Archive for January, 2011

Just another ‘day’?

Ok, today is very random! I realized it’s been almost 2 weeks since I last blogged. GASP! That’s because I’m back to working, a lot! I LOVE my job… have I said that lately?? YES! LOVE IT! I have never worked anywhere where I actually like going in!

Ok, i have been reluctant to share this news… I think now is the time. So, I know Addy is 19 months old- and I have been working SO hard to lose the weight I gained from her, and get at least part of my body back to the way it ‘was’. Finally, I have lost all of that weight, plus my ‘feel sorry for myself weight’ I gained right before I got pregnant with her. Yep- that’s right I’m down 61 lbs from the weight I was the day Addy was born! Her weight- (well the pregnancy!) 48 lbs! So, I’d like to pat myself on the back for a job well done! Next, I’m going to get a gym membership of some sort and convince a friend to join with me!!!

With that said, I have been eating everything in the house this evening!! I don’t know why I want to eat everything but i have been. Well, some soup & a lunchable- that counts, right?? I’m SUPPOSED to be on a diet darn it!! I can’t keep my weight the same if all I eat is junk.

I’m still on the hunt for some awesome deals, but they have been missing the past couple of weeks. I mean there are a few good ones- but nothing super great! My newspaper has been missing coupons the past 2 weeks again, and I have forgotten to call them about it. Add that to my to-do list tomorrow!

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Another recipe

I figured I would share this recipe with my readers… I have had several requests for it since I posted a photo on Christmas!

French Toast Casserole (enough for 8 servings!)

You need:
1 loaf of french bread (not sliced) (I get it at Kroger for $1.25 it’s the skinny crusty one!)
8 oz cream cheese, cut into small cubes (1 pkg)
8 eggs (GEESH!)
2 1/2 cups milk
6 Tbsp Butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 recipe apple cider syrup (below)
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup apple cider OR apple juice (I always use apple juice)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp butter OR margarine

TO make casserole:
Butter or spray 9×13 pan and preheat oven to 350º.
Cut bread into cubes. I sit mine out over night uncovered and it get super crusty.
Put 1/2 cubes in the greased pan. Top with cream cheese cubes and then top with the remaining bread cubes.
Beat together eggs, milk, melted butter, and maple syrup. Pour evenly over bread and use the spatula to press down the bread cubes. Cover with plastic wrap (I always do overnight) but you can do 2-24 hours.

Bake at 350º for 35-45 mins until the center is set and the edges are brown. Let stand 10 mins before serving and drizzle the syrup over it once it is on your plate =)

TO make syrup:
stir together sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir in cider and lemon juice in a small saucepan on low to medium low heat.
Cook until thick, whisking very frequently so it doesn’t burn or stick.
Remove from heat and stir in butter.
**If you lose track and it gets too thick, thin it out with 1/4 cup or less of HOT water. It will work fine (I do this almost every time!)

‘Couponing’ 102…

Once you have mastered coupon lingo and built a coupon stash, you are ready to start organizing your coupons and developing your shopping strategy. Follow these couponing tips to maximize your success.

Organize Your Coupons

There are two widely used methods of organizing coupons. It is up to you to decide which works best with your lifestyle.
The binder method – clip coupons and file in 9-pocket Baseball card sleeves in a 3-ring binder organized by category. This is very time-consuming, but very organized.

Quick & easy method – organize coupon inserts by date & file them in plastic sheet sleeves in a 3-ring binder. Follow coupon blogs & clip coupons when the products go on sale.
Get organized before leaving for your shopping trip
I like to go into the store with a plan of attack. I get in, do what I came to do, and get out.
Make a list of what you want & avoid wavering from it
Clip & organize coupons before you leave
Put coupons in a separate envelope or accordion folder
Print the store coupon policy from the website and keep it with you
Pick the best time to shop
Early in morning or late at night are the slowest times
Remember, quantities are limited on the best deals (some stores will issue rainchecks)

Know your store’s coupon strategy (CVS example)

Every store has their own shopping card, coupons, rewards programs, etc. I have listed a CVS example here because I shop there at least twice a week.
Scan your CVS card at the coupon center – you will receive store coupons here. You can stack these coupons with manufacturer coupons to maximize the deal.

Shop for the best deals
Lay your green bag, CVS card, and green bag tag on the counter – you can purchase the Green Bag Tag for 99 cents. Put it on your green bag and have it scanned every time you shop. You will receive one Extra Buck for every 4 transactions. If you are a frequent shopper, you can typically make $1.00 each week!

Lay your items on the counter
Wait until all the items have been scanned

If you have a $/$ coupon ($3/$15), hand this over first
Hand over any other store/manufacturer coupons one at a time
Present your Extra Bucks
Pay any remaining OOP costs
Don’t be afraid to ask for a manager, if there is a problem

20¢ Laundry soap anyone??

We all know I LOVE to save money.. so here’s the trips I have planned today:

First, to CVS. The following transactions:

Buy 5 bottles of Wisk Laundry soap ($5 each)
-Get $10 Extra Care Bucks.
-Use 5-$2/1 Wish Laundry Soap Coupons from 11/14 Coupon insert. I bought these from a clipping service I only had 2.
-Use 1-$4/20 purchase CVS coupon
Total before coupons: $26.75- coupons= $12.75, get $10 extra care bucks.
Before tax, etc it (and after coupons) will be $1 for all 5 bottles!!
(I will be doing this one 2x! We are on our LAST bottle of detergent and this is cheaper than making my own)

#2
Buy 2 Glade Fragrance Collection Reed Diffusers or Sense & Spray. $6 each
-Use buy 1 get 1 free coupon.
Pay $6, get $3 Extra Care Bucks. These will be $1.50 each. Since I’d rather save $$ I am not particular on which brand air fresheners I use anymore. Although Bath & Body Works Wallflowers ARE my all time favorite. From time to time I will buy them too!

Walgreens:
#1
4- Advil $3 each= $12
-Use 4 $2/1 Advil (printable from advil.com)
-Get $3 Register Rewards
Final price: $1 for 4 bottles!
I will be doing this one twice too!!

#2
1- Airwick Imotion starter kit- $6.50 (estimate)
2- Lysol Neutra Air Freshmatic- $6.50 (also estimate)
-Use 2 $4/1 Lysol starter (printable from lysol.com (must sign up))
-Use 1 $4/1 Airwick (1/2/11 coupon insert)
Pay: $7.50 or so. Not a bad price for 3!! Plus, there are potential register rewards that are not confirmed by me or the ad, so we will see!

2- Clorox Wipes- $5
Use 2- 75¢/1 (1/2/11 coupon insert)
-Get $2 register rewards!
Pay $1.50 for 2!!
#3- Remember I have $8 in register rewards to use so far! Plus $3 from the other day!
I will be getting 2 packs of Pull-ups for Miss Addy $6.99 each
-Use 2- $2/1 Coupons (Pullups.com)
Pay about $9.98
-Pay with $8 in register rewards, rest in cash or pick up another item to make the total high enough to pay with all my rewards!
(I MAY get more Pull Ups if they will take my coupons I printed as my printer was running out of ink– they are very blurry so I don’t know!)

Grand total I hope to pay:
$8 for air freshners, $2 for diapers, $8 for advil. So under $20!

Some deals this week..

I found a couple of notable deals for Kroger & Marsh this week, matching up coupons! The coupons were in last Sunday’s inserts unless otherwise noted!

First, Marsh’s Coco Wheats are buy 1 get 1 free.. Not something I normally buy but it would offer a change for Miss Addy (and they don’t have a ton of sugar) Plus I have a $1/1 coupon. That will make 2 boxes just $1.99!! This coupon came from signing up on the Little Crow Foods website!!

Next, Softsoap is on sale for 88¢ at Kroger too!
I have coupons for 35¢/1 from last week (22 to be exact!!) so I will be doing my year’s worth of stocking up. Once they are doubled, the soap will be 18¢!! You can’t beat that. Although I am sad I gave up my Bath & Body Works soaps, saving money is so much more rewarding!

Peter Pan Peanut Butter is $1.49 at Marsh this week, combine that with the $1/2 coupon from last week’s paper and it’s just 99¢ per jar. That’s not a bad deal. I’ve seen better but this one is still good! (too bad I only buy Skippy now!)

At Kroger (must buy 4!)
2 free Aussie styling products, when you buy 2 Herbal Essences Shampoo or Conditioner products. I get this price by using the coupon from the Jan P&G Brandsaver!
They are on sale for $2.99, plus you get $4 off when you buy 4. So, that means I will pay just $2 for 4 of them!! Too bad I don’t have more coupons. I’d consider switching for that price!

Stay tuned, I’ll post any more admirable deals as I see them!
~Ashley

Work, work, work

Work is going well.. I was quite surprised by the complexity of the things that goes into running a retail store!!! I didn’t have any idea all of the sales stuff that goes into it. Well- now I do! Lol

Besides the 2 main reasons I love my job: a huge discount, and getting first pick on the new stuff!
I enjoy my job, and the time I get away from home. I never thought I would admit it but being at home was a bit overwhelming for me. Especially since I had nothing to do (its too cold out!). I would be okay if it was Summer and I could go to the pool or the park! The only downside to working: I don’t have a sitter reasonably close to home. So the day often starts with a mini-roadtrip to Mom’s house to drop Miss Addy off. They are loving the time they get to spend together. I almost cried last night and tonight when I didn’t get to kiss my baby goodnight and put her in her PJ’s. I will get used to it eventually because I will be working early 2 days a week and late 2 days a week most weeks. This week’s good news: I’m off Fri-Sun. That’s nice! I enjoy days off, and hope they fall so I can take Addy to play time at the library too!!

That’s it for now.. I’m ready for bed soon I gotta be back at work at 9am.

A new chapter…

So, as most of you know by now 2010 brought a ton of huge changes in my life. I have said good riddens to 2010, and have decided in 2011 I am going to focus on me, Addy, and our future happiness!

So, tomorrow I will officially be re-entering the workforce. I have thoroughly enjoyed being home with Addy and it honestly breaks my heart to leave her, but I also need time out of the house. Even if it does mean a bajillion miles of driving to/from work and to drop Addy off at Mom’s. I’m pretty much positive I’m ready. Plus- I’ll get to meet some new ladies and socialize. That’s worth the drive to me- I miss adult interaction these days.

School starts again in oh- 15 days. Yep, that’s right and I haven’t even finalized my plans. Again because of all the driving involved, daycare situation, and the dreaded tuition. On that note- anyone want to buy my Escape?? I’ve had it for 3 months now and I really need to sell it to pay tuition. I’m sad to see it go because I loved that car, but I really need the cash to fork over to the school!

Next objective= work out a school and work schedule without feeling like I’m leaving my princess all day every day. That is going to be a challenge because I will be in class at least 2 1/2 days per week. Then there’s work and homework. My Bachelor’s was easier because I didn’t have many in class meetings. Ugh. So maybe I’ll be working on getting admitted to another (MORE expensive) school? I don’t know! I really don’t want to track across the state to Richmond 3x a week.

Anyhow, I am feeling a bit enlightened today, and I am excited to wake up tomorrow to a new day! To be quite honest it has been a VERY long time since I’ve felt this good about something, especially when it includes the word “work”! I’ll have a full update tomorrow.