Thursday, June 30, 2011

Giant Gas Deals this week, we saved $1.10 per gallon

This week in the Giant Circular, there is a coupon for 30 cents off per gallon if you spend $50 in one transaction (must have the coupon and limit 1 coupon per bonus card).  Even though the sale prices are good through Sat. 7/2, the coupon expires tomorrow on Friday 7/1.  We finally made it to the grocery store last night and this is what I did to get my awesome gas points/deals!

Buy 5 category, earn 20 cents off per gallon:
Bought 5 - 4pks of Dannon Light ad Fit Yogurt for $1.89 each - My FAV Yogurt!

Buy 6 category, earn 20 cents off per gallon:
Bought 6 - Breyers ice creams on sale this week 2 for $5 or $2.50 each.  Used 2 - $1.25 off coupons  ( This might seem like a lot, but they carry no sugar added people and remember, we have the deep freeze ;)

Buy 8 Category, earn 20 cents off per gallon:
Bought 6 McCormick Grillmate Seasonings on sale this week 10 for 10 or $1 each
Bought 2 McCormick Grillmate Marinades 99 cents each

Total spent: $29.93.  Points Earned: 60 for above transactions.  (Again, not spending $600 for those points like you normally would!)

Then we bought other groceries (our actually bill was just at $200 because we bought enough for the next 2.5 weeks of menu planning) which allowed us to use the 30 cents off per gallon coupon.  Dont' worry, I saved over $100 on that total $200 bill not included gas points.

Gas Points Earned this trip:
60 from category promotions
30 from coupon in circular
20 for spending $200
= $1.10 off per gallon.  Points can be redeemed up until 7/25 and will keep accumulating. 

Remember how I was saving up for vacation gas and earned 230 points or $2.30 off per gallon 2 weeks ago?  Here's picture proof of my $1.13 a gallon!

 I'm going for under $2 a gallon again and think I have a pretty good start :)

What's Free makes a girl happy!

I had 2 doc appointments today, but they were an hour apart.  So I had some time to kill when one ended.  Luckily, there is a CVS right across the street from the doc office :)  You know where this is going... I walked in and out and in a few short minutes and 12 cents later - I had the goods in my hands.  Here's what I got:

2 Pantene Shampoos (3.49 each)
1 box of PH Brilliant Tampons, 18 ct. (6.89)
1 caramel candy (.33 cents) - needed this to bring the total up and because Ryan should like it :)

Used the following coupons:
$1 off PH Brilliant Tampons
$3 off 2 Pantene Products from the 6/19 paper
$2 off 2 Pantene Products from the CVS coupon machine (red box in the store - love this thing!)

Used $8 in ECB to pay and out of pocket, only paid 12 cents!  Here's the best part - I earned another $2 ECB on the Pantene products and $6.89 ECB on the tampons.  So I walked out of the store earning an additional $8.89 in ECB to use on my next transaction.  Don't ya just love how this works!?!  if you do this deal, the tampons are limit 1.  The deals are good through Saturday at any CVS :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

4th of July Berry "Cheesecake"

Finished product before serving.

What the pie looked like before adding the toppings.  See what I mean about the little lumps... annoying!  Next time I'll whisk faster and harder!
I've made 2 of these pies recently - this one looks much more festive with the 4th coming.  They are very easy and work well for something quick.  Ryan does not really like cheesecake, so he was not a fan of this one.  However, he really enjoyed the chocolate pie I made the week before (forgot to take pictures, but it resembled French Silk - minus the chocolate shavings on top).  The recipes are interchangeable, just switch out the kind of jello pudding used.

1 reduced fat keebler graham cracker pie crust
2 boxes of sugar free, fat free jello (flavor of your choice - I used cheesecake for this one, chocolate for the last)
2 3/4 cups of skim milk
Whip cream - we like the spray reddiwhip in the can - it's fun!
Berries for garnish - especially for the fourth.  We used strawberries and blueberries.

Pour pudding mix into mixing bowl.  Add all of skim milk and whip by hand with whisk for at least 2 minutes.  (You can see from the pics, I didn't whip hard enough with the cheesecake pie... the chocolate was lump free :) Once pudding mixture has thickened from whisking, pour into pie crust and place in fridge for at least 3 hours to fully set.  Serve with whip cream/berries. For the chocolate, we just served with whip cream.  Easy and full of YUM!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

RiteAid and CVS deals this week!

I went to Rite Aid and CVS tonight to do my weekly run.  I've never gone on a Tuesday before, and I might start.  They had almost everything I wanted on my list.  These deals are good until Sat. July 2nd.  Here's the run down: Retail for both stores would have been: $55.52 total.  I paid $1.01 Out Of Pocket (OOP) total.  At both stores I made $17.98 total in rewards, putting me up $16.97 overall .  Total savings: 98%!!! ($1.01 paid out of pocket/$55.52 retail price)

Here's what I did:
2 Stay Free liners (3.99 each) on sale 2 for $5 + 2UpR.  Used BOGO Free coupon ($2.50 off).
2 pairs of kids sunglasses (6.99 for 1 and 7.99 for 1) BOGO 50% off (-3.49) and + 5UpR -5 coupon x 2 (one for each pair).
1 bottle of Got 2 Be styling spray (6.99). On sale for 4.99.  Used $2 off coupon and will submit for $4.99 in SCR (Online Rebate mailed directly to me once a month).
Total Retail:  $29.95 - $8.47 in store sales - $14.50 in coupons + 1.28 in tax = $8.27 - $7.47 in previously earned UpR = 80 cents OOP.  I earned $7 new UpR and $4.99 in my online rebate.  I am up $11.19 in this transaction!

Hershey's Bliss Chocolate (5.99 each) used rain check for +5.99 ECB
2.6 oz can of pringles (1.00 each) used $1 off store coupon (printed at store kiosk)
2 Schick Hydro 3 Razors (9.29 each) On sale at store for BOGO Free.  Used x2, $4 off coupons.
Total Retail: $25.57 - $9.29 in store stales - $9 in coupons + .56 cents in tax = $7.84 - $7.63 in previously earned ECB = 21 cents OOP.  I earned 5.99 in new ECBs.  I am up $5.78 in this transaction!

Love my CVS/Rite Aid Shopping!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tater Tot Casserole

Last night I tried a new recipe for dinner, tater tot casserole.  Our friend Dixon was with us for dinner and I thought comfort found sounded good.  The recipe was good, but it was heavy.  Maybe something better served in the non-summer months.  I'll blame my seasonless menu planning on the cravings : )  and will most likely revisit this recipe when it gets cold and pre-made casseroles sound easy (aka... December!)

• 1 (32 ounce) package frozen potato rounds
• 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
• 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
• 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
• 1 (6 ounce) can French-fried onions
• 1 pound of hamburger
• 1 can of green beans, drained
• 1/2 cup of chopped yellow onion
• Seasonings: 2 tsp of garlic powder, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, 1/4 tsp of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with pam spray.
2. Brown hamburger and onions in skillet.
3. Arrange frozen tater tots in the prepared baking dish.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, 1 cup of cheese, mushroom soup, green beans and seasonings.
5. Spread hamburger/onion mixture over tater tots and cover with cream mixture. Pour this mixture over the tater tots.
6. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese and French's fried onions over the top of the casserole.
7. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until golden brown on the top.

Baby Bump: Week 10 & 16

Here are some pics from week 10 and 16.  We're at 17.5 weeks right now and will probably take pictures again in the next few weeks.  Someday I'll look back at this and think "remember when I had the time..." :)
Not really showing yet, but wearing maternity shirts because I can :)

Cape Cod Vacation: Whale Watch/Birthday

Thursday during our trip was my 29th birthday.  We celebrated by going on the best whale watching tour and out to a really nice dinner at this place called Mews in Provincetown, MA.  Below are some pics of our day :)  To see the video of the whale watching tour that Ryan pieced together (much better than my snap shots) visit my previous blogpost with the video clip.
Ryan managed to have wonderfully wrapped b-day presents for me in the morning... so sweet!  And he hauled it all with us from PA :)
The start of our day.  Not sure what is going on with the cabinet being open.  I think I opened it but was too short to shut it :)
The Dolphin IX, our whale watching boat.
The most whales we saw at once were 9 - I can't stress how cool the video is on an early blog post.  It does our trip much more justice than these snap shots.
Windblown on the boat... but not sea sick!
There was this crazy old guy sitting in front of us during the trip.  He was speaking Japanese or Chinese (we're not sure) - he was at least 75 years old, but was THUGGED out in his apparel.  We had to take a picture of his shoes to remember this man.  He gave us many many laughs :)
Our first encounter with scallops.  We split this plate when we got off the boat.  Consider we were less than 20 feet from the water, we figured they were "fresh" and safe to try.  We actually both really liked them.  It's a lot like chicken and very healthy.  Not much of a "fishy" taste at all.
Ryan's dessert at Mews came with instructions - it was hilarious!

The people at Mews were so great - they accommodated my no sugar request for my birthday dessert.
Mommy at #29 / Baby at week 16 :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cape Cod Vacation: Beach, Candlepin Bowling, Mini Golf

On Wednesday it was finally warm enough to spend some time outside.  Warm is relative because the high that day was 67, but the sun was out and it felt "warm".  We went to the beach around lunch and then headed about 45 minutes down the road to Orleans, MA where they had candle-pin bowling and a great mini-golf course.
I thought I'd start with a funny one.  We were sitting on the beach, minding our own business and these 2 couples came up and stood right in front of us blocking our view.  Ryan took a picture saying it looked like a Cialis commercial... ah vacation memories!
Can't keep my fish out of water - even though the water was FREEZING!  I on the other hand was in a jacket sitting on the beach bundled up :)
Hard to tell, but these were seals swimming right off the coast of the beach we were at.
Ryan's first, and maybe only, lobster roll.  One of those "have to try it while we're here" things
Mini golf course in Orleans, MA- so nice!
The OLDEST bowling alley we've ever seen or been to. The start of our candle-pin bowling adventure.
Did I mention this place was OLD?!?
You can't really tell, but the balls are really small and the pins are stick straight.  You get 3 tries for each frame in this version of the game, but that doesn't mean the scores are higher.

Cape Cod Vacation Newport, RI & Pilgrim Monument

So it's been a week and I FINALLY have our pictures sorted from our trip.  These are just a few from the 1st and 3rd day of the trip.  There are too many to put in one post, so I'm going to break them up by days or events.  Day 1: Newport, RI.  Day 2: lounging around and relaxing (no pics : ) Day 3: Pilgrim Monument, Provincetown, MA.
Coast line of Newport, RI
Pilgrim Monument Provincetown, MA. The pilgrims landed in Provincetown first and stayed for 5 weeks before ever going to Plymouth.  Who knew?!?
Hiking my butt up the monument... how many more flights???
The NEVER-ENDING view up the monument steps.  I did not look over the edge on the way down : )
View from the top - so worth the hike up!
A walrus in the museum attached to the monument.  Neither of us had ever seen a walrus up this close and personal.
We survived!!!

Family Favorite - Party Mix (aka Chex Mix)

I have been cooking... promise!  We've just been having some of the things I already posted, so no need to post again, right?  Recently, we made the egg and muffin breakfast casserole, turkey stuffing bake and more strawberry pie.  I also made a sugar free chocolate pie but forgot to take pictures!  I did not forget to eat it however : )  I'm working on a similar one that is more cheesecake style.  Hoping to take pictures of that.

Alright, so this recipe is a family favorite.  I made it this morning along with prepping a new recipe I'm working on - tater tot casserole.  Post about that coming later.

7 cups of crispex cereal
1 cup of honey nut cheerios
1 cup of stick pretzels
2 cups of mixed nuts (I like the Emerald brand mixed nuts - just put the whole thing in)
3 tablespoons of margarine
4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp onion salt

Mix first 4 ingredients together in large tupperware container.  Heat last five ingredients in microwave on high for 1 minute (cover with wax paper to prevent splatter).  Stir and pour this heated mixture over dry mixture. Lightly stir, careful not to crush the cereal, and place in Microwave for 2 minutes, power level high.  Stir and put back in microwave for two more minutes on high.  Stir and spread on paper towels to cool.  Can also make this in the oven.  Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Store in air tight container.  We usually make this before we play cards all night to keep our energy up ; )  Just the smell of it made me want to get out the cards this morning.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nearly Free Greeting Cards at Giant this week!

Just ran to Giant over my lunch hour and scored an awesome deal on Hallmark Greeting Cards!!!  This deal is good through Saturday (6/25/11).  If you're a "local reader" you should get on this deal!!!

Right now, Giant is running a promo for $5 off your total purchase if you buy 3 Hallmark greeting cards.  This excludes 99 cent cards.  I looked through just about every type of card they have and the lowest I was able to find was $1.49 a piece.  Remember, Giant does not give cash back for overages - so if you go with 3 - $1.49 cards, you're going to need to get a candy bar or pack of gum too.  I ended up buying 6 cards total, and did them in 2 separate transactions because I wasn't sure if it would take it off twice in the same order.  Self checkout might be the way to go if you want to do a lot of transactions and stock up on some cards : )

Here's what I did:
3 Hallmark Cards at $1.99 each
Giant offers an automatic 10% discount on Hallmark cards everyday, so all 3 cards were $1.79 each
- $5 promo
= .37cents + .03 cents in tax = 40 cents total for 3 cards!!!

I didn't have time today to keep reading cards, but I plan to go back sometime before Saturday and stock-up :)  Happy Shopping!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Whale Watch from Cape Cod

And we're back!  We had a great 7 days on Cape Cod - but it's good to be home.  The best day we had on our trip was Thursday (just happened to be my birthday :) when we went on our whale watching tour.  Ryan took video on the cruise and I was in charge of pictures.  I'm still sorting through ALL the pics we took this past week, but Ryan is on top of his game and got the video pieced together with some commentary.  It's a little long at 15 minutes, but we saw over 70 whale sitings!  The tour guide said the day was really unusual with how many we saw and how close they were.  We feel lucky that it was our first whale watch with it being so great.  Another blog post is coming soon with other pics and musings from our trip and a recent shopping trip at Target where we used some SERIOUS coupons to save a lot of money.  In other news, the woodworking/remodeling/decorating projects are in full swing.  I'm waiting to post some of those pics until we have full before and afters - they should be good!  We still have at least a month until we find out the sex of the baby, so we're trying to get all the other "house" projects done before I flip into mommy mode setting up the nursery.  Hope you enjoy the video - we enjoyed our time in Cape Cod (Provincetown, MA).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sunscreen Deal at Rite Aid - through Saturday June 11th!

Borrowed this picture from another blogger because I did not have time to take a pic of my products this morning before leaving the house.
 For anyone that knows me, you know I have super sensitive skin.  Especially went it comes to the sun.  I've been WAITING patiently for a good sunscreen deal before we leave on vacation this weekend and one finally came up at RiteAid this week.  It took some planning (and there was one glitch) but all in all, it was a good trip.  The best part is that I was able to get Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreen products in really high SPF's.  This is key because if I go with different brands, I'll end up with some other crazy rash problem and potentially a sunburn on top of it... been there, done that.  I also wanted to get a motion sickness bracelet to help with the tail end of my morning sickness/car sickness and boat sickness if we go out on the water.  Needed some easy to travel with finger nail polish remover pads (these are amazing if you haven't tried them - and they won't spill in your luggage and ruin the rest of your products... promise!)  Also grabbed some bug spray for the trip and 3 greeting cards. 

Alright, so here's the run down.  I did this deal last night and let me start with the glitch I referenced earlier. My $15 up rewards after spending $50 on qualifying skin care items did not show up. The clerk told me to call the 1800 number to ask for assistance. I did and they told me it would take 48 hours to show up in their system and that then I would see it on the bottom of my next receipt. Having read on the blogs about some other people doing this deal - it looks like it was printing for other people. GRRR!!! Either way, it's still a good deal and I WILL be following up about the additional $15 UpRewards that are owed to me. Here's what I did (I had a 3rd transaction because I was trying to use up my UpRewards before we leave on vacation - didn't bother rerouting my plan when the extra $15 in UpRewards didn't come through from transaction #2).

1st Transaction:

2 - 85 SPF Neutrogena Lotions - 11.99 each

1 - 70 SPF Neutrogena Sport Face - 10.99

***Used (3) $2 off printable Neutrogena coupons

(1) $1 off rite aid video value Neutrogena coupon

(1) $1 off rite aid video value non-prescription purchase coupon

(1) $1.50 coupon from the Rite Aid flyer

$3 of $15 for survey

$8 in UPR from Sunday's Shopping

Total before coupons - $34.97 - $12.50 in coupons - $8 in UPR + 1.26 tax = $15.73 OOP

Got back the $10 for $30 in Neutrogena products to roll into transaction #2.

2nd Transaction:

1 Aveeno Face Sunblock 30 SPF - $10.99

1 Aveeno Body Sunblock 80 SPF - $11.99

1 Aveeno Body Sunblock 70 SPF - $10.99

***Used (1) $3 off 2 Aveeno sun care items coupon

(1) $1 off rite aid video value Aveeno coupon

(1) $1.50 off Aveeno active naturals sun care item coupon

(1) $1.50 coupon from the Rite Aid flyer

$10 in UPR from 1st Transaction

Total before coupons - $33.97 - $7 in coupons - $10 UPR from 1st transaction + .96 cents tax = $17.93OOP

Got back the second $10 for $30 in Aveeno products and did not get the $15 when you spend $50 - described above. The good news is, I have the bottom of my 3rd receipt from transaction #3 showing that I spent $68.94 total on Skin Care Items (before coupons) - so the system did track it somehow!

3rd Transaction (trying to use up my UPR and I didn't want to put everything back).

1 Aculife motion sickness band (for our trip and because I'm prego!) - $8.99

2 American Greeting Cards - $3.99 each

1 American Greeting Card - $2.99

1 Cutter brand bug spray (for our trip) - $5.99

2 Rite Aid Brand Nail polish Remover Pads, 10 ct. box - $3.49 each (BOGO Free)

*** Used (1) $1.50 off cutter brand product coupon

(1) $1 off American Greeting Card printable coupon

$10 in UPR from 2nd Transaction

Total before coupons - $29.44 - $2.50 in coupons - $10 UPR from 2nd transaction + .72 cents tax = $17.66 OOP (Ugh - I so wish that $15 UPR would have printed so my final transaction would have been under $3! - oh well, I'll get them next time :)

I earned $3 UPR on this 3rd transaction from the greeting cards, and got another $3 off of $15 survey to take. That will come in handy once I do get those $15 UPR.
Total Sunscreen cost (counting the $15 up rewards that are missing currently):
Retail: $68.94  What I paid - including UPR and Coupons: $8.66  I saved over $60 bucks! and got each of the sunscreens for less than $1.45 a piece.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Whooohoo - $2.30 off per gallon!

I did it!  I got to my $2 off per gallon goal last night at Giant with the gas rewards.  This week they are offering over 1000 extra bonus points on gas depending on what you buy.  I earned an extra 600 and now have a grand total of 2300+ in gas points.  In other great news, they lowered the gas prices last night when I was pulling out of the parking lot to $3.45 a gallon.  Minus my $2.30 in gas points per gallon, we could be paying only $1.15 per gallon for our fill up before vacation (assuming they don't jack the prices before this weekend).  SO Happy!  And of course, we'll use everything I got.  If you're local, these deals are still good until the end of the day (11:59pm) on Saturday the 11th.

Here's how I did it:
Buy 3, earn 200 Points:
3 packages of Huggies diapers. $8.99 each.  Used (3) $3 off coupons.

Buy 6, earn 200 Points:
6 boxes of 90 calorie Fiber One Bars (Ryan likes the Peanut Butter Chocolate). $2.79 each, although the ad has them marked at $2.99 each. Used (3) $1 off of 2 coupons.

Buy 8, earn 200 Points:
2 boxes of Cheese Nips. 2 for $3. No coupon.
2 - 3ct. packages of Scotch Bright sponges $2.49 each. Used (1) $1 off of 2 coupon.
1 box of Planters Nut Bars. $2.49. No coupon.
3 - Diet A&W 6 pks. 3 for $9. No coupon.

Spent: $50.18 and earned 650 Gas Points (or an additional 60 cents off per gallon).  The last time I remember being this excited to go and fill up was the first time I filled up at the gas station with my fresh learners permit in Iowa - circa 1996 : )  We leave for vacation on Sunday and it can't get here soon enough!!!

To view the giant ad for this week, go to:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Craigslist (how I love thee!)

We had a great night tonight!  4 things led up to this.
1) I found this awesome antique vanity on craigslist late last night for $15!!!  I've been looking for something like this because our one full size bath is a little cramped to get ready in each morning.  I have a walk-in closet in this house, but its a strange old closet that looks like it used to be a weird room.  I plan to refinish this bad boy - not sure how, but I'm sure it will be an adventure with posts to come.  My hope is to put it in the closet.  The best part - the lady told me it had sold and then that person never showed today.  So she emailed me and said I could come pick it up if interested still... oh yes, I'm interested in your antique - real wood - perfect size vanity!  ; )

2) We had a great meeting with a potential daycare provider tonight.  They were so wonderful - people that you feel like you've known for a LONG time.  Fingers crossed that this works out - daycare around here is IMPOSSIBLE!!!  It's like no one works when they have infants.  I can't tell you how many people have told me they don't take infants until 6 months or 1 year... what in the world do people do for that first 6-12 months?  Anyway, we're hopeful!!!

3) When I got home there was a new fully blooming rose bush at the back of the house by the garage/fence.  I didn't even know we had roses out there and when I got home there were about 20 beautiful light pink roses : )  Love having this kind of perk in the back yard.  It helps make up for the spots where grass doesn't grow because of the big evergreens.

4) And finally... when I checked the mail tonight my free quart of Glidden paint was at the front door.  They were running this online promotion about 2-3 weeks ago.  Pick any color (from over 200), put in your address and they'll ship you a quart for free.  Ms. Dixon let me use her address too - so I will have scored 2 quarts for free!  I ordered "softest juniper" so we'll see what I can do with this light green color.  I also recently got a quart from Lowe's on their paint screw-ups shelf that was a light creamy tan.  I got that for $2.50!  If you don't know about these cheap paint options, check out the home depot or Lowe's and see if they have a "reject" bin where people asked for a color and then it didn't mix like they thought it would.  They usually have the quarts marked down to $2.50 or lower and the gallons down to $7 or lower.  I've been collecting little colors here or there preparing for my pending projects : )