Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roasted Tomato, Basil, and Goat Cheese Spread

Makes about 2 cups of spread

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup frozen basil, thawed
6 oz. goat cheese (chevre)
1/4 cup cream

Soak the tomatoes in hot water for 10 minutes to soften. Put tomatoes food processor and pulse until tomatoes are chopped add basil and pulse a few more times until mixture is well combined. Remove tomato/basil mixture to a bowl.

Put cheese and cream in processor bowl and pulse until mixture is blended. Put cheese mixture in the bowl with tomato/basil mixture and gently combine. Chill mixture for a few hours before serving. Great with Triscuits, French bread, or whole wheat pita triangles.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Garden Abundance-Zucchini

Zucchini Chips

Trim off ends of washed zucchini. If they are too large to put through the food chute on your food processor, cut them in quarters lengthwise. Using a food processor slicing attachment, run zucchini through to create thin slices.
Spread these out in your dehydrator trays and sprinkle liberally with garlic salt(mix 2 tsp garlic with 1tsp sea salt). Dry for several hours then turn the chips over to prevent them from sticking too much to the trays. Dry until crispy. Store in airtight container to prevent them from reabsorbing moisture. YUM!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Garden Abundance-Zucchini

Ever walked out to your garden and found a zucchini the size of Texas hiding in a corner? Everyone knows someone with an abundance of this green garden staple. Here is a great way to use some up and its delicious!

Zucchini Squares
3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup biscuit mix
1/2 cup finely chopped onion(sweet)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried pepper
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 olive oil
4 eggs lightly beaten

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Pour into greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until knife comes out clean and top is lightly browned. Cut into squares and serve.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Coupon Adventures 7/23

Harris Teeter is doing Super Doubles this week. That means they will double coupons up to $1.99. Here are some freeebies you could get there. I plan to stop for foil and coffee :) If I find any more, I will post later...

Bumble Bee Tuna Pouch (2.5oz.): $1.99 - $1.00 coupon doubled  = FREE!
(coupon from 6/14 SmartSource insert) 
Heluva Good Dips: $1.49 - $.75 coupon doubled = FREE!
(coupon from 5/17 or 6/28 SmartSource insert)
Kellogg's Pop-Tarts (8ct.): $2.39 - $1.00 coupon doubled = $0.39
(coupon from 6/7 RedPlum insert)

Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty Foil (35-50sq.ft.): $2.97 - $1.00 coupon doubled = $0.97
(coupon from 6/28 SmartSource)
Wholly Guacamole Dip 7 oz:  $1.99 - $1 coupon doubled = FREE
(coupon from 6/28 SmartSource)

Mayfield Ice Cream -- $1.99 ea -- w/$1.00 q = FREE
Penquin Tearpads in some stores

New England Cofee-- $ 3.24(b1g1) ea —w/$1.00 q= FREE!!!!
sign up for coupon here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coupon Adventures 7/20

Food Lion deals went well today:
1 package of Duncan Hines cupcake mix
1 package of papertowels(360 brand)
2 packages of Chinet dinner plates
2 packages of Chinet lunch plates
1 bottle of healthy accents Hydrogen peroxide
1 bottle of diet coke

Subtotal; $17.26(before tax)

$1.00 off Duncan Hines cake mix(FLIP)
$1.00 off chinet
$1.00 off chinet
Free lunch plates ifyou buy dinner plates($2.99)
free lunch plates if you buy dinner plates($2.99)
$1.00 off home 360 product (FLIP)
$1.00 off healthy accents product(FLIP)
$5.98 off for plates(sales price)
$ .36 off for paper towels(sales price)

Total out of pocket: $ .51

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Coupon adventures 7/19

I was excited to see more school supplies free after ECB's at CVS this week, so I went today(Sunday) to get them since I know they will run out quickly. I had several ECB's from last weeks couponing. CVS offered free spiral notebooks, pens and several other items. I also had ECB's from the arthritis Tylenol that made me $1 per box. In the store I picked up 2 packages of filler paper, 1 package of panty liners, 2 packages of pens, 2 packages of pencils, 2 bottles of shampoo, 2 memo pads and then went hunting for the 1" binders that were supposed to be free after ECB's. I couldn't find these, so I found the manager and asked if they had them. He said no but could substitute another binder. He found me two Avery 1" binders and had the cashier ring them up as free since the other ones would have been free after ECB's. I love it when the manager does that because I don't have to keep worrying about whether or not my ECB's are expiring! I checked out and after using last weeks ECBS I paid .89 for the items I got and received $12.94 in ECB's for my next shopping trip!

Here is how it looked:
2 pkgs filler paper: $4.00
2 pkgs of pens: $1.98
1 pkg panti liners: $ .89
2 pkgs of pencils: $3.98
2 bottles of Violage shampoo: $3.99
2 Avery Binders: $ 0.00
2 memo notepads: $1.98

Subtotal $17.++

Coupons Used:
$1 coupon off of Violage
$1 coupon off of Violage
$ .99 ECB
$1.00 ECB
$1.00 ECB
$4.00 ECB
$9.00 ECB

Total out of pocket: .89

Received these new coupons:
.89 ECB(panty liners)
1.98 ECB(memo pads)
$1.98 ECB(pens)
$5 off $25 coupon

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Learning Styles

Knowing your child's learning style is important. With this information, you can truly enhance the communication in your home because you will gain a tool to speak their language. If you know their learning style, as a homeschooling mom, you can determine why certain products can enhance your child’s learning style and strengthen their weaker learning styles.

The best way for children to learn is to play. One of the ways to make play engaging and effective is to understand how to match a toy with a child’s learning style, to best engage the child, and more importantly, to help experiences that will enable a child to develop additional learning styles. When children develop more than one learning style, they can increase their understanding and retention. Allow me to explain; when a child learns about the letter C visually, by seeing it on a blackboard, for instance, a neural pathway is laid down in the brain. When that child also learns about the letter "C", auditorily, by sounding it out, another neural pathway is laid down in a different place in the brain. And if a child lays his body down in the shape of the letter "C", kinesthetically, a third neural pathway is laid down in the brain. That is three pathways for learning the same thing. Can you see what an edge in learning this would be?

Let me give you another example: suppose you’ve just purchased a new desk. You know, the kind you have to put together at home? It comes in fifty separate pieces, accompanied by an instruction booklet to help you assemble it. How do you manage this? If you need to start working with the parts physically, you’re probably a kinesthetic learner. If reading the instructions clarifies things for you, you are most likely visual. If you can put it together if you ask someone to tell you how, you are probably primarily an auditory learner.

It is important to know that people use all three learning modes every day, yet usually there is one dominant learning style by which each of us can best access information. It is also good to remember that people tend to revert to their dominant learning style when strong emotions such as anger, sadness or embarrassment prevail or when there is stress or school. It’s the difference between learning and loving to learn or reading and loving to read!

Isn't loving to learn the goal? When you can, try to teach your child through their dominant learning style and practice using the weaker learning styles on less stressful topics.

This can start at a very early age. For example lets using reading a book. Cuddle a child on your lap and let him turn the pages. Books that normallly appeal to visual and auditory learners now satisfy the needs of a kinesthetic learner. I will admit that the ambitious helper may not let you finish reading the page before turning, but the important thing is that they are participating, which is important to a kinesthetic learner. Even children with learning challenges, such as dyslexia, can often overcome such barriers and become voracious readers with a little cuddle and some interaction.

The Quiz
Since how you learn can play an important roll in homeschooling or any schooling for that matter, its important to identify that primary learning style. It helps you to know what tools will be best when teaching him/her. A child that is completely auditory in learning style will not do well reading from a textbook on a daily basis and a kinesthetic learning doesn't want to look at a diagram, they want to do it themselves. The quiz below will help you to identify your child's learning style a little better and hopefully direct your efforts when teaching picking a curriculum or teaching a difficult concept.

Learning Styles Quiz
This quiz was designed to help you determine your child’s natural learning style. Circle all answers that apply.

1. When my child is learning something new, he/she:
a) Says “show me.”
b) Needs to listen and/or talk it through.
c) Gets his or her hands on it.

2. The activities my child enjoys most are:
a) Playing computer games or watching videos or movies.
b) Listening to the radio or tapes and CD’s.
c) Outdoor games and sports.

3. My child expresses his/her feelings by:
a) Making facial expressions.
b) Talking about them.
c) Using touch or her body instead of words.

4. When placed in an unfamiliar setting, my child:
a) Warms up slowly.
b) Joins right in.
c) Relates to others with his or her body instead of words.

5. As a baby, my child:
a) Especially enjoyed looking at things.
b) Babbled a lot.
c) Often needed to be held.

6. My child’s personality can be best described as:
a) Not very emotional outwardly.
b) Very dramatic, enjoys having an audience.
c) Sensitive, with easily hurt feelings.

7. My child is easily distracted by:
a) Color and movement.
b) Voices and music.
c) Movement and sounds.

8. My child prefers:
a) Looking at things, being an observer.
b) Listening and talking.
c) Touching things, engaging in activities involving movement.

9. The skills that are strongest in my child are his/her:
a) Fine motor skills (i.e. holding small pieces, coloring, etc.).
b) Ability to follow directions.
c) Eye-hand coordination.

Count all the “a”, “b”, and “c” answers. Mostly “a” answers, indicate a visual learner, “b” answers indicate an auditory learner, mostly “c” answers indicate a kinesthetic learner.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Free music download from 33 Miles

"Jesus Calling" from 33 Miles is a great song. We saw them during Summerfest last week and they sound just as awesome in person as they do on my MP3! Right now, you can get their song "Jesus Calling" for free on

Jesus Calling
What do you see when you look at your world today?
Is it so full of clutter that you feel like you're going insane?
And you can't fight back 'cause you're just too afraid
And it seems like the clouds in your sky don't wanna change
You see there's always another story, another side to every coin
And how you see your circumstance is all about a choice

When you see the rushing wind, feel the pouring rain
Hear the thunder now as the clouds roll in
You're blinded by the lightning
Do you also hear that still, small voice saying
"It's okay you're not alone
You may be scared to death but I won't let you go"
You may think the sky above is falling
But can you hear Jesus calling?

What do you see when you look at your world today?
Do you see a glimmer of hope, or has it all turned to gray?
Well start by counting your blessings one by one
Oh and I'm sure right there, you'll start to see the sun
You see there's always another story, another side to every coin
And how you see your circumstance is all about a choice

Because the darker the night, the brighter He can shine

Spaghetti with Spinach Pesto

Spinach can be found in abundance in my garden. This is a quick way to provide dinner and use some of that fresh sweet bounty in the garden. We sometimes cook turkey or chicken sausages sauteed with other fresh vegetables like red and green pepper and sweet onions and add to the pasta. It makes a colorful and healthy meal that is ready in under 20 minutes.

Spinach pesto
8oz box of spaghetti(or other pasta)
3 cups of spinach
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Start a large pot of water to cook your spaghetti. Once spaghetti is cooking, put the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add a little water(if necessary) to get desired consistency. Pour over cooked and drained pasta and toss to mix. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Free books

I have mentioned before how I love to garden and the idea of being self-sufficient is a dream I strive to attain on a daily basis. I recently discovered some classic gardening books online at a site called Scribd. In addition to making it possible to upload documents for sharing, others have taken classic books and made them available to us. Some of these books are completely free to download as pdf's(and sometimes text files) to your computer. Once downloaded, they are at your fingertips for reference whenever you need them. I suppose you could print them out, but the books I was looking at were over 200 pages, so I doubt I will ever be willing to spare that much ink(unless of course it was free as well)! Having the pdf files at my desk are good enough for me and adding these wonderful treasures to my gardening library thrilled me to pieces!

Vegetable Garden Encyclopedia

Self Sufficient Gardener

And the Classic: Complete book of Self Sufficiency

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Coupon Adventures 7/12

CVS deals this week are worth a run to the store:

3 Day Sale – Sunday(tomorrow), Monday and Tuesday Only

Caliber or CVS/pharmacy 1 subject notebook 70-80 sheet $.99
Get $.99 extra care bucks (Limit 2)
Final price FREE

Paper Mate Grip pens 8ct $.99
Get $.99 Extra care buck (Limit 3)
Final price FREE

Caliber or CVS/pharmacy school glue 5oz $.99
Get $.99 extra care bucks (limit 2)
Final price FREE

Caliber or CVS/pharmacy 12″ plastic or wood ruler $.99
Get $.99 extra care buck (limit 2)
Final price FREE

Caliber or It’s Academic 5″ pointed or blunt tip scissors $2.99
Get $2.99 Extra care bucks (Limit 2)
Final price FREE

Caliber or CVS/pharmacy 3-subject 120 sheets or 5-subject 180 sheets notebook $3.99
Get $3 Extra care bucks (Limit 2)
Final price $.99

Fusion Razor $7.99
Get $3 ECB's(limit one)
Use the $4 mfr coupon, making it .99

Also have Tylenol Arthritis for $.99 after ecb's and there are $2 mfr coupons out from a few weeks ago, making this a money-maker(limit 3)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Writing a Biographical Poem

This is a fun project for school and the results are almost always wonderful. We have used this method to produce a poem that can be written in calligraphy and framed to give as a gift. It is something that most children can do on their own.

Here's the formula to do your own:
First Name
How You fit in the Family
Lover of (3 things)
Who needs (3 things)
Who gives (2 things)
Who pursues (3 things)
Who would like to see (2 things)
Last name

Here is an example:
Lover of nature, books and God,
Who needs love, family and friends.
Who gives of himself and his time.
Who pursues life, liberty and happiness.
Who would like to see peace and freedom.


Today is megabucks Day at Swagbucks. Every Friday, you can win $10, $20, $40 and $100 Swagbucks. We all do searches on the internet. Why not get paid to do it? I have used my swag bucks to get gift cards at starbucks, amazon and barnes and noble. Some of those cards have been used to give as gifts and others for getting things we need for school.

You collect points that you earn randomly while searching and when you see a good deal, cash in your points to get the gift card for the store you need. Swag searches use Google results, so you can find what you want and get paid for it. If you haven’t signed up yet, you really should! Just click on the Swagbucks icon on the side of this page. You even get paid Swagbucks just for signing up. For those of you who are already signed up, on Friday's you can win big, so don't forget to do some searching today! I recently paid for an amazon order entirely with swag bucks I have been collecting.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fried Potato Salad

Potatoes are inexpensive, easy to grow and store, so I usually have a good supply on hand. This was a big hit tonight with grilled chicken and green beans...

1/4 cup olive oil
8 cups red potatoes, chopped
1 medium Vidalia(sweet) onion, chopped
3 strips nitrite-free bacon, fried crisp and chopped
1/4 honey-Dijon mustard(if you don't have this, combine 1T honey with 2 T dijon mustard)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 T chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt

Pour oil into a large skillet. Brown potatoes until tender on the inside and crispy brown on the outside. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine chopped onion, bacon, dijon mustard, mayonnaise and seasonings.
Pour over hot potatoes in the skillet, toss to combine well and then to avoid washing yet another dish, dump the mixture back into the bowl using a spatula to get all the dressing out of the pan.
This can be served warm immediately or served cold a few hours later. Its great both ways!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coupon Adventures 7/8

Harris Teeter
There were so great deals at Harris Teeter today

Crisco Oil is B1G1($2.19 each) and with the .55 coupon from the Sunday paper in June its less than $1.09 a bottle.

MC Grill mates are on sale B1G1($1.19 each) and with the .50 coupon from an insert back in may, they are .19 each

Ragu Organic spaghetti sauce is $1.99 a jar and with the .75 coupon from they are .49 a jar. I got these coupons online at The Coupon Clippers

HT split chicken breast is .77 a pound and I got to use a $2 off chicken wine tag I have been carrying around.

Daisy Sour Cream is $1 per 8oz container and with the .50 coupon they were free.

I also picked up some pictsweet frozen vegetables that were buy one get one, only $1.75 a bag for the family sized bags. I don't usually like to pay that much for frozen vegetables, but I am getting pretty low.

Overall, it was a good shop. I spent $23.04 and saved over $50.

Sargento shredded cheese is B1G1 and I had some .40 coupons left, so I got those for .60 each. I also picked up some red potatoes and organic bananas. I found loaves of sourdough bread for .99 each, so I purchased three of those. Its a brand I located in some deli's here locally that only have flour, water, salt and are sourdough based , so they have no yeast either. When I can't make bread, I like to pull these out of the freezer in a pinch. I got out of Bi-Lo under $10!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Extreme Couponing, part one-The Rules

I have dabbled in coupons before. You know how it works. You buy one of those little organizers and dutifully clip coupons each week. You file them and when you get to the store, you painstakingly flip through endless stacks looking for the one you know you have but can't find. You also find its expired when you do eventually locate it. The time involved and the lack of real savings is discouraging, so you give up. I know many people that have given up multiple times after making the same mistakes at each attempt. Some years back in my attempt to live a frugal lifestyle and live on one income, I decided to take it seriously. Here are some of the rules I have made for myself over the years. These rules may seem really silly to some, too restricting to others, but they have resulted in thousands of dollars in savings , not let me correct myself, over ten thousand dollars in savings in a years time. That's like having a job, and guess what? Until you get the hang of it, it WILL feel like a job! But after you get used to a routine and have your supplies built up, you will begin to see the fruits of your labors and it can be VERY rewarding...

Here are my Rules or Strategies for Success.

Strategy #1- Don’t buy it unless its on sale AND you have a coupon
First find your sales; each week, in the Sunday and Wednesday paper, your local stores advertise their sales. If you don't get a paper, you can see the flyers online on your computer. Some stores even have a handy shopping list that you can print out when you are done. Scroll through the ads and click on (or write down) the items you think you may have coupons for. I realize that some items rarely have coupons, like produce and milk, but TRY to stick to this rule for optimum savings.

Keep a Price book!
A price book is a notebook where you can keep track of sale items and the prices of items you buy. Set up a spiral bound notebook keeping columns for the date, store name, sale price and unit price. Keep pages categorized so you can find an item quickly for reference. You would be amazed at the fluctuation in sale prices for the same item at different stores. Some stores will even have a HUGE ad telling you their chicken is .99 a pound and two weeks later have the SAME chicken for .77 a pound in a smaller size. If you stocked up on the .99 chickens, your freezer isn't going to hold many .77 chickens, so by keeping a price book, you know that .99 isn't that great of a deal and you maybe only purchase one or two and then hold out for a better one to really stock up.

Sales go in cycles(cereals before school starts, oatmeal in fall, kelloggs rebate in Sept, Canned milk, chocolate chips before thanksgiving, Hams before Christmas, etc. If you have a price book and keep the dates of the great prices, you will soon see the patterns for yourself. When oatmeal gets near free, try to buy enough to last until you will need it again. That might mean getting extra coupons. Clipping services like The Coupon Clippers do all the work for you. You select the coupons you want multiples of and they mail them to you all ready to file. Then when that great sale comes along, you are ready to purchase a large supply at the best possible price. Clipping services charge a small fee for clipping a dmailing them, but if you don't have the time to clip or if your paper doesn't have the coupon you want or need, sometimes getting them online is the best way to go

Packaging can be confusing, so keep a ledger of the best unit prices you have found for foods and household items you purchase regularly: You’ll know immediately whether a 128-oz. box of cereal is a better value than a 64-oz. one. Take a small calculator with you so you can factor in coupon discounts, divide the price by the number of units and compare it to the figures in your price book. Be aware that a store’s published unit price changes regularly and is often outdated. Also be aware that during BOGO sales sometimes stores will raise the unit price to offset the loss of the sale.

Once you have a list of sales, match the sales to your coupons. Put your efforts into finding the best values in coupons. Despite the mark up, BOGO (buy one, get one free) ranks at the top, followed by coupons that offer a discount on a single item and coupons that require the purchase of several items to qualify for redemption. Be wary of coupons that offer, say, a 10 percent discount if you buy 10 units of the same product. If it is something you don't normally use, there isn't much point in having 10 of them.

Intense competition among stores has forced many to double and triple their redemption of a coupon’s stated value. Some do it every day, others during special promotions. Save your coupons for these bonus events (keeping in mind expiration dates). The multiple paybacks often total more than the cost of the products, meaning the store sometimes pays you!
Examples of this type of event would be:
o Harris Teeter; double up to .99, Triple coupons up to .99
o Ingles, double up to .50 with limits triple up to .50
o Bi-Lo doubles up to .60, credits for reusable bags, senior days

Five Questions to Ask Before You Redeem

• If the product is more expensive than your usual brand, will the coupon still save you money?

• Is a generic or store brand cheaper than the product you’re considering — even with the discount?
Use the cost per oz., unit on price stickers…make sure you compare apples to apples

• Will you have to drive out of your way, spending more on gas than you’ll save with the coupon?(plan your trips)

• Ounce per ounce, is the sale item, in fact, cheaper than a larger box or multipack?
Certain brands are consistently less expensive: Angel Soft Toilet Paper, Arm & Hammer Detergent

• Do you really want the product, or are you buying it simply to get your total up for the free turkey after 5 weeks?

•When you figure the price per oz, are you considering membership fees?

Strategy #2- Shop multiple stores; work them into your daily routine

First off, plan your trips. Don’t make a special trip out, try to do your errands on the same day, plan a route, take a cooler, pack your lunch and go.

If you are near a store known for the deals, stop and take a look. You may find an unadvertised special that makes something free. The other day I was in Ingles and they were clearing out a favorite salad dressing. I had $1 coupons and dressings were only $1 so I got them for free. The special wasn't in the ad and the only reason I found it was because I was in the area and I decided to stop and look. Its not always practical to do it this way, but when it is, take a look. Just don't get trapped into buying things that are not on your list and you are paying more than half of its value. Those are NOT deals.

When you are shopping, watch for sellouts on products you have coupons for but didn’t intend to buy immediately. Then get a rain check. You create an expiration-free sale for yourself. Other options would be that the item is on sale but you didn't have a coupon. Get a raincheck and wait for a coupon.

When you do find a deal, watch the packaging. For instance, when dishwasher detergent goes on sale, some types are better deals than others. The lemony fresh scent witha power ball might only have 20 loads, while the plain orginal might do 36 loads. Both are the same price, but one is worth a lot more. The same goes for pizzas. Look at the weight. A cheese pizza is typically has more weight. You can add your own toppings and get more pizza that way.

Whenever you can, aim for the trifecta: multiple purchases of an item on sale on a day the grocery is tripling coupons. This is the ultimate in saving money. I have had weeks where I got over $500 worth of groceries for less than $20. The key is to shop carefully and stick to the rules.

Strategy 3: Get as many coupons as possible
Here are some tips for building your coupon stash.
• Watch for your local grocers’ printed flyers, and sign up online to receive their e-mailed coupons.
•Coupons typically appear in newspapers on Wednesdays and Sundays. Buy multiple copies of the paper if they have good coupons (check taylortown, couponclippers)
• Check magazines
• If you love a particular product, call a manufacturer’s toll-free number or e-mail the company and request a coupon. (A third of manufacturers offer coupons only upon request.) Many will also send a free sample.
• Download free coupons from sites such as,,, and
• Keep an eye out for coupons printed on sales receipts and product packages, and at in-store “blinkies”
• Ask neighbors, co-workers and family to save them for you
• Join a coupon train
• Recycle bins, freecycle
• Ask a store manager to save them
• Ask someone with a paper route
• Coffee shops, hotels, restaurants…
• Shop online for coupons(thecouponclippers, ebay)
• Transfer of prescriptions/new prescription rebatesCVS receipt

Strategy 4: File rebates!
Watch for rebates. I found one the other day that required me to buy $20 worth of meat. That's not a problem most months. Save all your receipts from all your purchases and when you find a rebate, look through them and use the receipts that qualify.

Don’t pass up the rebate. Many customers buy a product because of a promised rebate of a dollar or two but never take the time to send it in. Don’t join the crowd! Those dollars can add up. Some companies will stall on sending as well. Follow UP by always keeping copies of the rebates you send.If you don't see a check when you are expecting it, call. Almost every time I have called, they have sent the check out within a week.

Strategy 5: Stay Organized

If you build up a cache of coupons for a variety of products, you can hold off on redeeming them until the items go on sale to max out your savings. Plan your weekly menus based on this strategy and, whenever you can, aim for the trifecta: multiple purchases of an item on sale on a day the grocery is tripling coupons.Keep your coupons in a book that you stash in your purse or car so you’re ready for unplanned shopping trips.

Lay them out by category or how you find them in the store. Bet a three ring binder and fill it with trading card sleeves. Put in dividers and then fill the sleeves with your coupons. Then, all your coupons are visible at once. You can find them quickly and easily see what is expired and needs to be pulled out.

Clip the coupons you know you will use, save the ones you don't think you will. I keep all the coupons I don't clip in a file folder, filed by month. If a sale comes along where I will make money on the item, you can be sure I will purchase it and give it to Goodwill or someone that needs it and use the profits to get what I need. While I don't think we should be greedy and take all the free things for ourselves, I will get one and share the item with a friend if I don't need it.

While there are lots more I could tell you, this one article is enough to digest for one day, so if you have questions, let me know and I will be happy to help. I will write more on couponing in the future.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Coupon Adventures 7/4

One last deal for the week found at Rite Aid. They had Stayfree Pads b1g1(buy one, get one) and I had two b1g1 coupons. I wasn't sure if they would allow me to use them, but I decided to try and they did. I got 4 packages($3.99 each) and also picked out a $1 scribble pad for my son. Total after coupons was $1.28!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Coupon Adventures 7/3

Ingles had a great deal on chicken this week. Boneless, skinless breasts for $1.88 a pound. That means 100% usable meat for that price. I went to get that and partake of the sale on sierra mist, sunkist and Mug rootbeer at 5 cases for $12. On each box was a $1.00 off coupon, making the soda 5 for $7 or one for $1.40. A case of this usually lasts us several months since we rarely drink it and it has no food dye, so Brandon can have one from time to time. While in the soda aisle I found a booklet on the root beer I was getting that had a breyers ice cream coupon on it. Breyers ice cream is on sale at Bi-Lo, where I was heading next...I was getting a little excited...I also got some invisible kool aid(no food dyes) and a bag of sugar(for canning) and used a $2 off sugar coupon when you buy kool aid. The koolaid was .12 a pack and the sugar was on sale for $1.68. We make kool aid when the kids have friends over and I usually sweeten it with something other than sugar.
At Bi-Lo, I planned to get some organic peaches...finally fresh organic fruit at the store!! Then I got Dixie plates with my $1.00 off coupons. I also had a coupon for free napkins when you buy plates. So the napkins and the plates were less than $1 total. I save these for when the power goes out and we don't have water to wash dishes and napkins. The ice cream is on sale for $1.98 and with the .50 breyers coupon I found at Ingles, its .98 a container! I get the sugar-free ice cream for my girls and my hubby, who can eat it. They love it as a special treat. When they have the ice cream tonight, Brandon and I will have peaches with cream on top...YUM!
One more stop; Food Lion. Using the $1 off 360 products FLIP, I got free foil and the $1 off healthy accent products FLIP got me free rubbing alcohol. Then I picked up some freezer bags that were buy one get one and used my $1 blinkie, making two packages of gallon freezer bags, a package of foil and some rubbing alcohol all less than $1 with tax.


Over 1,000 years ago, Kefir, a cultured milk drink, originated in the Caucasus region, an area between Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep's milk with kefir grains. Kefir grains resemble cauliflower and are a mixture of bacteria and yeast, clumped together with casein (milk proteins) and complex sugars. The grains can range in size from tiny(the size of a grain of wheat) to large(the size of a grape) Today, kefir is becoming increasingly popular due to new research into its health benefits. Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt; Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species.

It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosa lining of the intestines where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside. Kefir forms a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines so that the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites. Since Kefir bacteria can actually colonize your intestines, something that yogurt cannot do, it can provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy.

Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, invalids and the elderly, as well as a remedy for digestive disorders. Because the lactose is consumed during the fermenting process, many lactose intolerant people find it to be something they can drink without any problems.

The best part about kefir is that it is very easy to make. If you start with a little of someone else's kefir you can begin immediately. This is called a kefir culture. You use a little to make more, just like yogurt. However, eventually it won't work anymore and you will need more cultures. If you purchase Kefir grains, they can be used indefinately. They feed on the lactose in milk and will continue to live and grow as long as you supply it. They can be purchased through us or at some health food stores. If you would like to purchase kefir grains, you can contact us at candlerfoods at bellsouth dot net.

I like to make raw kefir so that I can preserve all of the healthy bacteria that exist, but some packaged kefir grains will ask you to pre-cook the milk and then cool it. It is a personal choice not to do this step and while you may need to do this for the original batch, you can use my process after that if you wish.

Making kefir from kefir drink:

What you will need:

1 quart wide-mouth jar, clean and sanitized with lid
2 cups of fresh milk
1/2 cup of kefir(from a previous batch)

Pour the milk and then the kefir into your jar. Shake. Place in a cool, dark place overnight. Refrigerate. Stir (or shake) and Drink.

Its really that easy. I usually allow mine to culture about 11 hours. I have heard some folks culture it for up to 18 hours. The longer it sits, the more tart it will taste and the thicker it will get. If you culture too long, you will see it separate from the whey and then eventually it can spoil. You should have a creamy, thick drinkable liquid when you are finished culturing it. It will continue to thicken in the fridge, but at a much slower rate. I like to drink mine in the morning before breakfast. It tastes somewhat like buttermilk and/or yogurt with a taste all its own. You can add fruit or sweeteners to it, but I like mine plain. It would make a great smoothie too.

Making kefir with kefir grains:
What you will need
1 quart wide-mouth jar, clean and sanitized with lid
2 cups of fresh milk
1/4 cup of kefir(from a previous batch)

Pour the milk and then the kefir into a clean jar. I use wide mouth quart jar add the milk and 1/4 cup of kefir grains. Cover the jar loosely with a lid and let set about 12 hours. Then, simply pour the kefir through a strainer to catch the grains and put the liquid in a jar and refrigerate. Put the grains in a clean jar and add fresh milk to make more. If you don't want to make another batch, you can put the jar of grains with the fresh milk in the refrigerator.  We drink it constantly, so I just make more.

Because you can make this so easily yourself and you get a 100% return when you make it, its an economical addition to your meal plan. There is no by product with kefir. No whey to pour off and it will constantly produce bigger fatter kefir grains. Its much easier to make than yogurt and its better for you. If you have milk, give it a try. You might love it!