Thursday, December 31, 2009


Fun little shop this morning at Giant. Please note that some coupons I used may have been expired - I never check and Giant doesn't seem to care.

  • The Corn Flakes were $8 for 3 huge boxes, plus I got the 12-pack of Pop Tarts free. I had three $1/off coupons for the Corn Flakes, so the total cost for the cereal & Pop Tarts was $5.
  • The soups were B1G1 (at $2.50) and I had 4 coupons for $.50/2. So the total cost for each can was 75 cents.
  • The Healthy Choice meals were on sale for $3 (from $3.70) and I saw coupons on another aisle for $1.50 off each! So each one cost $1.50, and on the days where Stewart uses one for lunch instead of hitting Chipotle we save at least $5 that day!
  • The Honey Bunches of Oats were B1G1 (at $3.49) and I had coupons for $1/2, so each box cost $1.25.
  • I also had a coupon for $3 off the whole shop that I got randomly last time I rocked the coupons at Giant, so I used it today.
The whole shop cost $72.16; after Bonus Card and coupons was a net cost of $21.68. I LOVE COUPONS.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Super-cheap pizza - this is why I love the internet!

I am so grateful to the other frugal bloggers out there - deals like this make my life easier and cheaper. Time and money are some of the best gifts a Mom can get!

Right now you can take-out a large, one topping pizza AND a dessert of Cinnastix for $5.99. That's an incredible deal and I'll probably take advantage of it tonight (today is gymnastics day and I'm running around the whole day!) I already checked it out and it's working just as advertised.

Thanks to Moneywise Moms!

Monday, December 14, 2009

What do you guys think?

I was thinking about spending one full month shopping only from Trader Joes and blogging about the daily meals and snacks that I can make from there. Does this sound at all interesting to anyone other than me? Goodness knows it would add to the work-load around here, but it's hard for me to resist a challenge...

Thoughts? Opinions?

If you're going to be buying booze anyway...

Ran across an unexpected rebate offer in the Washington Post this morning. It's a great deal if you're a DC resident and planning on buying booze anyway.

Beer & Wine:

Receive $15 when you buy any six packs of 8 beers or more, or wines (750ml or larger), out of the following options:
  • Sterling Vintner's Collection Wine
  • BV Coastal Estates Wine
  • Rosenblum Cellars Vintner's Cuvee
  • Guinness Draught
  • Smirnoff Ice Premium Flavored Malt Beverages
  • Parrot Bay Tropical Flavored Malt Beverages
Spirits (aka: "the good stuff"):

Receive $15 off 3 bottles or $35 off 6 bottles (750ml or larger) out of the following options (I'm including a selection; there are more offers listed). I assume you can only buy one of each bottle for the rebate.
  • Smirnoff Vodka (any flavor)
  • Crown Royal Blended Canadian Whiskey
  • Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
  • Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila (Gold or Silver)
  • Smirnoff Cocktails (any flavor)
  • Johnnie Walker Red Label

Check page A11 of the December 14th post. This offer is valid 12/13/09 through 1/17/10 and is limit one offer per household. Another easy way to save some money if you were planning on stocking up for the holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another great deal from another great blogger!

I used Money Saving Methods to learn all about online offers. I give her all the credit - she walks you through everything and has tons of links available to find great offers.

Today I found another great post from her showing me how to get three free Bluetooth headsets.

I love free!

(And if you get one of these for a Chanukah gift, forget you ever saw this!)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Simple ways to save

Sometimes saving money is a hassle; I'm always working to make sure that the savings I'm getting are worth the time I'm expending doing it. I'm just not driving to four different stores to save $4. I've talked about this balance ad nauseum so I won't start preaching about it again.

One of my favorite, easiest ways to save money is with coupon codes. It usually takes less than a minute for me to save 5, 10, or even 25% off an online order I was already going to make.

Today I was able to do something similar. Our dishwasher is officially broken and I simply can't live without one. (Okay, I won't live without one, but it's almost the same) So I headed to Sears today to look at the Kenmore ones in person (our previous Kenmore lasted 9 years and was a workhorse!) Found a reasonably priced one at $375 target=blank target=blank that had all of the bells I needed and none of the whistles that I didn't (who needs a stainless steel interior?)

I'm about to check out when I remember reading a blog post yesterday about a VIP sale they're having - I thought it was today but it's actually tomorrow. The guy happily took my name and credit card info and said he'd just ring it through tomorrow instead of today. For a two minute conversation, and the time it took me to read that blog post, I'm saving 10% off my order - $37.50. That's a pretty good hourly wage, tax free!

I don't enter the codes from diaper boxes, I don't save Pepsi caps, I refuse to order freebie samples to come in the mail - it's nickles and dimes and just not worth the time to me. But to save $37.50 for 2 minutes of work, that's more than worth it.

Thank you to all the frugal bloggers who help me find these deals! I couldn't be doing this without you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

City farming

My old friend e-mailed me this link this morning. Very neat ideas; check it out if you want to garden in a small space!

Window Farms

Sunday, November 29, 2009

(Almost) free batteries!

I love a good battery deal. Paying for them online (and having your husband pick them up on his way home from work) makes it even sweeter.

I could type it out, but I simply did exactly what Life as Mom did. Details, directly from Staples, are here.

Each week from now through December 26th, I'll get $26 worth of batteries for a grand total of $1.56 in tax. Love it.

Edit to add: I've read this through several times and the offer is valid for each Staples Reward customer - I can't find any prohibition on multiple family members doing the deal. So I just signed Stewart up and did it again - wheeee!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Target fun!

Printed out a million coupons and headed to Target for a little more fun:

All forty (!) of those wipes were $.97 each, so paired with the Target $1/off coupon they were free (I can't tell if I paid sales tax on them; the receipt is downright confusing).

The Chinet plates were $4.74 each, and were on a "buy 2 get a $5 gift card" promotion. I did two transactions and used 2 coupons (from here and here). After the value of the gift cards, I paid $1.24 for each pack of 32 plates. We don't use paper plates often (usually only when a bunch of people are here for a meal and I don't want to waste time cleaning) but they're awfully nice to have handy.

The Glade deal rocked and will rock more when I submit the receipts for the Johnson Rebate deal afterwards. See all the details here at! To make my deal even sweeter, I used 2 "Buy 2 refills get 1 free" coupons that I found in a recent insert; my cashier was happy to take them in addition to all of the others.

So in total, I spent:

* 40 packages of wipes: zilch (savings of $38.80)
* Chinet plates - $1.24/pack (savings of $14)
* Glade candles and refills - earned $2 and will submit to SC Johnson for $10 back (savings of $27)

Net cost: earned $7.04 after SC Johnson rebate
Net savings: $79.80

*Smooch!* Love you Target!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Almost free games from Toys 'r Us

Another fun deal today!

Toys 'R Us has all of these preschool games on sale from $8.99 to $3.99 right now, and they're also offering a $10 gift card when you buy $25 worth of games. You can make the deal even sweeter by pairing it with a rebate offer from Hasbro giving you $2 back on each game!

So it works like this:

* Buy 7 preschool games at $3.99 each (cost with tax in Maryland: $29.61).
* Get a $10 gift card to bring the net cost down to $19.61.
* Submit for the rebate (cost $.42 to mail it off) and get $14 back from Hasbro.
* Net cost for all seven games: $6.03! (Price with tax before sales, gift cards, and rebate: $66.71)

So nice, I made my Mom do it right along with me. I honestly have no idea what I'm doing with all of these games, but with all these kids around and their friends I'm confidant they'll be put to good use.

Easy deal at Target

There are some good deals at Target right now but my two favorite (and easy replicated) are these:

Use the Target coupon here to print out as many coupons as you want for $1 off the new Target brand (Up and Up) wipes. The boxes of wipes were $1.57, so they cost me 57 cents after coupon, and the toddler flushable wipes were $.97 so they were free after the coupon. You can bet I'm going back for more.

I wanted to get Nate the Leapster Tag system for his "big" Chanukah present, so I bided my time until I found this great deal:

Target just reduced the price from $49.99 to $39.99. I paired it up with a Target coupon for $10 off (in the Target holiday coupon book in the stores an in the newspaper last weekend), and a manufacturer coupon for $10 off found here. Voila: $19.99!

I love coupons so so much.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Baking-day round-up

The motivation lasted through 8 pm last night (don't ask me about today) and I was able to finish my baking-day plans (with an extra item thrown in!)

Made a quadruple batch of my favorite peanut noodle sauce and froze it in small plastic cups so I can grab one or two any time I want one. I usually put it on whole wheat noodles with whatever veggies are in the fridge/freezer.

It starts off like this:

then thickens to this:

and then I drink it on the spot. I want to, anyway. Froze it like this (see the one on the right, how easily it pops out of the cup? Plus the cups help protect from freezer burn.)

Froze up the pasta sauce (I blend up cans of beans, pepper slices, and spinach and combine with pre-made jarred pasta sauce):

Then I got inspired and decided we'd make a double-batch of those delicious Fake It Samosas - we had some for dinner and froze the rest after baking. I plan to throw them in the oven as needed.

So anyway, this is what I ended up with at the end:

I think this cold weather is making me "nest." I wonder what I'll make next!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A small "baking day"

I totally admire Crystal for her baking days (especially now that she has three little ones at home!) I came back from our mini-vacation at Bethany with more motivation than I've had in a while and got inspired to do a little freeze-ahead work today.

First, the easy one: a bunch of rice for the freezer for lunches for Stewart and evenings when I don't cook (this is the second batch):

Breakfast is the most annoying meal of the day for me (we normally eat in the car on the way to Nate's school), so I decided to try these muffins that I read about on, where else, Money Saving Mom. I made a double batch and froze them. I tested one by microwaving it for 30 seconds (someone has to do the dirty work) and it heated up beautifully. I love this recipe! Bananas, applesauce, peanut-butter, and only one egg!

Last, I made some refried bean roll-ups - I combined 2 cans of refried beans, a baggie of brown rice, a can of diced tomatoes, and some seasonings, and used half of a whole-wheat tortilla for each one. I did use a tiny sprinkle of cheese on each one (less than a teaspoon on each one) so not a vegan recipe, but a good hand-held size for the boys. Froze them, too!

I don't know if it'll be tomorrow, but this week I plan to make up a batch of healthy pasta sauce and a huge batch of my favorite peanut noodle sauce. I made some last week and tried freezing it in large spoonfuls; it defrosted beautifully - I can throw it on whole wheat noodles with peas and corn and have a really easy good dinner for the boys. If it happens, I'll make sure to photograph it!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

He did it! Stewart ROCKED the coupons!

I did give him easy ones, but I'm very impressed with the job Stewart did on the coupons at Harris Teeter:

Bagelfuls - on sale for $2.49, used $1 off for a net cost of 49 cents each
Oreo Cakesters - on sale for $2.99, used $1 off for a net cost of 99 cents each
Morningstar Farms veggie burgers - on sale for $4/box, used $1 off for a net cost of $2/box
DanActive - on sale for $1.99, used $1 off to make them free!
CapriSun - on sale for $2.69, used $1 off for a net cost of 69 cents
Activia yogurt - on sale for $1.99, used $1 off to make them free!
Buitoni - costs $2.29, used $1 off for a net cost of 29 cents each

Today is the last day of super coupons and I'm going to try to go by. I've been so sick the last 4 days and my Mom is here helping me today, so I'll either nap the whole day or take advantage and get us both to HT to pound through the last 40 coupons. Hmmmm...nap or free food? They're both so great! :-)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Harris Teeeter super doubles visit #2!

So much fun I had to do it again. Stewart's hitting Harris Teeter without me after picking Nate up from a birthday party this evening - I gave him some really easy ones. :-)

Terra Chips - on sale for $2.99, used $1 off for a net cost of 99 cents
V8 Splash - on sale for $2.50, used $1 off for a net cost of 50 cents
Capri Sun juices - on sale for $2.69, used $1 off for a net cost of 69 cents per box
Activia yogurt - on sale for $1.99, used $1 off to make them free!
Danimals yogurt - on sale for $1.99, used $1 off to make it free!
Danimals smoothies - on sale for $1.99, used $1 off to make it free!
DanActive smoothies - on sale for $1.99, used $1 off to make them free!
Hormel Compleats - costs $2.69, used $1 off for a net cost of 69 cents
Silk Soymilk - cost $3.69 each ($7.38 for two), used $1.25 off for a net cost of $2.44 each
BumbleBee Tuna pouches - cost $1.39 each, used $1 off to make them free!
Buitoni linguini - cost $2.29 each, used $1 off for a net cost of 29 cents each!

Nate was just asking for those crush cups the other day; I love being able to treat him sometimes!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Harris Teeeter super doubles

Sorry for the very long silence! The house closing has turned into a nightmare; I think all will be resolved by Tuesday but it's been harrowing.

All of the balls in the air got me into a little funk a few weeks ago and I've been doing the bare minimum to take care of my kids and the house. Yesterday I woke up feeling a bit better; today was better yet. Perseverence.

So I got myself over to Harris Teeter today for super doubles (they're doubling coupons up to $1.98). Some fun deals to be had!

Kraft dressing - on sale for $3.45, used $1.50 off for a net cost of $.45
Terra Chips - on sale for $2.99, used $1 off for a net cost of $.99/bag
Buitoni pasta - costs $2.29, used $1 off for a net cost of $.29
Wholly salsa - on sale for $1.50, used $1 off to make it free!
Wholly guacamole - costs $1.99, used $1 off to make it free!
Oreo Cakesters - on sale for $2.99, used $1 off for a net cost of $.99
Capri Sun juices - on sale for $2.69, used $1 off for a net cost of $.69
Starbucks Frappaccino - costs $1.79, used $1 off to make it free!
Bagelfuls - on sale for $2.49, used $1 off for a net cost of $.49
Juicy Juice immunity - costs $2.99, used $1 off for a net cost of $.99
Frank's Hot Sauce - costs $1.29, used $1 off to make it free!
Sure deodorant - costs $2.59, used $1.50 off to make it free!
Danactive yogurt drink - on sale for $1.99, used $1 off to make it free!
Activia yogurt - on sale for $1.99, used $1 off to make it free!

This goes on for another 5 days and I will definitely be back for more. The Oreo cakesters are a fun treat to put in Nate's lunches and at 99 cents a box it's a steal. The CapriSuns will be a special every-now-and-then treat I can surprise him with. Free yogurt is great for smoothies (not vegan, I know.) Got the Bagelfuls free a few weeks ago and Nate loved them; whatever I have to do to get him out the door in the morning is good with me - definitely getting more at 49 cents a box!

Off to clip coupons for tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Falafel bento

It was all I could do not to eat these before I finished packing them up.

When Stewart and I honeymooned in Israel, I had at least one falafel sandwich each day. I came home 27 pounds heavier than I was when I left, and I squarely blame falafel. I love falafel.

For today's lunches I used a time-honored family passed down from my Mother - I bought a mix at Giant. Stir in some water, let it sit, form into balls, and fry the heck out of it. I paired it with a hummus/tahini mix and tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden. I wrapped Nate's up for him but left Stewart's in pieces so he could mix it up any way he likes.

Snack: cherries, celery, carrots, cucumbers
Lunch: falafel wrap, extra cucumbers and tomatoes, M&Ms
Snack: new dry mix of raw almonds, pretzels, and Cheerios snack mix (discontinued at 50% off)


Lunch: whole wheat tortillas, falafel, cucumbers, tomatoes, hummus/tahini, and carrots for dipping. Pack of M&Ms tucked under the tortillas of course!

Another two reasons to love Trader Joes

Two more of my favorites:

A full pound of organic raisins for $2.69. They're great snacks for the kids; I throw them on cereal and into trail mix and keep a little baggie in my purse for those times the kids are hungry when we're out of the house. Fabulous.

Veggie dogs, which I find totally completely inedible, are a reliable fast meal for the kids who somehow adore them. I roll them up in a whole wheat tortilla for lunches and just cut up in pieces for Jack. Good protein, good for their bodies, no animal products, and buying them at the regular grocery store was sending us to the poorhouse at $4.39 per pack. At Trader Joes they're $2.99 a pack and freeze beautifully - I just pull out a pack whenever one's used up and keep in the fridge overnight. In the morning I have another set ready to go. Voila.

Another two reasons why Trader Joes rocks. Stay tuned for more fascinating posts soon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Boring Bento

Today's lunches:



Monday, July 6, 2009

Bento from the backyard

The leftovers from yesterday's harvest showed up in today's bento:


Snack: watermelon & the last mandarin orange!
Lunch: pasta salad with tomatoes, basil, and cucumbers from the garden, fresh corn from Charlotesville. I flavored it with a scoop of tahini, olive oil, garlic, kosher salt, red wine vinegar, and a little lemon juice. Yum! Carrots, celery, and M&Ms on the side.
Snack: leftover leftover leftover chex mix with raw almonds


Lunch: same pasta salad, carrots & celery with hummus on the side, M&Ms.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Got back from a nice weekend away to find a nice harvest waiting for us:

Most turned into dinner tonight; the rest became lunch for tomorrow.

For dinner tonight I sliced the tomatoes and just put a little salt and basil from the garden on top. Sliced the cucumber and carrots for dipping in hummus. Boiled water for corn (brought home from Charlottesville this weekend) and dropped the purple and green beans near the end - served the corn and beans with a little butter and salt. Delicious dinner.

Check back tomorrow for a post on what became lunch!

I lurve a good deal

I'm not doing much of anything with coupons these days; too busy with the house and everything that's going into getting ready for the closing and the work I'll have to do before we can rent it out.

So when a great deal smacks me in the face when I'm walking through the store, I'm all over it.

The 8 ounce size of my favorite brand of hummus was on sale from $3.99 to $1. That's 75% off, no coupon needed, and they don't expire until September 12th. I went a little crazy. I'm definitely looking forward to trying all of the fun flavors they had!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mexican lunch

Made "enchilada-sagne" last night - a recipe from my dear friend Emily. It uses up tons of stuff in the cabinets, especially the refried beans I keep getting free at Harris Teeter with triple-coupon days. It's not vegan; I used good-old cheese on top. Tastes best cooked forever in the oven until melty and gloppy and gushy.

Packed up the leftovers for lunch today (cut Nate's up for him).


Snack: carrots, snap peas, green beans (from the garden), tomatoes (from the garden), hummus
Lunch: enchiladasagne, chips, salsa, M&Ms
Snack: leftover "Mommy Mix"


Lunch: enchiladasagne, chips, salsa, veggies, mandarin orange, M&Ms

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Super quickie lunch

So tired. Allergies keeping me up all night. Nothing fancy to show for today; I skipped Stewart's entirely (the $8 he'll spend at Potbelly was well worth the extra 4 minutes of sleep).

Snack: watermelon and a mandarin orange
Lunch: veggie hotdog rollup, snap peas, M&Ms, cherries, blueberries, and cucumber slides.
Snack: leftover "Mommy Mix" from yesterday

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sushi bento

I made sushi for dinner last night and decided to see if I could get it to "keep" overnight for lunches today. After I made each roll I wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap; this morning I took them out, sliced them (thin for Nate) and put some soy sauce on the side. They were cold but the rice was still tender; I'll quiz Stewart about how it tastes after it's had a chance to come to room temperature by lunchtime.


Snack: "Mommy Mix" (aka: a bunch of things from the snack drawer mixed together)
Lunch: sushi (one roll with veggie burger & cucumber inside and one roll with veggie hotdog and cucumber inside), snap peas, M&Ms.
Snack: cucumber slices and cherries


Lunch: Avocado & cucumber sushi, cherries, snap peas, and cucumber slices.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quickie Bento

Tons to do tonight; quick post on tomorrow's Bentos. Nate's camp goes on field trips on Mondays so I have to pack in disposable gear.


Snack: carrots & snap peas
Lunch: veggie burger wrap w/peanut sauce, mandarin orange, cucumber slices, M&Ms
Snack: chex mix with raw almonds mixed in


Lunch: Veggie burger wrap with peanut sauce, avocado, and lettuce. Sugar snaps, carrots, cucumber slices, raw almonds, letter cookies, and M&Ms. Yum!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I love Trader Joes

This is the first in a series called "Why I love Trader Joes more than just about anything." I'll randomly feature two items when the mood strikes.

Today's first fabulous item is the Melange a Trois:

This item is a one-pound bag of frozen bell pepper strips. It costs $1.69, which is less than you'd pay for the whole peppers at the grocery store. They don't cheap out and use mostly green peppers which I appreciate. It's frozen, so you can whip it out anytime and add it to whatever you're cooking. I use it with pierogies, enchiladas, in soups, stir-fries, and anywhere else I can stuff them. For you meat-eaters I could see them in ground beef for tacos or hamburger helper, or sauteed with veggies over chicken. Heck, add them to whatever you want - it's $1.69 for the bag! Wish they were organic, but you can't have everything. I bought six bags today.

Our next featured item is a bag of raw almonds:

It's a whole pound of raw almonds for $4.49. So healthy for the kids, easy for snacks, travels well...need I say more?

So that's today's installment of "Why Trader Joes rocks and I love it so much." Stay tuned to see what's next!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Two days of Bento plus some Nate

Things have been a little crazy around here; I took Nate to Sesame Place yesterday which threw off our whole schedule.

Here's the Bentos from Wednesday (Stewart was conveniently too busy to eat it that day so he used it yesterday while we were at Sesame Place):


Snack: Raw almonds, pretzels, veggie sticks
Lunch: veggie hotdog rollup, snap peas, cherries, pole beans, mandarin oranges, M&Ms
Snack: pretzels filled with PB, dried apricots, dried cranberries


Lunch: Salad with lettuce from the garden, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, edamame, blueberries, and raw almonds. On the side are cherries, a few dried apricots, M&Ms, and salad dressing.

Here's a picture from Sesame Place just for fun:

And here's the Bento I sent off with Nate this morning. Stewart took the day off (it's our anniversary) so we'll eat together at home.

Snack: raw almonds, pretzels, letter cookies, and veggie sticks
Lunch: pasta with indian-spinach sauce, carrots, and tomatoes cooked in. Snap peas, mandarin orange, and blueberries on the side. I forgot the M&Ms - we'll see how that goes!
Snack: cherries, dried apricots, and dried cranberries

Now I"m off to pack for a weekend away without the boys. If you were planning on calling, don't - I'll be sleeping for the next 48 hours.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Garden update!

It's been a while since I talked about the garden, huh? I've been taking some photos but just haven't figured out a way to tie the whole post together so I think I'll just put the photos out there and let them speak for themselves.

Everything has been going great except that I have early blight on the tomatoes. The little guys have been ripening; I hope to get at least some big ones ripened before the plants die off. According to what I've read I'll just have to take a break from tomatoes for 2-3 years. Last year that would have really upset me but now that I've grown so many other vegetables I feel good about all of the other things I can grow.


Green beans! Never grown those before. These were the bush beans; the pole beans haven't beaned yet.

Tomatoes! The little guys are ripening; no action on the big guys yet.

Yesterday's harvest:

Lettuce in the "ground":

Lettuce in the bowl just before it became dinner:

Progression shots:

May 21st:

May 26th:

June 12th:

June 21st: