Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Congratulate me!

I actually *bought* Christmas cards today! Yay for me!

You're probably wondering why on earth you should congratulate me for such a trivial thing. Well, Delicious Readers, I'll tell you...

I've cut and colored, stamped and adhered my way through the past several holiday seasons--making my own Christmas cards. I love doing it, but making 100 cards takes time.

A LOT of time.

I spent a couple hours doodling with a card design I had in mind, but couldn't quite get it right. Wide awake at 3 am, I stepped into the Offi-Studi-Onus room. (That's the official nickname for our bonus room since it's Scott's office, the girls' study and my craft room all rolled up into one convenient package.) I stared at the design I'd put together and... and... and...

I don't know. I guess I just didn't feel the love. And I didn't want to spend the next two weeks buried under scraps of paper. I want to be frugal with my cards and if I could use the supplies I have on hand to make them, I'd save plenty of money, right? But I don't have enough of anything to make 100 cards, so I'd have to make a big ol' Michael's run.

In my dream world of constantly living up to June Cleaver perfection, I want to make the cards. They mean so much more when they're handmade and you know someone took all that time to make something beautiful for you. Cards picked up in a chaotic, frenzied, scary-Walmart-right-before-Christmas shopping trip simply bleed obligation, not holiday joy. At least that's why I like to make my own cards.

So actually purchasing the four boxes of Christmas cards at Target today was a huge feat for me. I'm letting myself off the hook. And those cards will be sent out with all the love and wishes for a wonderful Christmas as any card I've ever created from scratch.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A chocolate shortage? *cough cough I can't breathe*

Just saw a segment on MSNBC about a possible chocolate shortage over the next 20 years. I think my body has gone into shock.

Factors that indicate a shortage?
  • Unrest in the Ivory Coast and a western Africa drought (where most of the world's cocoa beans are grown)
  • Lack of profitability for the farmers (They earn less than $1 a day in selling to large chocolate corporations.)
  • Higher demand for chocolate
Dark chocolate is currently enjoying its 15 minutes of fame and since dark chocolate candy requires more cocoa than milk chocolate, demand is high high high.

Since 2005, cocoa's price skyrocketed 44%. Candy has gotten more expensive, but then, so has everything else. The chocolate companies apparently understand the ups and downs of agriculture and are absorbing much of the increase in production costs.

Naturally, though, they won't want to negatively affect their profits too much, so if Africa doesn't see some rain and the Ivory Coast citizens don't push in their manners buttons, there will be less chocolate. Thus, the end cost for chocoholics like myself will be very, very  high.

Mormons often stock three years' worth of foodstuffs. I think I should take a hint from them and stock years' worth of chocolate.

Watcha think?

Friday, November 19, 2010

And the travel ends at very long last...

Scott arrived home tonight from his last week-long training. Woot! Woot! What a relief to us all that he's here again!!

Emma's begging him to read Harry Potter to her. Hayley just won't stop talking about completely random and inconsequential details of her week.

And me? I've already thanked the good Lord multiple times for Scott's return. It's been an intensely long ten days...

On Wednesday of last week, Hayley came home sick. Thursday and Friday? School holidays. Sunday Scott left. Monday and Tuesday Emma graced me with her sick presence on Monday and Tuesday. She went back to school on Wednesday, but since this is conference week, school ended before noon. Hayley stayed home sick again yesterday.

And let's not forget that, in some random way unbeknownst to me, I messed up my left wrist. The girls have had to help me do everything from scratching my back to buttoning my jeans. How sad is that? I've had no choice but to drive one-handed and occasionally, with much excruciating pain, two-handed. I can't make cards. I can't knit. I can't make my own sandwiches. I can't. Period. I just can't.

By the way, I'm becoming quite a speedy one-handed typist.

I'm sure you all agree with me: I. Need. A. Break.

Big time.

Will tomorrow be better? Yes, because my hero is home. But the insanity of life won't take a breather. Emma and I have a Girl Scout sleep-over Saturday night and the second we come home Sunday morning, we're all hoping the car for a lovely 10 hour drive to my parents' house. Saturday will be a busy, busy, busy day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When Super Couponing goes deliciously good. Really, really good.

Ralphs logo
I came home from Ralph's grocery store at 10pm last night on such a high.

See this?

$9.68 for it all!!!

Woot! Woot! Woot!

Ralph's is doubling coupons right now and by combining coupons with their sales, I got deal after deal after.

And this morning, I went over to CVS and paid $2 for:

2 boxes of Kellogg's Raisin Bran
1 set of AquaGlobes
2 jars of Skippy peanut butter
1 12.5 bottle of Herbal Essences

But it gets better! I received $3 in ExtraCare bucks. Result? All of that for nothing and a dollar back in profit.

Yabba dabba do!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's about time! Finally a music video/song with a positive message...

This is Firework by Katy Perry.

Watch and listen. In a word? Awesome.

Monday, November 15, 2010

When Super Couponing goes bad


Last week, I drove Emma up to Michael's so she could buy a birthday present for Hayley. It was a two part gift and since I had two 50% off coupons, I planned on paying for one part with one coupon. Emma would use the other coupon in her own transaction.

Halfway to the store, I realized that the coupons expired the previous day.

I was livid. Seriously, I'm fairly sure steam shot out my ears.

I knew I had current 40% coupons at home, but I didn't want to bother turning around (and driving the entire mile home again.) If the items had been at all expensive, of course I would have gone home again. But they weren't.

The higher price item was $4.99. Yup. Less than $5. So I would have saved a whopping $2.50 with that expired coupon.

So not a big deal, right?


So why then did the experience put me in a foul mood for the rest of the day? I have no idea. A savings of $2.50 would have been nice, but the lack of it isn't likely to put a gigantic dent in wallet or anything.

I guess it's becoming a matter of pride. I get so excited when I pay barely anything for what I purchase. Who wouldn't?

But I have got to play Where's Waldo and find the Waldo-esque balance of couponing. I cannot continue to throw myself into raging fury with myself over comparative pennies.

A couple days after the 50% off coupon incident, I started to fall into another trap: the "I should have gotten a better deal, so what I am going to do about this purchase?" trap.

Here's the scenario: I went to Bath and Body Works with two coupons. The first was buy anything and get any Signature item (up to $13) free. The second was $10 off a $30 purchase.

$10 OFF ANY $30 PURCHASE  A sales girl who gave me the coupons earlier in the week said that I could use both coupons in the same transaction. Combining the coupons and their current special of buy 3, get 2 free Signature items, I could get 6 Signature items for $20. Given that these are around $13 each, that's an awesome deal!

But... dot dot dot... when I tried to use both coupons at another branch, the cashier told me I couldn't use both coupons at once. Huh? Even so, $30 for 6 items is still a steal. But the total turned out to be almost $40.

I'm so confused!

And upset. And frustrated. And... and... and...

I felt myself spiraling downward into the couponing blues. Fortunately for me, my amazing husband was available to talk me down from the cliff of Bath and Body Works coupon chaos. By the end of our conversation, I accepted two things:

1. The effect of couponing is long-term. You save a bit of money here and there. It adds up, making a significant savings, but one or two lost coupon transactions won't make a huge difference in the end. Especially given all the money I save on other things. (More on that in a different post. hee hee)

2. My time is worth money. I know, I know. Pretty basic lesson. But when I'm trying to stretch every single dollar as far as it will possibly go, that's difficult to remember. Scott made me understand that it just isn't worth it to chase after every possible savings out there. He's so right. (Again.)

No more insane quests for the best deal possible. That's my two cents. But you can't keep those two cents 'cause I'm saving money! LOL

Friday, November 12, 2010

No 13th birthdays allowed.


No. I refuse to allow my beautiful daughter to turn 13. Nope. Not gonna happen. No way. Nu-huh. Fu' getta 'bout it.

If only.

My amazing Hayley officially turned 13 at 3:59 am this morning, Nov. 12.

I just can't believe it. Wasn't it just last year that she popped out (ha!) after a grueling 35 hours of labor and 2.5 hours of pushing? As the doctor caught my red, cone-headed baby, she (Hayley, not the doctor) screamed so loud that everyone standing in the delivery room literally took an instinctive step backward. And when Scott cut the cord, "juice" squirted all over the doctor's face and glasses. She was... umm... Not. Pleased.

I wanted to put in a few photos of my Hayley through the years. I just couldn't decide which ones! So here are a few and then one taken just last week. (That one's an iPhone pic, so sorry about the quality. You get the idea, though. She's gorgeous.)

And now my Hayley-girl has surpassed me in height by 2 inches. She's tall and gorgeous and talented and intelligent and I am so incredibly proud of her.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

FREEBIES! The drugstores have some awesome deals this week!

Yup! Everything in the photo (sorry for the icky quality--my camera battery is dead) I obtained for FREE!

dental floss
cold relief medicine
2 bottle of Gain dishwashing liquid
contact lens cleaner
Schick razors

Cool, huh?

Everything came from Walgreen's except the Gain, which came from CVS. I went to Rite-Aid, but realized I forgot to grab the newspaper coupons to match up with their sales. Bummer. I have oodles of toothpaste already, but I may have to hit Rite-Aid again to get more. I mean, free is free, right? It's perfect for donating to charity and/or food pantries.

Other awesome and amazing deals of the week? 

50 cent Degree deodorant
$1 Oxy power packs (10 ct.)
$2.75 Gummy vitamins (60 ct.)
$1.29 Nestle choc. chips (12 oz. bag)
$1.99 Purex laundry detergent (32 load)

If you're interested in getting any of these deals yourself, head over to My Frugal Adventures. You'll find all the sales listed for the drugstores, plus where to find coupons for additional discounts.

Happy shopping!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Well, I blew it with NaBloPoMo.

Got sick. Went out of town. And most challenging of all, got the blogging blanks. That's where I cannot think of a single decent thing to write about on my blog.

I'm still doing the card giveaway, though, for the reader who comments the most during the month of November! One comment per post, please!

More later... right now I've got a possibly sick teenager, a tween in the shower when she should be leaving for school in 18 minutes and a husband who's heading out of town today again. *sigh*

Have a wonderful Monday, Delicious Friends!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's a pepper! It's a watermelon! It's an... apple gourd?

Huh? An apple gourd?

We found the hybrid-looking vegetable happily growing in among it's pumpkin relatives at the pumpkin patch yesterday. Apparently, everyone who's anyone has been looking for these apple squashes all over the patch. The  cashier thought they'd all been picked and sold, but we somehow managed to find one quite by accident.

Seriously, though. Isn't it crazy-looking? It's the shape of a green pepper. But it's got the coloring of a watermelon. And it smells like a squash.

I joined cyber hands with Google and learned that apple gourds are not edible. (Some people eat very young gourd seeds, but the seeds turn bitter as they age.)  Hhmmm... Good to know. They do make excellent crafts and birdhouses, though. Huh. Not sure I care enough to attempt anything with it, especially after said cashier told me how to dry and preserve it. It involved mold. Ew.

Thanks very much, but no. I try to avoid mold.

So what to do with this apple gourd... Think I can eBay it?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Woot! Woot! Got Toy Story 3 for FREE!!!!

I tell ya... super couponing really does work. Yes, it takes a little time, but I find it's totally worth it. I mean, look how excited I am with my CVS purchase today!

Grand Total?  $26.04!!

Now I know there are plenty of people out there who got a similar kit and kaboodle for under $20. I didn't have one of the high value coupons many others used and since I don't buy multiple copies of each Sunday's newspaper, so I usually only have one of each coupon (instead of the three or four some people have).

Here's the rundown (just in case you want to collect your own coupons and run out to CVS right away). LOL!

Spaghettio's with meatballs: 3/$5 (no coupon for this one)
Schick Hydro 5 razor: 99 cents with $4 ExtraCare (EC) bucks back and $4 off coupon
Cold Buster Syrup: $8.99 (FREE with EC bucks)
Charmin 20 pk: $9.47 with 50 cent coupon
Bounty 8 pk: 6.72 with 25 cent coupon
2 tubes Crest: 4.75 with 75 cents in coupons (not a great price, but required for the deal)
Dawn: 49 cents with 50 cent coupon
2 boxes Puffs tissues: $1.74 with 25 cent coupons
Toy Story 3 dvd: $3.99 with $16 Proctor and Gamble coupon

To get the TS3 deal, you have to buy $25 in selected Proctor and Gamble merchandise.

Now you may be noting that my title stated that I got TY3 for free, yet just above I said $3.99.  Here's where the free part came in...

Campbell's is currently running a promotion... If you buy 3 kid soups/Spaghettios and TY3 or Beauty and the Beast, they'll send you a $5 rebate. So technically... the dvd is a $2 money maker!

Woot! Woot! How cool is that???

If you need more info on where to find the coupons or the Campbell's promotion, go to www.myfrugaladventures.com and type Toy Story 3 in the search box.

Now, Delicious Readers, off you go to super coupon and SAVE!! (After you comment, that is. Heeheehee!)

Card Give-Away!

I thought about my "comment every day for a month and you could win a free set of handmade greeting cards" give away. I decided it's not really fair to start it off with absolutely no notice.

So... to be eligible to win the cards, you need to comment for at least 20 days during the month of November. Then I'll draw a winner from the eligible commentators.

Sound good? Let me know if you have questions!

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaBloPoMo! (aka National Blog Posting Month)

Since I won't be hanging out in NaNo world this November, I will instead be BLOGGING!

Every. Single. Day.

Cool, huh? I can't wait, actually. I've got a ton of ideas to write about (I should probably make a list), photos to share, experiences to discuss.

Feel like doing the daily blog adventure with me? Read all about it on www.nablopomo.com.

And here's a little goal for all my Delicious Readers... Stop by Delicious as Pie every day during the month of November and comment on the daily post. I will randomly choose one of the successful commentators and reward her with...

dun dun dunnnnnnnn....

A set of my deliciously adorable handmade cards, similar to those you see below...

They're pretty cute, aren't they? You know you want them. They'd make such a fantastic holiday gift for someone. Or you'd be known as the cool girl who sends out those really awesome greeting cards. LOL

Ready for the challenge? I know you are! Click "comment" now!!!