Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Decluttering

  • I went through my 7 year old's summer clothes and school clothes and removed what doesn't fit. Outgrown items were passed on / tossed / donated.
  • I dropped off a stack of crocheted squares to the knitting store.
  • My oldest child and I took three bags full of craft supplies to the supply exchange and we came home with about 1/3 of what we took in. My daughter selected some stamps and I got some yarn. 
  • While my oldest was at her grandparents' house, I cleaned out her room. I had one bag of trash, one bag of recycling and two huge bags of donations to get rid of. 
  • I made several cat blankets with random yarn and dropped them off at the cat shelter.
  • I went through my son's room and took out all the outgrown clothes. They were donated.
  • I went through my toddler's room and took out the outgrown clothes. They were donated.
  • I went through the clothes in the basement in the next size up for my two younger kids so I knew what I needed to look for at upcoming fall yard sales.
  • I filled up 3 large black trash bags with donations including housewares, toys, magazines and grown-up clothes.
  • I donated 30 grocery bags of personal care items and 2 huge black trash bags of food items to the community center. 
  • I donated a bag full of junk plastic toys and such to the resource room at the midwifery center. But then my kids each got a "new" plastic toy from the thrift shop manager. Gah. 
  • I planned meals based on what we already had a lot of.

Frugal Things I Did in August

  • I stopped at the consignment store's sidewalk sale. My 7 year old had informed me that she needed different shorts... I agreed, because she had been wearing skorts that were too short on her tall frame. She has no hips/bum so she needs slim fitting clothing. When I arrived, it was pouring rain. Not so good for a sidewalk sale. I did manage to fill two grocery bags for a total of $10. I fit 93 items in, things for each kid. I got a fall coat and some clothing and pajamas for my toddler; a few shirts and jogging pants for my son; and skirts, shorts, three dresses, a pair of leggings and a few tee shirts for my 7 year old. She's now set for the school year.
  • The kids turned in their summer prize bucks at the park and got some play doh, chapter books and other small prizes. 
  • I earned a $100 amazon.com gift card through our healthy living program from the insurance company. I used it to purchase items from my wish list including a cast iron dutch oven to replace a worn out Calphalon pot.  
  • My awesome husband donated a "double" to the Red Cross. For his efforts, he got a Cedar Point ticket. His buddy also donated and gave him his ticket... so my husband took our 7 year old for a fun filled day before the start of the school year. I repaid the buddy with a large batch of shortbread cookies (the guy's favorite).
  • I volunteered to help organize at a kids' clothing sale and in return I got to shop early and at a discount. 
  • I swapped craft supplies.

Book Review: Treat Yourself

Treat Yourself by Jennifer Steinhauer offers 70 recipes to make favorite childhood snacks in your own kitchen.

In this book, there are ideas for cookies, sandwich cookies, snack cakes and much more. I liked the extra tips and hints included with many of the recipes, such as taking care when melting chocolate because any moisture in the bowl can cause the chocolate to seize.

The recipes are fairly simple and require ingredients that most people likely already have on hand, although before getting any big ideas you'll want to review the ingredients list to make sure you have it all. For example, the thin mints recipe caught my eye but I don't have any peppermint extract in my pantry. I have mints, but not mint extract. It would stink to get to that point in the instructions and realize you're missing a key ingredient.

The two things I thought could use improvement were photos and the binding of the book. I would like more photos step by step through the instructions. The softcover traditional binding makes it hard to keep the book open and clean while you're in the kitchen working on a recipe. Spiral binding with a hard cover would be much more convenient and useful.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.

Book Review: God's Great Creation

God's Great Creation is a level 2 reader in the adventure Bible series. It is a retelling of Genesis when God created the world.

This book is very kid-friendly and would be appropriate for children ages 4 to 7. It would be a good addition to the library of a Sunday school or Christian school classroom or in a home. The story is not dumbed down and uses some bigger words as well as words that children in this age range would already recognize.

I felt like the illustrations were a bit exaggerated with faces and mouths that are too large, which makes the story seem a little cartoonish if the child is solely focusing on the pictures. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Super Savings Saturday: Target and Meijer

Target:

I had read a rumor that some areas would get a $10/50 grocery purchase coupon for Target in this week's ad. Lo and behold, my region did. Yee haw! That meant double savings on cheese, milk, chicken and other groceries. They did not make the coupon in a printable or mobile version, just in-ad. Needless to say, the ads were a hot commodity in the stores.

I did several transactions to maximize my savings. I got mostly dairy, fresh and frozen foods along with a few frozen treats to enjoy.

Meijer:
I stopped in and found half gallons of milk priced at 90% off - $.24 each! I also got free Zyrtec after manufacturer's coupons and catalina (I use this daily), $.49 children's pain reliever after clearance and coupon, buns for .88, free sinus medication after coupons and clearance price, some fresh produce and bread.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Super Savings Saturday: Target, Meijer, Giant Eagle, Kroger, CVS, Rummage Sales

Target- 2 transactions:
10 Hormel compleats (bought 5 in each transaction), used 2 x $1/2 and 2 x $1.50/3, -30% cartwheel (applies to 4 products), got back $10 in gift cards... =$.16 each.
4 packs Crayola markers @1.99 -buy 1 get 1 50% off, -4 x .50/1 peelies
2 Crayola oil pastels @1.88 - buy 1 get 1 50% off
2 Crayola twistables colored pencils @2.50 - buy 1 get 1 50% off -$2/10 crayola purchase
3 bags chicken nuggets on clearance for $3, used 3 x $1/1 target coupons -5% cartwheel
1 bag chicken patties @$3, used $1/1 Target coupon
2 Market Pantry smoothie mix on clearance for 1.63, used $1.50/2 target coupon and 5% cartwheel
pair of socks .45 clearance
2 schick razors @6.69 -$5/2 coupon, got back $5 giftcard
Crayola outdoor chalks clearance 2.48 -50% cartwheel -$2/10 Crayola purchase Target coupon
Del Monte fruit pouches $2, used 2 x $1/2 and 2 x $1/2 target coupon
Mott's applesauce pouches $1.99, used buy 3 get 1 free coupon
Mott's grape juice @1.74 clearance, used buy 3 get 1 free coupon
Quaker granola bars 2.19 -buy 2 get 1 free peelie - got $5 giftcard for buying 10 items

Kroger:
2 boxes of Folgers K-cups manager's special $2

CVS:
pack tic tacs that my son opened :(
13 bars of neutrogena soap @3.39, buy 1 get 1 50%
neutrogena cleanser 6.79 buy 1 get 1 50%
-14 x $2/1 manufacturer's coupons
-$6/30 purchase
Total $10.20, used $10 gift card, paid $.20, got back $10 gift card.

Giant Eagle:
I got milk for $2.77 per gallon. I also got:
bimbo bread 1.89 -.55/1 coupon doubled
8 Sunmaid dried cranberries 3.99 / BOGO -8 x .50/1 peelies doubled =.99 per bag


Meijer:

Rummage Sales:
The kids and I went to one at a church and found an insulated Thermos lunch cooler, which we promptly used on a trip to the zoo. I also found a Tupperware organizer with a lid, cups for my Magic Bullet, a Mead 5 star binder and baseball card pages... thinking about doing this for coupon organizing... a couple of reusable shopping bags and some clothing for myself. Spent $13.

I stopped at another sale with my 7 year old. This sale was sponsored by the Boy Scouts. We found a box of clothing with some for each kid and a few for me, plus a few crafting supplies like a roller for clay, a couple of craft pattern leaflets and some embroidery floss and organizers. Spent $10 plus my kiddo was supposedly dying of hunger so we bought 1 bratwurst and 1 hot dog then she complained that the hot dog was "too done". I gave her the hairy eyeball and told her to eat it.

My younger two kids and I stopped by a thrift store's bag sale in a wealthy suburb. We spent $3 on a bag of clothing, books and a painting set that my son chose.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: Goodnight, Ark

Goodnight, Ark written by Laura Sassi and illustrated by Jane Chapman is a children's book about the story of Noah's ark. While this story has been told in many ways, this offers a few changes from the usual story.

I like that the animals were scared during the rain and thunder and came to the room of Noah. The book has a nice rhythm when read aloud.

However, I noticed a few odd things in the illustrations. An umbrella hanging on the wall? Boxer shorts on the clothesline? Cans of food with pictures of tigers on them (what the... ??? canned tiger?) Rubber rainboots? I am pretty sure that several thousands of years ago, there weren't umbrellas or rubber rainboots.

Otherwise, this book is very nice and would be a great bedtime story for kids ages 2 to 4.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.