Friday, April 30, 2010

Prayers for our school family...

Many of you may have already heard that a tragedy occured at our school today. Four of our Senior boys were on their way to get lunch and were involved in a car wreck. One boy is dead, one is in critical condition and 2 were treated and released. I just sat and cried like a baby when I heard the news. All the emotions came flooding back and my heart just grieves for these parents. It is times like this when I am so glad God is in control and carries us and all our pain. Graduation is in three weeks and we are a small school, so everyone is reeling. Pray for the peace that passes understanding. Pray for others to be sensitive. To the families involved, know that we love you and are lifting you up before the throne.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sometimes, they get it right. How to stop living "on the bubble..."

Here's a US NEWS article that actually makes sense. I LOVE to read blogs/magazines/books/anything about ways to save and invest. My kids glaze when I get a new one: " can you possibly learn anything else???" Oh, but I can, and almost always do. But just like knowing the way to loose weight is to eat less, and knowing the way to have more money is to spend less....ya gotta put it into practice. So here's a good article to get you thinking...

8 Questions for the Constantly Broke by Kimberly Palmer, On Tuesday April 27, 2010, 11:38 am

If you find yourself nervously checking your bank account balance before payday, then perhaps it's time to make some changes. Before swearing off restaurants or cutting up your credit card, ask yourself the following 8 questions, which are designed to help get you back on top of your finances.

Do I know where my money is going? Beyond a quick glance at our credit card statements each month, most of us don't bother tracking how we're spending money. That means we might not realize that our grocery expenses have suddenly skyrocketed, or our utility bills have doubled. Using an online personal financial management tool to automatically track your spending - and are among the most popular - allows you to figure out where money is going with minimal effort. The programs can also warn you once you get close to your target budget for the month.

Am I focusing too much on the month, instead of the year? Research suggests that people often fall victim to forgetfulness when budgeting by the month. They tend to overlook unexpected and one-time expenses, such as car repairs or gifts, so underestimate how much they'll need to spend. But when people budget by the year, they tend to factor in those costs. Research by University of Southern California's Gulden Ulkumen, Cornell's Manoj Thomas, and New York University's Vicki Morwitz found that college students were about 40 percent off-target when budgeting by the month, but only three percent off base when thinking by the year.

Do I do something everyday that wastes money? It might be a cab ride, lunches, or a six-pack of beer. These types of small, daily expenditures add up, and by the end of month, you could be out $100 or more. (In the case of a $10 lunch on each weekday, that's $200.) Finish Rich author David Bach famously coined the phrase "Latte Factor" to capture this idea. He argues that if you invested the money instead of spending it, you could eventually become a millionaire.

Do I know my own weakness? Almost everyone has one. It might be a golf habit, fancy jeans, or nice dinners. Perhaps it's simply buying more than you need when you're out running errands. Gwyneth Paltrow's budgeting expert for her GOOP newsletter, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, offers the following advice: Carry a stopwatch with you on shopping trips. She also suggests bringing a loyal friend on shopping trips to remind you not to overspend.

Am I saving too much? This question might sound counter-intuitive - how could anyone be saving too much? But if you're going into debt to fund your lifestyle and you've already cut back wherever possible, then it's time to look at how much money you're funneling into your 401(k). While it always makes sense to take advantage of matching programs from your employer, it doesn't make sense to save additional pre-tax dollars at the expense of a hefty credit card bill that comes with a 10 percent or higher interest rate.

Is my relationship hurting my bank account? Even if you're on top of your own finances, your bank account won't reflect it unless your significant other is also on board. If you share credit, in the form of credit cards, auto loans, or a mortgage, then any late payment from your partner can also ding your own credit report. Marriage can intertwine your financial lives even further. Before tying the knot, be sure to review each other's credit histories, talk about whether you prefer joint or separate accounts, and make sure you are familiar with each other's long term financial goals. Couples also often get tripped up when it comes to handling money requests from needy family members. Make sure you're on the same page to prevent tension later.

Are the big items dragging me down? According to Elisabeth Leamy, Good Morning America's consumer correspondent and author of Save Big: Cut Your Top 5 Costs and Save Thousands!, it's the big items, not the small ones, that hurt people's finances the most. She suggests focusing on minimizing your mortgage, car, health, debt, and grocery payments. Buying a used car instead of a new one, for example, can save drivers tens of thousands of dollars. Plus, she says, since "cars these days are really well built, the risk is lower than it used to be."

Am I wasting money by carrying debt? If you're paying down a $10,000 credit card bill with a 15 percent interest rate, then you're paying about $1,500 a year to carry that debt. If you're paying off a $10,000 car loan at 6 percent, then you're wasting $600 a year on interest. If you can find the extra cash, consider paying off those loans so you can stop throwing money away on debt payments.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

new freebies, Amy's leftover wizardry

Are you a leftover aficianado or do you dump everything after every meal?? It is no surprise that American's waste an incredible amount of food. I truly--as you may have guessed--try very hard to use up my leftovers, but even then, stuff ends up getting thrown away. Amy Dacyzyn (see, I haven't left her out completely) has some great ideas:
1. Take leftovers to work the next day(this works at our house; someone always wants the leftovers)
2. Keep a perpetual soup container in the freezer. (I do this sometimes...fill it full of every tiny bit of leftover veggies, broth, rice, etc. Be sure to keep the ingredients covered by water to prevent freezer burn. When it's full, add what you need spice wise and make a soup!)
3. Have leftover buffet night (Also a fave at our house on Friday or Sat nights....)
4. Use old "TV" dinner trays and refreeze leftovers for later. Esp good for single folks.
5. Become a leftover "wizard" and turn your leftovers into some completely different amazing meal (not me, no creativity abides here)

There are some thoughts. If all else fails, give me your leftovers and I'll deal with it somehow!!

Here's a new list of freebies at Jennie's site. Some of them have been listed before, but most of them are new:

If you are a Sam's Club member, get a sample of Bounty here:
Even if your membership is expired--like mine---they still send you samples:)!!

I don't know if Abby's post "Celtic Thunder" will come through on email, but I told her I would blog her Irish singer..."And I would walk 500 miles, then I would walk 500 more, just to be the man who'd walk 1000 miles to fall down at your door." Gotta love it!!

Abby's Post

OK, here's a post for you

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Extra work days... 2 track meets....2 play performances...2 mentor meetings....boy scouts....can we cram anything else into this week??? And it could be such a great shopping week if I could only get there. But no. Instead, I'm impulse buying like crazy at Wal-Mart tonight because we are all starved and it's 8:30pm. So, the coupon queen failed miserably today.

So I just say, in the words of Anne Shirley, "Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes!"

Bless you my blogger friends!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

witnessing greatness- part II; free movies, kindle stuff

Wednesday, 4/28, is Baskin Robbins 31 Cent scoop day. Don't forget that most Dunkin Donuts have a go get yourself some cheap ice cream!! I plan to treat the whole family...a rare occasion!!

Walgreens alert: There is a deal this week on Hallmark cards that just got a whole lot better. $5 RR wyb (8) or $2 RR wyb (4) Hallmark Cards. The 49¢ “Kid’s” Cards are participating. Buy (8) for $3.92 and get $5 back! You make $1.08. Great chance to stock up on kid's b'day cards!! There are lots of ( 9, I think) FAR items this week. Check out  to see them all!

Here's an unadvertised deal at CVS: CVS brand sunscreen is buy 2, get $5 in ECB. If you get the 2 oz size, you will get them both for free!!

You can check by state if you have a Cinemark theater near you. They are going to have their "Summer Movie Clubhouse" again, where admission is $1 per show for kids. Or purchase in advance and get 10 shows for $5. All shows are rated G or PG. Click on the link for the theater near you to see the rundown of movie dates and the times. For example: Ice Age 3, Alvin The Squeakquel, Night at the Museum, Tooth Fairy, Tale of Despereaux, Aliens in the Attic, Planet 51, Veggie Tales, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Curious George. There is not a theater in the Triad, but one summer we were at Myrtle Beach during this time and took the kids to two free ( they were free that summer) movies. Sweet deal!

Did you know that even if you don't have a Kindle (Amazon's electronic book system), that you can download the app for free on your iphone or i touch? Click here to do so:
Then you can download lots of free Kindle books and read away! I bought my son a Kindle for his birthday and I am all the time downloading freebies on to it while he's at school. So when he gets home, I hear, " "Aww, Mom...another 'How Joanie Cleans Her Bathroom in 10 Seconds??' This is embarassing!!" Ha...I usually delete them after I look through them;) I do love his Kindle, but not enough to buy one myself!!  Most of the classics are free (including ALL Jane Austens!) and new releases are almost always $9.99.

Got several emails about my "greatness" post...which was super. One friend found it interesting that I would mention Tiger...and therein lies his "schtick, " so to speak. Tiger is a great golfer, probably the greatest of all time. Morally, he's a mess...Mickelson has him on that. But my point is, God gifts us all differently. Watching Tiger make a shot that looks impossible is a thing of beauty...regardless of the fact that he's out sleeping around. So the question is, can our talents bring glory to God even when we have sin in out lives--because, let's face it, we might like to rag on Tiger, but there ain't one of us who's perfect. I think the answer is "yes." I think that anything well done causes people to stop and say "Whoa, amazing!" And that in turn, points us to a creator who makes us thus....OK, enough on that for today:). I do love this subject: finding your "sweet spot" and doing it with passion...

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Thoughts...witnessing greatness

Last night, Mike and I went to see "Duke of Earl" Gene Chandler. Wow...I was blown away. I bought Mike the tickets for Christmas thinking I wouldn't get into it that much. The man had me with the first note of the first song...Rockin Robin. At just 3 months shy of 70, he can still bust some moves. And his voice range is phenomenal. Watching this man doing what God obviously created him to do nearly moved me to tears. I was awestruck. (The Drifters followed, but I thought the Duke stole the show!) It was inspiring because I like to witness greatness in any form. Whether it's my son running a 5K-- all heart in it, or our church pianist...Micheal Phelps swimming, Tiger golfing, my favorite prof in college when he was fired up....a craftsman completing a fine piece of's about passion, and doing what God created us to do. And when we do that well--whatever it is-- it's a beautiful thing, and I believe anything done well brings glory to the God who gave us our creative abilites...more tomorrow...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Prom shot, good shop week

Here's the prom can check out Abby's vintage dress --I guess the corsage is a little too small to see. We had a good time and a nice meal!! Followed today by a wonderful turnout at the annual Pregnancy Care Center Walk for Life. Loved the lime green t-shirts this year...and the hot dogs weren't bad either!

It's the super busy weekend. For Mike's Christmas gift I got him tickets to see the Drifters/"Duke of Earl" Chandler tonight at the HP Theatre. Under the Boardwalk....lalalalala.

Tomorrow night is the Sara Groves concert at our church. It's a music kinda weekend!!

On a garden note...12 of my original tomato plants are growing well in the garden and lettuce, radish, beets, beans and cukes have all popped up. So exciting!! One of my southern friends told me I shouldn't plant until the ground temps are consistently 50-60 degrees. Carolyn, tell Brook he'd better stay in the south. In Maine, he'd never plant!!!

Deals: CVS is offering a free 4X6 magnet with code FREE4MOM. If you choose in store pick up, shipping is free also. Nice Mom's Day gift! Go here:

That's about it for new internet freebies...but there are lots and lots of FAR deals this week at the Big 3 drugstores. Just go to and click on the link for the store you are intersted in. It's going to be another crazy week 'cause I'm working more and I want to get in on all the deals.

Happy Shopping!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Prom and Harris Teeter triples!

Just a few updates:

For triad readers, Harris Teeter will be tripling coupons to 99 cents again next week. They take up to 20 a day. Click here for a list of current coupons out there: A word to the wise on this. These sales always start on a Weds. If you are not planning to be there by noon or earlier on Weds, you might as well not go until the following Monday. The items that are free after coupons sell out very quickly and they're not to fast to restock the shelves. Just FYI. is having abother 80% off sale with code MEAL.Get those $25.00 coupons for 2 bucks! Good until 4/30.

Mike and I get to go to the Jr-Sr prom tonight...for free. Perk of being the principal's wife. Abby is going this year with a bunch of friends. Her dad wanted me to pick her up a wrist corsage. $25.00 was the cheapest I could find. I watched a how to video on youtube and then picked up white roses at Wal-Mart and floral supplies at Hobby Lobby. Total cost: $12.00, and I'll be able to use part of it (wire, tape, etc)again in future years. Made a very respectable corsage for half the going rate. I'll try to post pictures later! Abby is also wearing that vintage dress that my sister wore in a 1960's beauty pagent. And we are taking her to the local beauty college to have her hair done for $10.00. Gotta love it!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tiny houses and profiting from your home

I have always had a fascination with tiny houses and the people who chose to call them home. I really believe I could live this husband is not so sure! To the left is a picture of Ms. de la Vega,  who chose to convert her garage into a home and rent out her "big house" after she went through a divorce. She said:

“At that time I was coming out of the ashes, and knew I needed to come up with a good survival strategy for starting over as a single person.”

To generate a steady income, she decided to rent out the main house and turn the squat, diminutive garage into her home. And rather than hiring someone else to supervise the renovation, she was the general contractor.

“I was somewhat out of my mind,” she said. “But it was also fantastic. I was hiring, firing and contending with men and their power tools for a good nine months.” Her decision paid off. The entire renovation cost only $32,000.

I think this is just the coolest thing!

Obviously, this worked for wouldn't for most of us.  On the other end of the spectrum...could you turn your garage into an apartment to rent? When Mike and I were first married, we rented an above the garage one bedroom apartment while I finished college. The owners were an elderly couple who also had a tiny one room apartment attached to the back of their house, and they rented a bedroom in their house. Smart folks! They charged a very reasonable rate as they were right next to the college and just wanted to help out students. It was a blessing to us and them.

We have a cabin in Maine that we stay in for one month out of the summer. Because we are so far away, I was very hesitant to rent, but tried a trial run on (vacation rental by owner) last summer. It costs $250.00 a year to list. I figured if I made enough for the advertising and to pay the taxes and insurance, it would be worth it. I did. So, I'll try one more year. I pay my friend who lives across the road there to mow and clean. We'll take it a year at a time.

We also host a foreign student in our home. Many of these students (mostly Asian) are coming to the US for private schooling (they can't attend our public schools) and they pay a stipend to host in essence you rent out a room in your home. Approximately $400.00 a month can be tax free as it is considered reasonable cost for room and board. This has been a real blessing to us also. If you live near a college, you might want to consider advertising a room for rent.

And then there's always the "buy a duplex" in one half and rent the other. Live rent free!! With the foreclosure market at its current'll probably find a renter quicker than a buyer!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

sell your old electronics online @ gazelle, what $5 gets ya

There is a whole list of freebies out there from the last two days...herbal coffee (who knew?), eucerin cream, aveda sample, ob, kotex and more. Click here for links to all of them: 

Been doing pretty good on my goal of getting a freebie in the mail every day. Today my Dove Men's care shampoo showed up and I got my free Staples paper and new shredder. That baby works nice!! I shredded all the credit card offers I got in the mail today. Is it my imagination, or have there been lots more offers lately? For awhile there, I was getting hardly any, now I get 1 or 2 offers a day. I could be soooooooo far in debt!!

Here's a cool site that I just heard about: They buy old electonic gadgets: cell phones, GPS, DVDs, computers, cameras, game consoles, etc.  I've only just read about it, so I don't have a lot of details, but I did look at the site and plugged in DVD I have and they offered $5.00 for it. According to what I saw, they send you a box to ship the stuff in and pay for shipping also. I'm definitely going to give it a closer look tomorrow when I have more time. Has anyone used this that could post comments about it??

And here's another totally funky site that someone just told me about. You can buy or list services that you are willing to do for 5 bucks. Really fun! Everything from custom designing a logo to walking your dog in NYC for 30 minutes. Check it out!

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crazy Day! I worked 7-3 today, then all 4 of my kids had to be somewhere different after school and the car is still in the shop. Now it's 9:24PM and everyone is finally home. I still need to shower and tomorrow doesn't look much better on the busy scale...but we'll git er done!! Days like this make me thankful for friends (Gail and Julie, you rock, esp since they kept Lee 30 minutes late!!  Thank you!!!) and healthy kids. Freebies??? Let's see...

You can get 3 personalized photo cards for Mother's Day for 33 cents each at Shutterfly. These are really quality cards. See details here:

Here's a deal if you are a Hooked on Phonics lover. There is an overstock sale going on with prices up to 70% off, plus another 50% off code on top of that. Clik here: and use code CASH50. You can get some $200 items for 30 bucks!!

SC Johnson has a $5 rebate out right now that can be used 3 TIMES per address. Combine this with sales and coupons and score some really cheap/free items.  Print 3 forms as they all have to be sent in separate envelopes.

And finally has some great offers right now, including 2 different $20 off $50 purchase rebates. This is what I used to score big at CVS this week. Just go to the site and look around.

Happy Shopping!! I love my blogger friends!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The coupon queen at her best...

Wow, what a great shopping day!! The day started with my dropping off the car at the shop: tires, brakes, ac...I'm not looking forward to the bill!! Then I had a staff meeting at work. You may think this isn't a good way to start your day, but I work with great people...and they bring food and coffee. That helps. (See Jodi, it does make a difference!!) Cake for breakfast is always a plus.

Several have asked me what a typical shop week looks like. This is hard to answer. There are MANY good deals this week, so it was big shop week. I try to plan on Sunday afternoon or evening. Usually I grocery shop on Mondays...but this week the sale ads weren't spectacular and I didn't really need much. I was going by Aldi on Sat, so I stopped in. I got $52.00 worth of stuff, which will cover me for the week. Some weeks, I only go to Aldi. Some weeks I hit 5 stores. So here's this week's shop, a big one...I'm going to be using a lot of abbreviations in this post...if you don't have any idea what I'm talking about, read the link to "understanding the terminology" on my blog site.

First the computer deals.  Office Depot is having some serious freebies this week. If you have not signed up for rewards cards with Office Depot, Staples and Office Max, you need to take some time to do so. All 3 offer periodic offers in whcih you get the entire purchase price back. Last summer I got a $50.00 Swiss Army backpack for free! Truly, you should not have to actally pay money for many office supplies. And you don't even need to be near a store! All have free shipping on $50.00 or more. Last month I got $80.00 worth of stuff from Office Max, delivered to my door for free. I used the rewards to purchase a new shredder, which I've been wanting. It was a high end one on sale. It should arrive tomorrow. So...check out the freebies at Office Depot here: .
Since I live close by, this one will be a live shop.

There is also a great deal on paper at Staples, which I did online this AM. Two cases of copy paper for less than $5 each. I have lots, so I will donate these ones to our local PCC. Check it out here: I actually did even better than this. I had $42 in Staples rewards to use, so I put (2) $1.29 packs of pencils in my cart along with the 2 cases of paper to make my total over 50 (free shipping) and so I could use my $42 in rewards AND $10 off code. I paid 60 cents total and I'll still get the $32.00 rebate, PLUS $3.49 in rewards on each box, PLUS I went through ebates, so I get 2% of my total added to my ebates account. Sweet deals!!

If you think you really don't need office stuff, think again. Who doesn't need paper, scissors, envelopes, batteries, and pencils?? It's worth your time, believe me.

On to CVS. I had a really old ECB last week they sent me a new one in the mail, along with a $10 off $50 purchase coupon. I also had $20.00 in ECB from last weeks deals. (If you haven't read about getting the most out of CVS on my blog, and you are new at this and  really want to save, you need to read this). Mike and I both have CVS cards (this was when the program first was one per customer, it has changed to one per household now, but we are "grandfathered" in and my checkers let me use both.) Sooooo...

On my card I bought: 1 thermacare neck wrap, (2.49 FAR) 1 colgate toothpaste (2.99), 1 schick shave gel (2.79), 3 bumble tuna (49ea), 1 olay regenerist (24.99) 1 covergirl mascara (5.99) 1 CVS lotion (1.49) 1 green bag tag (99FAR) one Halle travel perfume (4.99 FAR) and 1 CVS tissue (1.29). I used my $30.00 in ECB from last week. Then I also had ECB 99 cents on CVS paper product to use on the tissues,  ECB 99 cents on CVS lotion, $3 coupon on olay, and $1 coupon on covergirl.

On Mike's card I got: 1 Olay cream (18.99), 1 olay cleanser (7.99), 1 halle travel fragrance (4.99), 1 green bag tag (99) and one thermacare neck wrap (2.49) I used 4.49 in ecb from last week and 7.99 coupon for the olay (BIGI)

So, thus far I have saved $63.57 with sales and coupons and spent $43.05. Not so great you say. BUT it gets so mcuh better....I also have $44.76 in ecb to use next week...and I'm sending in for the $20 off $50 Olay rebate. So, theoretically, I was paid $21.71 to buy these products. How cool is that???

On to Walgreens. I bought windex, a glade oil refill, glade warmer unit, nice and easy root touch up and kotex pads. I saved $8.87 in sales and coupons and spent $13.78. I got back $4.50 in RR and will send for a $5.00 SC johnson rebate, making my total out of pocket $4.28.

Then Rite Aid: 2 purex 3in1 strips (B1G1), 2 Hawain Tropic sunscreen (B1G1) one kotax pads, 2 fruit snacks and one peeps candy. I had a $5 off$25 from the paper and coupons on purex and sunscreen. (Even if items are B1G1, you can use coupons on both items at RA) Saved: $31.14, spent $15.64...will get back $3.49 in SCR, making total out of pocket $12.15.

When I was at Walgreens, I noticed some bundle packs (the kind where there are 2 boxes wrapped together) of Always and Tampax in the clearance section for $3.49...half off. I have coupons for B1G1, so I'm going to head back over later before they are all gone.

So, there's my shop this week. It took about 1.5 hours all told. And I even rode my bike since my car was in the shop. Check out to learn more about how to put these deals together.

Happy shopping!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Who's in you life? Why?

Lately I've been thinking about all the different people in my life, particularly in regard to who I would consider "mentors" and to whom I would be considered a "mentor." This thought came to me because I recently received an email from a lady who had been my camper the very first year I was a camp counsellor--1987. 24 years ago. EEE GAD! She was 10 and I was the ripe old age of 18. We have kept in touch off and on over the years. Currently she is having some struggles in her marriage and was wanting some advice. My first thought was to route her on to someone who knows something...I mean I'm only a "young married, " right??!!! Oh wait, I'll celebrate 18 years this summer, maybe I AM supposed to be able to give advice. What's that Biblical adage about the older women giving advice to the younger....but I don't know enough yet!!! And so the self-conversation went in my brain. I know when I was newly married, anyone who had 10 years was considered a pro in my eyes. So I emailed her back. I sent her a couple of books that had helped me. She thanked me profusely for always being there for her...and I truly feel unworthy of any praise, because I really don't know much. But thankfully, I do know The One who knows it all. Guess that's something!! So I just want to thank those of you who have been there for me over the years (you know who you are!). And thanks to those of you who read my blog. People walk into our lives for a reason. Always. Some stay longer than others, but with God there are no accidents. Take a little time to think about who is in your life. Take some time to encourage someone today...and also take some time to thank those who have encouraged you!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekend market

Yardsales were pathetic today...I think it was because furniture market is going on and there just weren't many out there. For those of you not from the area, market happens two weeks out of the year. Once in April and once in October. This is our only time to look like a real city. Our city of 80,000 doubles in size. Now you would think that means good deals on furniture, but you would be wrong. Unless you call getting a $3000 sofa for $1000 a good deal. Actually, if you know someone in the can get better deals....and we have done that. But market is fun just to behold. The rest of the year, our downtown is relatively dead.

Anywho, bad yardsales. I did get some more college texts I hope to sell at Edward McKay and a few summer tops for a buck.

Tonight we had our church auction dinner. We won a pool/pizza party with our pastor...and he makes the pizza!!  Sweet! Also won a haircut and style for $10. Nice.

What do we do for tightwad entertainment on Sunday afternoons? We walk around our neighborhood and go to open houses. We've been doing it for so long, the realtors know us by name. Nice way to see pretty homes.

Have a great day!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Random stuff

It is just so beautiful here right now! I love spring in the South almost as much as I love fall in Maine. Flowers everywhere and sunny.

Here are a few deals I got this week:

Walgreens has an unadvertised special on U products by Kotex. They are on sale for $3.49 a box and you get a RR for $2.49, plus there is a printable coupon for $1.00 at : making them free! Picked up 2 boxes at 2 different stores (only one RR will print per transaction.)

At CVS I bought 2 (12) packs of Bounty, dove shampoo and Dial bodywash. After coupons and ECB, I paid $7.00 total...sweet!!

At there are free audio downloads of 2 different books. Look in the lower right corner. I don't know how often these change, but that's a good deal.

My daughter wanted to "go vintage" for prom this year. My sister had a dress that she wore in the Miss Greater Lincoln Beauty pagent in the early 60s. I wore it in a musical at Lee Academy in the 80s (my daughter thought that was quite vintage in and of's just hard for me to accept that the 80s are "old.") It fit Abby perfectly! So, my family boxed it up and sent it down. Thanks! Took it to the cleaners and will pick it up today. Hopefully, it didn't disintegrate. Cheap prom dress...and totally cool!

The garden is all planted...12 of those baby tomatoes went in after all my nurturing. Lee helped me plant. I just love to dig in the dirt. Something about growing your own stuff.

Today I have been cleaning. I either need to have a yard sale or make a big donation somewhere. How on earth do we accumulate so much stuff?? (Hey...don't even think about telling me to quit GOING to yard sales...ha!)

Must run and get some errands done. Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Merits of Homeschooling/ Deals for homeschoolers

I homeschooled for 5 years...up to 5th grade with Abby. The reasons for this were varied, but at the time, one of the main reasons was that I had completed a kindergarten cirriculum with her (in about 60-90 minutes a day, 4 days a week) when she was four. She was already reading and the school where my husband taught at the time would not let her test out. Public school is not an option for us, and I wasn't going to pay thousands of dollars to have someone teach her what she already knew. So I decided to take one year at a time and she continued at home. My kids were all really close in age, so with every passing year, I added a child on to the roster. Truly, we have wonderful memories from those years.

I think one of the things that I like the best is how much time it frees up. Let's face it...any of us who have been in tradtional schools know that there is a lot of wasted time. My kids now leave the house at 7:15 and get home at 3:30. THEN they have sports practice, instruments to play and homework. In homeschool, we started our school day about 8 am and were almost always done (homework included) by 12. One day a week we met with homeschool friends and the kids had music lessons, swam at the Y, and just "socialized." We also went on fieldtrips once or twice a month. But by-in-large, our evenings and half our afternoons were free. I worked 12 hour weekend nights during much of those years, so I could be home all week.

 Because I used a literature based cirriculum (Sonlight--it's superb), and my kids were so close in age, we did many subjects together (art, science, history, Bible, geography, etc). And even the littlest kids sat on my lap and listened when we were reading. The Sonlight books we read Abby's last year continue to be some of our favorite stories of all time. I used a hodge podge of cirriculums, but I consistently used Saxon Math, which is outstanding. I learned so much about math.

So why did I stop? The math got to hard....ha! Just kidding....maybe.... We moved to Maine and the school where my husband was teaching required that the kids attend there. My youngest was starting school at the about shock. I'll never forget the day I dropped them all off at the school. I came home and stood in the kitchen and cried. The next day--to be really honest--I dropped them off and drove to Acadia National Park for the day. At that point I realized maybe it wasn't going to be so bad after all!! But then, because my husband's job didn't provide health care, I had to go to work full time to get coverage. Believe me, homeschooling was far more fun than a full time job!!

This is a subject I LOVE to talk about. I know it's not for everyone...but it can be a great alternative. There is sooooo much out there now to help homeschooling parents, including entire video cirriculums online...or even live streaming into classrooms. If you have questions, I'd be happy to help.

Here are some deals for those of you who can use them:

10% off at (foreign language) with code hstm410, exp 7/15/10

free magazine at good info on motherhood/homeschooling

Another great cirriculum is The Noah Plan (no, not the ark Noah, Noah Webster) Check it out at 20% off entire order use code CFS4 until 6/30/10

Free kid's book The Great and Terrible Quest if you've never purchased from Sonlight before. No other purchase necessary.

Always go to your state homeschool convention (even if you don't homeschool--great resource) and look on ebay for used books.

Hope this helps!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Free National Park Week & lots of tax day freebies

If your idea of a good time is the smell of a campfire and sleeping under the are some deals for you:

To make it easier to experience America’s Great Outdoors, the National Park Service is waiving entrance fees, so visitors can enjoy all 392 national parks for free April 17-25. This is the official National Park Week, so get outside and have fun! I would definitely call ahead for hours and to be sure EVERY park is involved!.

Check out if you are an RVer. This site lists by state places where you can stay for free or nearly free.

My sister said she read something about LL Bean giving away free camp gear (?) in conjunction with free camping week...but she can't find the article. I tried googling it and couldn't find anything let me know if anyone out there knows anything about this.

April 15th...TAX DAY!!!  This is tomorrow as I write, but I realize those of you who get this by email will be reading it on the big day. Click here: for a whole list of businesses (in addition to the Starbucks free coffee) who are getting in on the freebie fun!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

free totes, starbucks and shampoo

Starbucks will be giving away free coffee to those who bring in a reusable coffee mug on tax day, April 15th. Yummmm!!!

Joining the save the planet bandwagon, Target will give away free reusable tote bags on April 18th. One per customer.

And finally, a free Philosophy facecream sample (facebook ap) by clicking here: 

Working on a great blog for campsites and free national park week. Going out right now to pick up some free stuff from CVS. Make sure to go to and click on the drugstore of your choice. This site is great for telling you exactly how to shop and pay little to nothing!

Happy Shopping!

Monday, April 12, 2010

lots of freebies

Winner of a copy of my newest book : Carolyn H., North Carolina. Congratulations!!

Here are a bunch of freebies for you:

Free copy of the book Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand. This book had a profound impact on my life. Click here:   After surviving 14 years in communist prisons, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand came to America to proclaim the trials and testimonies of our persecuted brothers and sisters. In Tortured for Christ, Wurmbrand tells of his imprisonment for his work with the underground church and introduces the work of The Voice of the Martyrs. Forty years later, The Voice of the Martyrs remains true to its calling to be a voice for persecuted Christians, to serve with them in their time of need and to assist them in their efforts to proclaim the gospel. We would like to extend this special opportunity for you to request a complimentary copy of Tortured for Christ for your Christian friends and family members. Help spread the message of today's persecuted church.

sample of dove energy glow:

coupon for free kraft mac and cheese:

free country music sampler download (10 songs):

free purex 3 in 1 sample (I can't remember if I already listed this...):

What a beautiful day God has given us! I was reminded this morning as I sipped my coffee and watched spring breaking forth outside my window that His mercies are indeed new every morning. In my reading, I was convicted of the importance of my role as wife and mother and that there are no more important roles for me on earth. It is wonderfully beautiful and frightening at the same time to think that there are no people on this earth who I will impact more than my own family, and that He will hold me accountable for that. So thankful for His grace!

Happy day!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Pastor had a great sermon today. He spoke a little on predestination (from Ephesians) --the whole concept of God knowing and chosing us before the world was ever created is a theological conundrum that leaves even the best philosophers a tiny bit rattled. Do we choose God, or does He choose us? Are we so utterly depraved that on our own, we cannot even cry out to Him? Are we little chess pieces on His big board game? I have studied (in some depth)every possible side of the spectrum and have come to the conclusion that if greater men then I have debated it since creation...I'm probably not going to figure it out completely in my short span on this earth. But this one thing I know: Paul tells us that we were is quite clear. And the fact that He chose me, knowing how often I turn from Him is humbling indeed. I amazed sometimes that He loves me. I may not always "get it," but He tells us that unless we come like little children, we cannot see that kingdom of heaven.  Now that's a concept I am glad to comprehend!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Yard Sales, weekend stuff

Yard Sales today were pretty of those overwhelming days when there were so many I could have stayed out forever! Best find? A large mirror (about3X4 ft) to go in the upstairs bath--white wood trim-$2.50. Abby found a vintage Star Wars poster that we hung in her brother's room to surprise him, since he's having a hard day. Got 4 movies for a buck each, 4 pairs of shorts for the boys, 50 cents each, a Gund Winnie the Pooh for 75cents,  the cutest cross stitch for the bath in Maine for 75 cents,  and several like new college textbooks for a dollar each that I hope to get considerably more for at Edward McKay.

Have you been getting your freebies in the mail? In the last few days I got the coupon for free sunchips,  the uniball pen, puffs, kotex and bounce samples and a shampoo rebate check. It makes getting the bills a little easier! For those of you who are new to this, you should know that you won't get everything you sign up  for. I don't stress over it's just the way it is!

Not much shopping for me this week, just the $94.00 trip to Aldi. That was it. Didn't even get to the drugstores, too much going on. The lettuce is up in the garden and we'll try to get everything else in this week.

Meals this week: homemade pizza, spaghetti, ham/taters, tomato soup, burgers on the grill (first of the season). I just love the nostalgia posts. If you get the blog by email, take the time to read what others' frugal memories are. You have until Sunday night to be in the running for a copy of my book!

And speaking of my book...I now have copies to sell. They are $10.00 which includes shipping. The publishers price is $11.99 ( I have no say on that), but right now amazon has it for $10.19 and Barnes and Noble for $8.63. These are sale prices, so this is your chance to get a good deal! Online only...S&H free on $25 orders. I would love for you to get a copy and support Larry and ToKhanh's dream of getting the book out to other veterans. The title is Twice a Soldier.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 9, 2010

lovely book...

Such a lovely morning here in High Point. There was a hard rain last night, along with a cold front moving in. We really needed the rain to knock the pollen out of the air, so this morning the air is fresh and clean and the sky is bright blue...rather reminiscent of a Maine summer morning, complete with 45 degree temps. Since the kids are still on break, we all walked to a local restaurant-Alex's house- and had breakfast. The dogwood and azaleas are bursting forth, so the walk was beautiful. It was one of those times when I was acutely aware of the fact that having all of us together will become increasingly rare, which then caused me to remember my own childhood...and then I want to "wax nostalgic," as it were.

I have always thought that growing up in Maine was a special experience. I've read that even the worst of childhood memories become magical given enough years having passed between the actual occurance the recollection of them. And so it is with Maine and I.  I love just being from Maine. After all, the population of the whole state (@ a million) is less than that of the metro areas of most states.  There just aren't that many of us Mainers. That, combined with the fact that when I mention I'm from Maine, I almost always get one of the following comments: "Ohhhhh, Maine is so beautiful...we went to____________, and it was so lovely." Or, : "I've always wanted to go to Maine." So, maybe I just have a deluded image of my how great my home state is. Mike has none of that nostalgia for Michigan...

So here's the next "contest." Tell us where you grew up. Tell us if you have wonderful nostalgic memories of the place or if you couldn't wait to leave...or both. Do you go back to visit? Will you-or do you-still live there? Tell me one "frugal" memory that you have of your childhood years. For your efforts, your name will be put in a drawing for a signed copy of my newest book, Twice a Soldier. You have until Sunday night to post; I'll announce the winner Monday.

And my Maine frugal memories? Too many for one blog. I grew up eating deer meat and brook trout. My dad grew a huge garden...and my mom canned small feat when you have about an 8 week growing season. We ate fiddleheads (a type of fern) and dandelions and heated the house with wood. I don't know that I would want to replicate all of this with my own family, esp. the heating with wood part, but I still love fiddleheads and dandelions.

Help me out....what are your memories?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

free rice

At the risk of sounding crazy...I told myself I would blog every day. And I am going to be busy the rest of the night and I don't have time to post...

So here's a coupon for a free bag of rice: and that will have to do for today!!

Is something better than nothing??

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

blogging...triad deals..."freebie"

I really am having fun with this blog! Thanks everyone for reading and  participating. As I was contemplating what I will blog about for a whole year, I realized that 2 months have gone by already! Wow! Time really does fly by. I keep this running list of things to blog about, but I'm wondering if any readers have specific questions about different areas of "tightwaddery." Anything you might me wondering about? Wanna pick my brain about something? Or maybe even an area of expertise that you could share?

Pollen counts are the highest they have been since they started keeping track 13 years ago...everywhere you look there is a greenish-yellow hue. Thankfully, none of the fam has any significant allergy issues or we'd be in trouble! I LOVE this time of heat, no ac. Cheap electric bill!! I have decided I am a warm weather type of person. You can keep that cold stuff.

For those of you in the triad, Clover Leaf grocery is having their 5/$5 sale this week. This is when I stock up on peanut butter, dressing and other items. They also have burger for $1.58#, which is a stock up price for me. HT has fresh bone-in chicken breast for 97 cents#, also a stock up price, so I will be filling the freezer this week.

Here's a form to get a coupon for free land o lakes butter with purchase of land o lakes, so it's essentially B1G1 free: Good until 5/31.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

kids and birthday parties, great freebie...but hurry!!

Four kids equals lots of birthday party fun...and even for a tightwad like myself, it can be a challenge to provide a fun time without seeming to be...ahhh...well...a tightwad:). I can tell you that it has always been a pet peeve of mine that my kids go to a party and come home with party favors that are more valuable than the gift they brought. I must be honest though, it seems that there has been a bit of a down tick in that dept., and I'm thankful.  Blame it on the economy if you will, but I also think that a little rationality is seeping into the collective conscience and parents are realizing that overt materialism is not such a good thing after all.

I just read an article in our paper by Kathy Peel (great author of family management books) about this very subject, so I thought I'd tackle it. Some of her highlights:
1. Kids up to 3 years of age should have morning parties that are only 60-90 minutes long. This avoids afternoon naptimes and the grumpy factor.
2. One lady bought a blow up "moon walk" on ebay for less than she could have rented it, used it once, and resold it on ebay for more than she paid. Now that's smart thinking!
3.Another lady had a "pajama party" at Krispy Kreme for her 3-year-old daughter. She bought little pillows at a dollar store and had milk and donuts for the kids and coffee for the parents.
4. Make your own invites and hand deliver. (One thing I would add here, if your child has a bigger school class, don't hand deliver at school. And please don't invite everyone in the class and leave out only one or two kids...that's just plain ol' mean.)

Now here are some things that worked for us:

I didn't have parties until my kids were big enough to remember. I mean, honestly, who's that one-year-old party for anyway? If we happened to have family in town, we maybe had them over. This is rare because we are so far from family. (I remember one summer when we were in Mich on Lee's birthday and combined it with a family get together)  We always celebrated the younger years with our own fam, and when you have 4 kids, you have enough for a party anyway!! At our house, you can pick your evening meal (usually pizza, lasagna, broccoli soup-that's Lee-or homemade mac and cheese). They also pick the kind of cake they want...with a heavy leaning toward carrot or chocolate. When the kids were little, I made themed (dinosaur, barbie, hot wheels, Mr. Potato head, etc..) cakes, but I have never purchased one from a store/bakery.

Around age 5, the kids were allowed to invite one friend for a party and/or sleepover. Since most of our friends have more than one kid, this usually turned into inviting the whole family over for the meal. Age 10 was our first "big party," when the kids got to invite whoever they wanted.  This tended to be 10 or so kids. One kid did a movie night at the dollar theater, one spent the afternoon at a large park. Again, I tend toward the less organized, less expensive venues. We were in Maine when Will turned 10. I was working full time and was really tired. We just invited his friends over for the day. It had rained hard the day before, so they brought swim trunks and water guns and had a blast running through puddles. I was feeling kinda bad about not planning more when one kid came bursting into the house shouting, "This is the best party EVER!!!" Sometimes less really is more! Thirteen then became the next "bigger" party. Will went for laser tag, Aaron chose a movie marathon (LOR), Abby had a sleepover...Lee has a year to go!

And going to parties? I don't spend over $10.00 for a gift. If the kids want to add more out of their own pockets, they can...and now that they are older, they often do. I still pick up new gifts at yard sales, the kind still in shrink wrap with tags attached. I also get like-new hard back books. Often these are $20 retail books that I find for a buck. Great gifts!! Again, now that my kids are older, they like to buy their own gifts for friends, which is fine with me!!

And gifts for my own kids? You can imagine that I shop way ahead and try to get things on sale. The older they get, the harder it is. Typically, they get one "bigger" gift  and then 2 more smaller ones, and always a book. The cost of the "bigger" gift determines how much I spend on the rest.

There are some thoughts...I'm sure I've been inconsistent, and someday my kids will tell me how unfair I was...story of my life!!

Happy Birthday shopping!!

And here's a great freebie for a cleaning caddy filled with products, good for the first 3000, click here:

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Blind Side, look for lost money

Today, I had to go in to work at the hospital for a few hours...which is hard to do when it's 85 degrees...but it was OK. Then I came home to a $4.99 rebate check in the mailbox, went to Aldi and spent $99.00 and stopped at Carolina Thrift so Abby could do some shopping for costumes for her school play. It's set in the 40s, so she was looking for dresses, and we did find a few. I bought one of those huge pizzas at Aldi...the kind that are "take and bake." At Wal-Mart they are $8.99 now, but they're only $5.99 at Aldi. I bought all the stuff to make homemade pizza, but then I was a slacker and took the easy route. One of those large pizzas and a 69 cent bagged salad, along with the Aldi brand "crystal light" style lemonade @39 cents for 2 quarts, made an entire supper. So it was still cheaper than eating out, which I considered. See, it is spring break, and tonight we finally were all home and went to see The Blind Side together. I knew I was gonna cry (I'm a sap at the movies) but I had NOOOO idea I'd pretty much cry through the whole thing. Good Heavens! What a tear-jerker. If you haven't seen it, you need to. It'll be one that I add to my video collection.

I don't know if this applies to anyone reading my blog, but if you are an active duty military member, it's worth knowing: Starting now until 12/31/2010, SeaWorld is offering all active duty military from all service branches, active members of a reserve or National Guard unit, and three direct dependents a free day at SeaWorld (at select locations). Click here for the form:

If you've never checked this site, you might want to. It lists money that is being held in state treasuries as "lost." I have never personally found any, but I have had friends and family members whose names have popped up. You can type in anyone's name, so check for all your family members and also check your maiden name, if applicable: never know!! (I only expect 10% commission for the tip:).

Free John Frieda shampoo sample click here:

That's enough for tonight...happy savings!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen...share our tradition...listen to this Keith Green Classic

Sunday's here!!

Here's the "EASTER SONG"....sung by the man himself:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Saturday's here...but Sunday's a comin....

Here's to Saturday...esp. to sunny, warm Saturdays. Will and I went to a few yardsales this am. Here's a picture of my best find...a solid oak reproduction of an antique icebox.(I can't get it to "turn" on this screen???) Heavy as all get out, but beautiful. 20 bucks.

And then the rest of the day? I'm in the middle of 5 loads of laundry (2 on the line), made a huge pot of homemade cheddar mac n cheese, 24 deviled eggs, 1 gallon of sweet tea and herbed cauliflower for my contribution to our now annual homegroup Easter dinner, washed the living room windows (and am already realizing I should have waited until the pollen dies down) and have looked up umpteen college videos with Abby. We had a great time at Duke and Carolina yesterday. Very beautiful campuses. And Mike? Tilled the garden and planted beans and lettuce, mowed the lawn, went in to school for an interview with a perspective teacher and is now washing and vacuuming vehicles. He LOVES to garden, here's a couple shots from today:

And the kids? Abby took a long nap and is reading Austen's "Mansfield Park." The boys are just being boys enjoying break: here's a shot of Aaron, Lee and neighbors Levi and Mohammed.

So there's a frugal day at the Cliff house for you!

Coupon for free goat cheese for joining the club, click here:  look for the link

Click here for a chance to win a $15,000.00 scholarship! I'm not sure if you actually have to buy the product (it's pasta) I did buy it and liked it! Other prizes also!

Happy Day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Funny picture for you:

Good Friday....but Sunday's a coming...

Winner of April 1 drawing: Pat S., Ellsworth, Maine...congratualtions!

Our school break starts today. It's sunny and supposed to be 90 today, we are going to spend the day in Raleigh. Looking forward to it! Taking Abby to visit a few college campuses. Wow, how has this happened??
Here's a freebie for of those facebook deals. I should mention that if you don't have facebook and don't really want one, you can sign up under a nickname and not upload any pictures...then you can still get in on the freebies. No nonsense is giving away free socks to the first 100 who sign up EVERY DAY at this link:
So, I would sign up early in the am if I were you! I just tried at 8 am, and they were gone for the day, so you'll have to start early.

Free sample of Orville's Cheddar Cheese Popcorn here:

If you're a crocs fan, is having a 25% off with free shipping sale! ....use the code CHOW and get 80% off; $25 coupon for $2!! I LOVE this site.

OK, have a great day!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Resurrection cookies recipe...Glorious Easter

Maundy Thursday....but Sunday's coming...
OK, this is a fun recipe for those of you with little ones...I made these when my kids were small. Don't you hate that holidays...esp Christian holidays...are so commercialized? And it's easy to get caught up in the trap. Yes, we do make Easter baskets every year. I've reused the same baskets and "grass" every year for at least 10 years now. I asked the kids if I should get new ones. They looked at me like I was crazy!! We like traditions. I buy on-sale candy the year before (the hard candy anyway) and fill in around the edges with other things.  I try to put in a Christian book, CD or video. I pick these up used and because it's always been that way, the kids are cool with it. We always start Easter morning by playing Keith Green's "Easter Song" (He is risen...alleluia...) REALLY loud...another tradition. And over the past 4 years, we have started having Easter dinner with our chuch home group, since we are all away from other family. So the newest tradition is Steph's Blueberry Goo...which is marvelous! Can't wait! But the most important thing is to focus on the real reason we celebrate....

 "Resurrection Cookies"
~Also known as Easter Story Cookies~
This is a great recipe to teach your Children the REAL story of Easter. That the Lord Jesus Christ
our Savior is not dead but has Risen. We serve a Risen Savior......
This activity can be done as a "family" or for Sunday School. Of course the Sunday School option might
be to hand it out to the class with a note to the parents. Grandparents might considering
doing this with their grandchildren this year too!!!
You will need:
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
a pinch salt
1 cup sugar
a zipper baggy
1 wooden spoon
scotch tape

These are to be made the evening before Easter. Preheat oven to 300F.
*** (this is very important --- don't wait until you are half done with the recipe).
Place pecans in zipper baggy and let children beat them with the wooden spoon
to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested. He
was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read: John 19:1-3
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar
to drink. Read: John 19:28-30
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life
to give us life. Read: John 10:10&11
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest
into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers,
and the bitterness of our own sin. Read: Luke 23:27
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the
sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to
know and belong to Him. Read: Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins
have been cleansed by Jesus. Read: Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet.
Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read: Matthew 27:57-60

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.
Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read: Matthew 27:65-66

Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight.
Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read: John 16:20&22

On Resurrection Sunday (Easter) morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked
surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed
to find the tomb open and empty. Read: Matthew 28:1-9