Friday, November 30, 2012

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It's that time again...that's right.  Christmas time!  I absolutely love the holidays.  The decorations, the smells, the weather, the movies, being able to wear fuzzy socks and fleece pajamas and drink hot cocoa for a month straight and being able to watch The Grinch and Elf on DVD over and over again.  There is just something about coming in to a holiday decorated home that screams comfort and family and if there is something delicious baking in the oven, it's even better.  In my case though I just burn a delicious smelling candle ha ha I'm not Betty Crocker.

So with that in mind I'm going to share all thing Christmas at our house.  Matt honestly could care less what decorations I do so because I am not able to awe him with excitement and jealously when he gets home from work I have to blog about it to share it with someone!

I apologize in advance for the length and all the photos but you have to see it to understand what I'm saying.  You feel me?  No?  Ok then just stop reading here then and Bahumbug to you.  If you do feel me then keep reading and comment and share your Christmas decorating theme, ideas, and favorites.

Ok first off let's start off with the tree.  It pretty much looks the same every year but I get one or two new ornaments every year.  This year I chose not to put my silver bows on because I find that I am losing space for ornaments by having them on there.

I'm also obsessed with The Grinch so my tree topper is inspired by my inner Who from Whovilleness.  Here's a closer shot.  I even make sure it's not sitting exactly straight so it is more authentic.  I'm a loser I know.  And what Grinch obsessed person can be without a inconspicuous Grinch strategically placed somewhere around.  This year's spot is on the bottom shelf of the TV stand. 

True story: I found a pair of The Grinch fleece pajamas in Walgreens this morning and begged Matt to buy them for me.  Pray for me.  You know my thing about adults (especially adults that are of the plus size variety) wearing cartoon animals on their clothes.  I need help, seriously, you need to call someone.

Moving on...

I finally got around to putting together my Christmas centerpiece for the island in the kitchen.  It's not the best thing since Pinterest but it's not the ugliest I've ever seen either.  Long story short you take a hurricane candle holder, two wine glasses, holiday balls or bells of your choice and two candles and BAM - you get this:

Thrifty me got most of the items at Michael's for 50-60% off and then the other items I already had on hand.  The candles were $1.99 each.  The large snowman balls in the hurricane candle holder were $3.00 total.  The wine glasses, star ornaments and clear base the hurricane holder is sitting on were already on hand.  Then the bells were on sale for $2.99 a pack and I bought three.  Here's a close up shot of each part.

Other great finds at Michael's were these figurines ($4.99 each) and glittery clip on poinsettias ($1.99 each) that I added to the three -  love them!  One because they are super cute and two because they were super cheap even without a coupon!

Also another tidbit about me and my Christmas decorations is that I've slowly become obsessed with words.  Like word and saying ornaments, figurines, etc.  Even the two new figurines I got this year had words on them!  These are just a few of the items on my tree.  I was too embarrassed to take a picture of ALL of them but clearly I think I may have a problem.  Am I the only one?  Hopefully not...

Ok I guess that's all for now.  Please excuse me while I check myself in to a word art obsession clinic while wearing fleece Grinch pants, double fisting Bubba Keg's of hot chocolate and watching Elf repeatedly because "I'm a cotton-headed ninny-muggins".

And on that note I will leave you with my favorite Elf quotes...

"First we'll make snow angels for a two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookiedough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle."
"You did it! Congratulations! World's best cup of coffee! Great job, everybody!"
"Good news! I saw a dog today!"

"This place reminds me of Santa's Workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me".

Monday, November 26, 2012

Recipes, Savings & Other Stuff

Long time no post..

Let's see what have you all missed...

1.  I've spent the last few days held up inside my house battling a stomach flu.  I have never been this sick in my entire life.  I'll spare you the details, trust me you'd thank me for that if you had any clue how bad it was at my house and for my family these last few days.

Not exactly how I intended to spend my holiday weekend and vacation day Friday but everything happens for a reason.  I actually took a shower today and left the house which is awesome.  It feels weird going out for the first time after laying on the couch in your pajamas for four nights straight.

Because of that I will postpone my holiday decorating post for another week because I'm not exactly done.  The tree thankfully is already up because I put it up on November 17th because I was overly excited about Christmas almost being here.

2.  I made the most delicious southwestern chopped salad ever a couple of weeks ago (thanks Pinterest) and you don't have to feel guilty about eating it either because its pretty healthy.  The picture below I took while I was eating it.  It was so good I had to pause for a moment to share (sadly it took me two weeks to blog about it)

You can find the recipe here: Southwestern Chicken Chopped Salad

3.  I finally made the Pumpkin Dip (yep, another Pinterest recipe) and it was a great hit at Thanksgiving Dinner #1.  It was great but it makes A LOT of dip so I would suggest cutting the recipe in half.  Seriously even with 18 people we still didn't eat 1/4 of it because there were so many other delicious snacks and dinner treats to enjoy as is typical with most large party events.

I took the photo below after I got there and set it up.  I was that annoying person that wanted to take a photo for blogging purposes before I would let anyone eat it.  

You can find the recipe here: Pumpkin Dip

4.  Matt and I had our photos taken 11/17 at Yates Mill Pond by an awesome photographer I know because we have no decent photos together.  The shoot went great and for those of you that haven't seen them on Facebook, here are the sneak peek shots but there will be more to come in the next few days. 

5.  I'm anxiously awaiting the next Super Double Coupon's event however I've found quite a few good deals recently...just today for example I was pretty excited about my good coupon finds detailed below...I don't know if the excitement was due to this being the first time I've been out of the house in four days or because the deals were awesome.  Either way here ya go...

As I mentioned in a previous post Kroger has awesome deals every day all day.  Also as I mentioned earlier they double coupons of up to .50 cents face value every day all day.  If you time it right you can save a great deal of money with the Kroger sale prices and by doubling of manufacturers coupons.

Sparkle 2 pack Paper Towels were on sale for $2.79  (with Kroger card) - .50 cents (x2) coupon = final price of $1.79 each which equals .89 cents per roll.  Great Deal.  I had two identical coupons so I bought two packs of course.

Chex cereal which is normally pretty expensive was on sale 2/$4 - $1.00 off 2 coupon I had = $3.00 total meaning each box was only $1.50.   That's also a great price.

Snuggle Fabric Softener was on sale for $2.99 a bottle.  - .50 cents off 1 coupon I had that doubled to $1.00 off = final price of $1.99 for a large bottle of fabric softener.  GREAT deal.  I was excited for two seconds because I thought I had a duplicate of this coupon so I could stock up on that great price however I was really saddened when I saw one of the coupons has expired two days ago. 

Method Hand Wash Soap - this was the best deal of the day.  I found a few bottles of a particular fragrance marked down on managers special for .99 cents because it was an October Breast Cancer awareness specialty item.  Lucky me had a $1.00 off 1 coupon meaning the hand soap was FREE.99.  I wish I had duplicates of this coupon because I could have gotten about six bottles for free...since I'm a Lazy Quasi Extreme Couponer of course I didn't have six copies of the coupon. 

Another great deal today was 4pk of Angel Soft toilet paper was on sale for $1.19 - .25 cents off coupon I had which doubled to .50 cents off of course, = final price of .69 cents = .17 cents per roll.  Should have stocked up on that deal too if I had more time to dumpster dive and steal peoples coupons.

Lastly, my favorite item of the day is Cracker Barrel pre-sliced cheese squares which were on sale for $2.99 per block.  Lucky me had a $1.00 of one coupon meaning my final price was only $1.99 - doesn't seem like a big deal to you huh?  Did I mention that this is usually $4 cheese when not on sale no matter which store you buy it at?  Yeah, I'm so cheap I never buy it because of the every day cost, so yeah this is a big deal to me, thank you very much.  I even bought a box of Triscuit crackers that I didn't have a coupon for (although they were on sale of course) in celebration of this deal just to enjoy this cheese. Booooom, in your face!

That is all for now.  If you try these recipes, let me know.  If you have any great deals to share please comment and let me know. 

Until next time...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

11/11/12 Shopping Trip

Today was a pretty good couponing day.  I found some great deals today and with the every day coupon doubling policies at Harris Teeter I was able to save even more.

Today I went to Super Target & Harris Teeter because from my Lazy Quasi Extreme Couponers research I performed before I left I decided those two stores would be my best bet for today's trip.

One thing I also made sure I did was menu plan and make a list before I left.  I have made the mistake of not bringing a list with me before and trust me you don't want to do that.  You'll end up with fabric softener with no detergent, peanut butter but no jelly, and plenty of non edible items that you CAN NOT throw in to the crockpot.  Maybe I should say SHOULD not.  Marinated dryer sheets with a side of sauteed mouthwash does not make for a fulfilling dinner menu for the family.  Trust me.  No list = a cluster of crap when you are trying to come up with meals.

Per my last post I mentioned the importance of understanding each store's coupon policy.  My reason for that is some stores double coupons every day all day.  Kroger doubles coupons of up to $.50 cent value every day all day.  Harris Teeter however doubles coupons of up to $.99 cent face value.  Today I had quite a few coupons that doubled to give me great savings even though it wasn't  their super doubles event.  Read my previous entries regarding information on Super Doubles.  

Anyways, below is my "haul" as the real Extreme Couponers call it.  Since I started my own group of couponers I think I should call it something else.  But what?...

I did not picture everything I bought today just the items that were great deals...

It's hard to see everything but I tried to fit it all in one shot.

Total Raisin Bran - $1.00 of 1, on sale for $2.50 - $1.00 off coupon = $1.50
Coco Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles - on sale 2 for $4, - $1.00 off two coupon = $1.50 each
Le Sueur Green Peas - on sale 10 for $10, I bought two cans = great deal even without a coupon
Quaker Oats Medleys Indivial Oatmeal cups - on sale for $1.99 - $.50 cents off coupon which doubled to $1.00 off = $.99 cents each (I bought three since I had 3 identical coupons)
Kellogg's Crunchy Nut cereal - on sale for $2.12 - $.70 cents off coupon which doubled to $1.40 off = .72 cents!  Great Deal!
Progresso canned soup = on sale 10 for $10.  I had a $1.00 off 4 coupon = .75 cent each
Smuckers Jam/Jelly/Preserves = on sale 2 for $4 - .35 cents off 1 which doubled to .70 cents = $1.30 each
Duke's Mayo = on sale for $2.99, - .40 cents off coupon which doubled to .80 cents off =  $2.19
Uncle Ben's Rice = on sale for 1.89 each - $1.00 off two coupon = $1.39 each
Canned Veggies = Harris Teeter promo on HT brand canned greenbeans, peas, and corn = buy 2 get 3 free.  Final price = .39 cents each - GREAT price
Sugar Free Jello Pudding Cups - on sale for 2 for $4, - $1.00 off two coupon = $1.50 each
Smithfield Bacon - on sale BOGO, bought one at half price - $1.00 off coupon = $1.99
Smithfield Smoked Sausage - on sale for $2.50 - $1.00 off coupon = $1.50 (this is great to freeze and use to make jambalaya in the near future)
Halls Cough Drops - $1.79 each - $2.00 off 2 coupon = .79 cents each (will probably come in handy during cold & flu season)
Natures Bounty 1200mg Fish Oil caplets = on sale BOGO, bought one at half price = 5.37 - $2.00 off coupon = $3.37 Awesome deal!
Frozen Meatballs = on sale $2.67 per bag - $1.00 off coupon = final price of $1.67 

So at Harris Teeter I spent $115 but saved $75 between coupons and my VIC card savings.  Like I said not everything I purchased is pictured above.  I bought everything for our menu for the next 10 days so I'd say that's pretty good savings.

At Target I only used two coupons but took advantage of their weekly sales and clearance items.  For example, Campbell's Condensed Cooking Soups (cream of chicken/mushroom etc) were on sale for .69 cents each which is a great deal.  I also had a .35 cents off 4 cans of Campbell's soup coupons so I bought four cans at .69 cents each -  .35 cents off coupon =  $.60 cents each - cheapest deal in town right now

Then I was able to find Matt some deoderant on the clearance end cap for $2.38 for two Degree Men's deoderants.  That deal was too hard to pass up because even with my coupons and their sales on the other brands available that was the best deal by far.

Another great deal was the large bottle of Axe's mens body wash (only in the Excite scent) was on sale for $2.99 each.  I had a $1.00 off coupon = a final price of $1.99!

And my favorite items of the day from Target were my Glade holiday scented candles.   Which were on sale for $2.50 each = $5.00 - $1.50 off coupon = $1.75 each

Lastly, even though I didn't have a coupon, the large pump style bottles of Suave Professionals was on sale as a packaged deal you get the jumo shampoo and the jumbo conditioner for $5.00 total.  That is a great price.'s trip was pretty successful and understanding the retailers coupons policy will definitely assist you with further savings.  I never knew this whole time that a .75 cents off coupon at Harris Teeter would be doubled every day all day!  Life changer! ha ha

When did I become someone who got excited over coupons?  I don't even recognize myself anymore.

Lazy Quasi Extreme Couponers

Today was an exhausting day.   I got up first thing this morning and got dinner going in the crock pot.  Then I sat down to tackle my project for the day which was simply to organize my coupons better and prepare for my weekly shopping trip today.  I've been watching rerun episodes of Extreme Couponers on Netflix and realized that there is no way I'm ever going to be a hard core couponer if I don't get as meticulous and organized as they do.  Unfortunately I don't have as much free time on my hands as some of them.  The last two episodes I saw the people spent 20+ hours a week planning, clipping, organizing, and making lists.  Um, yeah see I don't have time for all that.  Because of this I have determined that I fall in to my own special category of's called Lazy Quasi Extreme Couponers.  TLC declined to offer me my own show.  Can't imagine why.

Anyway, for anyone else reading this that may ever be interested in this...let me give you the highlights on my methods to my madness...

  1. Clip coupons and organize them to the best of your ability - whatever works for you.  I clip them as I receive the inserts throughout the week and then file them in my new notebook.
  2. Go online to your favorite stores prior to going to the store to see what's on special.  This allows you the ability to match up the specials to your coupons as well as see who has the best prices on certain items.
  3. Menu plan.  Coordinate your menu for the week based on what you can get on sale and what you have coupons for.  
  4. Make a list.  Don't  go in to the store blind.  Know what you want.  If you have coupons for things that you did not see in the sale paper you browsed on line, that's ok.  You can deviate from the list in moderation, especially if you come across an unforeseen deal that you can't pass up. 
  5. Item 4 will be hard if you aren't organized.  I have a new binder where I have all my coupons grouped.  Each page is in order by where these items are located in the store. Items that are usually on the same aisle are also contained on the same page.  (See pic below...i'm so proud of this thing...don't worry, I'll get to the awesomeness of my coupon book momentarily)
  6. Have plenty of time on your hands to make your trip to the store because I can promise you that you are NOT the only couponer out looking for the same deals because they all have the same coupons as you.  Also, it never fails when you are on a coupon mission that is the day that every annoying indecisive moron comes shopping and gets in your way, runs you over with their cart numerous times, and wants to have a twenty minute conversation with their neighbors cousin's nephews' girlfriends Mom right in front of the items you want to grab.  True story.
  7. Understand the coupon policies of ALL your favorite stores so you aren't caught off guard when your coupons don't ring up like you think they should. 
  8. Try to have a budget in mind for what you want to spend.  
  9. Make sure you have loyalty cards for ALL major grocery stores - these plus your coupons will amount to great savings for you.
  10. Stay connected to get the 411 on when super doubles events are so you can double your $1-$2 off coupons for even MORE savings.  These events are limited to usually only one week a month or every other month and you never really quite know when it's coming.  I have the WRAL app on my iPhone and they have a section called SmartShopper where info is posted on great area deals, coupon events etc.  This has been very helpful in planning because the work is done for me.
That's it.  I don't dumpster dive or go steal coupon inserts out of my neighbors papers.  I don't have an entire room in my house dedicated to coupons nor do I have 400 copies of the same coupon so that I can buy 400 items just for the sake of it.  Lastly and most importantly I alone can manage using only one cart and can carry all my groceries out myself.  That my friends is the way of the Lazy Quasi Extreme Couponers society.

Oh yeah, here's my new coupon has clear business card holder sheets where you can slide in your coupons.  I then used peel and stick labels to categorize each holder and then put it in order by section of the store...for example, frozen foods, toiletries, cleaning & household products etc.  In some cases I broke it down even further in to subcategories.  Whatever works for you.  Trust me, a book like this is a life saver and a life changer!

Since this post has already gotten kind of long I will do a separate entry on today's shopping trip.  

Stay tuned.... & most importantly

Happy Couponing!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Double Couponing & Other Stuff

Today I spent my Saturday deal shopping at Kroger and Harris Teeter.  Harris Teeter is offering double coupons at the moment.  FYI they will double up to 20 coupons per household per day.  They will double coupons up to $2.00 face value.  Meaning if you have a $2.00 off coupon they will double and give you $4.00 off.  If you have a $3.00 off coupon on an item they will NOT double it.  The double coupons ends Tuesday I believe.  Although it started on Wendesday there were still actually a few good items left I could use my coupons on. 

I then left Harris Teeter and went  over to Kroger to use some coupons on a few other items because I knew they always have the best deal on a few items I use.   Pictured below is everything I got today...much more impressive than last time!

Harris Teeter:
Purex Detergent: Regular price 10.79, on sale for $8.99 - $1.00 off coupon (x2) = $6.99
Soft Scrub Spray: Regular price $2.65, not on sale - $1.00 off coupon (x2) = $.65
Soft Scrub Gel: Regular price $3.95, not on sale - $1.00 off coupon (x2) = $1.95
Febreeze Set & Refresh: Regular price $3.75, on sale for $2.99 - $1.00 off coupon (x2) = .99 cents
Cascade Dish Detergent Packs: Regular price $5.45, on sale for $4.99 - $1.00 off coupon (x2) = $2.99
Airwick Mini Candle: Regular price $3.75, not on sale, - $1.00 off (x2) = $1.75
Nivea Men's Bodywash: Regular price $5.79, on sale for $4.39 - $1.00 off (x2) = $2.39
Nivea Women's Bodywash: Regular price $5.99 on sale for $4.79 - $1.00 off (x2) = $2.79
Kotex Tampons (2 boxes): Regular price $3.79, on sale for $2.99 - $1.00 off (x2) = .99 cents
(I bought two boxes because I had two identical coupons)
Tampax Pearl Tampons: Regular price $5.29, on sale for $4.49 - $1.00 off coupon (x2) = $2.49
Playtex Gentle Glide Tampons: Regular price $5.29, on sale for $3.99 - $1.00 off coupon (x2) = $1.99 (bought two boxes!)
Scope Mouthwash: Regular price $4.99, on sale for $3.99 - $1.50 off coupon (x2) = .99 cents
Secret Outlast Deodorant: Regular price $4.99, on sale for $3.99 - $1.00 off coupon (x2) = $1.99
Gillette Fusion Shaving Gel: Regular price $4.99, on sale for $3.99 - $1.00 off coupon (x2) = $1.99
Fusion ProGlide Razor: Regular price $12.75, on sale for $8.99 - $4.00 off coupon = $4.99
Simply Venus Gillette Disposable Razors (4 pk): Regular price $7.69, on sale for $6.69 - $2.00 off coupon (x2) = $2.69
Aquafresh Extreme Clean Toothpaste: Regular price $3.59, on sale for $2.97 - $1.00 off coupon (x2) = .97 cents
12 pk Diet Dr Pepper: Regular price $6.39, on sale 3 for $11 (I only bought one = $3.67) - $1.00 off coupon (x2) = $1.67!!! (Great deal wish I had multiples of that one!)
Dawn Dish Soap: Regular price 1.59, on sale for .99 cents - .50 cents off coupon (x2) = FREE
Palmolive Dish Soap: Regular price 3.39, on sale for $1.99 - .50 cents off coupon (x2) = .99 cents

Total: $122.59 - $23.42 in VIC sales - $47.00 in doubled coupons = $54.85 Spent
savings of $67.74!

I'm such a dork I was overly excited about this trip.  Also I got some great coupon organizing tips from some of the ladies I ran in to in the store. 

Lesson for today:  I'm still an amateur at this and apparently I'm not organized enough but I'm learning :-)

After my high off of the savings at Harris Teeter I then went over to Kroger to see if I could find any good deals there.  I usually always have great luck their with their already low prices, sales prices, and coupons too.

Kroger's Deals for Today:

Covergirl Simply Powder Foundation Makeup: Regular price $6.79 (yes you read that right, that is the REGULAR price all day every day!) - $1.00 off coupon = $5.79 that's the best deal ever!  I also have a $3.00 off two Covergirl products coupon that I will use next week or the week after.  Like I said this is the price every day so I didn't feel like I had to stock up.

Glad ForceFlex Tall Kitchen Bags with Febreeze scent: (I'm a total trash bag snob, this is the only brand I will buy because they NEVER break or tear) Regular price $7.99, on sale for $6.99 - $1.00 off coupon = $5.99 (that's a pretty good price for a box of 40 bags)

Herbal Essence Hair Gel: Regular price $3.09 each, on sale 2 for $5, I bought two and had a $1.00 off purchase of two Herbal Essence or Aussie Hair Product coupon = $4.00 ($2 each) = Great price!

Suave Shampoo & Conditioner : $4.08 for both - $1.00 off purchase of two Suave products = $3.08 ($1.54 each) = pretty good price, you can sometimes do better if you wait for a sale at Target but still the savings are around the same regardless.  I used to be a snob and never use Suave because I thought it was cheap and would be horrible for my hair however I recently started using it due to such great coupon deals I kept finding on it and WOW it is pretty awesome believe it or not. 

After all that shopping, I'm exhausted but saving all that money was sooo worth it.  :)

May end up needing to turn our fourth bedroom in to my stockpile room one day.  Not any time soon though.  For now it all fits nicely on a shelf in the linen closet in the hallway ha ha. 

 On another note:

I know my blogs are long but only two people actually read them anyway so...

Last week we tried a new Pinterest recipe.  I thought oh man that sounds good but was worried about what the results might be but man it was delicious!

White Chicken Chilli:
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes & green chillies
1 8oz box of Fat Free Cream Cheese
1 packet of Ranch Mix
I can of black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can of sweet yellow corn
2 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts

Season as desired.  The recipe called for onion powder and cummin and something else I didn't have so I improvised with Creole seasoning, minced onion, black pepper, and red pepper

Cook on low for 6-8 hours in a crock pot stiring halfway through if you can.  I didn't because it cooked all day while I was at work.  Also, the chicken should easily break apart but if not just use a knife and fork and shred the chicken before serving.

You can serve over rice or eat by itself.  We ate it by itself with a side of tortilla chips.  I forgot to take an after picture because I was so distracted by how delicious it was.

So easy, cheap, and delicious!

And lastly, our newest family member

1 year old male Chihuahua


That's all for today...