Saturday, April 30, 2011

Last Day of the Month Groceries

What a terrible picture! But I didn't realize how bad it was until I'd already put the groceries away. Oops.
So, Wednesday's storms made me miss this week's penny item, but I suppose I'll live. The shelves were kind of bare but I had pretty much expected that. The storms knocked power out to so many people, I think people who now have power back have had to do some major restocking. The guy in front of me had three carts full! He lives about 30 minutes away and was shopping for a house literally bursting at the seams with teenagers (many in his area don't have power yet and since his family did, all his kids friends have been staying at their house for the past several days!). He kept apologizing to me for taking so long, but it didn't bother me at all. People have to do what they have to do and in the grand scheme of things, waiting in line for 30 minutes at the checkout really isn't a big deal. I am very fortunate.

Anyway, so this was a big grocery week --- and I bought NO produce or meat. I'll make a trip to Aldi either today or tomorrow for that stuff. I did pick up several things for the local food drives --- people need to eat!
This is what I got:

4 Jose Ole Tacquitos
1 NY Texas Toast
1 Tombstone Pizza
2 International Delights Coffee Creamers
4 Boxes Golden Grahams Bars
4 Boxes Nature Valley Sweet N Salty Bars
6 Old El Paso Dinner Kits
1 Ragu Alfredo Sauce
1 Rago Spaghetti Sauce (this will be going back as I picked up the Organic which was not on sale, instead of the BOGO and I'm just not paying $3.79 for spaghetti sauce)
1 Charmin Freshmates
2 Pedigree Dog Treats
2 Publix Lemon Lime Sodas
4 Powerade strawberry lemonade
1 Oreo Fudge Creme
1 Kotex Tampons
1 Playtex tampons
1 Glad Trashbags
6 Glade 4 oz candles
3 Ramen Noodles
2 Ragu Pizza Sauce
1 Charmin Mega Roll
Wine (after a week like this, yes, I'm going to treat myself with a bit of vino)

Spent: $83.66
Saved: $90.89 or 52%

My April grocery budget is completely blown, but at this point its completely okay. I'm just thankful to be here and have my family safe and whole.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I Know Couponers are Generous Souls

I'm sure most of you know about the storms that have ravaged Alabama and other areas of the Southeast, so much devastation and so much loss of life. It is simply unreal. And completely and utterly heartbreaking. Many of us are very fortunate, however, every single person I know has a loved one, or friend, or colleague who has simply lost everything. The need for everything is great.... non-perishable foods, diapers, basic toiletries, water, clothing.... the list is endless.

We live in the South, and we are all about helping our neighbors in need. However, at this time, our resources are stretched thin. Since everyone knows someone who has lost everything, those people are understandably focusing on trying to help their loved ones in this time of great need. In some towns, everyone has lost everything, so there is no one WITH anything left to help their neighbors.

In my office today, at least 15 different emails were sent from co-workers whose friends or family had lost everything and they were appealing for help in the form of clothing, groceries, whatever anyone could spare.
There are numerous drives going on for bottled water, canned goods, etc. The problem is that the grocery stores even in barely affected areas are completely wiped out. The storms delayed regular deliveries and the shelves are cleared of bottled water, canned goods that don't have to be heated to be palatable, diapers, even the local walmart is out of basic cotton underwear as people have scrambled to get those goods to those that need it most! Gasoline is in short supply. No electricity means pumps don't work! Many once beloved pets are now homeless, and the animal shelters are also stretched to capacity to serve the needs of these animals and attempt to reunite pets with their owners!

So my plea to you is this..... if you have a great stockpile, and there is a donation center in your area, please consider making a donation. I know there are drives popping up all across the country, so please, I urge you to give with your heart, and your coupons!

Thank you from the bottom of my stressed out, storm-weary and somewhat broken heart,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

We ARE Alabama....

Yesterday was a day of intense stress, grief and sadness with some overwhelming relief. The devastation is almost beyond comprehension. I've lived in Alabama for all of my (almost) 41 years and I have never seen Mother Nature's fury at yesterday's levels. I don't think there is a person in this state that doesn't have a tie to the devastation in some form or another.

My niece and her boyfriend and her pup survived that monster in Tuscaloosa. Our Admin Assistant was just a block away from the total destruction of the Pleasant Grove area in Birmingham. They are all okay. My peeps came through it all. But others are still hoping and praying for some signs of loved ones. My heart breaks for them.

It is amazing how truly vicious Mother Nature can be.

I picked up various debris from my yard today.... shingles, siding, insulation, splintered pieces of wood. And none of the homes in my neighborhood sustained any damage. These pieces all came from storms as they swept through. We are the lucky ones.

As I huddled with Princess Penelope and Thing 1 and Thing 2 in the hall last night, all I could say, was "I love you" as we waited it out. Tonight, I Princess Penelope and I met my niece and her boyfriend for dinner here in Birmingham. I must confess I made a bit of a scene as I got all weepy with the sheer joy of seeing her in one piece. They told us about the devastation and shared the pictures they took. It is simply unbelievable.

They town we know is forever changed. I've spent countless Saturdays in the fall in Tuscaloosa as we are huge Alabama football fans. It won't ever be the same. The landscape and landmarks are forever altered.  The same situation exists just 10 short miles up the road in the Pleasant Grove and Pratt City suburbs of Birmingham. Lives were forever changed or even gone. But we will pick it up and put the pieces together.

I heard someone on the Paul Finebaum show say today.... "In Alabama, we might not all be the smartest people, or the richest..... but we are resilient." I say Amen to that. We ARE Alabama and we WILL get through this!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Long scary afternoon in Alabama. School let out early, I left work early. And then we sat. And waited. And watched the news. And listened to the sirens go off. It was a nerve wracking afternoon. Sirens were going off left and right, but not for our particular area. And then.... I see this on the news.... a tornado on the ground in Tuscaloosa. Heading for the University of Alabama campus. That monster is a mile wide and estimated to be an EF4 or EF5. And my niece happens to be a student there. I had texted her earlier making sure she was paying attention to the weather. She texted back that she and her pup were hunkered down in the laundry room at her boyfriend's house. Phew. I was glad to know she was off the road.

And then I saw this monster. And I was tearing up. And freaking out just a bit. Sent another text telling her to take cover NOW. So I paced. And prayed. And cussed just a bit. And then after what seemed like FOREVER, I got a phone call. She was shaken up and hysterical and just babbling 90 to nothing, but she was okay! I think that is the best damn phone call I have ever received in my life! Other houses on the street were not so fortunate. She said it looks like a war zone there. Total devastation all over the City of Tuscaloosa. She couldn't get a call through to her mom so wanted me to call and tell her she was okay. At this point, she doesn't know if her own apartment is still standing, but I told her that if its not, its okay, because she, her boyfriend and her pup can't be replaced, everything else can, and that they are okay is all that matters.

After I finished making the calls to family letting them know she was okay, the sirens went off here again. That same tornado was now on a direct path for us. Crap. Time to hunker down. We got lucky and it veered north, but north of us was hit pretty hard. I'm praying for all those families that weren't as lucky as we were. This day has been horrendous. And its not over yet.

Its going to be a bumpy night....

Woke up this morning at 5 a.m. to the sounds of the tornado sirens....again. We scrambled to our safe place and waited it out while the squall line came through. Around 6 a.m., it was back to the usual business of getting ready for work and school. Got into work -- and I was the only person in my department that made it in even close to on time (it helps that I live about 7 minutes from work and there were no travel issues for me, for everyone else it was like an obstacle course). About an hour after I get to work we start getting phone calls and emails that schools will be closing early because of impending inclement weather. So, 1t 12:45, I packed my stuff up and headed home, Princess Penelope got home all safe and sound.

So now we just wait. And hope. And pray. That its not going to be as bad as they think it will this afternoon and tonight. That if it gets that bad, there are no injuries or loss of life. Wherever you are, stay safe! Its going to be a long night.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I think that is kind of defining me today. I keep putting everything off until later this week. Lawn needs mowing. Maybe Thursday or Friday after work (tomorrow's out because of likely storms). The house needs dusting and the floors need to be swept, vaccumed and mopped. Maybe tomorrow after work. I need to clean the fridge, maybe tomorrow. Checkbook needs balancing. Budgets need to be updated. Phone calls need to be made. Coupons need to be clipped. And I can't summon the energy to do any of it.

Granted, I have a good reason....four hours in the dentist chair and we've finally got the root canal completed. My face hurts, my jaw hurts and I swear I always get a slight hangover from the laughing gas. So, tonight, I'm looking around at all the stuff that needs to be done. And I'm not doing any of it.

Oh, well, I know I will kick myself for wasting an entire evening and not getting anything done. But I will kick myself.....later.

Another Expensive Day

Yesterday's vet visit for Thing 2 was $90. Fortunately, other than the extreme skin sensitivity, she is healthy and the growth on her leg is a hygroma (caused by flopping herself down on hard surfaces) and not a tumor. I always call her my million dollar dog, because I swear she's just about the most expensive pup ever that for the most part is actually healthy (she's accident prone and tends to eat stuff she shouldn't alot). I went ahead and paid $200 out of pocket to the vet to put some towards my ongoing bill.

Today I will head to the dentist to (hopefully) finish up everything with this root canal that we started about a month ago. I'm hoping (praying) that I won't incur any additional expenses from that. They sent me a refund check of about $250 which I have not cashed yet. Hopefully I'll be able to add that to debt opposed to spending more money on my teeth! Here's hoping!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A trip to the vet....

My Monday morning is starting off with a trip to the vet. Thing 2 gets a skin condition every spring with dry itchy skin that she just scratches and scratches until she looks polka dotted and then of course will develop a hot spot or two. Since this is an annual occurance I generally know how to treat it and keep it under control. This year though, it seems a bit worse. Her hot spots are really getting out of control .

Added to that, she has also developed a golf ball sized lump on the back of her right front leg that I noticed over the weekend. Everything I've read online indicates that this lump is likely a hygroma (which develops when dogs repeatedly lay down on hard surfaces) Thing 2 generally chooses to lay down on the sofa, the loveseat, the pup beds or the carpet. However, her itching has been so intense that she's kind of flopping anywhere when the itch really gets ahold of her, so I'm thinking that might be why this has developed.

At least that's what I'm hoping! She seems to have no pain whatsoever from the lump and in all actuality, I don't think she even realizes it is there. My vet bill balance is something I keep monitored in my debt column as I always seem to have a balance on the account, however, since we have used the same practice since I was about 5 years old, they let me run the balance without interest and I just pay what I can every month. I usually try to pay at least $100, and often more. I don't want to take advantage of their generosity by paying too little, but I do appreciate how willing they are to work with me.

So heigh ho, heigh ho, its off to the vet we go!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Welcome Happy Morning!

A very Happy Easter to each and everyone of you! Whether you are donning your Easter finery for sunrise or midmorning services, egg hunting with your children, heading for lunch with your family or just spending a quiet morning with your coffee, I wish you happiness, love and safe travels! He is Risen! A Happy Morning, indeed!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Just a bit of freezer cooking

I will not be on the road for work (except day trips) for the next couple of weeks. Woo hoo! So today, in an effort to keep myself sane and catch up on things around here, I did a bit of freezer cooking. Not a ton, but enough to have a few meals started so that when I get home from work in the evenings I don't have to do a ton of prep work to get a meal on the table.

I went very very basic this time --- I browned up 8 meals worth of ground beef with onions and zucchini, and seasoned half of it with taco seasoning. I also cooked up four meals worth of chicken breasts and diced them. Those few things should make dinnertime much easier in the coming weeks.

For some, it just doesn't seem to be worth it to do just that small amount of prep work. For me though, I have the base done for quite a few meals -- with very little time invested and best of all.... very little clean up!

Next month I plan to do a bit more and I'm working on finding some good ideas and recipes, but for now, this will get us through.

Not my best grocery shopping day....

On a day when my mind is focused more on the fact that I need a cell phone replacement than my grocery list, it probably wasn't the wisest idea to go shopping. But here's how I did....

1 Breyers Ice Cream
1 Red Baron Pizza
2 Kraft Shredded Cheese
1 Immaculate Baking Cookie Dough
1 Qt. Publix Milk
1 Crackerful
2 Pepsis
1 Lays Chips
1 Oscar Mayer Bacon
2 Russell Stover Eggs
2 Betty Crocker Frostings
4 Velveeta/Kraft Deluxe Mac N Cheese
1 Kelloggs Pop Tart

Spent: $36.70, Saved $30.02 or 45%
Definitely not my best day ever!

Cell Phones Drive Me Crazy.

It is woefully frustrating that cell phones have a completely limited shelf life. I think they are manufactured to deliberately fail after one year. It drives me crazy.

For personal use, I don't have a smart phone. I have a basic flip phone that takes pictures, sends and receives texts and of course makes phone calls. I don't have a data plan. I just want a phone that does its basic job. Yesterday evening, I was picking up Thing 2 from Brave Friend after my long trip out of town. We were sitting on her porch visiting when Princess Penelope sent me a text message. I went to open it up, and my phone died. Just completely died. No warning. No going through the wash or being submerged. It just died. So, I'm weighing my options.... this phone has already been replaced by insurance once. I"m not even sure its covered anymore. Actually, I think Princess Penelope's is the one covered since her phone died in January and we upgraded on my line. I've looked on ebay, but I've never been really good with ebay. I'm the kind of shopper that likes to actually know what I'm buying before I buy it. Ebay has disappointed me before.

One thing is certain. I need a new phone. I have a work one that will get me through the weekend, but the minutes are very limited the rest of the time, so I can't depend on that for daily use. So, do I go to the phone store and pay a ton of money, but get my phone today or do I take my chances on ebay? Decisions, Decisions.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Finally heading home!

I have been on the road since Tuesday. I am SOOOO ready to get home! I just got my complimentary breakfast from the hotel and then I will be heading out the door. I've got a ton to do when I finally do get home! I have done very little Easter basket shopping. Even though she's 16, I still do the basket deal for Princess Penelope. Thing 1 and Thing 2 get baskets, too! I also have to do some grocery shopping to finish up what I have to cook for Easter lunch. And my house is a disaster area! It was pretty bad when I left, so I know I have a lot to do. And it rained most of the week at home, so my grass is probably about a foot tall again. Sigh.

Guess its time to get off the computer and get loaded up for home! Have a Blessed Good Friday everyone!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's all how you look at it!

I'm on the road for work again. I'm in the middle of my high travel season which means other things get neglected. Housework, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry.... all way behind. I'm spending so much time out of the office that I'm feeling the pinch of piles and piles of work that need to be done during the rare times I seem to be there. To say I'm stressed out and getting frustrated is a bit of an understatement.

As I pulled into town to check into my Home Sweet Hampton AGAIN, this guy was waiting at the light in front of me.... Interesting how someone else's trials make yours seem all the more manageable!

You have to look kind of close, but he's got a tailight out, he's over the line.... and oh yeah, a gas nozzle and hose hanging from his gas tank. My day? Not so bad!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Why do people DO stuff like that?

I made a quick (and I mean QUICK) trip to Aldi on Saturday afternoon to get the last of the stuff we needed to round out our grocery list. I didn't even get a picture because I was in such a rush. But I spent about $29 and rounded out our pantry rather nicely. Usually when I go to Aldi I go on Saturday morning. Apparently there is a reason for that. It was an absolute madhouse on Saturday afternoon! Apparently rising food costs are hitting everyone hard so maybe more people are shopping there?

Anyway, given that the store was completely crazy, I kept my purse on my shoulder the whole time instead of having it in the basket of the buggy. Very glad I did. I turned my back from my cart to get eggs out of the case and it took me a few tries to find a carton without any broken eggs. I turned back and one my reusable grocery bags is GONE. Someone swiped it from my cart while my back was turned! And this wasn't just one of those flimsy .99 bags, this was a heavy duty, zip top, reinforced bottom, thermal bag that folds up flat. It is a great bag. And someone stole it.

I mean, COME ON! You can buy bags at Aldi if you've forgotten yours, or you can just load your stuff into your car or whatever. But stealing a resuable bag? Who DOES that? Sheesh.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Groceries and Easter Goodies

I went to the store this morning --- rememered by coupons, but forgot my list....DOH! So of course I failed to pick up a couple items. However, I did pretty well, regardless..... here's how my trip went:

1 Pepsi
6 Publix Whole Green Beans
2 Airwick Freshmatic Refills
2 Coffee Mate Creamers (yes, creamer is in every grocery picture... I have coffee issues)
2 4.4 lb. bags Pedigree Dog Food
1 Red Baron Pizza
1 Bag Dove Promises (caramel filled)
1 Lays Potato Chips
4 50 ct. Mentos Gum
1 Kelloggs Pop Tarts
2 bags Starburst Jelly Beans
1 Ritz Crackerful
2 Kraft Mozzerella
3 Kraft Shells & Cheese and/or Deluxe Mac and Cheese
4 Kiwi Fruit
1 Bag Red Potatoes
1 Breakstone Sour Cream
1 Dole Pineapple
2 Betty Crocker Frostings
1 Immaculate Baking Cookie Dough
1 Pillsbury Cookie Dough

Spent $57.87 and Saved $67.44 or 54%

I was a bit frustrated that the shelves were cleared on some of the sale items, but I perked right back up when I remembered this is a long sale, so I still have time to pick them up after my work trip next week.

I hate being wasteful!

After another afternoon dealing with massive storms in Alabama, I arrived home soaked and frazzled. My plans to grocery shop completely out of the window. That left a massive problem since after being out of town all week, I had nothing in mind for dinner and very little to throw together for a decent meal. And since I'd been out of town most of the week, and she was stuck at home on a Friday night because of the storms, Princess Penelope really wanted me to cook.

I considered takeout, but tossed that idea because I didn't want to spend that kind of money, I didn't want to get back out in the weather, and I didn't want to be responsible for someone else having to get out in the weather to deliver it. So, I rummaged through the freezer, pantry and fridge and decided to make Chicken Quesadillas.

Due to Thing 2's extraordinary counter surfing abilities, I always put what's left of dinner after serving in the microwave while we are eating so it can cool and so it is also well out of Thing 2's reach. And then I promptly forgot about it. I forgot while cleaning the kitchen. I forgot while making needed phone calls. I forgot while I was facebooking. And then I forgot while I was getting ready for bed.

I remembered at 530 this morning. Popped straight of bed thinking, "Oh, crap." Stumbled into the kitchen, and opened the microwave. There sat 2 full servings of chicken quesadillas that had been out a room temperature overnight. Ugh. I hope my garbage can enjoys them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Had it all planned out

On my way home from Mobile this evening, I had my  blog post for tonight all planned out in my head. Alas, the fit has hit the shan and I am not a happy camper. So, I'm going to spare y'all the drama, the woe and the griping and just say..... y'all have a Happy Friday (cause goodness knows, its got to get better!)!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Home Sweet Hampton

When traveling for work, especially to South Alabama, I generally like to stay at the Hampton Inn in Daphne. This hotel really works for me.... rooms overlooking Mobile Bay, free breakfast, free copy of USA Today and a weeknight "Managers Reception" which features complimentary munchies, hot appetizers, fruit, cookies and a variety of beverages, including the adult kind!

This helps me to really keep my travel expenses low when on the road since a late lunch means I'm not really ready for a real dinner in the evenings!

And while I'd rather be home, right now I'm kicked back with my munchies, a book I'm about to start reading, an adult beverage and this is my view:

Life is pretty good.

Sometimes nothing goes as planned....

I'm on the road again for work. Usually, when I'm on the road, Princess Penelope and Thing 1 stay with my BFF. My BFF has a 3 pound chihuahua so Thing 2 and her 65 pound self doesn't get to spend the night. However, this time Thing 2 was going to stay with a very brave friend of mine instead of boarding. However, things didn't go quite as planned.

About 2 hours into my driving, I get a phone call from my BFF. Her 89 year old grandmother has fallen and fractured her ankle, and BFF needs to stay with her and could I make other arrangements for Princess and Thing 1? So, with a few phone calls, I arrange for Princess to stay with her BFF for the next two days, and Thing 1 to go stay with the brave friend and for Thing 2 to get boarded at the vet's. (Thing 1 is eleven and boarding really upsets him at this stage in life, so I try to avoid it if at all possible. Thing 2 adjusts much better) So, Princess gathers up the pups to drop Thing 1 at the brave friends and Thing 2 at the vet. However, when they got to  brave friend's house, Thing 2 looked so hopeful that brave friend just couldn't send her off to the vet.... so brave friend is keeping both Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Did I mention that brave friend has a 98 pound malamute mix, too? So, 2 big pups, one small pup and one human in a 2/1 house for 2 days. Brave friend, indeed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mother Nature Got In My Way

I had every intention of posting last night. However, Mother Nature totally ruined those plans. I had met several girlfriends after work at a favorite restaurant --- which is actually a pretty good distance from home. As we were leaving the restaurant, it was lightning quite a bit. I called Princess Penelope to tell her I was on my way home, and she told me that the sirens had gone off three times, the storm was heading right towards me, and I needed to get off the road NOW. I hung up the phone and all hell broke loose. I couldn't see five feet in front of my car, it was pouring rain, hailing, and had the nice added bonus of tree limbs raining down on my car.

I managed to navigate to my cousin's house, where her son opened the garage for me and I dashed right in. I was soaked to the bone from that 10 foot sprint (in peep toe pumps, no less). Right after we got the garage shut -- lightning struck the house next door. Fortunately, no fire resulted.... but that was just a little too close for comfort.

When the storm finally passed I made my way home, backtracking several times and taking alternate routes due to downed trees. When I got home we fortunately had power, but no cable or internet connection. So no posting for me last night.

Gotta LOVE springtime in Alabama!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Redecorating on the cheap....

I must confess.... I don't have a single brand new piece of furniture in my entire house. Everything we own is either hand-me-down, garage saled, or I've had since I was a kid (Princess Penelope's bedroom furniture).
I did actually buy myself (on credit) a couch about 8 years ago. But that thing was well past its prime. I was ready for it to G-O!

So I woke up one morning last fall to the happy surprise that my next door neighbor was having a garage sale. Since I absolutely adore her sense of style. I threw on some clothes and went over to see what she was getting rid of....

And so my quest began with the coffee table.... her hubby was coming out of the house with a blanket chest the perfect size for a coffee table. I've always wanted one of those for my den, so when she said the price was $15, her hubby just took it to my front porch. She also had these great iron and granite topped end tables. Absolutely gorgeous and I got both of those for $60.

Then, a month later, my BFF called to ask if I wanted her brick red couch. She had been given a newer couch, but hers was still in good condition whereas mine definitely was not, and did I want it? Oh, yes, I definitely did! So, bye-bye worn out couch! Hello new-to-me couch! The den was really shaping up the way I wanted it to be. Woo hoo!

Then, my 13 year old tv died..... I scrimped and saved, and purchased a new tv when they hit the awesome sales in the fall.... problem was, it didn't fit in my 90's entertainment center. So, out the entertainment center went, and I dragged up an old sideboard from the basement and put the tv on it. Much better.

And then today, another friend calls and says she's getting rid of an upholstered chair, and since she knew I hated the one I had, would I like it? The colors would probably work. Well, of course (mine had spots and stains, and even a couple of holes --- hideous)! So, since it would fit easily in the back of her SUV, she even hauled it over to my house.

The entire room redone in 7 months for a grand total of $325 ---- $275 of that being the cost of the tv!

Keeping it Real

I debated about whether or not to share this. Then I decided that we all stumble in our quest for our goals. So here goes: I love shopping. Not just the save money on groceries shopping. I'm talking the hit the outlets and malls and hit them hard type of shopping. Princess Penelope and I can do some real damage in a very short period of time. The good thing is that we don't end up with a lot of stuff we just can't or won't use. The bad news is we still end up with a LOT of stuff.  Case in point::

The picture is not a good one, but what you see there is the result of an afternoon of post ACT stress relieving via shopping combined with the real need for a few spring wardrobe updates for Princess Penelope. We picked up six shirts/blouses, a skirt, a vest, a hot pink demi-trench, 2 pairs of shoes, sunglasses, bathing suit, perfume and a Coach travel pill box (for migraine meds). All for the "bargain" price of roughly $290. Definitely not my best shopping effort ever. Usually, if I can do much better. And sadly, not one item is mine!

Yes, I could probably take some of it back. But I know I won't. It was all paid for with cash, not credit. But that does mean I will be putting less toward my debt this month and will be doing some serious number crunching to get through til next pay day. But, it is what it is, I suppose. That's my reality for today.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blog Giveway!

But, actually, not on mine.... though maybe I'll get it together enough at some point to actually get creative and do one! Right now, I'm struggling just to get back to a regular posting schedule!!!!

Actually, April over at Single Lifeline is having a giveaway of M&Ms --- not the kind that melt in your mouth, but not in your hands, but the kind of M&Ms all couponers love! Money Making coupons! Aren't those always the best?!?!?!

I've actually won one of April's giveaways before and I was positively giddy with the coupons I received (see a few posts below for all the treats Thing 1 and Thing 2 racked up as a result of April's generosity!)!!!!! So, check it out and good luck!!!!

College Prep

So here we are, its 530 a.m., and Princess Penelope has to report to the ACT test center at 8 a.m. to take the test. This is one of those hurdles students face in getting into college. All colleges and universities in Alabama require the ACT.

I think I'm much more nervous about this test than she is! Granted, I'm just kind of going with the flow in front of her, with the whole "Don't worry too much, you can take it again if needed", but I know its a big deal. Its required for admittance to any of the schools we are considering. There are scholarships based exclusively on ACT scores. Other scholarships require certain scores, too. It would definitely be nice for her to pick up a few of those as that becomes free money for school.

So, here I sit, coffee in hand, hoping that today goes well. Wish us luck!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Finally! Some Groceries!

My life has been insane lately. Completely and totally insane. My budget is showing it. So are my pantry, freezer and fridge. So, Wednesday, after Root Canal Part II, I managed to pop into the grocery store. Yea! Finally! Let me tell you, Princess Penelope was awfully pleased that there was SOMETHING in the house. She was on the verge of junk food withdrawals!

Anyway, here's what I bought:

Publix Cheddar Cheese
2 Vitamin Waters
2 Philadelphia Cooking Creme
2 International Delight Coffee Creamers
3 "Busy" Rollhide Chews
1 Mueller Ziti
1 Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Granola Bars
1 Lipton Extra Noodle Soup
1 Publix Shells & Cheese (Penny Item!)
1 Red Baron Pizza
1 Banquet Chicken Patty
3 Beggin Strips
4 Ramen Noodles
1 Sun Chips
2 Rachel Ray Just 6 Dog Treats
1 Hormel Compleats
2 Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies

Total Spent: $34.32
Total Saved: $49.81

Special thanks to April at Single Lifeline -- I won the great dog treat coupons in a contest on her site! Thing 1 and Thing 2 are immensely grateful!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Extreme Couponing

Did anyone else watch this tonight on TLC? I watched it while...ha...clipping the massive stack of coupons I have let build up over the past few weeks. Seemed an appropriate task for the show I was watching!

The whole show just baffles me.... being squeezed out of your house because of your stockpile? Five hours at the grocery store? An hour to check out? 18 different transactions? Shelf clearing? I definitely believe in a healthy stockpile --- it keeps my house going when life gets busy. But this is beyond a healthy stockpile!

I was completely dumbfounded by the lady that  actually bought 56 bottles of mustard when some members of the family don't even like it. I heard the lady say, "well this doesn't spoil".... uh... she might need to look at the bottom of that yellow squirt bottle. It DOES have an expiration date on it! At least the ones at my store do. I learned this the hard way. Summer before last, I bought 3 bottles of mustard because they were "free" after my coupons. Quite honestly, I over bought. Now granted, we don't use a ton of mustard. I don't like it on sandwiches particularly, and Princess Penelope doesn't like sandwiches at all! So for us, mustard is more of a seasoning.... a squirt in potato salad, tuna salad, baked beans, etc. So buying 3 bottles was really buying more than I needed, although I didn't really realize it at the time. I realized that it actually expires when I was cleaning out the fridge one day and just happend to notice the date. Three months past the expiration date and I was only 3/4 of the way through the first bottle I had bought. Ugh.

So, when I watch someone literally clearing the shelves to buy 56 bottles of mustard they DON'T NEED it just makes me go "grrrrrr". And then to take absolute GLEE in clearing the shelf  so no other shoppers can take advantage of the deal. It just strikes me as greedy and self-absorbed! Heck, I always feel a twinge of guilt if I happen to get the very last two of a great deal on the shelf.

I don't know, I guess the whole show kind of made me go  "ick." What did you think?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring has definitely sprung!

I had my weekend all planned out....make my Pampered Chef deliveries, spend some quality time in the garden department at Lowe's, grocery shop, clean, do laundry and some freezer cooking. All that changed when my best friend called me and told me to save her delivery for last, because she had some plants she was thinning out and if I wanted them, we could load them up into the back of my car. Woo Hoo! Free plants! So, although the deliveries were done, and I did spend some quality time at Lowe's (Knock-out Roses and Petunias paid for with a gift card from MyPoints), everything else.... well.... not so much.

I have spent the day prepping garden beds, weeding, mowing, weedeating and planting 2 dozen irises, knockout roses, 9 clumps of canna lilies, 8 tiger lilies 3 clumps of blackeyed-susans and removing about 30 square feet of monkey grass (the current bane of my existence).

After 10 hours of yard work, I am filthy, sore and sunburned. But, I must say, this is the BEST glass of wine I have had in my whole entire life!