Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Goodbye Webkinz

Today was the third strike for Webkinz.
My kids have really enjoyed taking care of their pets
and playing games in a nice, kid-friendly environment.
Or so I thought.

The first strike came a few months ago
when my son approached me
and asked me if there was a bad word
that sounded like "dam".
When I inquired further why he was asking,
he told me he had heard it on Webkinz in a joke.
I reviewed the Webkinz video that contained the joke
and was shocked to see that he was indeed correct.
The joke says: What did the fish say when he swam into a wall?
The answer is the aforementioned word in question.
I didn't think my kids would be learning bad words on Webkinz!

The second strike was a month or so ago
with a maternity ad which had a woman in a bra!

And today my daughter let me know that
there was another ad on there this afternoon
with a woman in a bra.

I've read that Webkinz edited the video with the joke
and that you can inform them about
inappropriate content in their ads,
but isn't that their job?
After all, they are the ones making the money
on the animals and the ads combined.
If they say they're providing a kid-friendly environment,
shouldn't they make sure that is true?
Shouldn't they be the ones who are making sure
that their ads are aimed at the right target audience?

They don't care about my kids.
They care about money, but they won't get any more from us.

For my family, I can no longer risk being surprised
by what we might stumble upon on Webkinz.
And with that, we bid Webkinz,


Thursday, July 7, 2011

What I'm Busy Doing

I'm busy with life and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon. The main things that I am concentrating my time and attention on right now are growing in my faith, raising my children, homeschooling, keeping house, couponing, saving money, and eating healthy.

In efforts to carve more time out of my day, I have been eyeing the possibility of doing once-a-month-cooking. I'm getting closer to making that a reality and my mom is going to do it with me. I've read that having a partner makes it more enjoyable and I can't think of anyone else I'd rather do it with. =)

The main website I have been looking at is Once a Month Mom. There are a few different styles of menus to choose from and although I can't see myself using all of the recipes in one menu, there are some great ideas. The whole foods menu appeals to me the most, as it has the least amount of processed foods and is more made-from-scratch cooking, which is more my style. There is a new menu each month and it is definitely a great tool to check out.

Right now I'm in the process of using up the food I have in my freezer and I'm not buying meat right now. When you do this monthly cooking, you want to use fresh as much as possible. I'm getting closer to having the room in my freezer that I will need to store the food I end up cooking.

At any rate, I'm at least going to give this a try and see if it gives me a little more time during the day. I'm hoping that it does, but I won't know until I do it. If anything, it will give my mom and I something to do together and make some memories. =)

Have you ever tried once-a-month-cooking? Do you have any tips or suggestions?


Friday, May 27, 2011

Drugstore Coupon Shopping Notes 5/22

I just got back from my trip to Walgreens and CVS and I had a few notes to share with any one else who is doing this whole coupon adventure.
First of all, I did extremely well in spite of some hiccups.
I ended up spending a total of: $38.45 OOP
I received back $40 in Register Rewards from Walgreen's.
I think that's pretty awesome! =)
Here's some things I found out today that are mentionable:
1. The BOGO Suave Body Wash coupon that a whole bunch of matchup lists said would be in the 5/22 Red Plum Unilever insert... NOT in mine. It's possible that this is a coupon in other states, but I had 4 copies of the paper and I went through that insert 5-6 times (trust me, I was desperate to find it) and it wasn't in there. Anyhoo, if you happen to live in AZ and actually found it, would you please let me know where exactly? I would love to know if I'm blind for real! =P
2. The $2 off any Revlon Color Cosmetic coupon DID NOT work on the nail polish at CVS. So, I politely (and calmly) asked the cashier to take those off of my order... I hope my embarrassment wasn't too noticeable. ;-) It's possible this might work at a different location, but I thought I should let you know about my experience.
3. I had $3 off of Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation that I got HERE and I had 2 of these coupons. At my CVS, these were 75% and so when they rang up, they OWED ME $1.50ish! I used this overage and another coupon to buy some Cover Girl eye shadow. Anyways, with this coupon, it seems like you can get a pretty good deal on this makeup. I am getting close to empty on the stuff I'm using right now, so this was great for me!
4. I have read Arizona Walgreen's coupon policy, but it didn't mention how many transactions a customer is limited to. That said, when I went to checkout today and told the cashier I would have 4 separate transactions and that I would be happy to get back in line for each one, she informed me that she is only supposed to do 2 transactions. She was very nice and it wasn't a heated discussion or anything. She did say she would go ahead (even though I told her it was okay not to). At the end, I did ask her about that and she said they're not supposed to, but it depends on how busy they are and what time of the day it is and if you let them know you have more than 2, it's okay. Okay, I thought I did that when I checked out... hmm? That's not very clear, but I think I will keep it to 2 transactions next time.
5. The Complete Contact Solution deal and the Scunci Hair Elastics are an awesome deal at Walgreen's this week. They end up being FREE with rewards you get back, but make sure you go back and spend your rewards on another great deal during the week or next week (before the reward expires) or the contact solution and hair bands don't end up being free.
6. Even though I've done hardly any shopping at CVS, I scanned my CVS card at the kiosk in the store and a coupon for a free bag tag printed up, so definitely take the extra couple of minutes to scan your card... you might get something good!
7. Finally, here's the matchup lists I used for my shopping this week. Both of them are from The Coupon Counselor. <---- thank you! =)
CVS coupon matchups and deals
Walgreens coupon matchups and deals
So those are my shopping notes from my drugstore shopping today! How did you do?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Saved From the Garbage Muffins

Okay, that's not the REAL name of these muffins, but I was trying to get your attention.
But seriously, the whole reason why I made these muffins was to save certain ingredients from the garbage can!
Over the past few days, I have been cleaning food out of my refrigerator and instead of throwing food away, I've been coming up with a way to use it. I've come up with some pretty yummy eats doing this and the great thing is that I'm not throwing food away, so I'm saving money! Cha-ching! =)

Here's what I wanted to use up:

Okay, let's see... we've got some applesauce, a couple of overripe bananas, a zucchini that's almost rotten, and a bit of crushed pineapple.

Here's what I came up with and they turned out delicious!!

The recipe is loosely based on THIS ONE from allrecipes (which is delicious, btw), but you will see that my version is an entirely new creation! TONS less oil, less sugar, and more yummy, nutritious ingredients. I would have loved to have used a combination of whole wheat flour and white, but I had no whole wheat flour on hand... boo! =( That would have increased the nutritional value of these muffins a bit. Feel free to try it with whole wheat flour and add whatever you want! I also think I could have gotten away with less sugar. I will probably try a bit less next time. I think these would be fantastic with nuts, but I planned on letting Baby Girl have some, so I left those out. Enjoy!

Better-For-You Zucchini Banana Muffins
Click here for a printable version
Makes approximately 18 regular-size muffins or 3 dozen mini muffins


2 bananas, mashed
⅓ C. unsweetened applesauce
⅛ C. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
¾ C. sugar
1-1/2 C. flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. baking soda
½ TBS. ground cinnamon
1 zucchini, grated
⅓ C. crushed pineapple
½ C. raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease muffin pan or line with muffin liners. (Note: I had much better success without the liners. I just gave each muffin cup a light grease and they came out easily. The ones in the paper liners stuck really bad to the paper and the muffins didn’t come out too nicely from the paper. FYI!)

2. Combine the first five ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl. Mix until well combined. Add the sugar and mix until combined.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and ground cinnamon. Mix to combine.

4. While stirring, add flour mixture to wet mixture until ingredients are well combined.

5. Add in the zucchini, pineapple, raisins, and any other chunkier ingredients at this time. Stir to combine and distribute fruit evenly throughout batter.

6. Distribute among muffin cups and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve piping hot out of the oven or cold. They’re good either way!

Here's the skinny on these muffins according to caloriecount: 1 serving/1 regular-size muffin: 109 calories, 2.1 grams fat, 21 mg cholesterol, 13.4 grams sugar, 1.8 grams protein.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Wise Shopping Trip Results 5/12

I wanted to share my shopping results with you from yesterday's trip. It's not too late to get in on the deals and it's kind of fun and challenging to save money. I even made a video of my shopping trip which is at the bottom of this post. It was fun to do.

I will mention that wise shopping isn't just using coupons. It's shopping the store deals and when possible, matching up that great deal with a coupon. I really didn't use a whole lot of coupons on this last shopping trip (about a dozen), but I still saved 78%.

Here's the goods:

$110.34 worth of groceries for $24.02!!

Here's the run down:


Total: $19.61
Savings: $20.54
Rebate & Reward: $19.00
This shopping trip ended up costing $0.61!!
Check out the matchup list for Walgreen's HERE.
Deals for Walgreen's end Saturday!


Total: $8.67
Savings: $13.57
Check out the matchup list for Bashas' HERE.


Total: $4.38
Savings: $12.98
View the matchup list for Fry's HERE.


Total: $10.36
Savings: $20.23
View the matchup list for Albertson's HERE.

My silly video!!

Hope you enjoyed today's post!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Grocery Deals for 5/11 - 5/17

Here's some links where you can go to see what's on sale this week here in AZ. Follow the links to find the lists for the deals.

Fry's - Go HERE

Bashas' - Go HERE

Albertson's - Go HERE

Safeway - Go HERE

A friend of mine also told me about this site: GrocerySmarts

Monday, May 9, 2011

This Week's Menu

This is what is going to be on our plates this week.
Weekly menu planning is a great way to save money.
You not only use up what you have,
but you don't make as many trips to the grocery store
where you inevitably buy items you
weren't originally planning on buying.
Those extra shopping trips add up!

Chicken & Veggie Stir-fry
(my way of cleaning out the vegetable bin)
Leftover Mongolian Beef
Fried Rice

Corned Beef & Cabbage

Grilled Salmon
Rice Pilaf
Sweet Potato Oven-baked Fries

Skillet Beef & Noodles
Carrots w/ Garlic


More Leftovers!! :D

What's on your menu this week?

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Thanks so much for stopping by!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sunday Paper Coupon Preview

I found this link recently and it gives you a preview of the coupons that are going to be in the Sunday paper. This is great for deciding if you need to get multiple copies of the paper or not. This week's coupons contain coupons for a couple of things I would buy, namely the Mountain High yogurt and Tide detergent. So, I will probably pick up a couple of extra copies of Sunday's paper. Isn't that nice to know ahead of time without having to look through the paper yourself?

Here's the link: http://www.sundaycouponpreview.com/  Make sure you click the "read more" button at the bottom of the post for this week to see the complete list!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers! =)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Coupon Adventures

I've been an amateur coupon user for a few years.
"Oh, I use that." snip
"Maybe this will go on sale." snip

My husband and I watched some youtube videos
a few weeks ago and decided to give this whole coupon thing
a trial of a few months and see if it's worth the time and effort.
There are many youtube videos out there about couponing,
but I have really appreciated this series by Living Well Spending Less:
Extreme Couponing for Normal People

(click above for the first episode and the others are on the side bar)

Yes, normal people! That's what we are!
Well, we have friends and family that would beg to differ...
but you know what I mean.
We're not going to be using underneath our children's beds
to store extra items.
And we're not going to buy things we aren't going to use.
That kind of normal.
Anyhoo... this intro to what I really want to share with you
is taking a long time because I'm rambling too much.

Living Well Spending Less also has an awesome
step-by-step guide to help you start couponing
that we found very helpful.
Here's the link to that: How to Start Extreme Couponing.
I'm not sure how comfortable I am with the label "extreme",
but that's what I'm doing and I guess that means I'm extreme.
If you decide to jump in and be extreme like myself (and others)
and you decide to follow her step-by-step guide,
please follow her suggestions when putting together
your first shopping list.
I thought I knew how to "coupon" and I went
too extreme (you might say) with my first trip
and I was so exhausted and burnt out just making the lists.
I almost gave up then and there!
So don't overwhelm yourself.
Take baby steps.
Start with a very small list.
Start with ONE store.

I'm only on my 3rd week and it was much easier this week.
I was so excited with my trip to Fry's today.
I spent $15.46 and saved... are you ready...
$39.89!!!!!! That is a 72% savings.
Yes, I'm pretty excited about that.
I spent about an hour getting my list
and coupons together.
I would say $40 for an hour is pretty good. =)

Before I decided to give this a try
I was doing a pretty good job of shopping smart
and saving money when I went,
but my percentage was usually anywhere between 35-45%.
The past few times I have gone shopping, my percentage has
been in the 50%-60%.

I definitely have more to say about all this,
but I don't have the time at the moment.
I just wanted to share my results with you thus far
and also share the list for Fry's this week (5/4-5/10).
Deals & Coupon Match-ups @ Frys

Hope you're enjoying your week!


Monday, March 21, 2011


I'm sitting here feeling a little under the weather.
You can call it a cold and so can I,
because that's what it is.

So while I've been sitting here,
I've been doing a little blog-surfing
on foodie blogs.

Here's some posts you might like!

BBQ Chicken Enchiladas @ Feels Like Home

Mexican Ground Turkey Quinoa Skillet @ Debbie Does Dinner Healthy

Hearty Whole Grain Waffles @ Hallee the Homemaker

Stay healthy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Homeschool Musings

My two oldest and I have been busy
with our 50 states unit study for several months now.
I don't know if this is a problem or not
(at least not yet),
but it is feeling a bit dry.
I can't think of another word to describe the feeling.
And the thought of enduring many, many more months
of this dryness is a little concerning to me.

I want to give my kids the best
home educated experience that I can,
and somehow I feel like I'm missing the mark with this study.
But then on the other hand, the thought
of abandoning the study when we've come so far
(about 1/3 of the way)
is hard for me to justify,
especially when I want to teach my kids
good character qualities like
persevering and not giving up!

What to do?

While we leave me, myself, and I to ponder that question,
here is a great link that I found today:
And no, this did not help me at all with
being content with what I teaching at the moment.
Look at all these topics and such creative ways of teaching!
I'm drooling... in a way that only a teacher can.
(Teachers out there, you know what I'm talking about).

Sitting here, contemplating the matter at hand,


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

God's Will & Testament

I have never read the Bible all the way through!
There... I said it.
You would think that since this book
is at the very core of my faith,
I would have bothered to have read it
all the way through at least once.
I guess I didn't really think it was
I M P O R T A N T.
I mean, that is the most logical
conclusion to come to, right?
R I G H T.
And that is the truth,
because if it wasn't the truth,
than I would have read it through in its entirety already,
and many more times over.

I have gone so many years not knowing what
the Bible says.
And that is really sad,
because it is the testament and will
of my Father, God Almighty.
This book tells me what is mine.
It tells me what He has left for me.
It tells me the truth about my Father,
about His Son, His Spirit, about life, about death,
about what really matters.

If you had a really rich father,
would you think that his last will and testament
wasn't important enough to read?
Would you rely on other people
to tell you once a week what the will says
without checking it out for yourself?
(All the while living in a one-room shack
with a leaky roof, infested with cockroaches and mice...
Starving, with nothing, being a slave to a master
who abuses you, I might add.)
What?! That's crazy talk!!
I know, and yet, that is how I've treated God's Word to me.

A few years ago, I began to really read
my Father's will and testimony.
Not to be religious
(who else is tired of doing that?),
but because I wanted to really know
W H A T  I T  S A I D.
I have found out some things that no one...
told me in church all those years I went on Sunday.
Things that I should have known.
Things that would have helped me.
Things that have changed my life.

Who should I blame?
Who should I blame for cheating
me out of years of enjoying the riches of Christ?
Who should I blame for unnecessary
spiritual poverty?
Who should I blame for the counterfeit faith
that I was satisfied with?
Who should I blame?
M  Y  S  E  L  F.
M  Y  S  E  L  F.
M  Y  S  E  L  F.
Truly, I was a fool.

So how do I end this reflection?
Find out for yourself what God's will is!
Read the testament that He left for you.
There is an inheritance beyond imagination
for anyone who has become a son of God.
How do you become a son of God?
Email me... I'd love to chat with you about it.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.
Have a blessed day!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Cupcake Cake

My oldest daughter turned 10 this month!
It's amazing how quickly 10 years flew by.
We planned a birthday party with kids,
party favors, games, hot dogs, cake...
hold on there... not just any cake!
A cupcake cake.
Have you seen these at the grocery store?
They're really cute, but I just can't
bring myself to pay all that money
for cupcakes that are mediocre
with icing that is just as mediocre
(probably even more so).
It's not that I'm a snob
(at least I don't think I am),
but I just love yummy food
and those store-bought cupcakes
just aren't that yummy to me.
Besides, my daughter wanted carrot cake cupcakes...
I'm not sure the grocery store could pull that off.

So we went to work making carrot cake cupcakes
using an old recipe from a Russian cookbook
that my grandma gave my mom
(seriously, those ladies knew how to bake/cook).
It's an amazing recipe and along with cream cheese
frosting on top... well, it's just super amazing!

I arranged the cupcakes on a piece of foam board,
iced the cupcakes and decorated them.
Decorated the foam board.
I'll admit, I was in a little rush when I put this together
and it didn't come out the greatest,
but my daughter loved it and was very pleased
and that's what really matters, right?

So I'm glad we tried something new
and had some fun with it.

How about you?
Have you tried anything new lately?