Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Abby's Inspiration for the day...and new freebies

 Aren't kids amazing? As I watch my own four develop into the young men and woman that God created them to be, I am in awe that He would let me be part of the process. Abby recently filled out a scholarship application. This was her reply to "Discuss a situation that had an impact on your life and how you will change because of it:" (that's not the exact ? but you get the idea):

Until the last year I felt that I was cursed to live an entirely trial-less, and hence, completely boring, life; I longed for the romance of struggles and near death experiences. I devoured books in which fearless heroines conquered real and imaginary battles. True, I knew that it would never be as glamorous as a storybook when the battle was actually being fought, but I longed for trials anyway – a way to prove myself to the world – a way to prove myself to myself.

I got my wish. Dreams of Romance came to life in stunning color as my family and I were hurtled into a cement highway divider at sixty-five miles per hour. I looked down at my blood-soaked hoodie and saw a tooth fall out of my mouth. Lovely. It was at this point that I realized some “diabolical scribbler” (to borrow a term from Inkspell) had intervened and destroyed my romantic ideals. Bold and powerful female champions are not supposed to wear dentures.

Recovery was somewhat arduous - the worst part was realizing that this was what I had wished for and that it had somehow gone wrong. Struggling to recover although I knew that my life would never be the same was not particularly encouraging. The exploits I had imagined did contain pain; however, the pain was overshadowed by the guarantee of a somewhat cliché happy ending. Even if the ending was not happy, at least some condolence could be garnered from the poetical “feel” of the situation. There was no poetical “feel”, I decided, in being in a car wreck.

I realize now that attitude was my problem. Of course I was incapable of seeing the beauty in my situation- I didn’t want to see it. I had set my mind on a certain ideal of romance – a particular aspect of a very diverse and subjective issue. I saw beauty only in things that I was convinced were beautiful. To me, a car wreck could never contain beauty.

But it could. I have now come to recognize that there is a sense in which all trials have a certain glory. And it is not always the sufferers that make them glorious. In my case the beauty came from the love that was shown to our undeserving family by people who had no reason to wish to help us. There is no marvelous quality in suffering itself, but suffering is made marvelous when it is aided by love or endured for love. The suffering that I endured was a perfect frame for the picture of love that was given to me in the days and weeks following the wreck.

I always knew that people suffer everywhere, and I always slightly envied the stories they could tell, stories that would move people to tears and action. I now know that true beauty is found in love, not suffering, now that I have realized this, I too must act.

Isn't that great? Hope she made your day like she did mine!! The picture is of her and her (FABULOUS) surgical team when we went back to visit the hospital one year post-wreck.

If you are a member of, there is a new sample for Pantene out. Vocal Point gives GREAT freebies, sometimes full size products to test is exchange for your opinion on them. I recommend your taking the time to be a member!

Click here to get a sample of Dove men's body wash:

Almost Easter...first Good Friday, but then...Sunday's a coming...(have you heard that sermon???)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Free shampoo and Bible on DVD

Beautiful sunny day here in spite of the tornado...really brings it close to home! Get all the freebies you can, even if you can't use them, and share with those in need!

Click here for some Dove hair care samples:

Click here for a narrated Bible on DVD: has up to 60% off on adidas, skechers and converse right now....(my son wants a pair for his birthday and this is the best price I have found!
Don't forget that the free $39.00 photo book deal at ends 3/31!!

Got my free sample of Beneful dog food yesterday, and a rebate check....oh! And before I forget, if you got your Bahama Breeze card and don't have a restaurant near you, word is that Olive Garden accepts them...but I'd call first!

Happy Freebies!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

What's for breakfast?

Hellooooooo....anyone out there??? Haven't had many comments lately.....

So you know what I have for dinner (at least I report on most of them), but what does breakfast consist of at the Cliff household? Here's Tricia's weekday morning routine: The alarm goes off at 6 am. I am NOT a morning person. Mike hits the snooze 2X, which gives me 18 more minutes to face the reality that it is indeed time to get up. At 6:18 then, Mike nudges me in the ribs and I sit on the side of the bed and put in my eye drops. I had lasik surgery 10 years ago, and while it is by far the best money I have ever spent on myself, it causes me to have dry eyes...but just in the mornings. Then I head for the kitchen. (I haven't spoken yet.) I unload the dishwasher and set the table. I make sure the kids lunches are ready to take  (they are packed the night before, sometimes by me and sometimes by the kids) and then I make breakfast, which is a family-style sit down affair (by the time I'm sitting, I am awake enough to talk without being grumpy) except on Saturday, when everyone does their own thing 'cause Mama is yard-saling...and whichever child is with mom gets a fast food sausage biscuit as a treat!

Here is a sample of our menu...made almost exclusively from scratch: pancakes, waffles, granola, oatmeal, cream-of-wheat, grits, eggs/sausage, eggs/toast, muffins, biscuits or cold cereal...all served with a glass of milk and juice if they want it.  Cold cereal, while easy, is by far one of the most expensive breakfast foods you can serve.. unless bought with double-coupons on sale, of course. You can cook bacon and eggs for less. So while I dislike mornings, it is worth it to me to get up and actually cook breakfast. Oh, and days that I have to be at work at 7 am are the cold cereal mornings!

What a weekend! Tornados touched down in our little city last night, but thankfully we are all safe at our house.  Not massively extensive, but it is for the folks whose homes were destroyed!!

Saturday am Abby and I hit the yard-sales. Didn't find much this week...however, my daughter struck gold again. She had been wanting a "skirt hoop" that goes under a long dress to "poof" it out...found 3 of them for 50 cents each!!

Saturday night we had our school fund-raiser auction. We are having one at our church next month. These are great places to get good deals and support a worthy cause! We got two beautiful, brand new 5X8 wool rugs, one for $35 and one for $80. Also got a full size page in the year book for $80--normal price $250.00. (This if for my next year is traditional at our school to buy a page or part of a page to honor your Sr...mama loves you, Abs:) And this on top of a great meal and fun times. Thanks to all the HPCA parents who work so hard to make this happen!!

And last night Norman Geisler delivered as expected. Great presentation!

Check out the dollar deals at Staples this week and stock up on office supplies:
Wescott 7′ Straight Handle Scissors, $1

Staples Comfort Stick Ballpoint Pens, $1
Staples Hype Highlighter, $1
Staples Black and White Composition Book, 100 sheets, $1
Staples 5.5 x 4.25, 200 sheets, $1
HammerMill, paper, 500 sheets, $1
HP Everyday, 4×6 photo paper, $1
Scotch Magic Invisible Tape, 3 pk, $1

Coldwater Creek is offering 60-70% off everything sitewide! This includes the outlet area of the site!! The sale is through 4/1 while supplies last.

60% off use code 60SALE  70% off use code WHH5226

Click here for a free Special K protien bar: 

Heading out to fill the bare fridge and pantry! Happy Shopping!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Video... Sara Groves...get the kleenex first

Lots of good deals at the big three drug stores this week...go to and clik on the link of interest. I've been so busy this week I haven't had time to shop!! Only spent $52.00 at Wal-Mart last Monday, now, like old mother hubbard, the cupbord is bare!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stinky Dog with dandruff...arggghhh!

They're cute...they're fluffy...they're loyal....they're "man's best friend"....but even them the best of them SMELL LIKE A DOG. Dog's just stink. So what's an owner to do? We own a little mutt named Jack...he looks like a "Benji" dog. Since we didn't want to harm his delicate self-esteem by calling him a mutt, we made up a breed: he's a "Western Highlands Scottish Curl-Tailed Terrier." Yep, that's Jack. He's a good dog. Obedient, smart. He just STINKS--and it drives me crazy. He also gets doggy dandruff. I took him to the vet and paid the big bucks for him to tell me the dog has allergies and so....I bought the expensive shampoos. I tried lavender baby shampoo. I tried rinsing him with diluted vinegar after his bath. I bought expensive food. I gave him Benadryl and fish oil tablets. I bathed him more frequently...and then less frequently.  He still stinks. But ultimately, these two "homespun remedies" that I found online helped more than anything else:

I mix a few drops of tea tree oil in a quarter cup of Head and Shoulders Shampoo. It has totally kept the dandruff in check and cleared up the red flaky skin. It doesn't look like a snow storm when he shakes. It also makes him smell tolerable for a few days at least. Then I found this recipe: mix equal parts of regular listerine (no special flavored kind), lanoline based hand cream and water. Shake well and keep in a spray bottle. This also makes him smell better and shines his coat up a little. I spray it on right after his bath and then try to remember to spray it on again every few days after his bath. Make sure you massage it down into their skin.
 Happy doggy days!!!

Are you from the triad and free this Sunday evening? Come hear Norman Giesler, international apologetics conference speaker at Fatih Baptist Church, 5744 Mendenhall Road, Archdale, NC 27263 6-9pm. Free Conference...great speaker!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Free Magazines!!

OK...I have sites for you that offer totally free magazines. I'm a magazine junkie...sometimes I just don't want to get into a book, and a magazine totally fits the bill.

The picture on the left is from No Greater Joy ministries. Now I have to say that I don't agree with all these people promote, but they have some good articles on child-rearing, homeschooling, homesteading and "natural" remedies. Go to and click on the magazine link.

I'm also somewhat of a conservative/political/economic junkie. We have read Imprimus for years. It is a publication of Hillsdale College. Go to and find the Imprimus link. Great read.

And then check this out: They have a bunch of regular mags to sign up for...all for zip!!! Sweet!!

And one more site: just in case that wasn't enough.

Just a fair warning, I didn't look through every magazine they offer, so if something is objectionable, I apologize in advance.

Happy Reading!! Hit those yard sales tomorrow!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The big bad "B" word

There just seems to be a major lack of freebies lately...then again, I've been working a lot and haven't had as much time as I would like. So, I've been digging around for good articles on budgeting...and this one has some great advice:

Article: Living Within Your Budget - Free Reprintable Article

Living Within Your Budget
by Chemain Evans

Having a budget and living within it are two different things. There are always things that we want (or need) and credit is so easy to get. This article will discuss ways to help you establish good budgeting habits.

First, determine why you want to budget. You need a pretty good reason or you won't feel obligated to do what it takes. Do you want to get out of and/or stay out of credit card debt? Or save for a new car or big vacation? Whatever it is, you need a reason so that you won't be enticed to overspend. Write down your reason or goal where you see it every day.

Second, examine your spending. Are you tracking your expenses often enough? If you aren't looking at your expenses every few days, you probably have no idea how much money you have and where it is going. Spend a few minutes each day or at the end of the week updating your records instead of saving it all for the end of the month (or tax season).

Third, recognize why and where you are overspending. Look at your expenses and see where you've crossed the line. Did you have a large, unexpected medical, house, or automotive expense? Does this happen frequently? Establishing some short-term savings can help cover these expenses when they occur.

Begin thinking of things in terms of what it costs you over a long period of time, such as a year. For example, if you pay $3/week to withdraw money from your ATM, that's over $150/year. Instead limit withdrawals to twice a month (or less) and that's over $75/year in your pocket!

Below are some other ways to reduce both mandatory and discretionary expenses:
•Increase your car insurance deductible to $500.
•Check around for better car insurance rates.
•Conserve utilities when possible.
•Consolidate your credit card and other consumer debt into a home equity loan and then cancel the cards, cut them up, and don't apply for new ones.
•If you are renting, try to buy a house; tax advantages for paying home loan interest often make it cheaper to own than to rent.
•Eat out less; brown-bag your lunch; find less expensive places to eat.
•Find cheaper entertainment (rent a movie instead of going out to one).
•Consolidate errands to use less gas.
Limit grocery shopping to one day a week; shop at more than one store for groceries, if time permits.
•Shop around for a better long-distance calling plan or cell phone plan.
•Borrow books from the library instead of buying them.

Some find it necessary to go to a cash-based system. This is sometimes called the "envelope method." It involves cashing your paycheck and depositing only what is needed to write checks for bills or to cover bills that are automatically withdrawn from your checking account.

The remaining cash is divided into envelopes marked for expenses such as food, gas, etc. Once the money in an envelope is gone, to make any additional purchases you either have to shift money from another envelope or wait until you get paid. This really helps to develop discipline.

You may eventually find that there are no more places to cut and you need to increase your income. This doesn't necessarily mean getting a second job, although that is a possibility. Below are some other ways to increase your spendable money:

First, take a look at your tax return. If you're getting anything but a small return, you're letting the government earn interest for itself with your money. You probably wouldn't let anyone else do that! Consider raising your exemptions. You can acquire a new W-4 form to fill out from your Human Resource department or manager.

Second, save or invest wisely to obtain dividends. This is money that you don't have to work for! It's money working for you.

Third, acquire new skills that can help you get a promotion, or even a new job. Get your GED or college diploma, if you don't have one. There is a lot of financial aid available, and you may even be able to attend college for free.

Fourth, consider starting a home-based business. There are a host of tax deductions for home businesses, not to mention the extra income that may come from just a few hours a week. Although a home-based business is not for everyone, you may enjoy it enough to turn it into your next career!

Living within your budget is possible, but you must have a good reason to motivate yourself. Track your expenses often. Cut expenses and/or increase your income if you need to. Decide to make changes and do them today.


© Simple Joe, Inc.

Chemain Evans is a quality control specialist for Simple Joe, Inc., makers of the popular Simple Joe's Expense Tracker PC software. Expense Tracker is a quick and simple way to keep track of your expenses and stay within your budget. Expense Tracker is ideal for tracking personal, business, home and club expenses.. This article may be freely distributed as long as the copyright, author's information and an active link (where possible) are included.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unabashed promoting newest book!!!

Here it is newest project, which has been almost 4 years in the making. In 2006, I had the priviledge of having Corporal Larry Small as my patient. And talk about living a life of value!! His story so inspired me that I asked his permission to write it--and he consented. Larry and his wife ToKhanh have been like family to me over the past few years and I am so happy to be able to share this story with the world.

Here is the write up on the back cover:

Corporal Larry C. Small’s life changed irrevocably the day he was hit by an

AK-47 shell during an ambush in the jungles of South Vietnam. Barely alive,
the young marine was taken to a military hospital, where he spent a year before coming home partially paralyzed, a bullet and shrapnel buried deep in his brain. His marriage had failed, he had diffi culty speaking, he was in constant pain
from his injuries, and he was bitter toward the North Vietnamese people and toward God.

Yet deep inside his soul, Larry could never get away from the sense that God had plans for him. With encouragement and guidance from his brother-in-law and a local pastor, Larry accepted Christ as his Savior and began a new life as a coach, prizewinning athlete, and regular churchgoer with a heart for mission work. Then, in 1998, God presented Larry with yet another challenge: a return to Vietnam, the scene of his nightmare. It was a trip that would change Larry’s
life yet again, in a way he never could have foreseen. This brave soldier’s perseverance and faith in God’s leadership will touch and inspire you. It is a powerful testimony to the human spirit and how healing can happen in the most unexpected places.

“If I had read the story of Larry Small’s life without knowing him, I might have concluded that the script was written by a talented author with a flair for irony, drama, and sentimentalism. Fact, however, can be stranger than fiction. As improbable as Larry’s story might seem, its reality reflects the redemptive power of God and provides an inspiration to anyone willing to listen.”

Colonel Lance Betros
Professor and Head, Department of History, United States Military Academy

Larry is so excited about this opportunity to share his story...he has such a heart for disabled veterans and members of the military. We are going to be starting a project to try to get his story--free of charge--into the hands of as many veterans as possible...more on that later. Also, a portion of all sales will support different missions/charities.

I promise not to inundate you with requests, but this is pretty big for me. I encourage you to click here :CrossBooks Publishing › Book Details to order a copy today. It would make a great gift for the veteran's in your life! Tell all your friends! And thanks in advance!

On the savings side...anybody getting in on triples at HT? It was a good mail day again...$42 in Staples rewards, coupon for the free vitamin water, and a sample of Crea of Wheat. This hobby is so awesome! So sign up for this Burts Bees toothpaste here: 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

HT and Home Depot

Good Morning, everyone! The sun is shining, I have supper (big pot of beef stew) all made, the check book is balanced and it's only 9 am!! I have to go in to work shortly and the boys have a trac meet today. Have you ever been to trac meets? Let me just tell you, they last FOREVER. Four hours forever. And any given child usually only participates in a couple of events, so there's much down time. But that's's fun all the same and I'm so thankful my kids are active and able to participate.

Don't forget, it's free cone day at Ben and Jerrys and free pastry day (for about another hour) at Starbucks!

Are you a DIYer? Sign up for Home Depot emails and they will send you coupons you can print off. Go here:

If you are a Harris Teeter shopper, I highly encourage you you to go to and click on the Harris Teeter link. Jenny has a whole list of items that will be free with coupons during the upcoming triples, and she tells you where to find them. I'm so glad I found her site...made my blogging much easier!!

The response was overwhelmingly positive (mostly through email) that I should go ahead and post a couple of political blogs. I have to think about those for awhile, but I'll get it done eventually. My favorite prof in college (who had nothing to do with my nursing major, but who was infinitely more interesting) said that every social issue in life can be traced to the economy which can be traced to the politics behind the economy, which can be traced to the theology behind the politics. It always comes back to what we believe about God. And he was right. So I toast Dr. Martin...I do so miss him!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

winner!, meals

Winner of my autographed book: Michelle M., Greensboro, NC. Congratulations!

I keep forgetting to post my meals, here are the highlights from the last couple weeks: pizza, baked potato bar, hamburgers, chili, linguni and clams, corned beef and cabbage, beef and veggie stir fry, ham/rice/corn. We did eat out last week-TWICE-oh my!! But both times combined was less than $19.00. Arby's and Wendy's...BIG spenders!!

I've been sitting here for over 3 hours, reading different websites and trying to figure out something to say. I honestly can't even concentrate, so I'm afraid there won't be much of a post today. When one seriously needs to consider a new career, it can be a littlle mind-bending and unsettling. I need to go grocery shopping anyhow. There aren't many links for good deals right now, so I'm stymied there also.

I'll be back in the game tomorrow...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life of Value

Well, as I fully expected, Tim Keller's message Wednesday was wonderful...and at a packed house, too! His title was "Wrestling with God," and, as with any good sermon, it has given me something to think about during these ensuing days. Using the story of Jacob's famous wrestling match with the Lord (Gen 32:22-32), he drew out the points that: Jacob was alone when God came to him; the "match" caused pain-and thus growth; and Jacob asked God for a blessing-and got it.

And so it is with us. When God wants to change us, He oft times meets us alone and/or in painful situations. And the end result-should we chose to "wrestle through til day break-" is a blessing, though we may not see it as such as we limp around on our wounded hip.

Keller also suggested that if we are not in some sort of wrestling match with God at any given time...if we have become complacent and apathetic and are not questioning some area of our life...that we are most likely not at the place we should be, and we are certainly not at the place of blessing. I found this most encouraging as I am almost always striving in some area of my life, wondering if I will ever "arrive...." and here is a reason to never arrive this side of heaven.

Jesus, God in Christ, truly is amazing. That He would take the time to wrestle with me is beyond my comprehension when daily my heart is "prone to wander, " as the hymn so aptly states.

Speaking of a struggle...I have been wrestling lately with all things political. When I started my "year of blogging," I told myself that I would not go down the political road with this blog.That's difficult, as  dealing with money issues generally points one toward the economy. Several of you have asked me through email my opinion on certain subjects that can only be answered in a political/economical/theological answer. So, what think ye? Do I just give you a couple of posts (no more than that) and put all my political ramblings out there? Any interest? As a person who believes that Christ should be preeminent in all things, I certainly have some very strong opinions on the matter. Are you up for it?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tricia's meal plan, first yard sale

Beautiful day here in the South. 75 and sunny. Mike is mowing the lawn; daffodils, tulips, forsythia and red buds everywhere! So, the perfect day for yard sales Abby just asked me last week to pick up a pair of white retro roller skates (not blades) if I found them. I told her that wouldn't be an easy find. Guess what I found-in her size- at the very first yard sale for 50 cents???  Woot! Lots of baby clothes for a friend and like new jeans and shorts for the boys. And one pair of running shoes. I think I spent about $12.00 all told. Just love being out there!!

Appreciated all the meal planning posts. I think most of us are about the same. "Loose" plans, but nothing super structured. That would be how I do it. I generally shop on Monday mornings. (It was Friday for years.).Sunday night I look in the freezer and see what needs to be used up and what I need to fill in around the edges. Then I check all the sale papers and see what I can put together. I rarely think of something I want and just buy it. (Exceptions are special days: eg. I always have corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day and the kids get to pick their birthday meal) It's all about what's on sale. I try not spend over $4.00 total for the whole evening meal (for 7 of us). I put a plan on paper, but rarely follow it all the way through. Things come up and change as the week progresses.

I try to shop weekly, although being so close to many stores makes it easy to pop in if a super sale comes up. We do eat together 98% of the time and try to make this a priority. It's not the same time every night, but we are together. I am so aware of the fact that there won't be many years left with everyone around the table and I want to make it last as much as I can.

There have been times in my life (esp when I had 4 kids 5 and under, or even during the homeschool years) when I cooked more ahead. Now, when I get up in the morning I look at schedules and the "loose" plan and unthaw meat, make sure I have ingredients, etc. That way, I'm not crazy at night. If I'm working, I'll try to use the crock pot....a girl's best friend!!

In the summer we eat veggies from the garden. We don't have a very big garden spot here, so I try to grow super productive plants: green beans, tomatoes and cukes top the list. When we lived in the country, I had a huge garden and canned and froze lots of stuff.  I miss that, but I do what I can with my little spot here.

Did I hit it all? I'll wait until tonight to draw the winner of the book and will post it tomorrow! You all are the best!! Make sure to check out for this weeks drug store deals!

Print the form (click here: ) for a full purchase-price rebate on Olay Quench Body Lotion "Quench for Clunkers" (4/16/10) It started yesterday. Void in ME. It says buy any size so buy the biggest. Get a full rebate with this form. There is a $1 coupon on Quench in the (PG 3/7) insert. This is not a money-back guarantee. It's a straight-forward full refund for everyone whether you love it or hate it. I personally love this lotion, so this is a really good rebate. Use the coupon and you'll make money!

Don't forget free cone day at Ben and Jerrys on March 23 from 12-8. On that same day, Starbucks is having free pastry day with purchase of a drink, click here: . Only good from opening until 10:30 am, so hurry in!

Friday, March 19, 2010

10 great money saving ideas, misc. Friday stuff

It's been another full week...finally some spring weather and a list of yardsales to hit in the morning. Maybe I'll see some of you out and about...can't wait to begin my favorite Saturday activity!!

It was a good mail week. Got rebate checks back from RiteAid, Oil of Olay and Gillette Fusion. Got a Kotex sampler, 3 free magazines, and also got 50 free prints (click here: and then on special offers-you should get 50 free prints if you are new, pay only $1.99 of shipping) for signing up and my Office Max freebies came: 5000 sheet box of paper, 50 file folders, 12 sharpies, 6 banker boxes and a ringed notebook. If you didn't get in on this, I think there is still time. (see earlier post.) Mike even brought home a card good for a free 6" Subway meal. Gotta love this hobby. I'm going out is a little bit to get my 6 free deodorants from CVS. I stopped earlier and didn't have my coupons...don't you hate that??!! Thankfully, I can walk over later. See the southernsavers site if you missed this one!

I've been getting lots of interesting posts about meal planning. Since I gave people until Saturday at five to get in on the drawing for a free book, I'll wait until tomorrow to tell you my plan. I'll hardly be able to stand the suspense.

Here are some fairly random tips to take you into the weekend:

1.Store your SOS type pads in the freezer between uses, they won't rust.
2.Freeze overripe bananas whole in the peel and use when needed for smoothies and baking.
3.Use vinigar in water to clean windows, wipe with newspaper.
4.Wash and reuse ziploc style bags.
5. Accept anything anyone wants to give you for free. Give it away or sell it if you don't need it.
6. Combine store coupons and maufactuer coupons to maximize savings.
7. Cut baby wipes in half.
8. Get a rain check for sale items that are sold out.
9.Don't let your kids (or yourself) be picky eaters.
10. Grow your food...even if it's just herbs on the windowsill.

Happy Savings!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Plan meals then shop or shop then plan?

OK, my computer was down all afternoon and is just now reconnected. The boys have their first trac meet in 2 hours and I have to work tonight from 7-11. If I don't post right now, it won't happen. original post was going to be about how I plan meals at my house. I will try to do that tomorrow.

But do you plan your evening meals? Are you the type of person who is frantically running around the house each night trying to figure out what to have for dinner? Are you super organized, having meals planned a month in advance? Does your family eat together? How often? How much do you eat out? How many times a week do you go to the grocery store?

Since there are no good freebies out right now, I'll create my own! For everyone who posts an answer to any or all questions on the blog (anyone can post now),  I will put your name in a drawing for a free autographed copy of my book, Love Blessings and Seatbelts.

You can help me write the next entry....thanks! Post by 5pm Saturday to be in on the drawing. Oh...Harris Teeter is tripling coupons beginning the 24th!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tim Keller

Going to hear Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Church in NYC, tonight at Wait Chapel @ Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. Free to the public...7pm. This guy is an awesome speaker and an awesome writer...c'mon along!!

If you haven't checked out, it's worth your time. They have great discounts on name brand shoes. Right now they have Tommy Bahama, Vans and Dockers up to 85% off.

Happy Savings...sorry it's short, but gotta run!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

White Chicken Chili, richest men in the world?

I have to go in to work soon, so this will be short.
I've posted my recipe for White Chicken Chili on the blog page. It is not my own...but it is delish!! It's our family's favorite chili now. I usually double the recipe.

Was able to get some pretty good deals at Wags yesterday. Spent $15, but saved $23 and got back $7 in RR. Love that store!! I did my big grocery shop at Aldi.and I had my Korean student with me. As I checked out, she heard the amount (only $72.00, which I thought was pretty good for 7 people) and said, "Wow, this is a lot of food and money. Maybe I will rethink having 4 kids."

Got my (free) issue of Forbes magazine yesterday. Always an interesting read. This one highlights the world's billionaires...a number hard for me to comprehend. There are 1,011 of them. I'm sure you've heard by now that Bill Gates lost the top spot to Carlos Slim Helu (see photo), a mobile phone magnet from Mexico. Mr. Gates remains #2. And we can thank Facebook for making Zuckerman the youngest man on the list. So if you have a Facebook account or use Windows consider yourself to have had a hand in their success. Gotta love the creative genius God endows us with. I'm so thankful for technology!!

I also read another article from a different magazine recently that posed an interesting question: If the ten richest men in the world weren't rich, would the poorest be any less poor?

Have a great day!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

kids and electronics, office max freebies

Good Sunny Monday Morning to you!! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Let me start off with....

Stupid Tax: Friday night we were going to see The Blind Side (see Friday post)...let's just say it didn't happen. The boys and I returned home from the big G'boro shop and Aaron said, "Mom, Will and I have the Cotillion Ball tonight." Now, for those of you not from the South, Cotillion is a 7 session course in etiquette/ballroom dance steps that isn't exactly free.  I didn't force my kids to go...the 3 oldest have attended. The spring ball is the grand finale...the one thing I really wanted them to attend. It is complete with a 5 course meal that teaches them table manners that this country hick is completely unaware of. When Aaron said this, it was 5:10 pm. They were supposed to be there at 5:30. I still had time!! But NO!  They were supposed to properly RSVP, and I set aside the forms so the boys wouldn't forget, and then forgot. They couldn't go. They did, however, attend the formal dance that followed and I waltzed with my son...and Aaron won the beach shag contest....that boy is smooth! So, all things considered, that faux pas cost me the $60.00 I saved in Greensboro. Life with a half-wit...

Not many freebies out there right now. Office Max is offering a bunch of office supplies free after rebate if you have an maxperks card. You can order by internet and shipping is free. You can also sign up for an maxperks card on their site. Check out the link at

I also wanted to touch on the subject of kids and electronics. My husband read an article recently that said the average teen spends 7.5 hours a day using electronic, computer, ipod,!! Part of this is "multi-tasking:" kids text each other while simultaneously trying to do homework. One of the teachers at our school asked his students if their parents put any time restrictions on electronics. NOT ONE KID SAID YES. That really surprised me. I'm not anti-electronics (obviously....I'm sitting here banging away on a computer), but we do limit our kids and ourselves. None of our kids (ages 16, 14, 13, 11) have cell phones. Mike has one through work and I have a tracfone that I pay $100.00 a year for. (I don't even know the #; it really is for emergencies.) We have told our kids that they when they get their license, we will give them a tracfone to use. If they want a different cell phone, they will have to pay for it themselves. I can't tell you how many times now that I've seen a whole family sitting somewhere in the public sqaure and they all have their cell phones out...and aren't talking to each other. Like I said, we aren't against them. Obviously, cell phones are a very good thing...I just think it's a bit much when we don't know how to talk to each other face-to-face anymore. 

We also don't have cable TV, and rarely have the TV on at all during the week. Sometimes on the weekend we watch a movie. I can't even keep my head above water without TV.

We also have no game systems at our house here. We have an Xbox in Maine that someone gave stays in Maine. The kids do have few computer games on old laptops that were given to us. They are allowed to play 30 minutes a day as long as their homework is done and band instuments have been practiced. Sometimes we give them more time on the weekend.

The oldest 3 have ipods...if you followed the story of the wreck, you know they got those as gifts while in the hospital.

I am the only person in the house who has the password for the computer with internet. No one is allowed on if Mom and Dad aren't home and generally speaking, they only get to use it for school  related things. They do all go to the library once a week and spend an hour on the computers there. That's about the extent of electronic use at our house.

Obviously, we all have different stanards. Maybe I'll look back one day and say, "Oh, I really regret not letting you watch TV and play video games 8 hours a day. If only we hadn't been reading together (which we still do), we might have had more time for that." Maybe...but I doubt it. Your thoughts?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

"Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow."

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."

"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

a good week

So, this week is nearing an end. We were happy to welcome our friend's new little one into the world...but also lost a former neighbor to cancer at age 60. Gave me pause to think about that whole life and death thing and how short our days here really are. God is truly so amazing!!

Total out for groceries this week $120.00. Just food: $82.00. That makes the weekly average since Jan 24,  $86 for everything, or $82 if you just count food.

It was a good day in Greensboro. The boys and I got $42.00 in credit for our books, so we all picked up a few more to read, and I got some Christian CDs for the kids' Easter baskets. All with no money out of pocket!! I stopped at Earth Fare, which is a health food supermarket. Wow. I don't know how real people shop there: $4.00 for a cucumber, $3.50 for a pepper. But or course, I had coupons. Several. I went there for the coupons and for bulk baking yeast, which my little health food store quit carrying. Those little supermarket yeast packs are such a rip-off, 8 oz of bulk yeast would cost over $30.00 in packet form, I paid $3.00. (one tablespoon of yeast=one packet) Then they had a coupon to trade in a pack of Oreo type cookies for a pack of their healthy ones. I got the Wal-Mart brand oreos for $2.00, took out all but 6 of them and traded the rest in for the healthy pack...hey, it didn't say how many had to be left! The healthy ones were pretty tasty (and low calorie....)I also had coupons for a free 5# bag of organic potatoes, a free 15 once bottle of juice, a free bag of Snikiddy cheese puffs, a free roll of TP and 50% off the olive bar (my guilty treat). I paid $4.77 and saved $14.99. The cashier (long beard, Birkenstocks and all) was quite impressed with my savings. He said, "You have gift, lady!" I wouldn't have gone there if I hadn't already been in G'boro, but I'm so glad I stopped! They had great samples out everywhere too...I esp liked the cheese.  I know lots of you don't have this store...but I'm just trying to show you how my frugal mind works:).

Also a good mail the coupon for my free Heluva, any product up to $4.99. I got cheese. Also got my full size bottle of Pantene in the mail today...for signing up at Vocal Point. Mail freebies are so nice to get. And then the best mail news (don't read this if you don't want to hear me brag on my kid:)) was Abby got the news that she is an Elon Junior Scholar...her first college scholarship offer good for $18,000.00. Don't know if she'll go there, but it was pretty exciting anyway!!!

And got word that my second book is finished....yeahh!! I'll let you know the details soon!

New code good for 80% off...use BITE.

Make sure to check out for the deals at the drug stores this coming week. Some great scenarios and lots of free stuff.

Happy savings

Friday, March 12, 2010

"the diet" edward mckay, laundry #3

As I suspected, I'm catching a bit of flack for my diet posts. So allow me to explain myself a little. As I mentioned, the 1000 calories a day comes from Amy Dacyzyn's Tightwad Gazette. She explains how many people buy into the pills, special foods, gym memberships, yada yada....when we all know that the key is to burn more calories than we take in. She makes a point -and rightly so- of going into all the "consult your doctor,(which she did, and he agreed that, while it was on the low end of needed calories, it was OK for the short term)," "don't do this long-term," "consider your frame size"etc. I didn't go into it because I assume most people know this. I don't like to use the word "diet." I'm a small person, so most people I know give me a hard time if I cut back at all. But you know what? Most of us don't stay small by accident. It takes work. If I add 5#s on every winter-which I easily do-before I know it, I'm 30#s overweight. So about this time every year, I really work on maintaining my healthy weight, which for my frame is about 105-110 pounds. I feel good at that weight. When I start gaining more than that, I feel unhealthy and my clothes don't fit. Why do I just not maintain it year round? Lazy I guess. I like to run for exercise and I really hate the cold, so I don't get out so much. I also tend to munch more during the winter months. So, come spring, I reeveluate. Typically, like today, I drink a protein shake in the am. Skim milk, fruit, yogurt and protein powder. At 320 calories, it gives me 30 grams of protein and lots of vitamins and calcium. It also keeps me full until lunch. Then I eat small portions of whatever the rest of the family is eating. I also, as I mentioned a few posts back, eat unlimited low cal veggies all day...on top of the 1000 calories, so I really don't even get hungry. When I reach the goal weight...which doesn't take long-maybe 3 weeks- I up the calories and just try to maintain. That's the basic plan. I also run 3 days a week and walk almost every day.

As a nurse, I see the damage that obesity causes every day that I work. These people didn't get to be 200 pounds too heavy overnight. It happened a few pounds at a time with no maintenance plan. Most overweight people are not happy with themselves, esp. when it puts them in the hospital. 1000 calories a day isn't about being frugal. It's just an option that works for me! What do you do to maintain healthy weight?

The kids are off school today...teacher work day. We're going to Edward McKay booksellers (a used bookstore chain) in G'boro later and I'm going to trade in a few bags of books for credit. I highly recommend this. I've learned to look for newer text books at yard sales. Last year I bought a like new art text book for a buck and got a $20.00 credit for it at the bookstore!

Just started the first of 5 loads of laundry (doing some blankets this week). I should mention that my kids wear uniforms (most schools in our area, public and private have a "standard mode of dress") Our kids wear Khaki pants and polos. It's great! They change shirts every day, but uniform pants can be worn for several days if they change when they get home. I also wash most everything in cold water, which saves energy.

And finally, going to the dollar theater tonight to watch "The Blind Side." Been waiting for it to get there!!
Happy Spring!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Staples printer deal, diet update?

So, I've been needing a new printer because my old one keeps dying at inopportune times (like when I really want to print a coupon or my kids have a paper due). Since Abby found her TI-84 (thank you Eliza!!!) I didn't have to think about getting one of those and I had $41.00 in Staples rewards to use and a $5 off coupon that was in the weekly flyer.  I really wanted to get a mid-range HP printer (with high consumer report ratings) that I'd seen for @$200.00. Staples has a trade in program right now on printers. You can bring in ANY printer and get $50.00 off toward a printer that costs $199.99 or more. Since I didn't have a printer I wanted to trade (I'm convinced I can save my old one somehow for the kids to use), here's what I did: I went to Carolina Thift (which happens to be right behind Staples) and bought a printer for $3.22, tax included. I then walked into Staples with it and traded it for the $50.00 off coupon. I bought the $200.00 printer I wanted, minus the $50.00, minus the $41.00 in rewards, minus the $5.00 coupon. Oh, yea, SWEET!!

Here are a few deals:

If you are a Starbucks afficianado (I'm not), stop by Starbucks starting today 3/11 through 3/14 and pick up a Coffee Journey Card. Then for the next eight weeks purchase the bold coffee of the week from a participating retail store for $1.50. At the end of the eight weeks if you purchased the select coffee every week and track your experience through a Coffee Journey Card you will receive 1-pound of whole bean coffee FREE!

Got a fisherman in your life? Get a free 12 month subscribtion to Marlin mag at:

Possible codes for free Redbox rentals: DVDONME   BREAKROOM 

Free ink remover valued at $14.95, go to and click on the "free sample" link.

If a certain someone said she was going to eat a 1000 calories a day to shed winter weight, and then she babysat for a friend and fell off the diet-wagon, sucking down orange soda and eating goldfish, should that certain someone 'fess up on her blog? Even if she walked pushing a stroller for 1 1/2 hours on the same day?Jus' askin....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

musty towel update

Update on the musty towels: It's been awhile, but I seem to remember that the original article I read said that you should wash them first in really hot water with no detergent to get out remnants of liquid detergent...evidently the liquid clings to the fibers. Bill-our resident engineer-would you like to comment on that? (For those who don't read the comments...Bill posted a good alternative yesterday: 12 cents a load, ordered in bulk. If any triad folks want to order, let me know, we can coop. So, anywho, I washed in hot water and then started started using purex powder and I've not had a problem since. I did buy some really cheap stuff in a 5 gallon bucket (Sun, maybe? Can't remember) and it did not work...the towels were musty again. I have used the powder that Sears sells in a similar bucket with good results. Based on the comments I recieved this is a common problem, so hope this helps!

I just got called into work unexpectedly, so this is short...

I actually sent a post that was longer and it totally messed up, only sent half of it...sorry, must run, more tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I don't usually post more than once a day, but I know this will be gone by tomorrow....

SC Johnson is giving away a nice freebie: 3 full size products to the first 10,000 that register. Love it when companies want to get my business this way! Go here:

Also, for a free pedometer and DVD from tylenol, sign up here: https://http//

And a free pouch of Turbo Dunkin Donuts Coffee at click on the "turbo" link.

Finally, $25 off $50 at with code FB2550. Good on clearance items, too. ( are saving for the gutters...)

laundry tips

Today, I'm at friend's house babysitting. Haven't been around a toddler for awhile...what a joy to be with one so full of laughter!

Some of you have asked about laundry ideas, so this one's for you!

My mom had one of those old wringer washers. A huge heavy old thing. I remember the wringing process...the clothes dropping into a galvanized washtub and then being put into a wooden laundry basket (that I still own) and hauled out to the clothesline...either outside or on the covered porch. My mom was 46 when I was born and she's hung a lot of clothes in her day. When I was in high school, she got her first "automatic" washer and dryer. I don't know that she's hung a stitch of clothing on the line since! I think she earned that right:)!  In fact, when she came to visit me in NC a few years back, I believe she was somewhat annoyed that I didn't use my dryer and chose to hang my clothes on the line. C'est la vie.

There are seven people in our home-including 4 teenagers-and I still average about 4 loads of laundry a week. Occasionally it will be 3, or rarely 6. I have never understood how or why people wash 2-4 loads of clothes a day for a family of 4. Are they just bored? Do they have to feel busy? I don't know about you, but I don't enjoy the process, so I try to make it as quick and easy as possible.

The biggest laundry rule at our house is that mama don't wash what isn't dirty. If you don't work in a coal mine, then your clothes can be worn more than one day. I'll wear the same jeans all week. That's probably the biggest factor in keeping the loads to a minimum. I also will only wash full loads, saving time, money, detergent, energy and water, and I typically wash clothes on Friday only. I still hang my sheets and towels on the line (well, actually my neighbor's line-thanks, Debbie) and I also hang out heavy stuff, like jeans and sweatshirts. If the electric bill started getting to be too much, I would revert back to hanging everything. For me, the smell of towels dried in the sun is a "comfort smell" that revokes wonderful memories.

And speaking of towels and sheets...I wash them weekly and bi-weekly, respectively. We all have one towel that is hung between uses. With sheets, I rotate through the house. I started having a problem with towels smelling musty as soon as they would get damp after the first use. This was just a year or so ago, and I really hadn't changed anything. I tried all kinds of home remedies...borax, bleach, line drying, over drying in the dryer...nothing seemed to help. Then I read somewhere that is was the liquid detergent. I switched to powder for my towels and sheets and BINGO! No more musty smell.

Dryer sheets can be used more than once, or cut in half. I've also read that a tablespoon of liquid fabric softener on a washcloth works well also, but I've not tried that.

As you would guess, I'm not brand loyal on detergents. If I can't find a good sale and I'm desperate, I'll buy the cheapest off-brand. I found this "recipe," which is supposedly all natural and costs only 3 cents a load, but it uses a ground up bar soap, which doesn't seem any more natural to me than laundry soap. And my on-sale detergent is usually that cheap anyway.

I have a Consumer Reports cleaning guide (free of course) that I use for stain issues; but of course, now you can google any remedy. I had taken a skirt with a blueberry stain on it to the dry cleaner and it was still there. I googled "blueberry stain" and used vinigar-if I recall correctly- and it was gone. Tomato based stains, which are frequent in our house, almost always fade away if dried in the sun. Lestoil, which is increasingly harder to find, works great on heavy grease/oil stains.

Chores are rotated among kids at our house. My goal is that each child will know how to do laundry before they leave home. Abby had the whole washing chore for awhile, but it is just easier for me to get it done while they are at school. One kid helps me fold every week. I quit battling them to turn their socks the right they get them back inside out and have to turn them the right way to wear them.

That's about all I can think of...questions? Comments?

Monday, March 8, 2010

$10 flights TODAY only, unsettled, great shopping week,

Wednesday March 10th, Panda Express will be giving away Free Honey Walnut Shrimp, single entree servings.  No coupon necessary, one per person. This is only at certain locations, so call ahead.

Likewise with this deal. Our Eastchester Dunkin in High Point is NOT make sure you call: Dunkin Donuts want you to come in on any of the remaining Mondays in March and grab a freshly brewed medium hot or iced coffee for free!!

Here's a HOT deal....TODAY ONLY...Jet Blue is offereing $10.00 one way flights to celebrate their 10th birthday. Check it out!

This is an awesome shopping week in regard to the three big drugstores. As I mentioned earlier, I don't want to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, so I invite you to check out and just click on the store you are interested in. I'm heading out in a bit to get in on the deals. I'll let you know how it goes.

Here are a few news-makers that have caught my ever-probing frugal eyes lately:

Did you see the Chicago Sun Times article? Grace Groner of Lake Forest, IL, purchased three shares of Abbott for $180 in the 1930's. By never selling and reinvesting the dividends those three shares grew to $7 million. Grace never married, worked as a secretary, and lived frugally in a small cottage her whole life. When she died-at age 100- she left the entire 7 mill to her alma mater. They were shocked! I just love stories like this!! A life of value...

Iceland went to the polls last week and voted down-by a huge majority- a plan that would pay back banks in the Netherlands and Britain who lent them money after one of their own banks was going to be forced into bankruptcy. Sounds pretty ungrateful to me...betcha they have a hard time finding someone to bail them out the next time they cry wolf.

And have you heard about some California restaurants adding a new fee to your tab? It seems that they are upset at the recent hike in health care costs and instead of raising prices in general, they are adding a separate fee onto the final bill. I would think that this is just the cost of doing business...taking care of your employees.  Would this fly in other businesses? That extra fee on your plumbing or mechanic bill? Oh, that's for employee benefits. Hmmm...Things like this, 8% tax, and mandatory 20% tipping-even if the service is bad-keep me eating at my own table more and more.

Your thoughts??

I'm having this unsettled feeling lately and I can't figure out exactly why? Do you ever feel that way? I know it's just a feeling, but it can be annoying, and, well-- unsettling. So tell me, what do like about the blog? What do you not like?  I am at almost 100 subscribers and/or followers. When I reach 200, I'll up the ante on the gift cards. I am committed to blogging every day for a year, but I admit, I'm pretty fickle about it thanks for reading and for the encouragement. I love your posts and emails, even when I can't answer them all. Happy Savings!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Thoughts Mike and I just snuggled into bed a few minutes ago and it suddenly hit me that I hadn't sent out my post for Sunday. So here I goal is 365 days without a is day 40...hmmm...

In a world filled with post-modern relativistic thought (I'm OK, you're OK...yadayada...) I am reminded that Jesus told us: "I am the way, the truth and the life." He is--even on my bad days--the real value in my life.
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

2. When Darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.


3. His oath, his covenant, his blood
supports me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.


4. When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found!
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

spend to save? stupid tax

Can you relate to this comic? ('re saving for the gutters--inside joke) When is it profitable to spend just to save money? I have a friend who told me she would buy things on sale that she didn't need because she felt that she was saving money anyway. Hmmmmm?? Obviously, we all need to bargain shop and NEVER PAY RETAIL, but as our cartoon lady shows us, buying $79 sale shoes instead of $325.00 retail shoes is NOT a way to save money--not if you don't need the shoes.  What about buying a high priced item just to get an added freebie?

Case in point: Abby lost her TI 84 graphing calculator that I spent $100.00 on. If she doesn't find it, I need to buy a new one. (I did find two TI 85s at a yard sale last year for a buck sweet...but the boys need them for their math. Right now, Abby is sharing, but she'll need one for college.) So, I'm looking around for the best price. I find it at Staples for $119.00 and at another site for $89.00. But I have a coupon to get a free MP4 player at Staples with a $100.00 purchase. Best deal? Guess it depends on whether or not I really need an MP4 player...or if I could find one for less than $30.00.

Mike and I went out to eat last night at Mama Mias (love that place...right now if you order online you get 15% off!) and I stuck to my 1000 calories. I only ate a few bites of bread, salad with very little dressing and half my entree...and I didn't eat a lot during the day. I do add a little to Amy's 1000 calorie a day diet; I allow myself unlimited no cal drinks and low cal veggies like lettuce, greens, cukes, onions and peppers. Anyhwho...after we ate.....

Stupid Tax:......I wanted to rent Under the Tuscan Sun, (I love Frances Mayes' writing, but I didn't like the movie). We went to Family Video and it was reported as lost so we drove to Blockbuster. (I know I should have rented it at the library...but it was closed) We stepped up to the desk and the associate says, "Have you heard about our new rental fees?" I say"no" while simultaneously thinking that this would be a good thing...maybe coming more in line with Family Video. He says,"All our videos are $5 for 5 nights." I counter, "I can't get it for 1 night/$1?" "No, Ma'am" My husband says, "That's no deal!" Associate shrugs and says nothing. I don't know what bozo came up with this markting strategy in a video world where you can rent nearly anywhere for a buck, but that will be the last Blockbuster video I rent unless they lower their prices.

I'm addin a link on the blog to some other great sites out there. You really-no matter where you live-need to check out southern Jenny does the best job at compiling weekly deals, esp. at CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens. I don't want to reinvent the wheel...check her out. One thing that really bugs me: the sites that charge you money won't link to sites like southernsavers that don't charge you. Crazy...I mean, I know they're trying to make money and all, but we're all in this together!!

Here's a couple of freebies: Free Arm and Hammer shaker (baking soda is one of my favorite cleaning products, so this will get used at my house):

Free Christmas stocking (I'm thinking ahead to Operation Christmas Child)

Money out this week: $125.00. Weekly average: $98.00
 Meals this week: beef stoganoff, BLTS, spaghetti, homemade pizza, chicken and veggies.

Happy Savings!

Friday, March 5, 2010

master? Amazon Friday sale

It was to my utter amazement that I mentioned "the Friday Sale" on Amazon to my homegroup and no one had heard of it!! I thought it was a given.  Just check every Friday and look for the Friday sale tab. Some good deals to be had. Usually good deals on kitchen ware and free shipping on $25 or more...

Do you order prints online? Get 100 free prints from Snapfish when you order a photobook. Use code SHIP310 (3/31) This offer is good for everyone.

I thought this one was just daughter will love this shirt: Get a free I (heart) bacteria t-shirt, click here: This is sponsored by Culturelle, a product that restores bacteria balance in the colon.

And free sunchips at sign up to be a fan then fill out the form.

I have mentioned that there are lots of sites out there doing what I do...but doing it better. I do want to offer a bit of a different twist...part inspiration--a little humor--and good deals. I will someday have a tab with all of these other sites listed...if I can ever find time to blog like I want to. Somehow, this day got away from me again and here I am needing to get something posted before I run to pick up kids from school because then it's all over for mom/computer time. This morning I read from that rogue fisherman Peter: "A man is a slave to whatever masters him." wow. How many masters do I have? Food is always a I start today. Shaking the winter weight and exercising more. Amy Dacyzyn's tightwad diet plan? A thousand calories a tricks, no pills, no off-limit foods...just a thousand calories of whatever I like. I'm in...

I'm also going to try to stop saying that I'll post this or that...because I seem to have a hard time then doing it!!  (except I just posted that I won't post this or that, and now I'm doing it....hmmmm)

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

economics 101, two free books

Two free books to check out (see pics below):

Book One, Revolution in World Missions, by KP Yohanan, totally changed my outlook on missions and how I give to them back in the late 90s.  Request it free at

A second book, Romancing Miss Bronte, looks to be a good read. I cannot get the URL to link to my blog, so go to (site I mentioned earlier...great stuff) and scroll down until you see it. The book is not out yet; they are sending free copies to those who sign up; I have a feeling it won't last long...

Also: Free Resveratrol at Walgreens: This week Finest Natural Resveratrol is B1G1F 2/$9.99. Use the $5 coupon from the March Walgreens coupon booklet. It will deduct twice, making them free. If you haven't heard of Resveratrol, it is the hot new supplement extracted from grapes/red wine, which helps maintain a healthy heart. You'll be hearing lots more about Resveratrol in the coming years. (thanks refundcents) I'm going to try this when I go to pick up the kids...

And, this looks to be a good deal too...I'm thinking ahead to $10.00 Mothers/Fathers Day/wedding or graduation gifts: Picaboo, a company that is just focused on photo books has a great promotion to help you get started. Any new user gets 1 FREE 20 page Hardcover photo book free (you  pay shipping of $9.99). These are regulary $39.99 so that’s an awesome deal! To get your free book, head over to and use the code AFFLGB.

Economics in One Lesson, is, I think, the best short read on the subject. Abby is reading it right now (along with Atlas Shrugged ). She also has econ in gov't class. On the way to Carolina Thrift last night she said: "You know, Mom, my saving account is actually losing money right's not keeping up with inflation.  I really think I need to invest in some mutual funds." Whoa. Then she bought a "new" dress with Kohl's tag ($36.00) still attached for $5.00. I wish I had been half as money literate at 16!! Today I started the process of filling out college board info for her. Crazy that this is happening. I really can't believe she'll be a Sr this fall. Amazing.

I'm really hoping to do some heavy duty blogging tomorrow...add some recipes and the list of best grocery prices...until then...have a great day!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

good mail day

Daily Buck: Today I got a coupon for a free Victoria Secret Panty  AND I got my staples rewards for a total of $48.00...SWEET.  I also had to go to the thrift store and decided to check the boys son needed khaki school pants. Found a pair in just his size, and they were 1/2 off...$1.49...wooooot! I was planning to go to the uniform store and pay $20.00 next week. Love those unexpected deals. Also had to go to Target (not my favorite place, but my son was buying a game, and I was looking for the "purex hangtag" I told you about (not there) but some nice person had left one of those BOGO Purex coupons lying there. SOOOO if it was you, thanks! Now I'll get another free bottle!

Work was tough...chest pain and blood clots, nausea and frustration. One of those days when I wished there were 6 of me. But there's only 1...and I'm home and the tough days always end too.

Have a great evening...will have more to share tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

pontifications on gratefulness....dip and ice cream

Sometimes I wonder why God puts up with me. Last year, after the wreck, I didn't think I could ever be ungrateful again...HA! It sneaks up on me... fussin' (as they say in the South) about this or that...and SERIOUSLY, what do I have to complain about? Last night I was bemoaning the fact that I had to go in to work early TWO days this week (this is painful to even write...I sound like such a whiner..I really don't like mornings) but c'mon!! And then today it started snowing around noon and has been snowing ever since (it's almost 9) and I was complaining about that....BUT THEN...I was walking home in that snow that I was whining about and all of a sudden I looked up and saw a snow laden pine and I was transported back to Maine and literally stopped short...and I quit whining. It was beautiful. And when I got home, I turned on my computer and saw an image of a woman in Chile sitting in front of her pulverized home sobbing at the loss of her family. I was humbled. I am so blessed. I think it was Chuck Swindoll who said that the most common characteristic of stable, successful, mature people is gratefulness. And that is so true.

So again today, think about all you have to be thankful for and pray for those who aren't so blessed...and if you're able to, put some action behind the prayer!! You bloggers are's a crazy, busy week (I'm NOT complaining!!!!), so I won't have much time to answer/comment until Friday. Here's some good stuff:

Always keep your eyes peeled for hangags when you shop, right now there is a hangtag out there to "Try it Free": Purex Fabric Softener Offer expires 5/31/10. States: Please complete and mail this original form with name, address and phone number. Additionally we will require a copy of your cash register receipt showing the Purex Liquid Fabric Softener purchase price, as well as the UPC written on the copy of the receipt. You will be refunded the amount shown on your cash register receipt not to exceed $4. This refund only applies to the purchase price and does not apply to sales tax paid. May 31, 2010

If you are near one: Ben &Jerry's Free Cone Day will be Mar 23 noon - 8 pm at participating shops. Mar 23 is a Tuesday.  Mark your calender! I LOVE free cone day!!

Become a fan of HeluvaGood dips on Facebook, then click the "sign up form" tab and sign up for a coupon for a free container, good for the first 5,000, so hurry!

Monday, March 1, 2010

WINNER! free vitamin H2O, this is how I shop...

MARCH WINNER of $20.00 gift card: Lorna S., Lee, Maine Congratulations! I'll mail is soon!

OK, so many of you have said something to the effect of "Good for you...but HOW do you do that?" Let me take you on a shop today and I'll show you how....I list regular price, sale price and my price with coupons/rebates. Typically I only go on one shop a week...unless there's a deal that can't wait...

Stop 1: Walgreens:
6 boxes Kleenex, BOGO $2.19...$1.10...$0.50ea
3 Kotex 24 ct maxi, $3.79...$2.99...$0.66ea
Advil 50 ct, $5.49...$4.99...$2.00 profit
Colgate Total 4 oz, $3.89...$2.99...$0.24
Altoids $1.99...$0.59
Excedrin $
W bar soap, $0.79, $0.33
Total: $ price: $16.48

Stop 2: Clover Leaf Grocery:
Broccoli @77cents#
Steak, mark down, 4.13 $2.15
Whole Chicken, markdown, $1.92
hormel ham sale: 7.98 $5.98
12 cans veggies @3/$1
produce $1.00

Stop 3: RiteAid:
listerine pocketpack
efferdent 120 ct (my daughter uses these for her partial)
gillette shave cream
gillette body
Total 28.95  0.00

Stop 4: Harris Teeter
6 boxes cereal: $3.99...$2.50...0.45ea
5 boxes green giant veggies:$1.89...$1.00...0.46
Yoplait smoothie: 3.78...2.50....0.70
2 warm delights, betty crocker (these are sooooo good)2.98...2.50...0.60
6 betty crocker tub frosting $1.99...1.50...0.50
franks red hot 1.25....0.25
split chicken breast sale @77#...6.21
betty  crocker ckae mix, 1.00....0.66
7 pillsbury grands biscuits, 5 ct, 1.55...0.51
Jenny O Turkey
Total 91.60...22.19

Stop 5 Aldi (no sales...always good prices)
3 bread 0.79
tomatoes, 8 ct, 1.69
3# rice 1.49
12 ct bagel 1.89
noodles .99
3# apples 2.69
4# oranges 2.49
3 gallons milk 2.59
3 frozen OJ 1.19
2 cans mushrooms 0.55
12 ct tortilla .99
eggs 1.09
real butter 1# 1.99
saltines 0.89
4 bags chips 1.29
1# shred cheese 2.99
round crackers 1# box 1.79
1# bologna .99
10ct sausage .99
bananas .59
lettuce 1.19
10ct juice box 1.89
5 # sugar 2.69
ramens 12 ct 1.79
1 quart half n half 1.99
Total 53.94

Then I got my free coffee at the Starbucks in our HT using a gift card and also got a free Curly Fry from Arbys...that is a balanced meal, I'm just sure of it...

Total this week before savings: $241.44, after savings: $110.40

This is a big shop week for me, meaning next week I will probably spend @$50.00. That's what a week with me looks like......

Someone asked me recently what I spend to feed 7 people...I told him I averaged $90.00 a week. His jaw hit the ground. He said he and his wife spend more than that. But then he asked what the main key was, and I really didn't have an answer. It encompasses so many things. I'll have to think on that...

Click here for free Vitamin Water: Good for the first 100,000.

Free uniball pen click here:  10,000 are given away everyday.

Free rental from Blockbuster Kiosk until 3/3, use code: GOLIVE (are there any of these in the triad yet? I haven't seen one, they look like redbox rentals)

Great deal on Southern Living Magazine, 2 years, 26 issues for $10.00. sign up at

Riteaid shoppers, go to and scroll down, looking on the right. You will see a place to click for coupons. Right now there is a $3 off $15 purchase. This can be used in conjunction with manufacturers coupons and this week there are many rebate deals, combine the coupons and you have lots of free stuff!

What's going on in your world??? Any special deals??

I have to work 3 days this week and there's a lot going on, so the blogging may be slow...