Monday, May 31, 2010

travelling continues....

So we arrived at destination # 2 at noon yesterday...and set sail at 5:30 pm last night, arriving in Freeport, Grand Bahamas this morning. We spent the day at Lucaya  Beach...which is everything that you would expect of a tropical resort. We just arrived back on the ship about 30 minutes ago. I can tell you that the kids were absolutely shocked and that was priceless!! Even when we pulled into the Port of Palm parking lot Will said, "No guys, she's just trying to psych us out."

So how does a tightwad afford a get a last minute deal on travel zoo and pay less for a family of 6 than it costs to go to Disney for a kidding. It's just a 2 night, 2 day cruise...and a long ride to get here, but it's worth it. I save money all year so I can do things like this. Last year we went to Quebec City and Montreal.

This trip: the food has been wonderful on the ship. And since it was Will and Mike's birthdays, we got a special dessert just for them. BUT they had a "special" at the resort today....$20 for a buffet. I was skeptical and didn't buy. We crossed the street and went to the market and had fried conch, black beans and fried plantains for a third of the price.

And right now--I'm paying 12 bucks for 30 minutes so that I can say I blogged EVERY day. Mike told me I should skip the day and tell you tightwad principal trumps the rule of  my self-made law...couldn't do it. So hope you enjoy this one especially since it's written from the ship!

Now I need to go find some ice for my cooler...see, I'm still keeping the lunch meat cool so we can have a picnic in a rest area on the way back to NC tomorrow!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

tightwad travels....

So what  do tightwads like me do when we travel...

After eating breakfast at home, we headed out at 7:30am. Mike and the kids still had no idea where we were going. We went south. Around noon, we stopped for a picnic lunch at a rest area. Egg salad, chips, fruit and granola. I brought 4 12 packs of coke product, purchased for $2.50 each at Walgreens. We stop in the afternoon at Jekyll Island....just because it looked like the closest ocean to 95. We stay a half hour. At 5:30 pm we stop for supper. We all share 5 dollar foot longs and have my cheap soda and chips. I send the kids into Publix (grocery store) with 5 bucks and tell them to pick up some cookies. Abby came out very excitedly saying, "Mom, they were one package for $2 or two packages for $3. We saved a buck!! See, you taught me well!!" So, Publix brand oreos for dessert. We arrive at 8:45pm. (One mile off 95). I'll give a prize to whoever correctly guesses where we are!

And get some of you know, I use a credit card that gives points to use for free travel rewards--like hotel rooms. When I called to book a room, I was expecting to have to book 2 rooms because there are 6 of us. The lady told me she could give me a 2 room suite for 6 and I'd only have to use the points for one room! Sweet! But it gets better. We arrived last night and I was told they had overbooked their 2 rooms suites. I was ready to cry until she told me she was giving me 2 seperate rooms and wouldn't charge anymore points!!! Very nice hotel!!

A huge hot free breakfast this am....and we have to be to our 2nd destination at noon today....after I fill up my travel coffee mug of course.

Happy Birthday to Mike and Will!!!

More later...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

And we are off...

I'll give you a hint...we are leaving now about 7 in the morning. We are going further south....that's all you get!

It rained last night, so the garden got a good soaking. The lettuce is getting bitter; we will pull it when we get back and plant some more green beans. I've had my beet greens by the bowl full...lots of vinigar and salt. One of my favorite treats!

I'm wondering if I can convince Mike to stop at yard sales today? Think it would go over big if I told him that was the surprise??? (No.) Sunday is his 47th birthday and Will's 15th birthday. My big boys!!

Ikea is offering another free breakfast May 29-31. It includes a small breakfast and a small coffee. Maybe I can work this into the weekend somehow...if I can figure out if there's an Ikea...

Have a great just got up, we're starting off a bit cranky!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The mystery weekend...

We will be leaving early in the morning for our "surprise" family vacation. I am the only one who knows where we are going. The kids asked if I was going to do the driving and I told them I would just tell their dad where to turn. The anticipation has been better than expected. I think the fact I haven't told Mike makes it even more exciting for the kids. Might have to do all my planning this way!! I'll try to keep up with the blog...I am bringing my computer.

There are lots of Memorial Day are just a few: (thanks to southern savers)

Carter’s - 60% off select items and additional 30% off clearance items.
Coldwater Creek - 50% sale off everything in store or online!
LOFT - 40% off your entire purchase. Use the code 40SAVE at checkout to get your 40% off and get shopping! (ends 5/31)
Osh Kosh - 50% off everything in store or online! Also 30% extra off clearance.
Old Navy - Additional 50% off clearance items through 5/28.
JC Penney - $10 off $50 purchase coupon (exp 5/29)
Gymboree - 60% off sale, and earn $25 in GymBucks for every $50 spent

If you have an ebates account, you get additional money back if you shop through them.

Did I tell you about the great TP upset?? I received an email from Staples the next day saying that they were out of stock. SOOOO bummed! Guess we'll have to go back to using the sears catalog in the Maine outhouse. (JK, btw, but that is one the the most frequently asked questions!!)

If you are living anywhere in the modern world, you probably know someone who met on eHarmony. I have several good friends who now are with their special someones. Anywho: they are having their "free communication" weekend now through May 31rst.

Click here to get a free sample of flavored kraft mayo:

Get a free purple apron from Cooking Light!! Purchase 2 products from this list: Eggland's Best, International Delight CoffeeHouse Inspirations Skinny, McCormick Recipe Inspirations, Pepperidge Farm Frozen Breads, New Sargento Reduced Sodium Cheeses. Send original receipt(s) with products circled, as proof of purchase. You'll receive the apron along with 'advertiser samples and coupons'. Value: $25. Expires: (6/18/10) No form is needed. Send your NAZ on a 3x5 card along with receipts. While supply lasts. Mail to:

Cooking Light Happy Reward 2010
c/o USSC, 625 Panorama Trail Bldg 2 Suite 100
Rochester, NY 14625-2437

The cheapest way to do this would be to buy two cartons of Egglands Best eggs.

Have a great Memorial Day...Remember those who served and who are serving so you can be free!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Value of Family

Did anyone but me notice the rather odd fact that since May 9th, I blogged not only about my mother but also about death? And then I find out my mom has this wacky rare cancer. (The CT scan showed it is in her lymph nodes and that there is a mass near her heart. She's having a more conclusive PET scan done on June 2nd.)  Of course, this whole thing has made me once again take stock of what I value in this world...and here on earth, I can't think of anything more important to me than family (with good friends being an extremely close second!!!). I was just telling my sister that I am so thankful that all of us kids are so close, despite a huge age difference and so many different personalities.  I have seen too many ugly scenarios with families that just can't get along. (I'm not naive enough to think that some of these situations can't be helped, but it's just so sad to see.)  Anyway....I LOVE my own little family and those in the very large extended one.

Here are some "value" stories, just from the past few days:

When I first told Lee, my youngest, about his gramma, he gave me a big hug old hug, round puppy-dog eyes brimming with tears and then he symbolically put a sunshine-shaped rubber band on my wrist. For those of you without kids, shaped rubber bands are all the rage right now. I had no interest in them...but nowI will be keeping this one on for quite some time.

Abby and I had a long talk after reading a few chapters of Ella Enchanted last night. I love the long night talks with my kids, all snuggled down in bed. It is my opinion that this is when you really find out what's going on inside their hearts. We talked about a myriad of things, from my mom, to marriage, to college to pride. In our kids we see pictures of ourselves. It is good to be open and close enough to share your successes AND be able to say, "I'm sorry, will you forgive me?" I can't believe she'll be a senior next year!!

When I posted about my mom on facebook, nearly 50 people responded with notes of encourgements and prayer. There's much negative talk about social networking via computer...but I wouldn't trade it at times like this.

And right now the family is watching Anne of Avonlea...well, I THINK all the boys are in there, even though some of them won't admit to liking a chick flick. So I'm off to join them.

Be thankful for your family tonight and cherish every moment. Go make a memory happen...a GOOD memory!! Thanks for reading my blogger friends...69  more to go before we get to 200. Can you get just one more or YOUR friends to sign up??

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Weddings!! many have you been invited to this summer?? We're on 2 so far. I really do love weddings and the promises of new beginnings!! I just read this article about "wedding do's and don'ts." It should probably come as no surprise to you that I'm pretty high up on the "don't" list. I just want to know who makes the rules?? I mean, seriously, who decides what is proper to wear and how much we should spend?

A 2009 survey on the found that brides expect friends to spend $70 and family to spend $129. Really?? Eee gad!! I guess I just need to stay home. You know, when we were married, I just wanted people to come share the day. I rememeber reading at the time about some bride who was furious that she had spent $150.00 a plate on the guests' wedding reception dinner, only to have "people that I really didn't want to invite in the first place show up with a pathetic $100.00 gift card."  Do I have a totally skewed view on this, or is that just really wrong? Help me out here. If you don't want people to come, don't invite them. Accept gifts as just that--a GIFT, not an obligation. And don't even get me started on the $300-per-place-setting china that ends up never being used.

I know I have a lop-sided view of this, so I would really appreciate your thoughts and comments. I try to have a gift that is about a $50 value, which may mean I spend that much, or get a $100 gift on sale. I have gone higher and lower. I remember my mom telling of weddings back in the day where the guests showed up with quarts of homemade goodies and handmade quilts. I'd go for that!!

Your comments please....

No news on Mom today...CT scan went well, but we don't know results yet.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Freebies....and "my mom update #1"

Here a a bunch of  freebies for you today:

Get a sample of Ritz "Crackerfuls" here:
(This is a facebook freebie)

And here's a link for a free sample of Crystal Light "Pure":

Check out all the new freebies at southern savers here:

And interestingly enough, I started this blog earlier in the day, went to work and then to Boyscouts to watch my youngest get his "Tenderfoot" and came home to a phone call from my sister telling me that my mom has a very aggressive and rare form of skin cancer (Merkel Cell Carcinoma) and we are almost certain is already in her lymph nodes (they are swollen). She will have a  CT scan tomorrow to see if it has spread elsewhere. Remember my Mother's Day blog about this wonderful lady just a few weeks back?? We never know down what path God will lead us next, do we? We will, as a family, covet your prayers...and be sure that I will keep you informed!

Monday, May 24, 2010

flying $

Money seems to be flying out the window at the Cliff house today. Flea and Heartworm meds for Jack ( a year's worth for $140.00 from ), $150.00 for passport renewals for Mike and I, $150.00 for a down payment for Abby's senior trip next year and a pizza order for a thank-you lunch (worth far more than I paid!!!!) Oh my! It never ends.

Here's a great deal on some inexpensive flowers:

Get up to 65% off Teva sandals right now at

And has another 80% off code FLAG.

Not so much to say tonight...happy evening!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"When the world's all as it should be..."

I'm putting the lyrics to another of my favorite songs out here for you today. The part of the song that really touches me is: "Blessed be your name, When the sun's shining down on me, When the world's all as it should be, Blessed be your name. Blessed be your name, On the road marked with suffering, Though there's pain in the offering, Blessed be your name." It is so easy to praise God when things are bright and sunny. It's easy to say we will praise God when we walk the road marked with's an entirely other thing to actually do it. It takes a marked effort; it is anything but natural. All our inclinations are to rail against Him who has made our life so difficult. I speak to myself when I say, "Resist the urge." Praise Him in the storm. I have seen some powerful examples of this these past few weeks in watching the Nance and Simmons families lose their sons. It has been a beautiful thing to watch and a reminder of how real God is. Here are the lyrics, and a link to a youtube video of the Newsboys singing the song with scenes from "Passion of the Christ." Don't watch without tissues...but it is so worth your 4 minutes:

Blessed be your name

In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your name

Saturday, May 22, 2010

SUPER CHEAP TP shipped to your door, TODAY only!!

Also here's deal for TODAY, Saturday only, so if you only read me on email, it will be too late (sorry, I just found out about it) Hot Toilet Paper deal at Staples! Marcal TP 24-roll pack on sale for $2.99 free shipping to your local Staples, $9.95 to ship to home, Or purchase 5+ and get free shipping = $14.95 for 5 (120 rolls total).

 Summary of the Marcal deal: 

Go to Staples
Click on "Deal-A-Day" banner which shows the tp
Click the 'order now' button
Add the item to your cart
On the top of the screen click "order by item #"
Enter 593805-vp
Go to the cart and adjust quantities to 1.
If you purchase 5, the coupon code will give you five $8 discounts, making 120 rolls of TP $15.84. You will also have free delivery to your home. I did this (using some Staples Rewards) and got five 24 packs for less than 8 bucks...and ordered it to go to be shipped to Maine (for free!), so I won't have to buy any TP while I am there for the next 10 summers!!

Today was a good shop day! I started out going to yardsales with my son Will. He was pretty happy because he found a Star Wars Video game for his computer for a buck and a Geico Gecko gym bag for 50 cents...the little green guy happens to be a fave of his right now. I found The Joy of Cooking, which I've been looking for forever, 2 nice summer purses for a dollar each and a huge bag of graduation decorations for next year!! Also got a vintage Lionel sign for my FIL for Father's Day (don't tell him!!).

Then on to a huge grocery shop. 5 stores: Clover Leaf, Dollar Tree, Wal-Mart, Harris Teeter and Aldi. I spent $130.00-- last week I only spent $40.00. And my plan is to do no more big shops (only milk/eggs/bread) until I go to Maine on June 20th. Once school ends, I try to eat up everything we have in the house. It's a good plan because once a year, we clean it all out, esp the freezer. It does, however, lead to some interesting meals. We're also eating lettuce, radish and beet greens from the garden. Good deals this week were large eggs@ Aldi for 89cents, and ground beef for $1.29# ( I bought about 16#s), and baked beans and pancake syrup for a buck at CL. Nice stock pile right now.

Just an update on the subscriber front...I misread my stats a few days ago, I'm actually at 85 subscribers and 41 followers, making my total 126. If you have signed up as a subscriber, make sure you verify the subscription when you get an email in your inbox from feedburner, otherwise you don't show up on my "activated" list and you don't get the daily emails. We need to get 74 more by June 4. (that's the day the cookware will be on don't expect me to pay full price do you??) So keep inviting folks to join!!

A great deal at Home Depot right now on flowers if you are looking to plant annuals: 6 packs of marigolds, impatiens and petunias are only 99cents!

Stop by Au Bon Pain May 25th for a free medium iced coffee! This is available from 2-8 pm.  Make sure to call your location to see if they are participating. I couldn't find any of these stores in NC...seems to be more of a Northeastern thing for my blogger buds up there.

Free seven day supply of Nature Made Omega 3 Fish Oil. Click here: 

It's been a productive Saturday for Tricia! Now, off to shower and relax with a good book!

Friday, May 21, 2010

the value of dying...and living

Hello Blogger Friends! What a gorgeous day here in High Point. Sunny, blue skies and warm weather, the birds are singing--I just love this time of year! Our high school graduation is tonight and my kids only have 4 more days left next week. I'm not sure who is more excited, me or them. No more school lunches to pack or buy for a whole summer!! Woot!

It seems I've been confronted with death quite a bit over the past few weeks. This, of course, always makes me think about what I'm doing with my life, which then turns into the "what do I really value" conversations with myself. First, we had the tragedy of losing two students at our school in that horrendous car wreck, then at work I watched a young boy grieve the untimely death of his very young mother. At that time, all I could think about was my own 11-year-old and how difficult it would be for him if that had been me lying on that gurney. I also (maybe because of this?) picked up the book Tuesdays with Morrie at a yardsale last week. We had watched the movie with the kids back in the fall. It's quite a touching book/movie; if you have never read it, I recommend you do so. I finished it this morning.

It is a true story about university professor Morrie Schwatz and his student-turned-professional-sports-writer Mitch Albom. Albom hasn't seen Morrie in the 20+ years since his college graduation, but hears about his imminent death by ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and decides to go back to visit him. The book chronicles "the last class" with his old prof...the class about dying...and living.

As you can imagine, the subject of our fear of death is a topic that is touched on frequently in this little book. I have a million thoughts on that, but truly I think that mostly we fear the loneliness of losing people we love more than we fear death itself. We all know that death is inevitable, and I find that folks aren't as afraid to talk about it as one might think. I worked for several years on a unit in our hospital that catered to the needs of hospice patients. I've also worked in nursing homes and as a hospice volunteer. Consequently, I've watched quite a few people take their last breath. And overall, especially when it is a slow process, the families deal with the situation in good and noble do the patients themselves. As a nurse, I do have a problem with anyone dying alone. I think that's just so sad, although at times, it can't be helped. So several times I have been the only one in the room; and you know what, it's never been a "morbid" thing. It is always good to be able to reflect on those moments with the family when they arrive, breathless and frustrated at not being able to get there in time--to let them know that it was peaceful and that someone was holding their loved one's hand.

So why a blog on this? You tell me. What do you think about dying and what it has to teach us about the value of being alive? Really...I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. And not to trivialize...but I may just touch on the cost of funerals in a future let me know your thoughts on that also!

Happy living!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Grab the kids and head to Walmart this Saturday 5/22 … (for those of you brave enough to attempt Walmart on Saturday) From 11am -4pm have a free ice cream sundae with Breyers new and exclusive flavors, and Blue Bunny Premium Ice Cream and new All Natural Frozen Yogurt topped with Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, Reddi-wip, and Fresh Strawberries.

To get a coupon a free 3-piece smaple pack of Aveda shampoo, conditioner andstrengthening treatment clik here:  Go to and look for the link that says "locations" to find a salon near you.

Get a free sample of Clif bars (no relation:) by signing up for their newsletter here:

I've been thinking about all the little ways we are blessed that we don't necessarily appreciate as much as we should. We seem to live in such a cynical "I deserve the good life" culture...well...I know I'm not as thanksful as I should be. For example, today I had a 4 hour meeting at my place of employment. These meetings are quarterly and they always have nice refreshments. Today there was coffee, juice, fresh fruit, yogurt and bagels. They don't have to do that. I should be more thankful than I am. So THANKS High Point Regional...I appreciate the thoughfulness! And a few weeks back one of my sons told me he needed a "gym bag," one of those flimsy little things with rope in them to sling over your shoulder. I didn't want to buy a new one, of course...but at the school this week, a visiting universtiy gave my husband a freebie gym bag! Yes, it has that university's logo on it, but hey, I'm happy!!

So today, be thankful! Be thankful for something that you take for granted, no matter how small it seems.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

free limeade!! Freebies from Office Max

Click here to get a coupon for a free limeade sparkler from Taco Bell: This is good for the first 500,000 and it's not a facebook freebie!!!

Get 6 free issues to ReadyMade Magazine from ValueMags in this free sample offer. ReadyMade is a do-it-yourself lifestyle magazine for young people.  (Thanks to freebies4mom):
Office Max has six new freebies with their Max Perks program. You pay for the products up front, but you get 100% back in the form of Max Perks. Max Perks must be spent within 90 days at OfficeMax in-store or on-line. Remember, you can't use your previous Max Perks to get new Max Perks. So have something in mind you want to get with your Max Perks, like ink cartridges.

1) Become a Max Perks Member. Choose business or teacher, but everyone is welcome.

2) Current freebies are:

Office Max Hanging Folders $6.29 limit 6

Office Max Heavy Manilla Envelopes $5.99 limit 6

Office Max #10 envelopes $8.99 limit 6

Fellows Bank Box 6 pack $12.99 limit 6

Sharpie 12 pack $8.29 limit 6

InPlace 1 1/2" Heavy Binder $8.99 limit 6

If you do this on-line at OfficeMax , you'll get free shipping on $50. I love these deals...I rarely have to buy office supplies, and I get them shipped to my door for free!  Click here: and look for the link.

Sorry this one is going to be short. I have come down with a lovely spring-time cold that is making me feel I'm going to bed early.

Happy Shopping!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Summer freebies for kids.Lots of good stuff!!

Both Barnes and Noble and Borders have summer reading programs for kids in which they earn free books. Borders is for kids 12 and under and runs May 4-August 26. Kids can earn one free book from a list of 10 titles just for reading 10 books. B&N runs May 25-Sept 7. It is for grades 1-6 and there is a huge list of free books to choose from; they have to read only 8 books.  Here's the Borders link:

And here's the Barnes and Noble link:

My kids have always done these. Now that they are getting older, it's a little harder; many end when the kid turns 12. Great incentives though! Most libraries have incentive programs also, and our local "Cleaner World" dry cleaners has had incentives in the past also. You can overlap these offers, along with school required reading,  which is a great deal. My kids have won multiple gift cards from these programs, and they usually only participate the first few weeks of summer because we go to Maine. In fact, Abby just won a poetry contest at our local library. As my husband likes to say, "Sometimes, you just have to show up!"

There is a free bowling program for kids here: Just click on your state and it will let you know the places participating in your area. In the triad, there are alleys in WS and Greensboro, but none in HP:(!!

I had already mentioned that many theatres offer free movies in the summer. Make sure to ask the theatres near you. If you are in the Triad area, here's some info (thanks Dawn!):
Dawn Riffell said...

Regal Entertainment Group have been showing movies in the summer for years too. They show them for FREE and have special priced popcorn and drinks. We have 3 theaters in the area. I have listed the movies, theaters and a link so you can see the movies Dates and times at your theater below.

921 Eastchester Drive
High Point NC 27265

5830 Samet Drive
High Point NC 27265

3205 Northline Avenue
Greensboro NC 27408

Kit Kittredge: American Girl (G)
Hotel For Dogs (PG)
Monsters Vs. Aliens (PG)
Tale of Despereaux (G)
Alvin And The Chipmunks Squeakquel (PG)
Charlotte's Web (G)
Night At The Museum II (PG)
Wallace and Gromit (G)
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (PG)
Polar Express (G)
Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs (PG)
Doogal (G)
Planet 51 (PG)
Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (G)
Imagine That (PG)
March Of The Penguins (G)
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (PG)

Let me know if you hear of other free summer programs for kids!

Monday, May 17, 2010

free samples, my good deals

A gently falling warm summer rain falling this morning. The birds are going crazy in chorus...just loving it. I know some of you are tired of the rain, but we really needed it down here.

Here's a great freebie for you-Palmer's Cocoa Butter. I started to use this with my first pregnancy when I noticed stretch marks starting. My niece recommended Palmers and I faithfully rubbed this stuff on my belly for the rest of the pregnancy. It erased the marks that had started and I never had any more. Good stuff!! Click here and register, they will send you a free sample:

Some of you have asked my about swagbucks...I did sign up, but I'll be honest, I haven't used it. If I had more time I might, but it's not on my priority list right now. I do want to remind you about is the last day of the 11% back at over 60 stores. This is a good deal if you are going to be ordering anyway.

Saturday I finally had the chance to go to CVS. My total before sales/coupons was $57.00. I spent $2.59 and got back $13 in ECB. Loving it! Going out again today. (update: back from shop before sales/coupons:$29.00, I paid $1.19, got back $6 in ECB!!) I'm also pretty excited about the HT super doubles this week. I've already got my list compeled. Make sure to check out Jenny's list at She has quite a few links to printable coupons. It has been my experience that these items are typically in stock because not too many people bother with them.

Free sample of Platex Glide tampons here:

Free 3-year online subscription to Remedy Life, which promises free samples also. Click here:

I am compiling a list of summer freebies for kids (bowling, movies, reading programs, etc) If you know of any, email me and I will add them to the list.

Happy shopping!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The power of paying it forward...

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The Golden Rule.

Mike read an article recently about some "scientific study" that proports to prove that when we do something good for someone, that person tends to then not only do good in return, but do three-fold what was done to him...and the study concludes that this is good for the human pysche. Amazing. I love it when science "proves" the Bible is right. This one struck me as humorous in the fact that someone felt the need to do a study on something so obvious. I mean, do we really need a scientist to tell us that doing good for others is good for us as well? Oh my.

So anyway...last week a friend of ours paid for our berries at the berry farm...and I gave some to my neighbor...who gave me a recipe for a berry pie that someone had given her...and tomorrow I'm going to make that pie to give someone else.

This week, bless somebody. It doesn't take much is our cynical culture. I was so blessed today just folding clothes and making lunch. I was looking at all I have and all I take for granted and I started counting my blessings. I have NOTHING to complain about. And this week, I'm going to bless others....join me???

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Today is "Good Neighbor Day."

An excerpt from my 11-year-old's journal:

9/28/09 Today is "Good Neighbor Day." Make a list of everthing you can do to be a good neighbor.

1. Help pick up books when someone falls.
2. Push in chairs.
3. Say please.
4. Say thank-you.
5. Pick up a pencil if someone drops one.
6. Don't go around swinging your machete.
7. Play with your neighbors.
8. Be more friendly.
9. Go outside the box.
10. Help people study.
11. Feed the cats when Abby isn't around.
12. Set the table.
13. Obey my elders.
14. Do my best.
15. Be courteous.
16. Have good manners.
17. Listen.
18. Do my chores good.
19. Help clean the fish bowl.
20. Tithe.

You may think that number 6 is there just for comic relief, but you would be mistaken. Lee does have a machete, and #6 is Mom verbatim.

I'm thinking that if we all lived by this list, the world would be a pretty happy place....esp. if we all quit swinging our machetes!!! Out of the mouths of babes...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Free Net Pot...make the call!

Beautiful day here in High Point. It is starting to feel more like summer than spring, 86 and humid right now. I worked last night, which was really great. I miss that night shift...I know, crazy right? The day nurse even brought me a sausage biscuit. (Thanks Carolyn!!) I walked home and watered the garden, which is doing amazingly well. I love having fresh salad almost every night!  Then I slept a few hours, and am ready to go. Why is it that anybody works days again?? Will is at the state track meet this afternoon and all three boys participated in the band festival at Carowinds amusement park this morning. Abby finished her last AP exam this proud of my kiddos, they have worked extra hard this year. So....I am in the middle of planning a surprise Memorial Day weekend getaway for the family. (Mike and Will also share a birthday on the 30th.) They know we are doing something, but they don't know what it is. So I can't tell you either...HA! It was one of those deals that was too good to pass up; now you'll have to read every day to find out and I'll try to post pictures:).

Also got good news yesterday. Back in October I had purchased a $50.00 Dollar Tree gift card as a housewarming gift for my niece (kinda a joke gift...long story...) Anywho, I bought it here in High Point, and when she went to use it in Maine, they told her there was no money on it! She sent it back to me and I took it in with no receipt thinking I would never be able to get anywhere with it. The manager was nice, but  never got back to me. SO...yesterday-on a lark- I just emailed corporate. They emailed back almost immediately, took the card # and are sending me a brand new one!! That was soooo easy. It reminded me of how important it is to follow through and how sometimes things do work out to our benefit!

Are you a Borders shopper? Use the promo code BKR7664Z and get 33% off any one item at For May 14th-17th only! You will need to be a Borders Rewards member to get the discount. If you are heading out to the store then take this printable coupon along with you: You can sign up to be a member for free right at the store.

Have you heard of Neti Pot? It is a sinus rinse system...some people love them, some hate them. Right now you can try it for free if you click here: This is a facebook freebie, but these retail for around $10 in the the store, so it is a good deal. Check out the pic at the bottom of the page.

Have a great weekend. Get some project finished. Go find a yard sale deal. Read a book, to yourself or to a kid. Live for Jesus!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

free shampoo!!

Sign up here: to get a coupon for a free full size bottle of Suave shampoo. The site is slow to load...keep trying. It's good for the first 100,000.

Harris Teeter will be having super doubles next week (starting 4/19) doubling to $1.98. Nice!

Sign up for the Right at Home newest coupon book here: These are typically high value P&G coupons that are sent out several times a year.

Get free samples of True Lemon crystals here:

Finally went to the berry farm...thank you sweet lady for paying our tab (you know who you are!!) What a blessing that was...makes you want to pay it forward! Strawberries and cream last night...mmmmm!

Working 11-7 tonight, haven't done a night shift for awhile. I'm actually looking forward to it!!

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

lazy days...confessions...

What is it about having a few days off after working several days in a row? I can't seem to get motivated to do too much at all!! The whole time I'm working, I'm thinking, "Oh, I'll do that on my day off....I'll dust that, paint that, cook that, clean that, write that letter....etc." Then the day off comes and all I want to do is take a lazy walk and sit on the couch reading a book. But, I have accomplished a little over the past few days: laundry done, bathrooms cleaned, dog bathed (HATE that chore!), got in a good run, made cupcakes, rice crispie squares and homemade granola, visited a friend and made several needed phone calls. I have been checking out the sale ads so I can get a good shop in this week. Today I'm expecting the heating/cooling guy to show up for a service call. All is not lost!

This has made me think about what motivates me. I would rather spend more time at home figuring out ways to save money than working to make more money in order to have more stuff. I have also always tended to work better and faster under pressure. My husband will get all his work done, then relax. I, on the other hand, will relax and then get my work done!! What about you? What is your motivation? Are you the morning person or do you work late into the night? Just wondering...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gotta love freebies!!

New deoderant samples from Wal-Mart, click here:

Ritzpix is offering a free hardcover photo book for the price of shipping ($1.99) only using coupon code PROMO4X4. This is 14 hour sale starting on May 18th. Shipping is $1.99 per book, you can order up to 3. I wanted to tell you in advance of this deal because I recommend designing your book now so it's ready to order on Tuesday. Click on the blue "Create Photo Books" to get started. You can use between 30 and 68 photos for this 20-page photo book. Remember to click on the "Save" button at the end so your design will be ready to order on Tuesday. If you are new to you'll also get an email immediately after registering with your coupon code for your 25 free prints. (Thanks to freebies4mom for this info) click here:

Print a coupon for free Sephora mascara from the JC Penney cosmetics counter:

Free sample of eb5 facial cream, click here:

If you are a member of ebates, they are currently offering up to 11% back on purchases from over 60 different stores through May 17th to celebrate their 11th anniversary. Sweet deals at

May 18th is free scoop day at Haagen-Dazs shops from 4-8 pm. 

In the last few days I have received a coupon for free Kraft mac and cheese, $20 Olay rebate check, $15 Staples rewards, and several free magazines. Gotta love this hobby!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Monday!

Did you have a nice weekend? I sure did. My husband made breakfast for me on Mother's Day and the kids made lunch. (Thanks guys!) We actually went out to eat on Saturday night (my choice) with a B1G1 coupon of course. We ate at Bert's Seafood in Greensboro. Apparently they have been voted "Best Seafood" in the Triad for 20 years running. I concur....they cook it like they do up north!! None of this "calabash style" stuff. Delicious. I may go back again when I get another coupon!!

There is a new code for , 80% off with code ENJOY. Get those $25 coupons for 2 bucks!

Purchase just one of 7 listed products at Rite-Aid and send for a free water resistant beach tote from Real Simple Magazine. You do not have to be a subscriber. Go to for details.

Lots of freebies at the big 3 drugstores this sure to check them all out at

Click here for a sample of free shampoo:

I never did get to the berry field Saturday, but I hope to go this afternoon. It's nice to have time to look at the sale flyers and actually plan a shop this week!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

To my mom....

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there, and especially to my mom, Nita Moores. She just celebrated her 88th birthday on March 15th. This picture of her and I was taken a few years ago in Maine. Mom was 46 when I, her 7th child (she lost one) was born; a simple fact not lost on me now that I am quickly approaching that age. Mom never had much in the way of worldly goods-she still doesn't, but she was/is always willing to share what she does have, whether it be a few sticks of wood with someone who is cold, a chair at the table where there is always enough food for one more, or a pair of homemade mittens for a newborn baby. She always has time for a walk in the woods, a big hug and cup of tea...and she always has time to talk. She loves to visit people and she still writes me a real letter every week. (I try to return the favor, but it usually sends up being every 2 weeks) She is perpetually prepared: a rubber band around her wrist, a safety pin (or several) pinned on her chest, and a hankie, coughdrop and rolaid in her pocket. Macgyver would have a hard time contending with this women! Mom loves her family, and she is our "glue," writing and calling to let each of us know what is going on with the rest of the clan. When we celebrated her 80th birthday, I honestly doubted if she would hit 90-- her only brother and parents died at much younger ages. Now I'm pretty sure we'll be planning a 90th in less than 2 years. She still lives alone for the half the year in her big old house in Springfield, but when the snow flies she moves in with my older sister (thank-you!!).  Our Maine cabin is 2 miles from her house, and we look forward when we are there to her early morning visits as she brings the paper and sometimes stays for tea and pancakes.

Mom, I love you. Thank you for teaching me about all the things I espouse in my blog: living a life of value through thriftiness and honoring God with your time and talents. Thanks for all you do for our family. Can't wait to see you!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Summer vacation??? Longing for Maine.

Going to the strawberry field later's our tradition here to pick for the first time on Mother's Day weekend. There's nothing like those first berries, warm and ripened in the sun. For me, it is the beginning of summer here in the south. And speaking of summer...I've been thinking about this season quite a bit lately:

When I was little, summer was one big long day of relaxation. My parents never went on a family vacation...EVER. The week my Dad took off from his job in the woods was spent in his garden. The most vivid mental picture I carry of my dad--he died 21 years ago--is of him on his knees in his garden, Dickie work shirt rolled up to his elbows, forearms swarming with blackflies. (If you are a Mainer, you can appreciate this mental image more than a non-Mainer...just take my word for it, those of you "from away," these little critters are nasty and leave you covered in red welts.) But Dad never seemed to mind. I think he was most at peace in the garden, working the soil and harvesting the crops. Perhaps that's why I always think of him when I till my own soil and why, as an extended family, we all pull a few weeds in Dad's garden spot when we are home, even though my brother Jerry and his wife do the majority of the work. Have you seen or read A River Runs Through It ? The garden is the "river" of our family.

So, anyhow, summer...when I was little it was just a time of relaxation....egg salad sandwiches, homemade popsicles and  red kool-aid consumed under the pine trees with a good book in hand and long afternoons spent building little dams and running through the cold waters of Lowell Brook.  My parents didn't see the need to put me on sports teams and sign me up for summer classes (not that there were any in rural Maine); they didn't cart the family around to amusement parks and vacation spots. Mom and Dad did what they did the rest of the year and I was left to just be a kid.  Perhaps that's why I take my kids to Maine every summer for a month---to try to recreate those lazy days for them, to somehow step off the merry-go-round that we have somehow allowed ourselves to ride endlessly in our NC life. I don't know how to change things, maybe part of it is just being an adult with all the endless responsibilities, but then again, when I look back to those days, sitting on the porch with Mom and Dad, shelling peas and smelling the sweet Maine air after a warm summer rain, I can't help but think that my parents weren't spinning quite as fast as I am on the amusement park rides. " What is that Bible verse in Mark, "...Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Or how about, "Be still and know that I am God."

Call me selfish, but I hear the pine trees whispering and I can't wait to get to Maine...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good Deals, Birthday freebies

Here's a smile for you...thought this was a very cute comic!

May winner is Leah O'Vell from Weedville, PA....congratulations Leah!!
Don't forget that June's giveaway is a free cooking set, but only if we get to 200 subscribers/followers.

Phew...end of the 2 weeks of full time work. I really do enjoy my job, and we had some great patients this week, but I will be glad to get my house back in order. We also had our employee picnic today, which was very nice. Even got a baseball cap. Hats off to you moms who do that 9-5 thing every week!! I honestly don't know how you do it. Even when I worked full time, it was three 12-hour night shifts, so I've always had more days at home than not. You guys who work days rock!!

Here's a sweet deal for you...a free mouse pad from Rite-Aid:
Rite-Aid has a program in which you watch short videos and then print a store coupon. Great deals. Click on the link above and then find the mousepad coupon.

Many places give freebies on your here for a list of offers: and click on the "birthdays" tab.

Order a free 8x10 photo collage ($3.99 value) using the coupon code GOODTHOUGHTS thru Saturday at Walgreens Photo and you can pick it up in-store for a total of $0.00. You can only order one free 8x10 photo collage per account. Use between 1 and 20 photos for your collage. For the payment method select "Pay In Store" - your total should be $0.00 (don't checkout unless it is). You will get a freebie worth $3.99! To get to the 8x10 Photo Collage Print go to "Gifts" at the top menu, then "Collages", then "Collage Prints" to create an 8x10. You can pick up your free 8x10 on any day, but you have to order it before the end of the day Saturday! If you don't have a Walgreens near you, or you just want to surprise someone - shipping is 99 cents.

Don't forget that Saturday 5/8 is the "Stamp out Hunger" day with the postal service....put out your canned goods.

Saturday is also the day of the funeral for Jacob Nance, the 2nd student who died in the car wreck at our school. Mr. Hardee, who is the headmaster, will have the funeral. Several of you have asked for more details on this. Basically 4 Sr. boys were headed out for lunch last Friday. Speed was involved and the driver lost control, the 2 boys that died were thrown from the vehicle. The other 2 boys are doing fine. We still lift up these wonderful families. Jacob's 18th birthday was yesterday, Mother's Day Sunday and graduation May 21. It is an emotional time for the whole school. Thank you for praying.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Track Conference Champs

Got home from our track conference meet at 9:30 PM...HPCA (our) boys are conference champs!!! I'm so happy for them! I spent more on a dinner out at Red Robin for the entire family than I usually spend on a week of groceries...that's what you justify when you work full time...ha! I just packed school lunches (cause the kids are exhausted) and set the table for breakfast. Then we soaked and wrapped Will's toe (he had minor surgery on an ingrown toenail Monday (thanks Lynn!!) and came in 3rd in the 2 mile in spite of that!! I got the meat out of the fridge and will try to remember to put it in crock pot before I leave for work in the morning. It's 10:22 and I have to blog, shower and get to bed....but I just want all you blogger friends to know that you are great and I had to write something! Next week looks slower at work, so I'll try to catch you up on some good deals. Still haven't heard from my May winner (Leah) so I'll wait a few more days...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Any knucklehead can do that...May winner!!

I am in the process of contacting the May winner of the $25.00 Walgreens gift certificate. I will let you know as soon as they email me back. Sorry I was a little late on that. I have been staying right at 100 subscribers/followers for a couple of months now. Let's see if we can't get the numbers up. For the June drawing, I will give away a cooking set valued at at least $200.00....BUT only if we get to 200 subscribers/followers. need to help me out. Ask 2 or 3 friends to join and we should get there easily!!

I made it to triples at HT last night. I spent 9 something and saved $25...not too shabby!!

And we had our first garden salad last night...from the lettuce planted from seed. SOOOOOO yummy! Garden is looking great.

Tonight the light/fan in one of the bedrooms just quit working and Mike decided it was a faulty switch. "I'll take care of it," he said heading to the basement. He flipped the fuse and came up with a new switch and some screwdrivers. I held a flashlight while he changed it out, touching the wires gingerly at first to make sure they weren't "hot." He was done in 5 minutes. I figure he saved me at least a $50.00 visit. "I'm so glad you can do this kind of stuff," I said. He looked at me like I was crazy:  "Any knucklehead can do THAT," he exclaimed. Of course I reminded that I couldn't do many of you can do that or have a spouse who can?? How many knuckheads like me are there out there??

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


So, I just read that the average woman spends 400 hours--that's 17 days---a year, shopping. That averages 3 years of her life!! Good Heavens! No wonder they drive men nuts. I'm closer to 100 hours a year, if you don't count yard-saling...ha! Still, that's an awful lot of waking hours. I don't like to shop; I do like to get a good deal.

I'm going to try to swing by HT on the last night of triples on my way to pick up the boys from scouts. I'm using all the printable coupons because by now any for products that came in the Sunday Supplement are long used up. I'll let you know how it goes.

If I recall correctly, Saturday is the post offcie food drive. I always try to leave a bag out for this.

Here's a coupon you don't see often...$2.00 off at Murphy's gas (that's Wal-Mart) click here:

Here's a chance to get a basket of free goodies from SC Johnson,  only for the first 6000. You don't know if you get it or not, it just shows up. I have received these before, very good deals. Click here:

And finally get 3 free pampers cruisers form vocal point if you are a member. Click here:

Happy Shopping!

Monday, May 3, 2010

new freebies, my deal diva friend from Maine, fake coupons

Several good deals out there this week:

Now through September, Krispy Kreme is offering B1G1 Sundaes on Sunday. Sweet Southern deal!!

Here's a sweet deal on facebook for some freebies from Kraft foods:
The link is slow to upload, so be patient.

And here's a deal to get free lipstick form Walgreens: You have to share a goal, but it can be anything!

Just FYI, esp for those of you new to couponing :

Once again an email is circulating with a too-good-to-be-true attachment for free Doritos. The email invites you to print all you want and enjoy.  When will this end?
There is a simple rule when you receive one of these emails. The coupons are ALWAYS, 100% OF THE TIME, FAKE. Someone somewhere used photoshop software to make or modify a high value free item coupon, then sent it out to others. The coupons look real. Unsuspecting people, who are not coupon savvy, fall for it. We know better. No manufacturer is going to distribute free $5 coupons via an email. No manufacturer is going to issue a $5 free-item coupon with their blessing to print it as many times as you like. If you receive one of these emails, you can do two things. First, notify the sender that they can be in legal hot water for passing on this counterfeit, and tell them to send out another email explaining the fraud. Then forward the email with the attachment to We have to fight these fake coupons, because they spoil things for everyone. Stores get burned, then they don't want to take legitimate coupons. This is the official word from Frito-Lay:

"We have also been alerted to a fraudulent $5 coupon offer for Doritos chips that is circulating on the internet. This $5 coupon offer is not authorized by Frito-Lay. The invalid $5 coupon may not be accepted at retail outlets. We regret any inconvenience. We're working to find ways to prevent these types of counterfeit offers from misleading our consumers."

The free item coupons I've received lately in the mail are full of holograms, expensive printing techniques, unique code numbers, printed in vibrant color on high gloss paper with my name on the coupon. In other words, manufacturers are going to great lengths to make high value coupons counterfeit-proof. The weak link in that chain are the millions of shoppers who have no idea that an email with a free coupon attached is fake, and the many cashiers who unwittingly accept such coupons. There is much educating to do before this type of fraud ends.

And for those of you who wonder if I'm the only one out there who's nuts enough to do this, this is a copy of an email from a friend in Maine about her deals last week. As she mentions, she only has Rite-Aid. If she had Walgreens and CVS, I would hire her to shop for me!! You go girlfriend; you inspire me! Here's her info:

Here are this week's totals from rite aid.
coupons used $207.32 (not counting the savings from being on sale)
total spent $51.90
money coming back $63.29
if i'd shopped in a tax free state i'd have saved another $8.86.
anyone use benadyrl or biore? it's up for grabs.
i'm anxiously awaiting to send you the info when another $5 off $25 coupon comes available.
i send you these to inspire you to try coupons to save money. the money saved here frees up money for other things. i realize (and hope) that none of you will be as crazy as me doing this, but this shows that $ can be saved. i have only one store to shop from (which is probably a good thing). those of you with cvs and walgreens can go hog wild.

Finally, Mike and I attended the funeral of the first boy who died in the wreck. There were at least 900 people there. Hold on to those you love and make memories every day!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

Here is a prayer I found on the interenet that I thought was very appropriate for today:

I am the Good Shepherd. Fear not for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am you Lord. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will hold you up with my right hand.

Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod for protection and your staff for guidance, they comfort me.

I am your Shepherd. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, you shall not drowned. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me. Lord You stretch out Your hand against the wickedness of my enemies, and your right hand saves me.

You are the sheep of my pasture, I have created you, formed you. Do not fear for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name. You are mine.

Though many should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. You, Lord, are the Shepherd of my soul. You are my light and my salvation., You are the strength of my life. How great is Your goodness toward those who trust in You!.

I am the Good Shepherd and I say to you “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. He has determined to give you the Kingdom.”

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Life from Death

Tonight the second student involved in the car wreck---the one in critical condition-- passed away. Mike and I arrived at the hospital just moments after the family received the news. Such sorrow and grief;  no one should have to bury their child. This family made the choice to donate their son's organs. On the way home, I looked at Mike and said, "Just think, somewhere right now a family that was giving up hope of finding an organ donor is receiving a call and there is hope again, and joy in the midst of sorrow." Life from death. A gift.

It has been an extremely trying week in so many ways. I am once again reminded that God is in control. There is such comfort in that. I am again working 5 days next week...and now attending two funerals, so bear with me my blogger friends. Today I went to Aldi as there was very little left in the house to eat! Don't have many treasures/deals to report this time around, and next week will be slow also.

So today, remember to take time to hug the ones you love and never, ever take them for granted. 11:18 the dismissal bell rings...4 boys jump in an SUV and head out to lunch...11:22, two blocks from the school, a car wreck changes everything. Two boys are in heaven, and an entire student body and so many family members are left to find meaning in it all.  Carpe Diem...Seize the day and live every minute like the gift that it is. We love you Simmons and Nance families.