Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Me on the news...again

I know I promised to post this last week, but with working Santa and all of that, it got a bit crazy!

The long and short of it is a local TV station gave me a challenge to spend $50 at a local Winn Dixie store and get enough groceries for a week using coupons.

It was my biggest trip ever and I really stressed over it. There was some concern about whether or not I could use my overage, but in the end they decided that as long as they weren't going to give me money BACK at the end of the transaction, it was all good.

Southern couponers know that Winn Dixie is difficult to save big compared to Publix. They don't have nearly as many store coupons to stack with manufacturer coupons. Stacking coupons is where you can really score big savings. I lucked out and we schedule the shop during a time when this particular store had an item on closeout that would net me 69 cents overage on each one. I had more than 70 coupons and purchased every singe one of them. Doing the math, I was paid nearly $50 to purchase those items! If I didn't have that much overage, there is no way my shopping trip would have been that amazing.

I also had to break it up in to three transactions to maximize the use of my $5 off $55 coupons.

Here's the video of the last part of the story.

And in case you are wondering, here's a good picture of all the groceries. In the end, I got more than $300 in groceries and spent exactly $37, including tax. If you factor out the sales tax, I actually spent closer to $20! It was a 90 percent savings!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Paint paint paint!

Finally picked a living room color. I decided to go with a neutral of all things! I know I'm usually all about the color, but I really fell in love with Mindful Grey from Sherwin Williams.

Check it out:

There's really not a green hue. It's just my camera phone. It's a really soft grey.

D's not so thrilled. I think it's going to grow on him. Once I get the window coverings up and all the accessories, the room is going to look AMAZING. There will be plenty of color pops....just not the walls.

No Bake Energy Bites

With the kids home from school for a week on vacation, I'm trying to find filling and easy snacks for them. It's a bonus when the kids can make them on their own.

I found this recipe for No Bake Energy Bites on pinterest and I thought it would certainly fill a snacky void for a stormy afternoon.

This was assembled by Danger Girl and Little B. They didn't ask me for any help.

No-Bake Energy Bites

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy! Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Super easy right?

The only complaint the kids had was that these were actually too sweet! If we make these again, I'd definitely use less than 1/3 C honey. Honestly, I have to wonder if we really need the honey at all. We may try this again later in the week without the honey to see how it holds together.

Definitely a keeper recipe and something to do on the quick for school lunches.

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flashback Friday ** 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Couponing 101

I promised back in October that I'd share about my big shopping trip for the local news station.

Tonight, the first part of the series aired. So far, the only person to recognize me on TV was Mrs. Claus. She came to see Santa tonight and told me she saw me on the news this morning.

I'm wondering if I'm going to get more people recognizing me at work. I have had people recognize me from the other appearances I've made on the local news and it's downright strange!

I'm still trying to figure out how to download the video and then upload it to the blog but until then, I'll just have to include a link. It's a three part series.

Couponing Part 1

If that doesn't work try this link

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Secret Santa Swap

I love doing swaps. I'm completely addicted to them. I love making things for other people and getting a surprise in the mail. It's like Christmas or my birthday.

This time, I'm doing a secret Santa swap and the swap hostess has asked that we each post this on our blogs:

  1. What are your hobbies? Sewing and cooking
  2. What are your favorite colors? Right now, I'm loving turquoise and red
  3. Do you collect anything? i like snowglobes, snowmen, teacups and cookbooks
  4. Are you allergic to any fibers or animals? dogs
  5. Do you have any pets? a cat named Josefina de la Gato
  6. Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate? Hot Chocolate is one of my FAVORITES as is apple cider. I don't drink any coffee or tea.
  7. What do you like to read? whatever is a free book on my kindle LOL
  8. Do you prefer Cookies or Candies as a sweet? depends on the mood. I can't eat hard candies or cookies (bad teeth), so whatever is needs to be soft, but not sticky.
  9. What is your favorite holiday treat? so many to choose from! hot chocolate, candy cane hershey kisses, caramel apple cider...
  10. Describe your favorite holiday tradition. Oh goodness. We have cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. I love doing that for breakfast. I love holiday music and I start playing it November 1. Christmas for me starts early November when I go back to work...with my boss SANTA! That's right, I am Santa's helper. For real! I work at the mall taking photos of kids with Santa and I love it. I drag my kids every year to get their picture taken with Santa. I look forward to it sooo very much!
  11. Did you believe in Santa as a child? Yup
  12. When do you open presents? One present Christmas Eve, and the rest in the morning
  13. Do you put up a tree and when? If not, how do you celebrate? We usually get a tree the Saturday closest to D's birthday, which is the Dec. 14.
  14. Does your tree have a theme? I try to change it with a color scheme each year. The family protests. One of these years we're going to have two trees. One for me to decorate and one for the family :P Not sure what colors I'm using this year. BUT for the first time ever, our tree is going to be very tall and visible from all around. New house with 10 ft ceilings and full window view of the tree.
  15. What has been your favorite gift to give? to receive? I'm not sure what my favorite gift to give has been. I just love seeing my family smile. To receive? To be honest, the gift of Jesus' birth, His life, His Death and His resurrection has been the greatest gift I've ever received. Nothing can really top that.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

a nice Saturday grocery haul

I finally made it to Publix for my big shop on Saturday. I had made a smaller trip earlier in the week but many of the items I wanted were out of stock. I also made a small trip to a different WinnDixie and that trip REALLY paid off.

I'll tell of the WinnDixie fun first.

There were several good coupon finds at WinnDixie. First, $1.50 off sour cream wyb 2 lipton soup mixes. Second, the wonderful buy 4 get 1 free Stove Top coupon. This will pair nicely with the $3 off butterball turkeys wyb four kraft products (stove top is included). Hopefully they will go on sale soon since Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. This Winn Dixie also had the Heroes coupon book that my regular store hadn't gotten in yet. There are some great coupons in there that are perfect for use at Publix.

My big scores purchase-wise came in the produce department. They had several items on markdown and I was able to grab:

15 lbs of potatoes
1 pineapple
3 lbs of apples
1 loaf bread
1 can corn
1 pkg gravy mix

My total was an amazing $10 before tax! All the produce had been marked down to just $1 a package. Who says you can't save money on produce?

Before my adventure at WinnDixie, I had to stop to see Christine from My Bargain Quest. She's my real life coupon buddy and she had a stack of coupons I needed. She always finds the best deals. Seriously check out her blog and be in awe.

My savings total at Publix this week was 89 percent! And now my freezer is totally stocked. That's a real bummer since I need to get those OreIda potatoes!

I ended up getting:
3 boxes Honey Nut Cheerios
4 boxes Krusteaz Coffee Cake
2 Voskos yogurts
2 swanson beef broth
1 eggland's best eggs
20 (!) TGI Friday's meals

The total savings on my receipt was nearly $97! I love it when it gets up that high and I can still pay for my groceries with a $20 and get change back.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

burlap table runner tutorial

Just in time for the Pinterest Challenge over at Young House Love I made this lovely table runner for a swap. I have never actually made a table runner before. Heck, I didn't even OWN a table runner until this swap!

I think it turned out really nice. It would look a lot better but I took the picture before my new toy arrived (an iPhone 4!) Since the real camera broke, I'm just using the camera on my cell! Hopefully, I'll save up enough for a decent camera.

My inspiration for this project was a ruffled burlap table runner.

I made several changes. First off, I didn't like how the fabric looked ruffled up. It's such a visual pattern that it was just TOO much and looked sloppy. Instead, I just sewed it on straight.

Another change I made was adding a fringe. You can't see it in the picture, but there's a two inch fringe on the bottom! I saw it done on several projects while searching BURLAP on pinterest.

I also added a ruffly ribbon instead of a flat ribbon. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this ribbon and want to get more :)

So here are the details if YOU want to make a neat little table runner like this:

Measure the length of your table and add 16 inches to determine the amount of burlap you need.
60 inch table plus 16 inches is what I used. I ended up buying 2 1/8 yd

2 yards pretty fabric (16 inches by 2 yard cut)
1 yd ribbon

Sewing machine
DENIM or other heavy weight needle

Trim the burlap to approximately 19 inches wide.
Stitch down the long sides of the burlap to keep it from fraying.

finish the edge of the pretty fabric by doing a rolled hem or pressing under 1/4 inch and doing a narrow hem.

Place the fabric on the burlap and center. I marked mine approximately 2 1/2 inches from the stitched edge on the burlap on each side and about 6 inches in from the ends. Pin and stitch in place.

Measure out the ribbon to fit about an inch beyond the fabric. Fold under and place where you'd like against the ribbon. Stitch in place.

Next, determine how much fringe you'd like. I am a fringe kinda gal. I did about 2 inches. Pull from the side of the burlap, one string at a time to basically unravel the burlap.

There ya go! super easy and super cute :) i really hope my swap partner likes it!

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Tater tots & Jello **