Tuesday, September 30, 2008

couponing 101 - where to find the deals

Since numerous people have been asking about my mad couponing skills (hahaha), I thought I would dedicate a post (or two or three) to explaining what I do. Please note that I am by no means an expert, but have been able to drastically cut our grocery budget over the past year and a half. I honestly can't even remember how it started, but I believe it was while I was on unpaid leave after Bitty was born. (I hadn't built up enough sick days after Bugman was born and decided to take an extra 2 weeks off making my maternity leave 8 weeks instead of 6).



Many people are able to look through the Sunday advertisements with their coupons and figure out some great deals. I am not one of those people. I was not given the gift, the patience, nor the time to do it, SO I have found some great sources that find the deals for me!!!



The first place I started was The Grocery Game, which is an online subscription. The Grocery Game has a computerized database that matches the best sales with the best coupons each week. This guarantees that you are getting the best prices for the items you need. The database also tells you the best sales on non-coupon items each week (such as meats, milk, etc.). Many of the deals are not listed in the weekly flyer you find in your local paper. The subscription is $10 every 8 weeks for one store and an additional $5 for each additional store. I use both the Kroger and Meijer pages. I would highly recommend starting here because it is EASY PEASY! You simple click on the items you plan on purchasing and print the list to take with you to the store.

Later in my couponing journey I discovered Money Saving Mom. I think I ran across her website when Jenny from Mommin' It Up starting participating in her Super Savings Saturday. She posts a lot of great deals and freebies as well as where to find online coupons. (This is the one downfall of The Grocery Game, while it tells you what coupons to use from the newspaper, it does not take into account very many of the printables out there.)

*Note - If you are planning on using any online printable coupons I highly suggest creating a "Junk E-mail" account to use anytime you are asked for your e-mail. If not you will get a lot of junk in your regular e-mail*

Money Saving Mom also has a great explanation of how to start working CVS for freebies here. I highly suggest reading it to learn more about stacking coupons, rolling Extra Care Bucks (ECB), and getting PAID to shop!

I also frequent Thrifty in the Cincy. Jamie is a couponing mom in Cincinnati who figures out some of the best deals at both Kroger and Meijer. Combine her internet coupon deals with The Grocery Game and you will absolutely save some $$$.

Now, for your homework... check out these three sights, and clip your coupons from Sunday's paper. Remember to clip ANYTHING you would use if you could get it for free or close to free!!

and because a post isn't a post without a picture...

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Monday, September 29, 2008

go dog, go!

It's no secret that Bugman has been a H.U.G.E. fan of books since the day he was born. By the time he reached his first birthday he had several favorite books, could retrieve the specific book you asked for, and would listen to stories for 45 minutes at a time. Bitty has been a completely different child. I wouldn't say he has hated books, but he has always been way to busy to sit and listen to more than 1-2 pages at a time. It has been somewhat frustrating, especially as a teacher, knowing how critical it is for parents to read to their children.



Well, in the past few weeks Bitty's tune has been a-changing. He is suddenly bringing books over to be read, looking at books in his bed, and has even found a few favorites (and by favorite I mean any book with a car/truck/boat/etc. on it)



Here he is with his daddy and big brother before bedtime.





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listening intently



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Bugman laughing at Go Dog, Go!



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Bitty practicing the sign for book.



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...and loving every minute of it!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

hurricane ike

I never thought that living in Ohio we would get hit by a hurricane, miss school due it, and have hundreds of thousands of people without electricity. I guess there's a first for everything! We were incredibly lucky and our power only flickered on and off for a few minutes. The. end. Our satelite wasn't effected, nor our phones, nor our internet. Trust me when I say that we know how blessed we were. We had several teachers in my building who had no electric for 9-10 DAYS!

I don't think we even realized, until it was over, how bad it was. Daniel was out working on the fence during the first half. I decided (right in the middle) I would head into school to get a few things done... in case it got worse later and I couldn't make it in. It occurred to me as I pulled into the parking lot that I may have made a bad choice. I made it into the building, found a door from our courtyard blown open, and leaves all over the hallway. As I tried to call my principal to let her know, I realized there was no phone, and then figured out the electricity. At that point I decided I should probably just go home... only I couldn't get home. It seemed that every road was closed due to trees down, power lines in the road, and even stop lights in the street. We'll call this a lesson learned. The next time we have a hurricane in Ohio... you'll find me at home with plenty of water, batteries, and candles... just in case.

The trees in our yard and neighborhood did take quite a beating and we spent a good deal of time having it cleaned up. We hired a pretty good cleaning crew and they had it done in no time.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

progress

So.... we have this fence. You know, the one that was going to be built last spring before school was out. As it turns out, building a fence from scratch is more work than anyone (especially Daniel) anticipated. Digging post holes seemed to be the biggest, most dreaded, tiring job. Now that they are all done, it seems to be going much more quickly and we're seeing PROGRESS!! The race is on now that fall is here and (unfortunately) winter will be here before we know it.
Here is the outside view.
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and the inside view.
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and eventually it will look a little more like this. I'm not sure you can see very well from the photo, but it is a shadowbox fence (pickets on both sides)
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The mathematician himself at work.
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and the BEST mosquito lamp EVA!!!
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Monday, September 15, 2008

sharpie marker

You can probably read the title to this post and know what is coming next. Last weekend Daniel and Bitty went to a football game and Bugman and I went and played in the Target toy aisle, picked out a few cars and had dinner at Bob Evans (pancakes for dinner... YUMMY). We were watching TV in the basement when we got home and Bugman asked to draw a picture. He wanted to sit on the step and use a bin of clothes as a table. I handed him a scrap of paper and the only marker I could find.... a blue sharpie. This is what I found a few minutes later...



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We tried everything to get the marker off: soap, baby oil, toothpaste... nothing worked. Luckily it wore off.... a week later. On a positive note, he did draw his first 'tadpole' person.



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aunt 'ashy'

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Other than Daniel and I, my sister (Aunt "Ashy" to the Bugs) is probably the person they see the most... especially during the summer when you can find the four of us at our house most of the day. Anyone who knows Ashley knows that she is a fantastic artist, so she and Bugman spend hours drawing on the Magna Doodle. It usually looks a little something like this:
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And the result looks a little something like this... can you name those animals??
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Apparently they can't either.

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and one of Bugman's "I'm not looking at your camera" faces...
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Sociable