Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tuesday's mad dash!

Luckily it will just be the bug and I. Bear will be at Tiffany's house for the day. Here's a quick rundown of what I've got to accomplish in just a couple of hours (luckily all the stores are within a couple blocks of each other!)

  • Buy 2 12pk pop (pepsi, coke or 7-up brands) get 3 free!
  • Tostitos are BOGO, so we'll be stocking up for salsa season!
  • Ball park franks (good for BBQ season!) are BOG2! Wow!
  • Boca burgers (yum!) are 2/$3 with two $1off coups I have
  • 100ct tea is $1.00 (we go through tons in the summer!)
  • Bisquick and Betty Crocker brownie/cake mixes are 4/$2 with two $1off/2 coups
  • Soleil Razors (yup...the same ones as before!) are $4.29, and I have three more $4off coups! That's $.29each! And regular price is like 8 bucks. That makes 2 razors and 5 refills (4ct each) we'll have gotten by Tuesday for a whopping $6.83!!!
  • Dannon Activia & DanActive 4pks are 2/$5, I have 2 $1off coups, so 2/$3, or $.37 each piece.
  • S & W beans are $.50 each. We use a lot of black beans on salads!
  • Progresso bread crumbs are $1.00
  • Redbox (inside Albie's) Free movie with one of my numerous free codes (email me if you want one!)

Fred Meyer:
  • Nature's Way Rice-a-roni pasta mixes are between $.97 and $1.10, and I have three or so $.50off coups making them between $.47 and $.60 each.
  • Ortega diced green chilies are on sale 4/$5, and I have two (ok, a lot more than 2!) $1off/2 coups, making them 4/$3, or $.75 each. We love these!
  • WestSoy Organic Tofu will be the same price as non-organic with the $1/off coup I pulled off the packages. *blush* (yes, I went through the store peeling coups off of products I planned on buying so I could remember the deals!)
  • Free pet stuff again! Another free Meow Mix Market cup, and a Healthful life 16oz pouch for free this week!
  • Going to check the price on Wholesome Goodness Cat & Dog food, I have $2/off and $3/off coups on 3lb or 3.6lb or more.
  • Santa Cruz organic lemonade and limeade, all flavors, are $.99 this week!

Walgreen's (slim pickings for the July FAR!):
  • Hebert's Fully Loaded chocolate bar is FAR this month (mmm...goodies for mama!)
  • And now for my diaper deal, as seen on Babycheapskates this morning (see bloglist) You can read the whole report, with details of how to do it here. It boils down to paying $4.47 out-of-pocket (OOP) for three jumbo bags of Walgreen's brand diapers, and then getting a $5 register reward back, so you actually MAKE money on them. Craziness? Watch me! I'm going back twice. Yes, we use cloth on Aylers, but we do use disposables at night (the girl pees gallons I swear.) So we'll be set on dipes for a very long time. (sara, if you want some let me know!)
  • With our two $5 rr, and $2 rr from last week (or $12 total) we're going to buy a bunch of vitamins, which are BOGO, that we just ran out of. Great, isn't it?

  • Oxy Face Wash is free after Single Check Rebate
Phew! And then after all of that we have normal grocery shopping to do! Which means perusing the isles looking for sales, and then heading to Grocery Outlet to complete it all. REALLY glad that Grace won't be along for the ride on this one!

Hot hot hot! and other news

I've got to post some pics this week of the some cute ones recently! It was HOT this weekend. Today got up to 100 here, which means town was around 105+! Ayla slept like 13 hours today, she just hates the heat. Grace took a loooong nap too, which is unusual for her. We got some summer storms late in the day that cooled things down, but we were a bunch of pathetic slugs all day.

In other news..... :) We're meeting with the USDA to sign papers and get our COE on Tuesday! The house is going through! Title should be opened this week, and site work will *hopefully* begin withing a couple of weeks. We're still kind of in shock lol.... Grace is going to the sitter on Tuesday and aylers and I will be meeting daddy and the USDA guy in the morning, then she and I are off to mommy's weekly deals (see the first post!)

by the way, does anyone want a really cute red heeler? She ate Grace's Dora slip n' slide while we were at church today. No, we didn't leave it out. She OPENED THE TOTE AND DRAGGED IT OUT HERSELF! Freaking houdini dog! Gaah!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Added a poll...

On the left sidebar. I'm curious what all of you think about the potential for off-shore drilling here in the U.S. I won't open up a can of worms by telling you all what I think about it, but it does intrigue me to hear other views, so long as they're not rude. ;) Leave a comment and let me know!

First pool trip of the year!

It wasn't overly warm for this time of year today...right around 80 degrees I think. But Grace was begging to go to the pool. She even insisted on wearing her "dotdot" swimsuit around Ugh.

So we met daddy in town, after picking up a swim dipe from Mo and Nolan (who is crawling at 6.5 months! This boy is a go-getter!)

Grace, who last year was terrified of the "big" pool, scared US this year. We were the only ones there ('s a small town after all!) and she went WILD! She had it in her head that she could do it by herself without any help from mommy or daddy at all. She didn't want her floatie. She didn't want to hold onto the wall. She would just take off on her tippie toes across the pool to one of us. Even after practically coughing up a lung more than a few times by going under. She was relentless! So we may have to work on the whole "me-do" thing. I blame it all on Daddy...Grandma says he was the same way! (gee, as if we didn't see the similarities thus far!)

Ayla of course was her usual i-love-the-water-let-me-eat-my-hand self. And then:
Yup. She was fine, chillin' like she usually does, until the breeze got her. She threw herself back, getting water in her face, inhaled it, and then couldn't figure out how to breathe because the wind was still "getting" her. *eye-roll goes here* Little miss dramatic!

So after all of THAT, we came home, made barbecued chicken pizza, and the Man and I had a drink. And then lattes. *teehee*

Scores of the day!

Lots of coupons on their way today from our favorite companies! And from Bordeaux's butt paste (love this stuff!) I got a HUGE package of samples in the mail! I was thinking...yeah, a few coupons and a sample maybe. So imagine my surprise when I got:
  • About thirty samples of the butt paste, with 3-4 applications in each! Great to share with friends!
  • A full-sized tube of their Baby Butt Smooth which I swear was divine intervention! Ayla's skin is very very dry right now and nothing I've found has worked. As soon as I put this stuff on, her skin was smooth and soft again within minutes! And it wasn't greasy feeling at all!
  • A full-sized tube of Baby Kisses, which is a great lip moisturizer! Of course, being the lip balm snobs that we are, Grace and I had to try this right away. She approved and so did I. Worked great after the pool today!
  • Two Butt paste bibs! These will be great for the diaper bag!
Thank you Blairex labs!

Today's theme: Handy tricks for moms

You acquire a lot of "tricks" as a mom, and today I thought I'd share a few that I've learned, in the hopes that some of you will return the favor (if I's the caffeine. See yesterday's post)

Summer fun:
We are cheap. If you know us, it's pretty obvious. But we still like to have fun, and want our girls' to feel the same. In lieu of fancy play equipment for Grace we have done some things to make her outdoor experience more enjoyable.
  • TIRES! Ask around, and I guarantee you can find as many old tires as your heart desires (ha I rhymed!) We even found an old tractor tire to use. We buried some in the ground, and they serve as "the pits" in which Grace is currently attempting to communicate with China (Kai-lan maybe? hehe) Others we buried part way at various depths to create "the snake" for all her hopping pleasure. The tractor tire is also set upright, and has become a make-shift slide (thank the stars she hasn't discovered hopping off of this one!)
  • Need a sandbox or water table? Ok, ours doesn't have sand or water (dirt instead), but it will! I promise! She won't always be a dirty mange. How about an under-the-bed storage box? They are low and large...perfect for little ones and easy to move about! And they even come with a lid to keep out wild critters (or cats in our case!) Bryce plans on making a mounting system for ours so that it will sit off the ground a bit.
  • Grace doesn't like the sprinkler. It scares her because it's a bit strong. I got an idea from another blog that works great! Take a sprinkler hose, you know, those really long ones, and run it across the yard. A lot less pressure and it won't soak your lawn! (we are actually able to use the soaker hoses because we have really strong pressure out here)
  • With the annual Rockaway beach trip approaching in a couple of months, I've been thinking of how awful it's going to be lugging that annoying beach gear around with an extra little one. I think I'm bringing one of Grace's sleds. It's not too big, so won't take up needed room in the van, but will come in SO handy on the beach to pull stuff around (including tuckered out little girls!)
Other random things:
  • Teething rail for the crib! Our crib, don't ask me why, didn't come with plastic rail guard. Grace chewed it to bits one cranky afternoon, and I've always wondered if the ingestion of crib chemicals led to her kookyness! Since then I've looked and looked for rails to put on it, and the only ones I've found are stick-on gummy covers. Which naturally have gotten horrible reviews! They do make tie-on guards made of things like terry or cotton knit, but they are upwards of $20...each side! So now that Ayla-girl is teething, I'm going to make one of those fabric ones myself, but with velcro! That way they'll be easy to remove and wash, and the crib won't get eaten alive again.
  • Does your purse look like World War 2 now that you're a mom? Even with a diaper bag, I always have to have the "little" things in my purse in case I need them in a store. You know, the teething tabs, tylenol, chapstick for Grace (I swear she didn't get it from me! *whistle*) etc, etc? I made up a few tiny drawstring bags out of muslin to organize things in there. I'm going to revise that and make some out of different prints for different things, like flowers for Ayla's things, crazy-tantrum-throwing frogs for Grace (ribbit!), etc. Since the system was started it's been a CINCH to find things!

Ok, more on this later!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008!

After nearly four years of generalized abstinence from caffeine (thanks, poor broken body! sheesh!) I've been enjoying my dear friend coffee again. There is nothing better than waking to the smell of fresh ground beans and the sound of the slow-drip.
But in the evenings my darling walking-dead husband needs something not only caffeinated (maybe an I.V. in the arm would suffice?) but cold to wake him up. And in comes the iced lattes. He's been making them himself out of my Lactaid (puke) and the espresso machine, using whatever we have to flavor them. Usually chocolate syrup of my beloved Coffee-mate (which he tries to sneak, in fear of a rabid attack from a caffeine-crazed housewife) After reading the MotherLoad(see sidebar), I was lead to this site on how to make your own coffee syrup!

I made two flavors, vanilla and almond, but I used 2tbsp flavoring in each instead of the recommended 1tsp. We like our flavors strong, because we make BIG lattes (think 7-11 big!)
Each batch made a jelly jar full, enough for more than a few pick-me-ups. I intend on making more of this in flavors like lemon and orange for Grace's new snowcone machine.

And here is a recipe for our iced lattes:
Fill a large(no, really) cup with ice. Pour cooled coffee (or espresso for those of you wanting more of a buzz) to the half-way point (or be like Bryce and fill it to within an inch of the rim of a 24oz cup) Add about 3tbsp for a really big cup, or less for smaller. Experiment with what you like. Mix flavors too! Fill rest of the way with milk, then stir. Enjoy!

For a blended latte, you can fill ice cube trays with a pot of strong brewed coffee (after it has cooled of course!) and freeze. When you are ready to make a latte, simply take them out, add your flavoring and milk, and blend! Lots better than those nasty-sweet lattes that cost you your first born at Starbuck's, or the chemical-full-whole-milk-infused cups of death from McDonald's.

Now go! Go make some lattes! (or in mom-E's case, drink the one you already have in your hand *wink*)

Me? Cheap? Why yes I am.

No surprise there, right? Well I've been busy.
I've started clipping coupons, and have been obsessively prowling the 'net looking for ways to score the following:
a. free samples
b. printable coupons (and my frustrations with this would take up the whole page)
c. ways to get free or very cheap products at stores
d. companies to write with praise in exchange for free samples and coupons (LOL!)

It's amazing what you can get with minimal effort. Here is a run-down of the last few days:
Has the single-check-rebate program, with FREE after rebate items each week.
*I spent 27.97 on a Conair hair clipper set, Crest night care toothpaste and a hair product. The toothpaste and hair stuff was free after rebate, the clipper set I'll get $5 back.

Has the EasySaver program with various "free after rebate" items along with coupons and rebates galore each month.
Spent $25.46. I got:
*2 Theragran multi-vits-130ct (Buy one get one free-BOGO) for $4.99, and there is a full rebate on it, so two for free!
*Walgreen's calcium chewies-75ct, were $5.99, free after rebate (FAR). Ecotrin 80mg was FAR as well.
*I also got three boxes of cereal (fiber one and honey nut cheerios) on sale 3/$7. You get a $2 "register reward (rr) for use on your next purchase so they were 3/$5. I had two $1/off coupons and one .50/off coupon, so they ended up being $.83/box! Grace loves the cheerios (honey!) and the fiber one is good in granola and cookies!

Fred Meyer:
*4 free cans of catfood at 0.50 each (TryMeFree-TMF-coupons)
*Two boxes Near East couscous, on sale 2/$5, I had two .50/off coupons, so 2/$4(bryce LOVES this stuff!)
*Thomas Bagels were on sale 2/$6 (LOVE the Everything bagels!) I had a buy 3 get $3/off coupon, so they were 3/$6! Not much different than store brand prices, but SO much better tasting!
*Tums Quikpak, 24ct $4.59, free after mail-in rebate form
*Excedrin back and body, 24ct $3.69, free after mail-in rebate form
*BIC soleil razor refills (4ct) on sale for $4.99, had $4/off coupon, so $.99
*BIC soleil razor on sale for $5.99, had another $4/off coupon, so $1.99 (these are regularly around $8/each)
I also had a surprise with this one! I earned $1/off next purchase(anything) from Excedrin!

*grapes on sale 2lbs/$1.99
*Free attune bar with coupon they sent
*and asked about Starbucks coffee for soldiers program. (emailing them today...for my brother)

I've also been emailing companies with praise, and have gotten these responses so far:
From Boudreaux's butt paste:
"Dear Jill:
Thank you for taking the time to comment regarding Butt Paste. We'd be
happy to send a few complimentary samples for your friends. We'll
also include a tube of the new Baby Kisses and Baby Butt Smooth for your little girls to try."
From StonyField Farms (great organic dairy products):
"Hello Jill ,
We are thrilled to hear that you and your family love our products and
we appreciate your support! We have placed some coupons in the mail for
you to use the next time you purchase our products.
The folks at Stonyfield Farm"
From Coffee-mate (man I'm addicted!):
"Thank you again for your feedback. In appreciation of your loyalty, we will be following up
via regular mail with a complimentary coupon. Please allow seven to ten business days for receipt. We appreciate your interest and hope you will continue to use and enjoy our products. Please visit our website often for the latest information on Nestlé products and promotions."

I'll continue posting good deals I've found! It's fun coming home with a bag of free stuff!

Fun in the (lack of) Sun and more!

Despite the absurdly cold summer thus far, we've managed to have a blast the last few weeks! Here are a few of the little princesses (ha!):

And to leave with two for the memory books:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

New pics of the girls

First off, some soakers that my lovely friend michelle made for Aylers. Aren't they darling? I can't decide which one to have her first pics in!

Some smiles from Wednesday. She's a ham now!

And hooray! She discovered her thumb! Binky isn't being used as much anymore. :)

Cheese-O girly number one. Playing dress-up as usual!

With Maisy Mutt.

One of her first captured smiles.

And one of the dipes I made for her a few weeks ago...isn't she cute?!