Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stockpiling Mom's 2000 Fan Giveaway Celebration #2

Stockpiling Mom's has reached 2000 fans on Facebook! Know what that means? Free stuff!! They are doing 7 days of give-aways. Today is the second day, and the give-away for today is.....2000 COUPONS!!!

Seriously, 2000 coupons? Yep!

Just starting out? This is your chance to catch up to everyone else. Already a coupon-clipping diva? Trump your friends with your awesome coupon collection (if you win)!

Visit Stockpiling Mom's to find out more about the give-aways. Also check them out on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One Experience With Coupons

This list is just a fraction of one trip to my local Harris Teeter. I am posting this to show that coupon-clipping (a.k.a. couponing) is NOT a waste of time. I am also going to clue you in on some new rules for couponing at Harris Teeter that I found out from my cashier and another coupon buddy at the register.

This is only a partial list because I picked up some other things too, so my savings kind of disappeared with the purchase of those extra items. These are the best deals from my trip to Harris Teeter that I just got back from not an hour ago (the groceries are still sitting on my kitchen counter).

Harris Teeter is running a Triple Coupon Special this week only!*
*according to their add
They will double all coupons up to .99 cents. (In other words, if you have a coupon for .99 cents off, you end up getting 2.97 off)
You are limited to 20 Tripled coupons per day. You can use other coupons too (like ones over .99 cents, and they don't count towards your 20) You can stack a store coupon with a manufacture's or printed coupon.

Okay, now on to the Best Deals of the Day. I got these items using the list at Southern Savers. I will be making another trip either Friday Night or Saturday using my list from The Grocery Game. I will post the results from that trip as well. (posted on the Facebook page)

On to the Deals

1) 1 small bottle Franks RedHot Sauce regular price - $1.25 Final Price - FREE with 25 cents overage*
*this was the only bottle left on the shelf in this size. I am definitely NOT the only coupon clipper in my town!

2) 2 large bottles Franks RedHot& Sweet Sauce reg. price for 2 $5.78 Final Price $1.39 each ($2.78/2)

3) 1 small container McCormick Whole Cloves reg. price 6.19 sale price $2.99 Final Price .74 cents

4) 1 small container McCormick Ground Mustard reg. price $2.95 Final Price .7o cents

5) 1 small container McCormick Paprika reg. price $2.19 Final Price
FREE with .06 cents overage

6) 1 regular size container McCormick Ground Cinnamon reg. price $2.95 sale price $1.47 Final Price FREE with .78 cents overage

7) McCormick Garlic Powder reg price $2.99 Final Price .74 cents

8) 4 Crest 6.4 oz Toothpaste reg. price $2.99 Final Price .74 cents each ($2.96 for 4)

9) 3 Oral-B Advantage Plus Adult Toothbrushes reg. price for 3 $9.57 sale price for 3 $8.07 Final Price for 3 $1.32 (.44 cents each)

10) Zantac 75, 10 Tablet package. reg price $5.49 clearance markdown price - $1.87 Final Price .37 cents!!**
** I did not have a coupon for this on me, but there was a $1.50 off coupon stuck to the front of the package! Talk about luck! (the really funny part...I NEVER use to get heartburn, until my DH got me hooked on Monster Energy Drinks. I love the original ones, but they double me over with heart-burn. Not anymore!)

I bought more items than this, but these were the best deals. The true idea behind stockpiling is to only buy what's on sale for rock-bottom prices and wait for the other stuff, but when you need something, you need something.
If you are new to couponing and/or stockpiling , I urge you to check out the following websites:

These are just a few. There are many many good ones out there. There are a few listed in my favorites on the Facebook page. For those of you who think coupons is a waste of time here's the breakdown on the purchases listed above.
Total Price - $51.32 (without tax)
Final Price - $ 8.52 (without tax)

Total Savings is $42.80, which translates to 83%. I will get better at this. You will too if you are just getting started. Once you have a stockpile built up, you won't have to buy those extra items because you will have gotten them in large amounts when they were at their cheapest (or pretty darn close).

*New rules at Harris Teeter - per my cashier and a highlighted note taped to the checkout counter
The coupon must match the item EXACTLY!
Example: I was buying Crest Toothpaste. I had 5 of them, but only 4 of 1 kind of coupon, and 1 of another. The 1 that was different had a picture on it of Crest Pro-Health. The coupon specifically said "Good for 75 cents off ANY ONE Crest Toothpaste 4.0 oz or larger. But because it had the picture on their of Crest Pro-Health, and I was buying Crest Tarter Control/Whitening, they would not let me use it. I told her just to take it off. Keep this in mind when shopping here.

*Another new rule - Maybe. I was told that Harris Teeter is now only allowing 3 coupons for a like product. That being said, I bought 4 of the same kind of toothpaste today, and was able to use all 4 coupons to go with them. (I was going to buy 5, but, well, see above.)
**This is, in fact, a new rule. Limit to 3 like items with coupons, and 2 for internet coupons**

Friday, March 19, 2010

Do You Suffer from SFMS?

SFMS is hard to deal with it, for everyone involved. It is irritating and heartbreaking all at the same time. It can ruin a trip, disrupt a dinner, kill a romantic evening like the smallest tiniest bug. So what is SFMS?

Screaming For Mommy Syndrome.

There, I've got it out. Acceptance is the first step. We are suffering, in our house, from a bad case of Screaming For Mommy Syndrome. I can't go to the grocery store, the mailbox, even the kitchen for coffee without my son throwing a fit. Sometimes to the point of turning blue**. I feel bad leaving him (even to get coffee, which is only 10 ft away). The look on his cute little face says "why are your leaving me?" and I just melt.

But I have to get stuff done (and I have to have my coffee in the morning, or I am not able to muster up my usual cheerful disposition). So what's a mom to do? Sometime I break down and just pick him up. I carry him while making coffee (YES, I am careful). I have taken him shopping with me and left the girls to take care of Ryan, I mean, left the girls with Ryan...

All of my kids have gone through this stage, and the length of it has always been different. I don't really remember our oldest having a hard time with this. Maybe for a month or two. Our middle child was like this from the time she was born almost until she turned 2. She's still very much a Mommy and Daddy's Girl (they both are, actually).

I should have expected this. I know that. This is my third round in this rodeo, after all. But it doesn't matter how many times you've done it. It's still a new experience because every child is different.

If you are going through this same thing, know that you are not alone. There are many mothers (and fathers, grandparents, etc) around the world who themselves are also trying to cook dinner, find crayons, drink coffee, feed the dogs, check the laundry, and soothe a baby all at the same time. That is the only consolation I can offer.

**a child screaming until they turn funny shades of pink, purple, and yes sometimes a tinge of blue, is perfectly normally. the worst thing that can happen is they pass out and then wake back up. this is a quote from my children's doctor.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Overcoming the Black Thumb

That time of year has rolled around again. Time to dust off the shovels, sharpen the spades, dig the gloves out from the bottom of whatever drawer they got tossed into. Spring is finally here and I am ready. I know what some of you are thinking. Spring?!? It's still snowing! Well, not where I live. It was in the 70's today, but for the last few nights, we've had frost on the ground. Go figure. That's SC weather for you.
This will be our third summer in this house. We have done a garden every year since we moved in. Not very successfully, but we have tried.

The first summer we went all out. Spending hour upon hour out in the back yard digging beds and planting seeds. Spreading compost, kelp, bone meal, blood meal, just about anything we could get our hands on that we knew would help the plants. Even with all that work, we still didn't get a lot of return. We have had a few crops that do well here (or that we do well with, I guess I should say). Garlic, rosemary, mint, and chives. Not saying we didn't harvest anything from our previous ventures, but it wasn't near enough to compensate for all the money we spent and time we put in.

This year we are doing things a little differently. First of all, I am in charge of the garden this year. In the past, it has been a joint effort, but this year it is up to me. I do the seed ordering, read the books, work the beds; hubby and the kids help out (sometimes it more like hubby is helping out with the kids while I work on the garden).

We finally got the first seeds in the ground today. I have been wanting to do this for a while. I got the itch the day I opened the mailbox to find my yearly catalog from Baker Creek Seed Co. I absolutely love their catalogs, and their seeds are excellent quality (plus they always throw in at least 1 free pack). If you are looking for rare and/or heirloom seeds, they are the people to go to. There are other companies you could order from, some are good, some are not. For reviews of garden suppliers, check out Dave's Garden.

As I was saying, we got some seeds in the ground today. But I am getting ahead of myself. I started thinking about the garden when I was ordering my seeds. The first thing I did was go through and see what seeds I had left from previous years. Boy that was a surprise. I could not believe how many packets of seeds we had left. I felt good and guilty at the same time. Good because I knew we hadn't wasted all the money from previous years because we had seed left over, and guilty because we had spent all that money on seeds/supplies and not used them. So I thinned out my order from Baker Creek (actually managed to cut it in half, just by deleting duplicates of stuff I already had), and I waited. Then the seeds arrived...followed by what seemed like an eternity of rain. Our front yard was one giant mud hole for weeks. But, like the movie said, it can't rain all the time.

It finally started to dry out this weekend, so outside we went. The previous years garden spot is so overgrown there are plants taller than me, the blueberries are being choked out by grass, and the old bed by the fence was nothing but bare spots and some random weeds. The latter is where I decided to start. It would be easy (I thought) to just turn over that bed, turn in some compost, and get things a'growin'. Well, it wasn't as easy as I remembered.

I haven't picked up a shovel since last summer, and the ground was still technically too wet to be worked. But, that's not going to stop me. I have so much stubborn in my blood I could win an argument with a hurricane. So I spent WAY more time that would have been necessary prepping that bed. Had I waited a couple more days, I probably could have gotten it done in half the time, but who wants to wait (and besides, I could use the exercise). First things first. Turn over the bed. I started with removing the big pieces of sod and patches of weeds. That stuff got tossed into the "in use" compost bin. Next, turning the bed. This is the part that would have been much easier had I waited a few days. Wet dirt is heavy dirt, hence it requires more energy to move it (or flip it over). I spent about an hour working the bed. It was low 60's outside, and by the time I was done I was sweating.

Day 2, go back out. The ground is a little dryer than before, so another round of turning is in order. Also, it's time to add the amendments. We live in swamp land, so the soil here is a (bad) combination of sand, heavy clay, and gumbo. My choice this year, since this bed has been used in the past and has had multiple applications of natural amendments already added to it, was to do something simple. The only 2 things I added were bio-char and compost. Bio-char is partially burned organic matter. This adds carbon to the soil, helping to keep things in balance. We made this by partially burning some small pieces of seasoned wood and a huge wheel-barrow load of brush from the old garden. The compost came from the "finished" bin. (we have 2 compost bins, 1 "in use' bin and 1 "cooking/finished" bin). I added about a wheel-barrow full of that as well. These were turned into the bed and left to sit (and dry) for another night.

Day 3, finally time to plant! I get so excited when it's time to plant. So much work goes into prepping the beds, this is one of my favorite steps (my most favorite is the harvesting part). I decided to try peas, which we have never grown before. Those went along the fence all the way down. I think I counted 35 plants. In front of the peas, in perpendicular rows went lettuce, radishes, carrots, and beets. I will sow successive plantings of the peas, lettuce, radishes, and carrots. Not sure on the beets, because I have never grown them before and I have no idea how long they take to mature or really what kind of weather they need. This is a beginner's mistake, but you can't always get everything right. :)

That's about it for now. I will keep everyone posted on this little project. Hopefully the third time will be the charm. Also to come, some posts on gardening with children. The girls and I are going to start our (my) medicinal herb garden in pots on the porch, so I will definitely make note of how that turns out.
Happy gardening everyone.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wonders From Wal-Mart

I braved the cold today and took all 3 kids to Wal-Mart with me. I normally avoid this at all costs, but we needed stuff and I had coupons that were going to expire, so I went for it. First I got lucky and found a cart with the 2 seats for the girls, so I could put Archer in the buggy (or shopping cart, I know, depending on where you live, buggy has a whole different meaning).
Then the first wonder happened. I was standing in the back of the make-up section, trying not to block half the aisle, and this woman walks up to me. As a mom, I am used to this. Old ladies come up and ooh and ahh over the baby and "such pretty little girls". This woman, however, was not one of those ladies. She came up and asked me, with a rather haughy tone, if all three of "those kids" were mine. I said "yes ma'am they are" and...here's the kicker...she said "and you're pregnant again, good lord". Here's where the Wonder comes in. I actually said "no ma'am, we're not having anymore" instead of what I really wanted to say, and you can use your imaginations on that one.
The second Wonder is one of a different sort. Over the last few years I have experienced this a few times. At first I found it rather awkward, but now, I just go with it.
As I was walking towards the cleaning section, this woman came up behind me and asked me to stop. She said she had been trying to catch me since I left the medicine section. I thought maybe she was going to say something about what had just happened. Instead, she pulled out 3 gold dollars. She apologized that they weren't the new shiny ones. Then she gave me the gold dollars and told me, and the kids, that they were for their piggy bank, and that they needed to save their money. She then told me how she had grown up in the depression and how her mother had lost everything by putting her money in the bank. I have heard this story almost every time this has happened. Other times it was just that whoever it was grew up poor. They know the value of saving, and they want to teach to the younger generation.
I think it is great when knowledge and traditions are passed down. I, and my children especially, are very grateful for this generosity. These people, out of nowhere, for no reason other than their own will, have trusted their hard earned money into the hands of children. This puts into the hearts of the parents the will to teach their children well, in hopes of doing the deed justice. That's my theory anyway. And that's what I plan to do with it. In the past, I have let the kids get candy or whatever with their gift. But from this day forward, those dollars (or quarters, or whatever) will go straight into a piggy bank, so when it gets full the kids can decide what to do with it (with a little help from mom and dad).