sanitizing Pen
1 - Schick Hydro Razor

-Free Hand Sanitizing Pen CVS coupon
-$4 Schick Hydro mfg coupon

Total $4.99 OOP, earn $5 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - All Laundry Detergent
2 - Hershey Singles

-$1 All mfg coupon

Total $4.99, pay with $5 ECB adjusted down to $4.99. Earn $1 ECB.

Total OOP $4.99 with $1 ECB to roll for $17.97 in product at sale price (a savings of 72%).

For more $5 scenarios, check out the CVS $5 Challenge.

Walgreens Scenarios week of 10/17

There are some good deals at Walgreens and they have a coupon for the Arizona Iced Tea for 2/$1, so I just might make the drive to my Walgreens this week. I have an off-site meeting for work on Monday and will drive by one, so maybe that is my chance.

Transaction #1
2 - Coffeemate Creamers
1 - Musinex Spray

-$1.50 Coffeemate Creamer IP
-$1.50 Coffeemate Creamer IP

Total $7.68 OOP, earn $7.99 RR.

Transaction #2
2 - Oreos
1 - Milk (assuming $3)
2 - Pringles
2 - 12 pk Coke
1 - Solo Cup

-$3 Nabisco Facebook coupon for October
-$.75 Solo Cup IP

Total $19.25, pay with $7.99 RR and $11.26 OOP. Earn $5 RR.

Transaction #3
1 - Blistex
1 - Smart Rinse
1 - Arizona Tea (w/ in ad coupon)

-$1 Smart Rinse mfg coupon

Total $5.08, pay with $5 RR and $.08 OOP. Earn $2.59 and $1 RR.

Transaction #3
1 - Nivea Body Wash
2 - Capri Sun
3 - Arizona Tea (w/ in ad coupon)
1 - Oral B Toothbrush

-$3 Nivea Body Wash mfg coupon
-$1 Capri Sun coupon, October Walgreens booklet
-$.75 Oral B Toothbrush mfg coupon (from the mailer)

Total $5.24, pay with $2.59 and $1 RR and $1.65 OOP. Earn $1 RR.

For the day, the total OOP is $20.67 with $1 RR to roll for just over $50 in product at sale prices, a savings of 60%.

For more Walgreens deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom.

Walgreens $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
1 - Oral B Toothbrush
1 - Blistex

-$.75 Oral B mfg coupon

Total $4.83 OOP. Earn $2.59 and $2 RR.

Transaction #2
1 - Smart Rinse
2 - Coffee Mate Creamers
6 - Arizona Tea

-$1 Smart Rinse mfg coupon
-$1.50 Coffeemate Creamer IP
-$1.50 Coffeemate Creamer IP

Total $4.68, pay with $2.59 and $2 RR and $0.09 OOP. Earn $1 RR.

Transaction #3
8 - Halloween Tumblers

Total $1, pay with $1 RR and $0 OOP.

Total OOP is $4.92 with no RR remaining for just under $18 in product, a savings of 73%.

For more $5 Scenarios, check out the Walgreens $5 Challenge.

Rite Aid Scenarios - week of 10/17

After my visit to Rite Aid last night, I am inspired to return again this week for some more free after rebate deals. Based on the coupon policy, posted at Deal Seeking Mom, it appears that I can use a Rite Aid Mfg coupon (video value coupon) and a manufacturer coupon per item So, that is how I am building my scenarios. I guess I will find out for sure when I get there.

Transaction #1
2 - Old Spice Red Zone Body Wash

-$3 Old Spice Body Wash BOGO
-$1 Rite Aid Video Values ($1 on any non-prescription)

Total $2 OOP, earn $2 Up+ Reward.

Transaction #2
1 - Simply Saline
1 - Simply Saline Children
1 - Blink Tears
1 - Therma Care
1 - Oscillococcinum
1 - Kit Kat Bag candy

-$5 $5/$25 Rite Aid coupon
-$1 Simply Saline Mfg coupon
-$1 Simply Saline Mfg coupon
-$1 Blink Tears peelie
-$1 Therma Care Video Value coupon
-$3 Oscillococcinum Video Value coupon
-$2 Oscillococcinum IP-$1 Kit Kat Video Value coupon

Total $11.45, pay with $2 Up+ Reward and $9.45 OOP. Submit for an SCR of $23.95.

Total OOP $11.45 for the day with $23.95 in SCR to redeem. So, at the end of the month, this visit would be a profit of $12.50.

For more Rite Aid Deals and Scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom.

Rite Aid $5 Challenge
This is my first Rite Aid $5 Challenge, but here goes.

Transaction #1
2 - Old Spice Red Zone Body Wash

-$3 Old Spice Body Wash BOGO
-$1 Rite Aid Video Values ($1 on any non-prescription)

Total $2 OOP, earn $2 Up+ Reward.

Transaction #2
1 - Therma Care
1 - Oscillococcinum
1 - Kit Kat Bag candy

-$1 Therma Care Video Value coupon
-$3 Oscillococcinum Video Value coupon
-$2 Oscillococcinum IP
-$1 Kit Kat Video Value coupon

Total $3.48, pay with $2 Up+ Reward and $1.48 OOP. Submit for an SCR of $7.98 at the end of the month.

The total OOP is $3.48. This visit will wind up being a profit of $4.50 at the end of the month when you get back your SCR.

For more Rite Aid $5 deals, check out the Rite Aid $5 Challenge.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rite Aid Deals 10/16

Realizing at the eleventh hour that Rite Aid had many cold relief products on a free after SCR offer this week, I headed out to Rite Aid after dinner on Saturday night. Surprisingly, they were only out of one of the items that I wanted. I asked about a rain check and was told that it wouldn't work. I am certain that I have gotten rain checks for weekly SCR deals - but wasn't going to argue.

Generally, I'm not a big fan of shopping at Rite Aid, because I have to "wait" for my reward and that means more money OOP up front. I know that I will get my money back and with Free after SCR and moneymakers, I'm a little more willing to play their drugstore game.

1 - Blistex Lip Ointment
1 - Neilmed Nasadock Plus
1 - Neilmed Nasa Mist
1 - Pediacare Cold
1 - Pediacare Gentle Vapors
1 - Palmers Lip
1 - Comtrex Cough and Cold
1 - Slim Fast Shakes, 4 pk

-$5 $5/$25 Rite Aid coupon
-$1.50 NeilMed Peelie
-$3 NeilMed IP
-$1 Pediacare Mfg coupon
-$1 SlimFast IP

Total $25.92 (plus tax, $27.90). I will submit this for SCRs in the amount of $35.43, a profit of $7.53 even with my after tax total. I think that there are supposed to be more cold relief on sale Free after SCR next week, so I will wait a little while to close my SCR for October.

This post shared at Super Savings Saturday and Shopping Superstars .

CVS Deals - 10/15

I stopped by CVS on Friday, as I was concerned I might not find time this weekend. They were out of the Colgate toothpaste and there were limited choices for the oatmeal, but overall I feel good with the deals that I got.

2 - John Frieda Hair Care
2 - Quaker Oatmeal Boxes
1 - Brach's Candy Corn
1 - 4-in-1 Carving Tool

-$2 John Frieda Mfg coupon
-$2 John Frieda Mfg coupon
-$2 Quaker Oatmeal IP (Facebook offer, no longer available)
-$2 Quaker Oatemal IP (Facebook offer, no longer available)
-$.99 Brach's Candy Corn CRT

Paid with $10 ECB and $.46 OOP (all tax). Earned $3, $2, and $2. My net cost then was $3 for everything. If the toothpaste had been available, it would have only cost me $1 as it was a $1 moneymaker times 2. I still had a raincheck from last year for Free after ECB for the 4-in-1 Carving Tool. The raincheck says it doesn't expire, but I confirmed prior to using. Turns out it was for two, so I might pick up another one later.

This post shared at Super Savings Saturday, Shopping Superstars and Simply CVS.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Samples and Freebies

Requested:

Received:
Teecino Chocolate Herbal Coffee sample and coupon
Post It Super Sticky Notes
Nivea body Happy Sensation lotion sample and coupon

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Family Taco Night (and a Giveaway)

Last night was taco night at my house. There is just something about tacos that I love. My husband will tell you that tacos at home are not as good as tacos out, but I totally disagree. Part of what I love about having tacos at home is the contrast of the hot filling with the cool toppings. I also love the contrast of textures, whether my crunch is from the shell (when we do crispy shells, which isn't often) or the lettuce. I think part of it too though is that tacos remind me of dinner as a kid. They are one of the few meals that I have brought to my marriage intact. Others, I have adapted and really, much of what I make is new to me - either stuff that my husband grew up on (he's Italian) or recipes that I have found.

So, when MyBlogSpark contacted me about doing a Blog Spark for a family taco night with Old El Paso, it was a no-brainer. When it comes to eating Mexican food at home, frequently we turn to Old El Paso for our taco sauce, shells, meat seasoning mixes, refried beans and enchilada sauce, but that is only a partial list of what they offer. I was surprised to learn about all of their taco seasoning mix varieties, which includes flavors like Burrito, Cheesy Taco, Chili, Fajita, Taco, Mild Taco and even a seasoning with 40% less sodium. We generally just get the one called Taco. Through MyBlogSpark, you can print off a coupon for $.60 on 2 Old El Paso products and try some of the products for yourself.

Generally, when we have a family taco night, we either use our shredded chicken, which I make in large batches and freeze or we simply brown up some ground beef or turkey (turkey mostly lately). Occasionally for a Mexican treat I will make Chipotle Chicken for my husband and the kids will have chicken I removed from the pan after cooking and before seasoning in burritos. You can put a twist on taco night, with one of the delicious recipes available from Old El Paso, like Easy Fish Tacos (this sounds so easy) or Tarantula Tacos (perfect for Halloween).

And to keep your family laughing at the dinner table, you can have some fun with El Tacodor™, the world’s only family taco night game. With El Tacodor, your family can share a special night at home by challenging one another to quick fire trivia, wordplay and pantomime. Visit http://www.eltacodor.com/today to download instructions, a score card, and a challenge sheet for even more fun on family taco night! There's even a chance to put the spotlight on your family by sharing pictures of your family playing El Tacodor.

For news, tips and more recipes, visit Old El Paso. You can even find a link there for a $.60/2 coupon.

Giveaway
Thanks to MyBlogSpark and Old El Paso, I have the opportunity to giveaway to one lucky A Busy Mom of Two reader, an Old El Paso “family taco night” prize pack which includes a packet of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, a Cactus Chip & Dip Serving dish, a set of 3 Fiesta Chili Pepper serving dishes and a $10 gift card to purchase your taco fixings.

To enter: Leave a comment sharing what you do for family taco night at your house.

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Giveaway will remain open until October 28th at 6 pm and is open to residents of US only. Winners will be selected using Random.org random number generator. The winner will be contacted by e-mail (Please make sure that your email address is either in your comment or clearly visible on your profile or blog) and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be selected.

No compensation was received for this post. Through my participation in MyBlogSpark, I was able to participate in this event. MyBlogSpark and Old El Paso provided me with a "family taco night" prize pack for me and is providing one "family taco night" prize pack for one reader.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yoga Gear

When I first started doing P90X, I gave the Yoga DVD a quick try. Having never done Yoga, I was easily frustrated and since it was a long workout, I opted to skip it the first few times through the P90X program. Then, between the 2nd and 3rd pass, I decided that I heard so many good things about Yoga that I wanted to learn. I sought Yoga advice from all of my readers and based on a recommendation from one reader, checked out Yoga Step by Step from the library. It really was a good learning program. I really liked how it was arranged in one section where they showed you the poses and the things that people do wrong and another section where they put those poses together into a workout. After a few times through, I started to get the poses and transitions, so I decided to give the P90X Yoga X a try.

What struck me most about the P90X Yoga X workout is how intense of a workout it was and how much I could feel the workout after I was done. I had always known Yoga as a centering and flexibility routine, I had never fully grasped that it was a bona fide work out with physical strength and balance benefits to me. Unfortunately, the one thing that I was still missing was the proper gear. As a result, when I do some of the poses, like Downward Dog, I find myself sliding and slipping - which means I don't have good form and am constantly readjusting. Without a block, I also found myself struggling with poses like Twisting Right Angle Pose. So, when I was contacted about checking out CSN stores, I decided that it was a great opportunity to get some Yoga gear. I did some looking through the store and I found a Yoga Mat, a Yoga Mat bag (to carry/store my Yoga Mat) and a Yoga Block. When I received the gear, I was anxious to try it out. I started using it a few days later, when Yoga X came up in my rotation. Let me say, that having the right gear has made all the difference. No longer am I finding myself slipping on the carpet when I am trying to hold poses downward dog and no longer am I feeling like I can't fully open up when I do the twisting poses. I am pleased with the thickness and stickiness of the mat I selected - the Yoga Direct Charter Oak Deluxe Extra Thick Yoga Sticky Mat. I do my workout on carpet, so I guess the thickness of the mat is less important to me than if I working out in a studio with hardwood or other hard floors, but still it works. As I mentioned, the stickiness is sufficient to keep me from sliding as I'm doing the various poses and transitions. The Yoga Block I selected was a Gaiam Yoga Essentials Block. I'm not sure how much difference there are with different brands, but this block feels like it is the right size and it certainly is lightweight enough that I can easily move it in and out as I transition between poses. I like the carrying bag that I selected for the Yoga Mat as well. It was a Yoga Direct Charter Oak Nylon Yoga Mat Bag. Right now, I don't carry my mat anywhere, but it makes a great storage container for my mat. Otherwise, I am concerned I would have to tuck it somewhere that my cat would rub up against it and leave behind pounds of cat hair as he generally does. With the bag, I can store it out of the way and protected from cat hair. The handle is nice and would certainly make it easy to transport if I needed to.

It's funny, I know how important the right gear is for any exercise, but for some reason, until I got the Yoga gear, I never realized that I really was missing something. I had always just seen it as optional, but now that I have it, I feel like I am doing a better job with the poses and in turn, getting more benefit out of the work out. Having the right gear for my Yoga workouts, works for me!

This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Healthy Choice progressive coupon

Today, Healthy Choice launched a Progressive Coupon on it's Facebook page. What's a progressive coupon you ask? It's a coupon that increases in value as more people sign up to get one.


    Here’s how this coupon works:
    1. The coupon’s value starts off at $.75 off one frozen entrĂ©e.
    2. The more people that “Like” the Healthy Choice Facebook page and reserve a coupon, the higher the coupon’s value, climbing up to a Buy One Get One Free offer.
    3. Coupon reservations close on October 25 or while supplies last.


To “Like” Healthy Choice on Facebook, reserve a coupon and spread the word to your friends on Facebook, make sure to visit www.healthychoice.com/progressivecoupon.

Weight Watchers Lose For Good Meetups

Right now, Weight Watchers is in the midst of their Lose for Good campaign. Last month, was Losa-A-Palooza, a one day event where they made donations based on the number of social media mentions that were made. In addition to this one day event, they also will be making a donation based on the weight lost by members during the campaign period. In fact, for every 1 million pounds lost during campaign period, Weight Watchers will donate $225,000, up to $900,000. Donations will be made 70% to Action Against Hunger. The Lose for Good campaign runs through October 23rd, so there is still time to join and make a difference.

Also as part of the 2010 Lose for Good campaign, Weight Watchers is encouraging members and subscribers to participate in and/or organize canned food drives. I know that last year, members were encouraged to donate canned goods and other non-perishable products through their local meetings as well.

From their Meetup site:
    "As part of the 2010 Lose For Good® campaign, Weight Watchers® members & online subscribers are encouraged to collect nutritious canned food and construct food “Success Walls” to represent the weight they lost with our program. Donating this food can make a difference locally, which is why we've set up 5 official Weight Watchers Donation Day Meetups on 10/23. If no Meetups are planned in your area, find a local food drive & click the button above to start your own any time during the campaign."

Interested in attending a Meetup or initiating one of your own? You can find out more about the events here.

No compensation was received for this post. I am an Advocate for Weight Watchers and am helping to raise awareness for their Lose for Good Campaign. I have received some product that I will be offering as giveaways on the blog.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mamavation Monday

Well, I am glad to say that I feel much better this week than I did last week. I wound up skipping the entire week of exercising last week. I decided that sleeping in and getting better was more important. I tried my best to tackle the feed a cold mentality that I found myself in. I even went so far as to look it up and find out the origin. From what I read, turns out it is a reference back to the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer and had been loosely translated.

I started the week out by exercising this morning. I will admit, I slept in and only had time for 1/2 hour of exercise. I decided on walking - I'm not sure why, both workouts are of equal length, I just felt less intimidated by walking than The 30 Day Shred. Tomorrow, I plan to get up and do both workouts. Of course, I am staying up later than expected and now I will have a struggle to get out of bed.

I'm excited that I am also going to be an Advocate for Weight Watchers. I am excited by this and though my schedule has been busy and I have missed a few meetings, being invited to be an Advocate is causing me to refocus and I plan to find a meeting that will work for me that I can attend weekly again. More to come on this.

This week's post over at Mamavation is again sponsored by Subway and their Commit to Fit campaign that Jared is participating in.
No compensation was received for this post. By mentioning that Subway is the sponsor on Mamavation, I am entering to win an iPod Shuffle and $10 to iTunes. I am an Advocate for Weight Watchers.

CVS Deals - 10/11

Today, after eating lunch, I had some time so I went for a walk over to CVS. I had hoped to pick up the Purex 3-in-1 sheets that are BOGO this week. Unfortunately, I found out that it is now $9.19 each, so even at BOGO with the $3 coupons it still was going to be more than I can get it at the grocery store with just the $3 coupon and the sale. So, I elected to skip that deal.

I did wander the store a little bit and found some good deals.

Here's what I got:

1 - Cotton Candy
1 - Brach's Candy Corn
1 - Notebook
1 - Compass/Protractor

-$0.99 Brach's Candy Corn CRT

Total $.50 OOP. No ECBs, but some good clearance deals. At 29₵, the notebook was my most expensive investment.

This post shared at Super Savings Saturday, Shopping Superstars and Simply CVS.

Menu Plan Monday

I can't believe another week has come and gone and we find ourselves in the middle of October already. Fall sports are wrapping up at our house. I enjoy the activity, but am looking forward to not having some place to be almost every evening. I think that is part of what I like about winter - a slower pace (I could do without all the snow and gray skies).

Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day. It was over 80 here, so I was inspired to pick up some hamburger buns on my second trip to the grocery store and we had hamburgers for dinner. It was wonderful. We are supposed to have one more warm day and then the weather will be more seasonal - highs in the 50s and 60s.

Our menu includes turkey twice this week, the meat for our tacos and of course, turkey meatloaf. I am serious need of a run to get more turkey, but with all of the cheese deals lately plus the three roasters I bought on Saturday, my freezer is a little too full - likely I will wait a couple of weeks to make a run.

Sunday
cereal
leftovers
Hamburgers on the Grill

Monday
Crab Cakes and Cole Slaw

Tuesday
Turkey Meatloaf

Wednesday
Tacos

Thursday
Pasta

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
cereal
sandwiches
TBD

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.

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

Sunday, October 10, 2010

CVS Scenarios - week of 10/10

After a few weeks of missing out on CVS, I finally went yesterday. I did pretty good (you can see the details here). I hope I can make it to CVS again this week. There are a few deals that I would like to do.

Transaction #1
1 - Colgate Total
2 - John Frieda Shampoo/Conditioner

-$1 Colgate mfg coupon
-$2 John Frieda mfg coupon
-$2 John Frieda mfg coupon

Total $9.99. Earn $5 and $2.99 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Dial Bar Soap
2 - Dial Body Wash
2 - Purex 3-in-1

-$.35 Dial Bar Soap mfg coupon
-$1 Dial Body Wash IP
-$1 Dial Body Wash IP
-$3 Purex 3-in-1 mfg coupon
-$3 Purex 3-in-1 mfg coupon

Total $9.63. Pay with $7.99 ECBs from Transaction #1 and $1.64 OOP. Earn $2 and $1 ECB.

Transaction #3
2 - Quaker Oatmeal

-$2 Quaker Oatmeal facebook coupon
-$2 Quaker Oatmeal facebook coupon

Total $1. Pay with $1 ECB and earn $2 ECBs.

For all of these items, the total OOP is $10.63 with $4 ECBs to roll.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom.

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
2 - Quaker Oatmeal

-$2 Quaker Oatmeal facebook coupon
-$2 Quaker Oatmeal facebook coupon

Total $1 OOP. Earn $2 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Colgate Total

-$1 Colgate mfg coupon

Total $1.99, pay with $2 ECBs adjusted down to $1.99. Earn $2.99 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - Purex 3-in-1 Sheets
1 - Dial Bar Soap

-$3 Purex 3-in-1 Sheets mfg coupon
-$3 Purex 3-in-1 Sheets mfg coupon
-$.35 Dial Bar soap mfg coupon

Total $3.63, pay with $2.99 ECBs and $.64 OOP. Earn $1 ECBs.

Total OOP $1.64 with $1 ECB to roll.

For more $5 Scenarios, check out the CVS $5 Challenge.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Acme Deals - 10/9

While I was out at CVS, I made a stop at Acme to take advantage of their 2-day sale.

3 - Whole Roaster Chickens

Total $11.84 OOP.

I mostly use the chickens for Chicken and Dumplings or Chicken Gravy over Biscuits. Normally, when I make those I get a meal for that night and a meal to freeze, so this should make at least 6 meals for the family. That means less than $2 per meal for the protein. I think that is a good deal.

This post shared at Super Savings Saturday.

CVS Deals - 10/9

It has been a really long time since I have made it to CVS. As I was looking at my coupons yesterday, I realized that my ECBs were going to be expiring today! So, I planned a quick trip to CVS today to use my ECBs and pick up some deals.

I wound up doing 3 transactions, because after I completed my transactions I realized I had failed to ask for a rain check. Turns out they had some product in back that I was able to get.

Transaction #1
1 - Pssssst Shampoo
1 - Nivea Men (rain check)
1 - Alive Vitamins (rain check)

-6.49 Pssssst Shampoo (try me free coupon by mail - Redbook maybe?
-$1 Nivea Men Mfg coupon
-$1 Alive Vitamins IP

Paid with $12.98 in ECBs and $1.27 OOP (all tax). Earned $10 and $5 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Twix Snack Size Big Bag
1 - Swedish Fish/Sour Patch Kids Big Bag
1 - bag Candy Corn (filler)

-$5 Halloween CRT
-$1 any Twix, Mars, M&M Snack Size Bag CRT

Paid with $5 ECBs adjusted down to $4.99. Earned $3 and $1 ECB (green bag tag).

Transaction #3
4 - Arizona Iced Tea
3 - Candy Bars (filler)

Paid with $3 ECBs and $.11 tax OOP.

So, I started the day with $12.98 in ECBs and finished the day with $11 in ECBs. So, I got everything for $1.98 in ECBs and $1.38 OOP (just tax). I feel pretty good about that!

This post shared at Super Savings Saturday and Shopping Superstars.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Target Deals - 10/7

My daughter's room at daycare is doing an apple theme next week and I signed up to bring in a pack of applesauce cups. So, after my meeting on Thursday night, I stopped by Target to pick up their Mott's deal. I did the deal last year and it really is a great deal.

2 - Mott's Apple Juice
3 - Mott's Natural Apple Sauce (the no sugar added variety)

Total $8.51 OOP, received a $5 Target gift card. In the end, I effectively paid $.67 each for the apple sauce and $.75 each for the apple juice. I think those are great prices. I might actually head back on Saturday and do the deal one more time. I thought about picking up 10 items on Thursday when I stopped, but for whatever reason, I walked right by the carts and carrying 2 bottles of apple juice and 3 packages of apple sauce was almost too much for me, so getting double that would not have worked.

This post shared at Super Savings Saturday.

Samples and Freebies

Requested:
Free Bottle of Advil (coupon offer mentioned on The View)
Ester C Gummies
Garnier Moisture Rescue
Barilla Plus Pasta (coupon for a free box through VocalPoint)
Glad Odor Shield Trashbags with Febreeze Freshness
Tide with Acti-Lift
(these two are from Target)

Received:
Kleenex sample (pay it forward program)
Kashi TLC cereal bar sample and coupon
Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bar sample and coupons
Wisk he sample
Nivea Touch of Happiness Body Wash and Happy Sensation Lotion sample and coupons
Dove Damage Therapy shampoo and conditioner sample
Free Tub of Cottonelle Wipes coupon (from www.GetFreshWithaFriend.com)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

WaterPik SinuSense

I recently was given the opportunity to check out the WaterPik SinuSense line of products. I was very familiar with WaterPik as an oral health brand, but had not known that they also had a sinus health brand. You can learn more about Sinus Wash and its benefits on their Sinus Wash Q&A page.

This is what MomSelect had to say about this new product:
    Well we've recently been introduced to a great new product that provides a deep clean to an area that probably doesn't get as much attention as it deserves- your nose! Just as hand-washing is an important everyday routine, Ear Nose and Throat specialists (ENT) recommend a sinus wash for every day. In fact, 4 out of 5 ENTs have provided sinus wash samples to clients and 1 in 4 personally use it.

    That's why we're happy to introduce you to SinuSense™ from Waterpik®. Putting water to work in a whole new way, Waterpik® is bringing a "breath of fresh air" to the sinus wash category with a completely new line of sinus wash products called SinuSense™. The Waterpik SinuSense™ line provides an offering for everyone, even kids, depending on their specific symptoms and needs. Just like washing your hands and brushing your teeth, sinus wash becomes part of your daily routine!

    Even better, all SinuSense™ products are BPA free, dishwasher and microwave safe and safe for everyday use, even for children ages 4 and up. Now everyone in your family can breathe easier- and cleaner!


Outside of colds, I don't generally have sinus issues, so I have little experience with irrigation, Neti Bottles, Neti Pots and the like. Actually, I have no experience, outside of knowing about them through my husband. He seems to regularly have sinus issues and has been using a squeeze style sinus wash product on a regular basis for a while now. So, I decided that it would be best to let him use the WaterPik SinuSense products and provide feedback. (Although, from what MomSelect shared, it sounds like maybe I should be more familiar with these products myself.)

Here is what he had to say:

"I have used the WaterPik SinuSense Neti bottle for about a week now. Comparing the neti bottle to the squeeze bottle I currently use, I prefer the neti bottle because:
1. There is no pressure – gravity does all the work.
2. It feels better – no water is being forced into my sinuses.

The squeeze bottle is still great when I am in a rush (or when I don’t have time to let gravity work its magic).

The WaterPik Neti bottle does not appear to be much different from other neti bottles / neti pots on the market.

If the neti bottle and salt mixture packets were available at a very reasonable price, I would tend to use the WaterPik SinuSense neti bottle more than my current squeeze bottle."

No compensation was received for this post. The WaterPik SinuSense product was received through MomSelect.

Gain Dishwashing Liquid

After all of my guests left from my three home parties, I was in the kitchen getting ready to wash a stack full of dishes. As you may recall, from my Kraft Homestyle Comfort Foods House Party Post, I had made 6 Macaroni and Cheese dishes - leaving myself with 3 pots and 3 pans that needed to be soaked and cleaned.

I had recently received a sample of the new Gain Dishwashing Liquid from MyBlogSpark and P&G and I was ready to put it to the test.

    Announcing NEW Gain Dishwashing Liquid! That’s right – now there’s one more place that you can get the fantastic Gain scents you love. You can enjoy the intoxicating smell of Original Gain from the first fork until the last glass. Dirty work has never smelled so good.


I turned on the hot water, plugged the drain and added some Gain Dishwashing Liquid. My sample was the Original Scent. The warm water caused the scent to nicely fill the air above my sink, making for a great environment for washing dishes. I was pleased with the cleaning effectiveness of the dishwashing liquid, as it helped me tackle those six pots and pans. It created a good amount of suds and the pots and pans came clean.

Visit ILOVEGAIN.COM for more information on the new Gain Dishwashing Liquid, as well as other Gain products.

I chose to share the t-shirts and gift cards that were provided to me with friends and family.

No compensation was received for this post. “This product review was based on using complimentary Gain product provided by P&G through My Blog Spark. Bloggers also received Walmart gift cards and T-shirts to share with their friends at their discretion. P&G does not represent or warrant the accuracy of any statements or product claims made here, nor does it endorse any opinions expressed within this blog site.”

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chili

I actually had intended to include this recipe in my post yesterday about the versatility of canned tomatoes, but I didn't realize I had missed it until I hit publish. Since Life As Mom is doing an Ultimate Recipe Swap featuring Soups, Stews, and Chilis, it felt like this was still the right time to share my Chili recipe with you.

Let me start by saying that when I tell my family that chili is on the menu, I have to specify what type. Most of the time, it is Skyline (or Cincinnati-style) Chili. This is a year round favorite at my house. But, I also make other chilis in the fall and winter. I have a chicken chili recipe that we enjoy, that I think I found on a bottle of ketchup many years ago. Then, there is what I call regular chili. It is the chili that I grew up on (or at least a close adaptation) and one that I enjoy serving on a blustery day. What I like about this chili recipe is that it is extremely simple, yet flavorful and satisfying.

We had it for dinner earlier this week and then I got to take leftovers to work for lunch - yum!, perfect for the weather we had earlier this week with temperatures in the 50s and rain.

Chili

1# ground meat, browned and drained
1 46oz can Vegetable Juice
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1 can Kidney Beans
Chili Powder, to taste

Combine in pan and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes. I garnish mine with a dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheddar cheese.

For more Soups, Stews, and Chilis, be sure to check out the Ultimate Recipe Swap.

Healthy Home Party

Well, I've told you about my Kraft Homestyle Comfort Food House Party and my Hex Bug Nano Home Party, but the last of my concurrent parties was a Healthy Home Party. I had learned about Healthy Home Party online through www.healthychild.org and they offer a number of resources on creating healthy environments for kids. I found the kit that they sent for the party and the information included to be very interesting.




I set out all of the samples, coupons and literature that they had provided on the end of my dining room table. As my guests and I watched the kids play with the Hex Bugs we talked about creating healthy environments. Most of the guests seemed to be in agreement, that though they took steps to be green, there was a lot that they weren't doing. I mentioned to one of my friends that I take a cup to work every day for drinking my water, but that I don't take a mug in and when I drink coffee or tea, I'm using a disposable cup. It would be so easy for me to just take in a mug and bring it home to wash each night, just like my cup.

We talked about buying organic food and other products. I really enjoy organic milk - it has a great creamy, smoothness that I don't get from other milks, even the lowfat organic milk is creamy and full. We talked about how some of the guests do buy some organic, but not exclusively. I mentioned that I have a cousin that is very much into living green and when they were expecting everything they put on their baby registry was organic and/or environmentally friendly. I had never really thought about it at that level - organic cotton blankets, organic cotton onesies, and such.

One of the items that came in the kit was a Kid Kanteen from Klean Kanteen. What made it so cool is that it came with a Sippy Lid. I think it is great idea. We have a few stainless bottles that we use and I really like that this provides an opportunity to use stainless bottles for the kids. My daughter was pretty excited when I filled the Kid Kanteen with water for her and took it to the soccer practice. My son was upset and he wanted the small bottle for his and offered her the large stainless bottle.

We also got some samples of Clif Kid Twisted Fruit. These were a hit with my son, who after eating just one asked if I could get more. I like that each twist contains a full serving of fruit. When I looked on their product finder, I can get them at the local Sam's Club. I haven't been there since the party, but plan to look for more when I do go.

We received a number of coupons and even after I shared them with my party guests and some co-workers, I have coupons left. I would like to share those with you!

Giveaway


Three (3) A Busy Mom of Two readers will be selected to receive a collection of coupons from the party. At a minimum the coupon collection will include the following:

2 - $.50 on any Luna or Luna Protein mfg coupon (expires 3/31/11)
1 - $1 on any CleanWell Hand Sanitizer or Foaming Hand Soap mfg coupon (expires 11/31/11)
2 - $.75 on any Earthbound Farm Salad (expires 5/31/11)
2 - $.75 on any Earthbound Farm Product (expires 5/31/11)
3 - $7.50 in Organic Valley coupons - includes $1 off a gallon of milk, $1 off 1/2 gallon soy milk, $1 off any one Organic Valley Butter, $1 off any one Organic Valley cheese, $1 off Organic Valley Eggs and more (expires 3/31/11)
2 - $1 off 100oz ECOS Laundry Detergent (expires 12/31/10)
1 - $1 off any Earth Friendly Product
1 - sheet of 4 $1 off Seventh Generation products - diapers, dish product, cleaner and laundry (expires 3/31/11)
That's a total of at least $32.50 in coupons for organic, natural and earth friendly products.

To enter - leave a comment sharing how you are trying to be green.

Giveaway will remain open until October 19th at 6 pm and is open to residents of US only. Winners will be selected using Random.org random number generator. The winners will be contacted by e-mail (Please make sure that your email address is either in your comment or clearly visible on your profile or blog) and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be selected.

No compensation was received for this post. I received a Healthy Home Party Kit to share the information, samples and coupons with my friends.

The Versatile Canned Tomato

I have always loved tomatoes. My parents have always had a garden and I can remember eating lots of fresh tomatoes. We would have them sliced as a side dish, we would feature them on BLT sandwiches, we would have them on our Hamburgers, and more. Still today, one of my favorite sandwiches is a fresh from the garden, sliced tomato layered between two pieces of toast with a bit of mayo and a dash of salt (I guess you could say my BLT lost it's B&L). There is something so satisfying about that sandwich to me.

My husband is Italian. He eats a lot of tomato based products - ketchup (not Italian food, but one of his favorite condiments) and of course, Spaghetti Sauce (gravy if you ask him, but if you ask me gravy is brown).

With both of us liking tomatoes and tomato products, it was inevitable that tomatoes would be a part of many meals. In fact, over time, canned tomatoes have become a staple in my house. At any given time, you can find in my pantry many forms of canned tomatoes - diced tomatoes (prefer petite diced), canned whole tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and probably more varieties. When there are sales and the occasional coupon, I stock up.

I had never really thought about how versatile a can of tomatoes can be nor how it can help stretch a recipe on a budget, but with a lot of experimentation to enhance flavor and with some recipes that I found and tried - we have created some real winners when it comes to making dishes using canned tomatoes.

As a high school and college student, I started to experiment with cooking. Most of what I made were the dishes I had grown up on. But, I liked to try new things too. I tried dishes like Sweet and Sour Chicken with large tomato wedges (they were fresh tomatoes, but it reinforced my love of the flavor of a warmed tomato) and even tried my hand at a homemade spaghetti sauce.

When my husband and I were still newlyweds, one night, we were planning to have macaroni and cheese for dinner. It sounded sort of boring, so we decided to perk it up. I added a can of diced tomatoes and some cumin to the macaroni and cheese. We loved it and made it a "recipe" that we included on our list of options for dinner.

I had grown up on a chili that was very flavorful, but was a thinner soup variety. Wanting to make it thicker or chunkier, I added a can of diced tomatoes the next time I made it. It was wonderful. It gave it more flavor and texture. (you can find my chili recipe here)

When we had kids, I started to learn that a can of diced tomatoes could enhance flavor and extend the number of servings for dishes. Adding a can of tomatoes to sloppy joes increases the number of servings that I can get from the ground beef or turkey and in my opinion, enhance their flavor. I have also added them to jarred pasta sauce to give it more flavor and texture and it also helps make a jar of sauce and ground beef or turkey go further. Essentially, it lets me save about 1/4# of ground meat for the same servings or gives me a full leftover meal without reducing the ground meat.

In the winter, for recipes like Sonora Chicken Pasta, that uses fresh, diced tomatoes, I have found that I can substitute drained, canned, diced tomatoes. Not quite as good as fresh tomatoes, but still a great substitute.

I have found that for recipes that need a little more pop, or need a little more fresh flavor, that adding a can of tomatoes can make a difference. Some examples are Nacho Mac'n Cheese and Cheeseburger Pasta - both were good meals on their own following the recipe, but adding the tomatoes just improved their flavor.

I have even found recipes whose base is canned tomatoes, like my Roasted Shrimp with Tomatoes. I use canned tomatoes to make my Spaghetti and Meatballs too. We like the flavor of this homemade sauce made with the canned tomatoes, that we are almost disappointed when we just have a jar of sauce.

Using canned tomatoes works for me! They are an inexpensive and easy way to add more servings and flavor to home cooked meals as well.

This post shared at:
Works For Me Wednesday
Frugal Friday

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mamavation Monday

I have a cold. A bad, stuffy head starting to get a sore throat cold! I hate colds! Yesterday, I was still in the I can beat this cold mode - so I felt my best choice was to sleep and allow my body extra rest to help fight the cold. But, it didn't work fully and over the course of the day yesterday, the stuffiness continued to increase, despite fighting it with Vitamin C and Zinc. So, this morning, the inability to breathe freely has caused me to miss another day of exercise. I am hopeful that by tomorrow, I will be able to go more than a few minutes without blowing my nose and will be able to exercise.

Needless to say, I have fallen behind in my 30 Day Shred Challenge. I am still planning on doing the workout for an actual 30 Days, vs just ending once 30 days have passed. It means that I will be still in the midst of the Challenge when everyone else starts to wrap up. I wound up doing Level 1 for 7 days and Level 2 for 7 days and late last week moved onto the Level 3 workout. By far, it is my favorite. I just didn't always feel it after the workout of the first two levels - sure I was sweaty and breathing hard, but the muscles just didn't feel like they do after a great workout. After Level 3, I knew I had worked out. I could really feel it in my muscles. I'm not sure, how I will finish the program. I was thinking 7 days on Level 3 and then doing a mix or maybe a combo of workouts from Level 1, 2 and 3. Or, perhaps I will just do 16 days on Level 3. How would you complete the 30 Day Shred?

This missing exercise (I was super busy this weekend with one wedding and three birthdays, so that was a miss as well) coupled with the eating at the one wedding and three birthdays and my adherence to 'starve a fever, feed a cold' yesterday (not really because I believe it, but because it is what happens) certainly is not serving me well in meeting my overall fitness and weight goals.

Alas, I will let this weekend go behind me and I will make a fresh start (as soon as I can breathe long enough to do the workout).

I will go and check out what other Mamavation Monday participants and 30 Day Shred Challenge participants have been up to for inspiration. It's amazing how reading about other success can help motivate you. I think I just might join Jared from the Subway ads in the Commit to Fit campaign. He is getting in shape to run a marathon in NYC. I'm not getting ready for a marathon, but would love to finish losing the weight that I set out to lose last year.