Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Ben! (Just a little late)

I can't believe that I haven't added a post about Mr. Benjamin's party! We had a Dr Seuss party and I think it turned out pretty well.  I won't bore you with a million photos, but here are some highlights: 

Boutique Bag party favors (for the girls, of course)

The most awesome birthday cake...ever

Ben's Smash cake

I <3 these cakes!

Game: Pin the Hat on the Cat.
The Cat was drawn by my very artistic brother-in-law...and I didn't even know he could draw!

Ben with the Cat. Loving his special birthday shirt.

Cake time! He loves food, so he dug right in!!

Overall, it came together pretty well. It would have been better if it was warm enough to have the party outside.  This was at the end of my first MBA residency, so while we had some cool accents and features, we kept it pretty simple!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hello there!

As you can see, I'm back! I hope that blogging will become more of a regular occurrence again, but I think I'll stick to non-planned posts. When I was blogging in full-swing, I was really trying to keep up with regular features and since I've started school and I'm getting busy, having a schedule that I wasn't able to follow really stressed me out!  So... for now, it's just going to be a compilation of couponing deals, crochet happiness and the craziness of every day life.

Today was a pretty nice day, I got an award at work for some work I got roped into recently that has been a huge headache!  It's nice to get the award, and it comes with a small bonus too - which is always nice. I'm not sure if I mentioned, but I also got promoted recently too!  Things are really starting to look up as we try to figure out how to get our budget a little more controlled and make the most of what we have.   I think that's where my couponing adventures are going to fit in, since there seems to be plenty of savings out there if you are willing to take the time to look and organize yourself. 

I'm also learning to really budget my time now too.  I work full-time, which I have been use to. Derek stays home with the kids during the day and occassionally works on evenings/weekends at his part-time "sanity" job.  Now I'm trying to add in school work too, which seems to be going well right now, but it hasn't really picked up yet.  Right now I have two online classes and it's my first quarter for the year. I really thought it would be more intense than it is, but I guess they are easing us in to the program - which scares me a bit!  At any rate, I've just turned in my first paper - I hope I did well!

So, I hope to be around here more... and I hope you're ready to read all about it :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ta-Da: Pink Power Granny Stripe

Wow, it's been an incredibly long time since I've posted any crochet or knitting projects! I have been working, don't worry!! 

I just finished up this awesome blanket last week - it was my first blanket sale with Simply Hooked by Amanda!!  It was made for an auction to benefit an ambassador for the Susan G Komen 3-Day walk.

It's 42" wide by 44 1/2" long and it took me 1 month + 1 day to finish it in my "spare time". 

This is such a girlie blanket- I love it!! When I was working on this and would take it out to gymnastics to work on while I waited for Victoria, I got so many complements on it - on the colors and how beautiful it was. I love comments/compliments from people who have no need to tell me it looks nice, those are the compliments that I think mean the most.

Raking in the deals at CVS

Okay, so admittedly I don't usually shop at CVS unless I need a prescription or some sort of first aid item, but I keep reading MamaCheaps! and always see good deals at CVS, so I thought I'd check it out. This week's circular had a few items that caught my eye, so I made a trip there on Monday and Derek actually went back today for more.

On Monday, I spent $11.66. I bought 3 boxes of Kellogg's cereal, on sale for $1.66 each but I had no coupon, I didn't realize I was buying cereal until I was there. I also bought 2 boxes of Cheez-its, which were on sale for $1.99 each and I had a coupon for $1 off when you buy two boxes.The last thing I got was a Garnier Nutrisse hair dye... my dye of choice when I do my own hair to save some cash. The dye was on sale for $5.49 and I had a $2 off coupon.  My receipt showed a total savings of $17.29!!!

Today, Derek went back to CVS to pick up some more Cheez-its since we had another coupon left and I also asked him to pick up some more cereal, since it was such a great price. He spent a total of $6.95 and got 3 boxes of cereal to use the $1/3 boxes of Kellogg's cereals coupon and he got 2 more boxes of Cheez-its with another $1/2 coupon. He also picked up a bottle of water for him (and Victoria) to drink on the walk home, since they walked to CVS to enjoy the beautiful weather.  The receipt from today's trip listed a savings of $16.19!!

So, in the last week we have had THREE shopping trips where we saved more than we spent!  And, now I'm also stocked up on cereal for a few weeks... and all ready to make some rice krispie treats too!  I could get use to this... especially on things that we currently buy anyway, like cereal and snacks.

Lesson learned: check out CVS for awesome deals!
Total CVS savings this week = $33.48

Friday, April 8, 2011

Adventures in Couponing

I am determined to start saving money and start paying down debt with all the money I’ve saved. I’m determined to get the best deals possible and not be lazy about clipping coupons and taking the time to plan out my shopping trips. I am just determined to stop throwing away money that could be going back to my bank account! I’ve been using coupons here and there… I seem to go through phases. Before the holidays, I know I posted a few times about awesome deals and great coupons, but now I want to make it a full-time thing!

We watched Extreme Couponing the other night… it was crazy, but also so unrealistic. I couldn’t imagine filling up 4 shopping carts and maxing out the transaction total allowed by the store…or checking out in 18 transactions (one after another) to get the deals. Most stores don’t allow that. I know that once my mother-in-law and I went to AC Moore together and I was holding onto both our coupons and they wouldn’t let me do the checking out both times, so I had to do one and she had to hand her own coupon to the cashier – so there’s no way that regular stores would allow someone to do 18 consecutive transactions… maybe I’m wrong. I know I’ve done 2 in a row, only because I was shopping for someone else… I also know that I can’t go shopping on Sunday afternoon if I want to get these deals and take my time!

Last night was my first (of many) adventures with coupons since I’ve decided to become dedicated (again) to savings!! Derek is in need of allergy medicine, and so is the little princess, plus Ben is in need of a pain reliever with all his teeth coming in. Well, while clipping coupons I saw a $7 Claritin and $4 off Children’s Claritin – so I saved them… and then we decided to check out the coupons at since you can stack one Target coupon plus one manufacturer’s coupon – and jackpot!! They had some Claritin coupons online too, one for $5 off and one for $2 off, which would match perfectly with those that we already had. We also had a $2 off infant’s Advil and I had a Buy One Herbal Essences shampoo and get One Herbal Essences styler free…and I needed shampoo! We also printed out a BOGO Dasani 1L water coupon for Target while we were looking.

So, we ventured to Target for the dreaded “necessities” that always add up to a small fortune. Not this time, no way! For the first time in a looooong time, I only bought what I went there for! Can you imagine? Leaving Target with only the items on my list? Completely unheard of... but hoping this will be a new trend!

Want to know the breakdown of my deals?  Here they are:

Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Shampoo - Sale Price $2.84
Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Mousse - Sale Price $2.84 + BOGO Coupon = FREE!
Infants' Advil - Regular Price $4.79 - $2 Manufacturer's Coupon = $2.79
(2) Dasani 1 L Waters - Sale Price $0.79 each + BOGO Coupon = $0.79 for both!
Children's Claritin 20ct - Regular Price $15.99 + $4 Manufacturer's Coupon + $5 Target Coupon = $6.99
Claritin 40 Ct (30ct package + 33% More Free deal) - Regular Price for 30 $17.89 + $7 Manufacturer's Coupon + $2 Target Coupon = $8.89

Total Out of Pocket = $22.30
Total Savings = $24.64

I hope to repeat this kind of success again!