Sunday, February 27, 2011

It was a "Fairy" good time!

We celebrated Isabella's 5th birthday this weekend with a wonderfully fun Fairy Garden Tea Party. We kept it pretty small, but even with small in mind, we still had 12 girls fairies at our house. I am extremely happy with the outcome and the budget. Overall, the party cost less than $150 with everything included: food, decorations, favors, and even our presents for Isabella!

The decorations included fresh cut roses and sunflowers (snagged these mid-week at Fry's for $2 a dozen!), handmade lilly pads and flowers cut from colored paper, balloons, tulle (a girl's decorative best friend and a mom's best friend at only $1/yd at Joanne's!), and lots and lots of tea sets.




Each fairy guest received a magic wand ($1 each at Michael's) and a dusting of pixie dust upon entrance to our fairy forest ($3 for a vial of glitter at Michael's) and each guest was officially transformed from friend to fairy with a fairy crow, made simply from cut up ivy garland ($4 each at Michael's) and curling ribbon ($1/roll of 300 feet at the Dollar store. I used about 20 strands of ribbon for each crown, which was about 4 rolls of curling ribbon to make 12 crowns).



We started the party with a fun activity. Each girl decorated a set of wings ($3.50 for a set of 6 at Michael's, $8 for a huge container of self-adhesive foam shapes and $6 for a set of 6 colors of puffy paints).



The girls then played another while we let our wings dry. We played a fairy dancing game. The girls danced around the lilly pads and I sprinkled fairy pixie dust on them. I used my magic wand to put all the fairies to "sleep". Each girl had to remain as still and silent as possible. If the girls moved, smiled, or giggled, I touched them on the back and they had to "sit on a log". This was an unbelievably quiet moment in the midst of a very fun (but loud) party. I was surprised at how well the girls played along. It went so well we played twice!



After this game, we enjoyed tea and cupcakes. The girls loved the sugar cubes almost as much as the over-acting I did while I served the fairies. I am so happy I went simple with the cupcakes instead of an over-the-top cake. It made for an easy-to-serve option and my birthday girl was so happy to be able to help sprikle the fairy sugar-sprinkles on each cupcake.







After the cupcakes and tea, Isabella opened her presents and then we took a group picture. I am a bit disappointed that we are missing 3 girls from the picture due to them being whisked away by their parents before we were really done with the festivities. I plan on using the group picture for thank you cards




We ended the party with a few games of Musical Lilly Pads. I used Celtic Music to set the tone for the party. We also played a round of reverse Musical Lilly Pads, where all the girls had to try to fit on the Lilly pad that the birthday girl ended up on. I kept taking away one lillyt pad (the biggest one) making it harder and harder for them to all fit on one lilly pad. It was a lot of fun to watch!



Birthday girl Isabella and her new tutu and mask from me. I snagged this at a garage sale for $5 a few months ago.



All in all, it was a huge success and I'm already imagining Isabella's 6th birthday party. Oh wait, I have two boy's parties to plan first! Stay tuned for Patrick's Mickey Mouse 1st birthday and a yet-to-be-decided 3rd birthday party theme for JJ.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Free Photo Prints


RitzPix Free Coupon Codes

Ritzpix is offering several great codes right now to try them out for free! Plus, you can choose to pick up in store making the deal completely free!
Here is what you can get:
  • 20 Free 4×6 Prints — Coupon Code: TRY38U92
  • 4 Free 5×7 Prints — Coupon Code – TRY54K21
  • 2 Free 8×10 Prints — Coupon Code – TRY63B78
  • 1 Free 5×7 Folding Card — Coupon Code – TRY41Q3F
To get your free pics head over to Ritzpix here: Ritzpix Free Pictures Coupon Codes.
It looks like you can only sign up for one of these free photo deals per account. If you’re able to do more than one please let us know in the comments section below!

Free Waffle Fries. Yum!


Chick-fil-a just announced on their Facebook page that they are going to be giving away FREE waffle fries next Friday, March 4th!
Between 2pm and 4pm on March 4th you can get a free medium waffle fries when you ask for “Heinz Dip & Squeeze and the Free FryDay promotion.”
Limit 1 free medium waffle fry per customer.
You can see more details on their event page here: Chick-fil-a FREE Waffle Fries – March 4th.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fun Little "I Love You" Gifts

If you have a loved one far from home, this is a perfect way to send a smile. You could also use this as a great Mother's Day or Father's Day gift. Another idea would be to tack this on to a birthday or shower gift for a friend as a unique gift tag. There won't be any doubt who the gift is from, and you'll be sure to grab lots of oohs and ahhs!

Pocket Sized Photo Book from Eversave



If you have credits with Eversave (there was a $5 signup bonus last week), you can pick up this item for FREE. If for some reason you missed out on that limited time sign up bonus offer, you can sign up today and get a $2 credit for signing up. That would make this save only $3 and don’t forget it ships FREE.

Have you heard of Eversave?  They feature 50%-90% off on restaurants,
spas, local activities and online deals. It is free to get their email,
and for each new friend you refer you can earn $10 in Save Rewards to
use towards great deals.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Costco Shopping Tips

I thought this was really interesting.  I shop at Costco a lot, but never knew any of this! 


Despite the fact that manufacturer’s coupons are not accepted and that you have to buy bulk quantities, I still love to head to Costco once a month or so to check out all their new products. In addition to snagging their delicious hot dogs and a soda for only $1.50, my kids, hubby, and I love to check out their new clothes and kitchen items, browse the produce and meat departments and meander the aisles grabbing samples, etc. For this reason, I was excited to learn about some “secret” tips to be a savvy Costco shopper.



* Scour the aisles for items whose sale price ends in 97¢ (regularly priced items usually have a sale price that ends in 99¢). If you find an item whose price ends in 97¢, this indicates that this item did not sell as quickly as expected and Costco is trying to clear it out. In other words, this is time to buy the item (if it is something that you need/want).


* You’ll also want to look for items whose sale price ends with “odd pricing” (i.e. prices that end in 79¢ or 49¢). This usually indicates that Costco got a special deal from the manufacturer and typically means that these items are competitively priced in comparison to other stores.


* In addition to the price, be sure to look for a * on the upper right corner of the display sign. If you see a *, it indicates that the item is not being reordered (i.e. once the current stock has been sold, it will not be replaced). In other words, if you have been eying this item for a while, now is the time to snatch it up as you will not likely have another opportunity. Keep in mind that a * only indicates that the item will not be re-ordered…it does not necessarily mean that the item is marked down from the original sale price.


* Finally, keep your eyes peeled for those instant rebates that are deducted automatically at checkout (some states are even offering special energy rebates when you purchase fluorescent bulbs).

< Thanks, Hip2Save >

Monday, February 21, 2011

Target Up Brand

While you are heading to Target for your free 4x6 prints, you might as well print some great coupons for Target's Up brand products. They'll be free or close to free, and we all like that.

Target Up & Up Coupons = cheap stuff!

Up & Up Dental Floss (50 Yards) $0.89
Use the $1/1 Up & Up Oral Care Coupon found here
(This coupon will automatically adjust itself down)
Final cost FREE!

Up & Up Mouthwash (16.9 oz.) $1.37
Use the $1/1 Up & Up Oral Care Coupon found here
Final cost $0.37!

Up & Up All Purpose Cleaner with Bleach $1.37
Use the $1/1 Up & Up Cleaning Product coupon found here
Final cost $0.37!

Up & Up Liquid Dishwashing Gel $2.59
Use the $1/1 Up & Up Cleaning Product coupon found here
Final cost $1.59!

Up & Up Bleach $1.47
Use the $1/1 Up & Up Cleaning Product coupon found here
Final cost $0.47!

Up & Up Dryer Sheets (40 Ct.) $1.37
Use the $1/1 Up & Up Cleaning Product coupon found here
Final cost $0.37!

Up & Up Cotton Balls (100 Ct.) $1.29
Use the $0.50/1 Up & Up Cotton Product coupon found here
Final cost $0.79!

Up & Up Plastic Cotton Swabs (300 Ct.) $1.42
Use the $0.50/1 Up & Up Cotton Product coupon found here
Final cost $0.92!

Up & Up Pantiliners $0.87
Use the $0.75/1 Up & Up Feminine Care coupon found here
Final cost $0.12!

< Thanks, Hip2Save >


JUST ADDED!

FREE Jeans:
There is a HOT $5 off Women’s Denim Item (Jeans, Capris, or Shorts) printable coupon. There are reports that stores have some jeans on clearance for as low as $4.98 – scoring you FREE denim! This coupon will go fast so print NOW.

French’s Spicy Brown Mustard $1.00
$1.00/1 French’s Spicy Brown Mustard, 12 oz. or 18 oz. from SS 11/7
 Final Price:  Free
Maalox Advanced 65 ct $3.85 or Liquid 12 $4.55
$5.00/1 Maalox Product, any from SS 1/9
 Final Price:  Free

Free 4x6 Prints at Target

I take a lot of pictures, so I hate spending too much money on all my prints.
I love getting them for free!

10 Free 4x6 Photo Prints at Target

Buy 10 4×6 photo prints ($0.10 each)
Use
$1/10 Target Photo prints coupon
FREE after coupon

CVS Easy-Freebie: Free EOS brand Lip Balm

For those of you just getting started with CVS, here is an easy freebie. You will pay the $3 out-of-pocket, but will earn $3 ECB (Extra Crae Bucks). They will be on your receipt. This is a good way to start building up your ECB stash. You can then use those $3 ECB to "roll" into another ECB deal, thus eliminating the out-of-pocket expense for future items. You have about 3 weeks before the ECBs expire. You will need to register a CVS card here before you can earn ECB.
Limit one per household/card.


There is an unadvertised deal this week on EOS Lip Balm.
$2.99 ECB wyb EOS Lip Balm at $2.99
That means you pay $2.99 for it and then get it all back again in CVS bucks! 

.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Free Photo Collage at walgreens this week!

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I totally take advantage of photo offers from Walgreens! I love their 8x10 collage prints, but I have never paid a penny for them. They routinely have them for free. While scrapbooking this weekend, the ladies and I were talking about ways to use them and the fact that Walgreens hasn't had a freebie in a while. Well, guess what? They must've read my mind, because this week Walgreens is having another Photo Deal of the Day promotion and Thursday is our day!

Remember that you can only receive one free 8x10 collage per account. You need to design and order your collage online, and request the print at store option to save on shipping. You do not need to pick up your collage on Thursday, you just need to order it.

I will try to edit this post later with an example of how I have incorporated these collage prints into my scrapbookiung layouts. I love that I can use 10 or 12 prints on one page, without beingoverwhelmed by a bunch of larger prints.

If you're not a scrapbooker, these make great gifts for grandma's and grandpa's or anyone. You could even surprise them with an email telling them there is a gift at their local walgreens. Free for you, surprise for them. Everyone's happy!

Here's a glance at the deal, as well as the other photo promotions this week at Walgreens. These are all great prices for photo gifts. 


SUNDAY: Get (2) 5×7 prints for $2
MONDAY: $1.99 Easel
TUESDAY: $2.99 for an 11×14 collage print
WEDNESDAY: $2.99 collage mouse pad
THURSDAY: Free 8×10 collage print
FRIDAY: 75% off custom cover book
SATURDAY: $2.99 collage mug

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gorgeous Chenille Baby Blankets

The gals over at Bebe Bella Designs are once again offering up a savings of 75% off their adorable Minky Chenille Bibs, Burpies and Blankees.

Just use the coupon code feb75 at checkout
{this code expires on Tuesday, February 22nd, at Midnight CST!}.

Note: You will need to pay shipping costs which start at $5.


* Minky Chenille Baby Blankee 15″x15″ $22.50, so ONLY $5.63 after the discount!
* Minky Chenille Bibs $12.50, so ONLY $3.13 after the discount!
* Minky Chenille Burpies $12.50, so ONLY $3.13 after the discount!
There is no limit on the number of items that you can purchase with this code, so now is the time to stock up for baby shower presents and more.

< Thanks, Hip2Save >

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ahhhhh-ma-zing Diaper Deals!

Check out what I just paid for a BOX of diapers!
 
 
Item(s) Subtotal:$40.88
Shipping & Handling:$0.00
Promotion Applied:-$8.18
Promotion Applied:-$10.00
Promotion Applied:-$8.18
Promotion Applied:-$12.26
 -----
Total Before Tax:$2.26
Sales Tax:$0.00
Gift Certificate/Card Amount:$2.26
 -----
Total for This Shipment:$0.00
Total paid by Gift Certificate/Card:$2.26
 

Yup, you read that right. I just paid $2.26 for 156 Pampers diapers,  delivered to my door.
Want to know more? 
Add a comment below and I will pass along the information. Devious, I know. ;)  

Vista Print Deal is Back Again!

If you missed the awesome Vista Print deal of $10 for $50 credit is available again through Living Social via Tampa. This voucher is good until May 18. Remember that if you are new to Living Social, you should get a $5 credit, which can be applied towards the deal, giving you $50 credit for photo gifts for only $5. See more details of this deal on my original post here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Artscow Canvas Prints

If you have a special photo from Valentine's Day here's one way to make it a special docrative element in your home.

20" x 30" Printed Canvas for $6.67 each
(must buy 3)
FREE SHIPPING

I do not know how long the code will be valid for, so if this is something you have been wnting, I recommend ordering quickly!

You can get 3 20" x 30" canvas for $6.67 each, but must buy 3, for $20 shipped at Artscow. you can also get smaller sizes for the same price. you can also buy in multiples of 3, i.e.6,9,300, etc.

Please note frame is NOT included and image is printed right up to the edges. These canvases are unstretched.
18”x24”
http://slickdeals.net/?sdtid=2673489&sdop=1&sdfid=9&u2=http://www.artscow.com/photo-gifts/Canvas/Canvas-18-x-24-350

20”x20”
http://slickdeals.net/?sdtid=2673489&sdop=1&sdfid=9&u2=http://www.artscow.com/photo-gifts/Canvas/Canvas-20-x-20-349

20”x24”
http://slickdeals.net/?sdtid=2673489&sdop=1&sdfid=9&u2=http://www.artscow.com/photo-gifts/Canvas/Canvas-20-x-24-351

20”x30”
http://slickdeals.net/?sdtid=2673489&sdop=1&sdfid=9&u2=http://www.artscow.com/photo-gifts/Canvas/Canvas-20-x-30-352

use code "VDAYCNVS"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vista Print MEGA deal: $10 or $5 for $50 in credit!

Calling all scrapbookers!

I just snagged $50 in credit for Vista Print for only $5. I received a $5 deal bucks credit for signing up through a referral. Then I accessed this Vista Print deal through Cleveland, and viola! $50 in credit for only $5. 

The voucher expires in May, so don't buy it if you don't think you can't use it before then. With 3 birthdays int he next 2 months, Mother's Day, and well, my scrapbooking tendencies, there is now way I can't use this deal!

$50.00 at vista print for $10.00 Feb 15 only!



Make customized calendars, invitations, cards,Tshirts and more. 
Prices at Vista print are VERY reasonable and quality is excellent, so you should be able to stretch this deal super far! 
 
Please let me know if you got in on the deal. I like to know who gets what so I know if I should keep poisting these types of deals!

Monday, February 14, 2011

me = #4

I am in the midst of watching my FREE movie from RedBox and it's not exactly the best movie despite having Matthew McConaughey in it. I decided to catch up on some Facebook face-time as well as other random searching (and winning). I search my blog, well, actually just "over achieving mom" and I was the 4th result. Yippiee! Check it out below! On the same note, I've been wanting to reach out and catch some more followers and active posters. So, I am going to try to stage some contests in the next few weeks where you can win some coupon freebies or other cool stuff. Stay tuned!


  • Moms: Miss Your Kids?

    Video Report Reveals How I Work at Home & Enjoy My 3 Boys
    Sponsored By http://www.HelpWorkingMoms.com




  • Am I a Hot Mom?

    Are You a Hot Mom? Take the Quiz & See if you're a Hot Mom or Not
    Sponsored By http://www.mydailymoment.com




  • Diary of an Overachieving Mom

    Nov 9, 2010 ... skip to main | skip to sidebar. Diary of an Overachieving Mom ... So, I did what any other mom would do...pulled out my scissors that I ...
    http://diaryofanoverachievingmom.blogspot.com/




  • Tales of an Over-Achieving Mom

    Feb 13, 2011 ... Tales of an Over-Achieving Mom. Bargain-Hunting, Extreme-Couponing, Deal Seeking , Fun-loving, English Teaching, Back to Basics Mom of 3. ...
    http://www.blogger.com/?cmd=ct-rd-click&id=1229471&tp=w&ip=68.98.96.61&pd=false&b=1&hst=http%3A%2F%2Ftalesofanoverachievingmom.blogspot.com%2F&frm=http%3A%2F%2Fdsclick.infospace.com%2FClickHandler.ashx%3Fru%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252ftalesofanoverachievingmom.blogspot.com%252f%26coi%3D239138%26cop%3Dmain-title%26c%3Dprodege.meta2.swagbucks%26ap%3D4%26npp%3D2%26p%3D0%26pp%3D2%26pvaid%3Dcb93cc2b55704b97a0fde6b5870d3f9b%26ep%3D3%26euip%3D68.98.96.61%26app%3D1%26hash%3D32077E046E9A94AAE96CA786532503AA&ncc=0
  • Toy Story 3 Super Deal

    Not exactly a Valentine's Day gift, but this is an awesome deal if you have a birthday coming up to buy for.

    
    Hurry over to Amazon.com because right now you can get Toy Story 3 on DVD for $8.99 (Retail $29.99)! PLUS you get $5 worth of eligible movies and TV shows from Amazon Video On Demand after you order your item for FREE!

    As you know prices on Amazon can rise in an instant so don’t delay getting this deal!

    Valentine's Movie and Cookie Treat

    Here's a code for a free movie from any RedBox location. It is valid for today only. Enjoy!

    BEMINE

    And if you're in the area of a subway, swing by and pick up a free cookie with this printable coupon.

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Valentine's Day Deals

    Make sure you don't miss out on these five hot deals that are ending today. Surprise a significant other, a parent, or a friend with some great buy-one/get-one deals today.

    All of the deals below require a coupon for instore purchase or a code for online check out. Click on the links below to access the deals.
    Get a FREE $2 MP3 credit from Amazon 
    (printable coupon required)

    Buy One, Get One Free entrees at IHOP 
    (Printable coupon required for in-store purchases. Online code available if you prefer to shop in your pajamas. )
    Save 80% on Restaurant.com gift cards
    (Use online code LOVE to get a $25 gift card for just $2-3!)

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Coupon 101: Your First Freebie! Gain Fabric Softener

    For those of you that are new to couponing, here's an easy to way to test the waters and walk away with a freebie. In Sunday's Red Plum coupon insert, there should be a $3 Gain Fabric Softener coupon. You can use this at a variety of stores this week to score free fabric softener. If any store is out, be sure to ask for a rain check so you can use your coupon later and still get the same price!

    If you are brand loyal (tsk tsk) you may consider getting this freebie and donating it to a food bank or shelter. Another thought would be to start gathering items for a graduates gift basket. Last year i gave one grad a laundry basket filled with all those Life 101 necessities, including laundry supplies, a roll of quarters, a good book, and a heartfelt nessage.


     Here are a couple of places you can use them to score some free or super cheap boxes of fabric softener.

    Walmart

    Gain Fabric Softener 80 ct $3.26
    use $3/1 from the 2/13 RP
    $0.26 each after coupon

    Dollar General

    Gain Fabric Softener 60 ct $2.99
    use $3/1 from the 2/13 RP
    free after coupon

    Family Dollar

    Gain Fabric Softener 60 ct $3.00
    use $3/1 from the 2/13 RP
    free after coupon

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Thomas Trike for $15

    Here's an awesome deal for our Thomas loving little boys out there.

    Thomas the Train Trike Only $14.99 Shipped


    Wow! Hop on over here to score this Thomas the Train Tough Trike for just $14.99 shipped! Add it to your cart and at the final stage of checkout, $10 will be automatically deducted, bringing your final cost down to $14.99 with FREE shipping!

    This is also working on the Fisher Price Ready Steady Ride on making it ONLY $12.99!

    Oprah Magazine for $5

    I love O! Magazine for several reasons. It has a huge variety of columns from people I like (Suze Orman, Drs. Phil and Oz, and other notable Oprah finds), as well as a variety of typical magazine-ish "in every issue" articles like my favorite: The Reader's Corner, which provides plenty of great books to add to my long list of books I want to read someday, as well as my favorite colums, "Insert Name of Famous Person's" Bookshelf, giving a little insight into what other's enjoy reading. My other favorite column is the "O's Favorite Things" stemming from her infamous episodes, her little finds and product promotions are great gift ideas for friends and family or yourself. Word to the wise though: If there is something on that page that you like, find it / order it fast because it is subject to the O-Factor: it will be hard to find once she has promoted it. I've tried to snag several items from these pages and they are almost always backordered, out of stock, or simply ne'er to be found.

    One thing I do like more than O Magazine, is getting O Magazine for a bargain!
    This is for new subscribers to Mamapedia. So if you already have an account, just create a new one.
    Click here


    1 Year Oprah Magazine subscription:
    Regular Price: $28
    Mamapedia Sweet Deal Price: $10
    With coupon code OPRAH5: Only $5!

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    How Do You Do It?

    My most recent unit in AP English Language and Composition, Process Analysis, prompted me to put pen to paper and actually write an essay myself. A tired and worn mother in line behind me was scolding her children for something seemingly inconsequential (adding candy to the cart, maybe?) and then looked at me, and asked, How Do You Do It? At the time, I was unloading our own cart, with JJ's "help." Bella was in charge of the coupons, because she likes to help pay, and Patrick was bouncing up and down with his precious grin catching the eye of every passer-by. It didn't take me long to think of my answer, and it morphed into an essay. This is the first essay I have written in quite a while, so the thoughts may still be a bit rusty.



    How do you do it?

     
    I am asked this question quite frequently. It, the question itself, comes at all times of the day and from many different people. The spark of the question can be the fact that I attend monthly midnight manias, scrapbooking into the wee hours of the morning or dropping a “thinking of you” note (handcrafted, of course) to a friend thousands of miles away or simply down the street. I’ve been asked this question whilst grocery shopping, hosting or attending a party, or simply taking a family adventure walk. The question need not always be asked in words, but can also be implied by a glance or a glare. The “it” is everything: spending time with my family, crafting, socializing, cleaning, cooking, taking other families’ portraits, having my own kids’ portraits taken regularly (even the famed third child, who otherwise usually falls into the “third child category” of forgotten pictures and memorabilia), and most recently blogging. So how do I do it?

    If the “it” were just the family, we make it happen: happiness, wants versus needs, and an emphasis on family; our family. As for the public perception of our caravan of smiles, usually when I get comments or glares, either of sympathy or pity, I just smile. If people say, "Wow--you've got your hands full!" I respond, "If you think my hands are full you should see my heart!" If people say, "How do you do it?" I respond, "God's grace." If people say, "Where do you put everyone?" I say, "When there's room in the heart there's room in the house." That's from St. Thomas Moore. If people say, "How do you afford it?" I respond, "Everyone makes choices as to how they're going to spend their money. We choose kids." Of course, when #3 came along, I was asked daily, "Don't you know what causes that?" I typically answered, “We just figured it out," when I really wanted to say was, "Yes--and apparently we're very good at it."

    I don't even think that 3 kids equates a "big" family, with plenty of 5 and 6 kid families to out-do us. In our case it’s the span of ages that usually knocks people off their feet. People that don't have "larger" families or have bigger age gaps between kids, think our life harder than it is. They look at their lives with one or two kids and can't imagine having more, but in some ways it becomes much easier as your family size increases. You don't feel like you need to run around to every play date or "enrichment activity" because your kids have each other to play with. It's easier to clean up a house because you have more hands to help. Meal prep is easier because you always having a willing soul who wants to be the kitchen helper. You don't feel like you need to rent out a $500 bounce place for a party because you could not do it for each kid. “It” takes the pressure off and you have the kids' best friends over for an old-fashioned in-home party. You hear the friends say again and again, "This is the best party I've ever been to!" largely because they just had the opportunity to get together and play and do what they want without all the pressure of people telling them--do this now--and all that. They work together to choose to create the party into what they wanted it to be. They get back to living and enjoying one-another, instead of having commercialized-everything and expectations of a hoopla thrust upon them.

    You learn that your kids are more capable of “life” than you might have originally thought. When my oldest was 4 I wouldn't have even thought to ask her to help with folding laundry or cleaning bathrooms, but now my almost-3 year old asks to fold and put away his own laundry because he sees his sister doing it. This is not to say that my 5-year-old is the most meticulous bathroom or bedroom cleaner, but she’s coming around. From the kids’ perspective, having sibling forces them to learn compassion and patience. If the 10 month old falls and bumps his head I have to run faster than all the other kids to get to him if I want to be the first to comfort him. If it's breakfast time and everyone is hungry, they know they have to wait their turn to get their cereal poured, or they can learn to do it themselves and help their younger sibling. A child who has just learned to read has no better audience than a little cuddly sibling who just wants to sit and be read to again and again. I had a special mom-moment recently when I returned from putting the baby to bed, to find my oldest “reading” to her little brother. Both we sitting in his bed, just as I usually do with each of them. Yes, I realized that I am not the only person who they look to for comfort, and I realized the little things I do has an enormous affect on their lives. Now, if I ask my son if he wants me to read him a story or tuck him in he might say no, but instead he’ll ask for is sister to read his story or “lay down me.”

    This is not to say there are no challenges--scheduling three different kids for three different doctor or dentist appointments and balancing ballet and birthday parties is hard. We also have the future excitement of shuttling three kids off to three different places/schools next year. But it's fun. We don't have to do this stuff. We get to do this stuff. Making special time for each child every day is a challenge, but we do it because it's important and we want to do it. We look forward to it. Once you accept that you can’t do everything, all the time, the other wants just fall into place. Or, they don’t; and it honestly doesn’t matter much. When you hear your 5 year-old squeal in excitement over craft time, using the Froot Loops that were tossed on the floor during breakfast and the salvaged ribbon from last week’s birthday party, the projects and parties that aren’t finished or attended don’t bear much weight anymore.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Personalized Bags for only $2.99

    Think ahead for Mother's Day and End-of-the-Year Tecaher or Caregiver Gifts!


    Artscow is offering up yet another sweet photo deal! You can currently snag Personalized Recycle Photo Bags for just $2.99 shipped!!! (*Note: $2.99 for single-sided bag, $3.99 for twin-sided bag) …AND the best part – there is NO quantity limit, so order as many as you like for the $2.99 price!
    To get in on this deal, head on over here, choose your bag design and start uploading your photos. During checkout, use coupon code GREENSHOP, valid through 2/25. Your final cost will be $2.99 per bag shipped! Great deal!

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Coupon How To: Getting Started and Looking Ahead

    At long last, and by request, here's a run down of how to get started to use coupons effectively.
    This is long and detailed, so sit down with a clear head, a notepad, and an open mind.

    One thing I am notorious for in my family is my use of coupons and spending as little as possible on many things, but especially groceries. My family knows that I am "on it" when it comes to knowing if there's a coupon out there and then waiting for a sale to come up, and then pouncing on it.

    One thing's for sure, I pay attention to coupons and I monitor releases of sales ads to know what and how to prepare for good deals. If you are wondering how and whent o get started in using coupons effectively, here's a list of deals coming up that may appeal to you. If they do, I recommend ordering coupons. You can buy them on ebay, once they are released, or you can pre-order from several different sites. I recommend My Coupon Hunter.

    I also have a super supply of coupons, but I don't take pre-orders, because I need to make sure my inserts have what the advertisers are promoting. If there is somehting I can help you iwth though, I am happy to do so. I have very cheap prices (usually 15 cents a coupon, plus postage). Drop me an email if there is something you want to order. The added bonus is that if you are near me, the coupons will get to you faster than if you are oredering from another supplier, such as MCH.

    Things to keep in mind:
    • Why pay for coupons? Remember you are still coming out ahead of the game, even if you are paying 15 cents for a coupon, that will save you $1 on an item thanks to coupon polices that Fry's and Safeway employ.
    • Start a system. Whether you use envelopes, paperclips, or a fancy binder like myself, you need to create a system to organize your coupons. You will not use them effectively if they are on your kitchen counter or in the wrong purse (been there!). I started with envelopes and just put in the coupons according to products type (Dairy, Meats, cleaning products, etc). I now use a 3-ring binder and plastic trading card sheets to house coupons in alphabetical order accoring to the manufacturer. I don't know how I ever managed to use the envelopes now that I have my binder, but I also use coupons very differently now, compared to my pre-kid days, when I had more time to write my lists, prepare my trips, and shopped alone.
    • Always check your list twice. Compare ads to what coupons you have on hand and then also check out HotCouponWorld or AFullCup, both of which offer coupon databases, so you can see if a coupon exists for the items on your grocery list, as well as here to find it. They both include insert and printable coupons, peelies (these are often spotty in terms of stores that have them as well as regions), coupons found in packages, rebates, etc).
    • Inserts are regional, so what the East Coast receives, may not be what's in our coupon inserts here in Tucson. Frustrating for sure. My experience is that S. AZ does not get as good coupons as other regions do (the mid-west seems to get the highest value coupons). So, this is why ordering may be your best bet.
    • Grocery ads run Wednesday to Tuesday, so you will want to plan accordingly. If you order coupons on Sunday, you may not get them in time to use by Tuesday.
    • If you are just getting started on using coupons in this super hero way, you may want to just try saving the coupons from the next few weeks and getting ready for these sales, without the pressure of ordering and tracking bigger sets of coupons. Nothing bugs me more than knowing there's a sale, knowing I have the coupons, but a) not remembering where I put the coupons, or b) not being able to find the product or get to the store in time. Now you are out the product and the price of the coupons.

    Anyway, here's the list of what to keep an eye on for the next few weeks.

    My Coupon Hunter has pretty much all of these in stock.
    Here are the codes for My Coupon Hunter:
    BBC - 10% off purchases of $3 or more
    FREESHIP - Free shipping on purchases of $5 or more (total has to be $5 after any other discounts)
    CVS/WALGREENS DEALS:

    $1/1 Colgate Sensitive or Total Advanced, 1-30 SS, 2-6 SS (Sensitive)
    ($3.79, get a $3.79 ECB - $1 moneymaker after ECBs @ CVS the week of 2/13 - limit 2)

    $4 Gillette Fusion Proglide - 1-30 PG
    ($9.99, get a $4 RR @ Walgreens the week of 2/13 - $1.99 after coupons/RR)

    $2 Huggies Little Snugglers/Little Movers - 1-23 SS
    (2/$17.98, get a $4 ECB @ CVS the week of 2/13 - $4.99/each after coupons/ECBs - limit 1)

    $2 Reach Total Care floss - 10-10 RP
    BOGO Free Reach Total Care toothbrush - 10-10 RP
    ($3.99, get a $2 ECB - free after ECBs @ CVS the week of 2/13 - limit 2)
    ($2.99, get a $2 RR - money maker after RRs @ Walgreens the week of 2/13)

    $1 Skintimate shave gel -1-16 SS (some areas got $1/2)
    ($2.49, get a $1 RR - $.49 after coupon/RRs @ Walgreens the week of 2/13)
    KROGER/FRY'S:
    Upcoming Kroger Mega sale deals (rumored to start the week of 2/13) - if tradition holds, I believe this is the "Daytona" sale which is usually buy 10 participating items, get an instant $3 off - no prices yet

    -Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks
    $.50/2 Betty Crocker Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, or Fruit Roll-Ups - 1-2 SS

    -Bounty paper towels 
    $.25/1 Bounty paper towels - 1-30 PG

    -Cheerios
    $1/2 Cheerios - 1-9 SS2 (*expires 2-19)
    $1/2 Honey Nut Cheerios (don't know if these will be included) - 1-30 SS
    $1/2 Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios - 2-6 SS

    -Chef Boyardee pasta
    $.35/1 Chef Boyardee pasta - 1-2 SS2


    -Finish Dish Detergent
    $2.25/1 Finish - 1-2 SS

    -Friskies cat food
    $1/1 Friskies dry cat food - 1-16 SS

    -Hefty waste bags
    $1/2 Hefty waste bags - 1-2 RP2

    -Kellogg's Pop Tarts
    $1/2 Kellogg's Pop Tarts - 2-6 RP

    -Lloyds BBQ product
    $1/1 Lloyds BBQ product - 1-30 SS

    -Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn
    $1/2 Orville Redenbacher - 1-23 SS

    -Pam Cooking Spray 
    $.35/1 Pam cooking spray - 1-23 SS

    -Pedigree dog fod
    $2/1 Pedigree dog food - 1-23 RP

    -Pillsbury cookie dough
    $1/2 Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough - 12-12 SS
    $.75/3 Pillsbury refrigerated baked goods - 1-23 SS

    -Pillsbury Grands! biscuits
    $.35/3 Pillsbury Grands! biscuits - 12-12 SS
    $.30/2 Pillsbury Grands! biscuits - 1-2 GM
    $.50/1 Pillsbury Grands! sweet rolls - 12-12 SS
    $.40/2 Pillsbury Grands! sweet rolls - 1-2 GM

    -Ragu pasta sauce
    $1/2 Ragu pasta sauce - 1-30 RP
    **There will reportedly be a catalina that matches up with this - buy 3, get $1.50 OYNO

    -Reynolds wrap
    $1/1 Reynolds wrap foil - 1-30 SS

    -Ritz crackers
    $1/2 Nabisco crackers - 1-30 SS

    -Scott bathroom tissue
    $1/1 Scott bath tissue - 1-16 SS

    -Scrubbing Bubbles (doesn't specify)
    *Assorted Scrubbing Bubbles cleaners - 1-9 SS2 (*expire 2-20)
    **There will reportedly be a catalina deal that matches up with this:  Buy 3, get $2 OYNO

    -Shout
    $.55/1 Shout laundry product - 1-9 SS2 (*expire 2-20)

    -Totino's pizza/pizza rolls
    $1.25/4 Totino's party pizza - 1-30 SS
    $.40/2 Totino's pizza rolls - 1-30 SS
    $.50/1 Totino's party pizza - 1-23 RP

    -Tropicana Orange Juice
    $1/2 Tropicana Trop50 - 1-2 RP

    -Windex
    $.55/1 Windex - 1-9 SS2 (*expire 2-20)

    < Thanks to Melissa's Bargain Blog for the awesome match-ups. >

    Just a Gluten for Punishment!: Getting a jump on Valentine's Day

    I came across a terrific idea for Valentine's Day "treats." Not being a big fan of endless candy, I really think I want to try this. I'll have to check Target's Dollar Spot or even a 99c store for the heart shaped ice cube trays. But this really is a do-able, inexpensive project. The molds shouldn't be too much and I love cleaning out the gazillion broken crayons. Check it out by following the link below, and let me know if you give it a whirl. Post pictures!

    "I always have these grand ideas about what kind of craft I'm going to do with the girls for each holiday. Usually though, by the time ..."

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Free Post-Its

    If you happen to be out and about Friday or Saturday, you may want to print off one or two of these coupons. They'll get you a FREE 12 pack of 3x3 Post-It Notes. or can get two per person, but you will need a coupon for each one. It's only valid through Saturday. If you don't need any Post-Its yourself, consider donating them to a local school or maybe setting it aside to make a tecaher-supply basket for end of year gifts for your favorite teacher.

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Free Baby Sling - Great Baby Shower gift idea

    If you know someone who is pregnant or just had a baby, here's a great gift idea. SevenSlings is offering up another chance to try their baby wrap/slings for free. Head on over to Sevenslings.com and choose your sling. They have a great selection of fabrics and colors.

    Be sure to go through the correct sizing procedures.

    Then, use code "COLORADO" to get your sling for free.

    You will end up paying the $12 shipping/handling fee, but the sling itself will be free.

    $20 for $10 Barnes and Nobles Groupon Deal

    I am loving the daily Deal sites these days! Groupon is at it again with a chance ot snag a $20 giftcard to Barnes and Nobles for $10.

    Barnes & Noble Groupon LIVE

    The Fine Print

    • Expires Apr 10, 2011
    • Limit 1/person. Limit 1/trans. Valid in-store or online. Valid on sale items.
    • Groupon value reduces by $10 on 4/10/11, except where prohibited.
    This Groupon is valid for purchases made online, at any of more than 700 Barnes & Noble retail locations, or on Barnes & Noble’s e-reader, the Nook.

    Make the deal better!
    Go through Swagbucks for 315 bucks. Find the link to Groupon under Special Offers .
    Go to Special Offers, then Trial Pay and then look for a groupon deal- you can click on any and then find the B&N groupon- that has worked in the past.

    If you aren't connected to Swagbucks yet, check out my Top Ten page for more information and a sign up link.