Friday, July 29, 2011

My sister promoting her business on TV - so proud!

Erin on the Paula Sands Live Show in the Quad Cities
My sister was on TV yesterday promoting her business on the Paula Sands Live TV Show.  I couldn't be more proud of her!  She started this business a few years ago and works tirelessly in the evenings and on the weekends to make it happen.  She still works a full time job during the day and then runs this great business on the side.  Knowing Erin, she will someday be selling her autograph like she always told us she would, but for now, I wanted to take a moment to highlight her awesome work and talent!

Here is a link to the TV clip - it's only a couple minutes so give it a look!  (No spam involved, promise - just a local Iowa news channel link.  You'll probably have to watch a funny little commercial before the clip starts, 15-20 seconds long).

Her business is called ChickenScratchStudio.  She makes all kinds of products, but originally started working with fused glass jewelry.  She teaches classes (click the link for more info) to all age groups so they can create artwork of their own.  Some of my favorite non-jewelry items she makes are her flower brooches/headbands (if we were going to have a girl - she was going to make these like crazy for me!) wine bottle stoppers and meat & cheese trays

She has a blog of her own that she writes that is a little about her business and mostly about her life (she's an artist and we're very different... keep that in mind ; )  She creates, I coupon.  It works for us.  She has a shop on where you can buy her jewelry directly (Check her shop out here)  I'm getting on her right now to upload more of her product to the store online.  During summer market season it's hard because she sells so much on the weekends, and every piece is original, it's difficult to keep an up to date stock online.  She promised me she'll get on it!  If there is a certain color combination you're looking for to compliment to an outfit, she's great at doing custom pieces - just ask!  Oh, and she has sold internationally too!

One of my favorite pictures of the 2 of us - it's on my desk at work right now : )
Alright, I'm done bragging. Just a proud proud moment for this big sis to share. : )

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hit the FREE jackpot tonight!

Tonight the theme was FREE!!!  It goes well with our pending skunk bill.  For those of you that don't know, we have a family of skunks that has taken up residence in our backyard.  We called this guy that does trapping and control and he came out to set traps tonight.  Hopefully we'll have good news to report that something is captured tonight!  There are 4 traps - we'll see if 4 get filled.  After we met with the skunk man, we went out to use some coupons - and it paid off big time.  Sometimes a picture says it all... so let's start with that:

Paid $5.30 for $43 worth of stuff!
Here's how we got all of this for $5.30!!!
Pier One had a coupon on Monday through facebook: "like them" and get a coupon for $10 off of a $10 purchase.  I had 3 of them and they expired today.  We went to 2 pier one stores.  At the first store I bought 1 paper lantern light kit.  Original price $10, we got it for free.  The second store we got another light kit and this cute little bird desk clock.  The light kit was $10 again, so we got that for free and the bird clock was $15 originally - $10 coupon + 30 cents tax means we paid $5.30 for all 3 items.  I got the light kits for something we're planning on doing in the baby's room with lanterns.  Not sure how it's going to work out quite yet, but these were free so it's worth a try.  That post will come once we start getting his room set up.

Then we headed over to the home depot store to look for a paint color to match the blue paint in our bathroom.  We had a bit of a painter's tape mishap the other night (that picture is below).  Ryan had taped off the light fixture when he was painting it white for me.  The fixture was this hideous brown color originally and the white makes it look so much better.  Before and afters coming in the next week on the bathroom... promise!  Anyway, when he peeled off the tape, it showed about 8 layers of disgusting paint underneath it.  We could see all types of colors, but the base color is this LOVELY (I'm joking people) gold color.  Shimmer and all.  No wonder there isn't a wall or trim piece in our house where the paint doesn't chip.  His exact words were "See!  Projects lead to more PROJECTS".  I agreed though and felt horrible.  The thought of asking him to repaint one more room (I'm out of commission with the baby and all, although my painting skills in general keep me off this task) was just wrong.  Then I remembered... I HAVE COUPONS! 

Grrrr... old house from 1902 with 1900 layers of paint!
About a week ago, I printed 4 coupons for $2 off a Glidden Paint tester off of  We had used Glidden paint to paint my closet and were pleased with the outcome and coverage.  My hope was we could find a blue close enough to match where the tape peeled off the paint so we didn't have to repaint the entire bathroom.  Again, we did NOT pick this blue color - it is what we had when we moved in.  We're just doing our best to make it work so we don't have to paint another room on top of the 20+ coats that are already there.  I guess if the bathroom is still blue in the upcoming before and afters, you'll know that this tester paint blue worked for us!  The paint testers at Home Depot were 1.97 each.  We bought 4 and used 4 $2 off coupons.  They adjusted the coupons down for us so we walked out of there with 4 of them for free!  We got 2 blue for the bathroom, 1 white for some of the trim in the house and 1 yellow for touch ups in the closet if I ding it up with shoes and what not (it will happen - guaranteed).

All in all - an almost free night with a savings of 88% : )

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Adorable Address Labels for CHEAP! ($3 shipping is all!)

I just went to Vista Print (same company I ordered my business cards from) to order new address labels.  We just ran out this week, so this deal came at just the right time.  There are HUNDREDS of designs to choose from and you can customize the font type, layout and color for free!  I changed some things on my design before I ordered.  I've blocked out our personal information, but you can still get the idea of what I ordered below.  I thought it was adorable with the 2 adult birds and the baby bird - just what we need right about now : )  140 labels for free (this is for real.... it's really FREE) and then $3.11 for the slow option to ship (21 days).  The fast option was only $3.66 (7 days).  Either way, not bad.  I always get my stuff quicker than it says I will and I couldn't be happier with the quality of the products I've received before.  The deal ends 7/29/11.  If you want to do it for yourself, here is the link to get started.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekly Menu Planned for 2 weeks!

After dinner tonight, I sat down with the grocery store ads, a list of what we already have in the deep freeze/fridge and my coupons to plan out our menu for the next 2 weeks.  With the projects we've had going around the house, we've gotten off our menu planning lately and I'm determined to give it another shot!  Grocery shopping right after work tomorrow night to get this going.

Here's what we're having in the next 2 weeks.  I've marked what is "new" that I plan to include on the blog.  Do you menu plan?  If so, what's on yours?

Monday: Kung Pao Chicken with Rice
Tuesday: Burgers with Pasta Salad and Fruit
Wednesday: Spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread
Thursday: Fish with green beans, potatoes or rice
Friday: Frozen Pizza
Saturday: Lunch - Roasted Tomato Toss for me(*new*)/Mac and Cheese for Ryan / Dinner - Grilled cheese with ham / Dessert: baked peaches (*new*)
Sunday: Brunch - Scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon and toast / Dinner - Melted tomatoes and green onion chicken (*new*) / Dessert: strawberry pie
Monday: Chicken salad on sandwich thins and chips
Tuesday: Stuffing bake
Wednesday: Tacos
Thursday: Tuna salad with cabbage (*new*)
Friday: Leftovers or Out to Eat
Saturday: Brunch - omelets and toast / Dinner - Pork Roast with mashed potatoes and whole wheat rolls / Dessert: Angel food cake with strawberries
Sunday: Brunch - Pancakes / Dinner - Leftovers (And plan again!!!)

Getting Crafty: Chalkboard Baskets/Totes for the changing table

I tackled another Do-It-Yourself project this weekend: customized chalkboard totes/baskets for the changing table.  My original inspiration was this basket from pottery barn:
Clearly, I'm not paying full price for anything at Pottery Barn and our custom changing table that Ryan is making for us really doesn't fit small expensive baskets too well.  I knew I wanted more of a "tote" looking item that I could customize and change with the baby's needs as he grows.  It needed to be brown or tan to go with the colors of the nursery and I wanted to jazz it up a bit with something that would tie into the theme of the nursery (jungle/safari in greens, brown and white).  I ended up finding these large and extra large totes at Target that fit our changing table very well (reveal of the changing table coming soon ; )  I picked up 4 large totes and 2 extra large totes.  These were more than I wanted to spend originally, but the color is perfect, they are beyond sturdy, and will not snag any of the little clothes or other things that end up going in them.  This is why I cut coupons and pinch pennies, so I have a little flex room in the budget to afford these things.
Not pictured are the command strips (see below) or a regular piece of chalk.
The DIY project started with these supplies (prices listed after item)
Bought for this project:
  • 4 large target totes (13.49 each at Target)
  • 2 extra large target totes (16.49 each, used x2 20% off coupons, 13.20 each at Target)
  • 36" of Velcro strips (4.49 at Kmart - horrible price, but forgot to get it earlier in the day - scratch this - I found something we already had at home to use that worked much better!) See below.
  • 6 wooden frames (1.00 each at AC Moore)
  • 6 ft. spool of brown and white polka dot ribbon (1.99 at AC Moore)
  • 6 Pre-painted jungle wood pieces (59 cents each, used 25% off coupon, 44 cents each at Michael's)
  • Total: $90.99
Had these supplies on hand:
  • Command picture hanging strips that are removable (already owned from another project, needed 8 packs, 2 per pack, found them at Ollie's, a discount store, for $1.99 each and used a 25% off coupon when originally purchased)
  • Lowe's reject paint in a random green color that I love! (already owned - paid 50 cents) 
  • Chalkboard paint (already owned - paid 3 on clearance - see post here)
  • Vinyl sheet of stick-up wall stickers (already owned, paid 5 for 5 sheets on clearance - see post here)
  • Chalk Ink Pen in White (bought for another project - 4pk. at Michael's 11.99, used 25% off, 8.99 for 4 - see post here)
  • Scissors, Hot Glue Gun, Can of tuna - yes, I'll explain, Pen and piece of chalk (already owned)
  • 2 Foam Paint Brushes (already had - but can usually get a 3 pack for 99 cents)
Considering we're refinishing/rebuilding the changing table, I think we're going to come in under $125 total for the whole thing - furniture and baskets included.  The one in the store we were considering was $550 with a lot less storage and would only make sense to use the first year or two.  Looking at that number (a difference of at least $400)... these customized baskets that can grown with the baby and last in his room for years to come are more than worth it!  And once again, it will all have been made by mommy and daddy with love ; )
Painting the frames and backing boards with paint and chalkboard paint.
First I made 4 circles on the vinyl wall stickies using the pen and can of tuna.  Using the scissors, I cut those out and set them aside to paint later.  Then I took the 6 wooden frames and took the backing off of each separating the backing from the frame (these came out easily, they were just held in by those tiny metal tabs).  I took all 6 backings and only used 2 of the actual frames.  I used the foam brushes to paint 3 coats of green on 2 frames and 4 backings and 3 coats of brown chalkboard paint on 4 vinyl sticky circles and 2 backings.
Frames, backings and vinyl circles after 1 coat each.  2 more coats to go.
After the 3 coats of chalkboard paint were dry (needed to dry overnight) I set the paint using a piece of chalk, rubbing the entire surface.  Then I wiped the excess chalk off so there was just a light coating that remained.  To see a picture of how I did that, view my post about creating labels for the baby's room.  Next I cut ribbon to frame the frames to give it a bit more decorative look.  I laid everything out to make sure it would work before I put anything down permanently with the hot glue gun.  Next I put together the 2 larger frames that had the green border and brown chalkboard backing.  Then I placed 4 command strips each on the larger frames and 2 command strips each on the smaller ones and positioned on the totes following the directions on the package.  (see pic below)  The best part about remembering that I had these command strips is that they will come off if I ever want them to and they were free because I already had them!  They are the kind that you can press and hold with no damage to a wall.  They seem to work well on the tote fabric and will allow me to use the totes for years to come in whatever way I need to.
Command strips stuck to the back of the small frame and tote - they just snap in place and are easily removed!
Practiced laying out the smaller frames before glue is involved.
And practiced laying out the bigger frames before any glue was used.
Here are the final steps:
Peel and stick vinyl chalkboard circles in place on 4 smaller frames.  Hot glue ribbon trim on top and bottom of four smaller frames and on all 4 sides of the 2 larger frames.  Hot glue animals on top of ribbon trim on all frames.  Write message about what is in each basket using chalk ink pen (this thing is a godsend!!! Can't recommend it enough!  And we tried it numerous times, it truly does wipe off with just a small dab of water, but won't smudge if dry fingers touch it - love love love!).  Reposition back on totes and set up in nursery!!!  Can't wait to show you all the beautiful work Ryan has done building and refinishing things for the nursery - I promise, those posts will come.  For now, you'll just have to make due with my little side projects ; )

All 6 frames finished with labels (these will probably change depending on how we set up the room).
A picture of 3 of the finished totes.  These totes are BIG!  So there was no way for me to get all 6 in one picture and still show the detail.  Really fun and relatively easy project.  I think I outdid pottery barn on this one ; )

Next up: Refinishing lamps for the baby's room (again, avoiding the $50 a piece lamps at BabiesRUs if possible ; )

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My most pathetic CVS run yet - but I still made money : )

I went to the local CVS over lunch today.  I was looking for some discounted baby wipes to pair with some coupons and ECB's that I had.  They didn't have any of that or anything else I was looking for : (  (Lesson learned... go to the nicer CVS up the road, it's usually worth driving the 10 extra miles).  The only thing they did have was the small size can of Gillette Fusion Shaving Cream.  It was on sale for 2.27 with $2 in ECB back after your purchase.  I used a $1 off coupon and $1 ECB to buy it and paid 29 cents out of pocket (with tax).  I made $2 in ECB for that transaction, so I'm up 71 cents total.  I barely made it out of the store without laughing at myself.  Our stock pile has stayed pretty stocked lately (must be using less product in the summer), so I've limited most of my purchases to things that are free, things we make money on or things we absolutely need.  I've also been just a bit consumed with crafting and baby stuff ; )  I'm sure there are more major stock pile trips to come, but for this week - this was/is my only purchase!

ECB on my receipt - if you see one of these on your CVS receipt - use it!  It'd be like throwing away money!

Oh shave gel, you weren't worth the trip - but it makes me laugh : )

Getting Crafty: Labels for the baby's room

Back in November, I posted about my obsession with magazines.  I think I've probably subscribed to about 6 or 7  more since then (for pennies of course).  I'm fully aware that my time to leisurely read a magazine is coming to an end, but I plan to enjoy my time with them until my upcoming schedule of "up at all hours of the night" prevents me from enjoying them in the same way.  Last week, with my ankles propped up (due to the swelling), I was leafing through one of my magazines and saw an idea for labeling kitchen containers with vinyl chalkboard labels.  If you've been reading the blog, you know I like to organize and then reorganize my organization ; )  I had already been thinking about the best way to organize the baby's room and how we could  make it quick, easy and changeable for when our needs change.  As much planning as I might do in advance, I realize that it might all need to change once he gets here.  But, I have a plan for that!  Changeable/removable labels!

So here's the "inspiration idea":
When I looked up online how much these suckers were - I was like... "Um, No.  For 12 labels, I'll keep my $35 and find a cheaper way to make them myself".  2 trips later to Michael's and AC Moore - and I had it!  Check out my supplies below:

I found brown chalkboard paint on clearance for 3 bucks (it's the color I wanted - we're doing green, white and brown as the primary colors in the nursery), label punch (used a 50% off coupon for this sucker and got it for $7.50), 5 square sheets of pink polka dot vinyl wall stickers on clearance for $5 bucks (I knew I was going to paint over it anyway - so who cares about the color it started with!) and finally a box of chalk (used a 25% off coupon and got it for $1.50).  Not pictured is a foam paint brush that I already had at home.

First step was to paint 1 of the 5 squares of polka-dot vinyl wall stickers with 3 coats of chalkboard paint.  Below is what 1 coat looked like.  It's important to let it fully dry between each coat.  I gave mine 12 hours between each coat.
Then, after the 3rd coat was applied, I let it dry for a full 24 hours.  Then I needed to "set" the paint with chalk.  I took 1 piece of chalk and rubbed it across the vinyl square in both directions to get a good coating.  Then dusted off the excess chalk with a paper towel.

Next up, I cut out my labels using my label punch.  I was able to get 25 labels out of 1 sheet of vinyl!  Let me remind you, it was $35 for 12 online ; )  So I essentially could make 125 labels out of the supplies I bought ($17 total) if I wanted to - but for now, 25 should do me and I'll save the supplies for another project.
After I was done cutting out all the labels, it was time to give it a whirl.  We're not sure exactly how we're going to organize the dresser drawers.  We have a dresser that Ryan refinished for us that has 9 drawers in it (bought it at goodwill for $20 bucks and he rebuilt the drawers to make sure everything was like brand new.  I'll post pics, but unfortunately, I don't have before pics).  I wanted to make sure to label each drawer with sizes or type of clothing so we know what we're reaching for and where to put things away with all the laundry we're surely going to be doing.  So this is just an example of the labels stuck on our dining room wall (and yes, they came on and off the wall with no problem and no damage!)
The only disappointing thing was that it was really hard to write with a flat edge piece of chalk on the labels.  I said to Ryan last night "I need something like a chalk pen".  Well, a short google search later - and I now know what I'm going to get at the store the next time we are there.. a chalk pen!  Who knew they actually made these things!?!

All in all, a very easy project that could be done on a much larger scale if needed.  I'm quite pleased with my savings.  $17 in supplies for up to 125 labels vs. the $35 for 12 that I found online (and those were black - ick!)  More crafty projects to come - our kitchen table looks like a craft table at the moment and our living room has becoming our temporary dining room ; )

Baby Bump: Week 16 & Week 21

Below are the comparison shots of week 16 and week 21.  In June, I had posted the comparison shots from week 10 and 16.  Our little guy is growing, but is still sitting very low - so I'm not showing as much as some women at 21 weeks.  I'm okay with that - I still can wear some "normal" clothes : )  I will tell ya, this heat thing is really getting to me.  I don't know what I'd do if it was 98 degrees and I was 8 months pregnant!  One of the positives of having a winter baby!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sneak Peek - Vanity Chair is done!!!

We've been getting busy this weekend with projects around the house.  Ryan is hard at work painting the furniture that he built and/or refinished.  I have pics of those to come once we get them set up in the right rooms.  He finished the window box/radiator box for the baby's room - it looks amazing.  Not sure if you'll remember, but Ryan offered to redo my walk-in closet for my birthday.  There has been a TON of demolition and work in there.  3 coats of yellow paint - and now he's down to the last coat of white paint to finish off the trim. 

I had found an awesome vanity on craigslist for 15 bucks that I posted about earlier.  While we were on vacation in Cape Cod - I was in search of a vanity chair/bench/stool.  I was hitting dead ends all over the place. My loving hubby was willing to go in every antique and second hand store my lovely little smart phone could find (I'm sure there was a point where he regretted ever suggesting we got those phones : )  We stopped at a goodwill in Milford, CT after our last night on the road.  He said "you really want to go to a goodwill?"  I said - "It's worth a try at this point, then I promise I'm done!"  Well, I'm so glad we stopped! 

We found this chair that has now been refinished into my beautiful vanity chair for my "mommy only room"  or my "glamie room" depending on what we call it (I want to install a chandelier at some point... hence the glamie reference).  We paid $12 bucks for the chair and I paid $10.99 for 2 yards of the fabric at JoAnn Fabrics using a 50% off coupon I had.  We used the same white paint that Ryan was already using to paint the actual vanity.  No extra padding needed - just ripped the old cover off and reupholstered with the new fabric using a staple gun.  Total cost = $23.   I'm SO excited about this room and the pictures to come : )  ENJOY!
The before of the $12 goodwill chair with lovely "pleather" covering that was ripped.

The finished product!  LOVE MY HUSBAND!!!  I'll post about the new rugs and wall color soon - disregard the green painters tape still on the walls - the trim is almost done : )
We make a good pair - I dream up the ideas, he brings the skill (and patience) and we get it done on a budget.  I'm working on redoing lamps for the baby's room - I hope to post those before and afters later this week.  More to come!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And it's a BOY!!!

We had our first ultrasound today and we're happy to report that we're having a little boy.  We're both very excited and all of a sudden this feels so real!  I had a gut feeling for the last 8 weeks or so that it would be a boy, but then in the last 4 days leading up to the ultrasound, I started to waiver.  Ryan was stubborn and wouldn't guess out loud, but did say after we found out that he thought it was a boy all along too.  So no pink flowered headbands will be featured on this blog, at least not for a little while - but I'm sure there will be plenty of other cute stuff! 

Our little guy is EXTREMELY active!  He wouldn't stop moving around during the entire 45 minute appointment.  The ultrasound tech asked if either of us were stubborn because our little guy wouldn't stop moving enough for her to take pictures.  We both replied (almost in unison) that we both were - but that I was "vocal" stubborn and Ryan was "silent" stubborn.  Then we started talking about how we needed to get our rest now, because this little boy is a mover and a shaker!  Funny thing is, I couldn't feeling a thing!  It was so crazy to see how much he was moving (kicking his legs in a running motion and fist pumping with his right hand... yes, a fist pump - jersey shore style) on the screen and then not be able to feel anything.  Our ultrasound tech told me to enjoy it, because if he stays this active, we'll get to know each other VERY well ; )  and most likely, at all hours of the night! 

This should have been our only ultrasound, but my placenta is very low and they are going to monitor me for placenta previa.  This means that we will have another ultrasound in 4 weeks and then see if the baby and the placenta have moved their way on up in my uterus.  If not, we'll go back 4 weeks after that ultrasound to get checked again.  We were told a lot of times, this corrects itself - but they want to watch it.  Either way, we'll get more pictures and get to see our son at least one more time before he is in our arms.  Neither of us is too worried at this point!

And yes, we do have a name picked out - but we plan to keep that just between us until he's born.  Should we start placing bets on the actual due date?  Ryan thinks I'm going to go late (after December 1st) and I think I'm going to go early (before December 1st).  Either way, we can't wait to meet him! Alright, what you've all be waiting for...  Here is our baby boy at 20 weeks.

We both feel pretty confident that we know generally what he will look like.  Ryan and I look similar enough, that there really isn't much room for a wild card : )
He's all stretched out here - she had to tap on his head to get him to move for us!
Another profile with his left arm down by his side.  He's a side sleeper she said.
And our little guy had his little guy on the screen nearly the whole time!  I asked what would you do if we didn't want to know?  She said - this would be hard to hide.  Ryan kept laughing at the show he was putting on : )

And finally, his little foot.  He definitely has Ryan's feet.  That separation between his big toe and second toe is all Ryan!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mommy made pancakes : )

This sugar free syrup is the way to go - Ryan likes it just as well as regular!
Dixie chick was over tonight and at about 8:30, my chocolate pancake craving hit.  For those of you that don't know, I've been into chocolate chip pancakes and waffles for the last 6-8 weeks or so.  I NEVER had pancakes or waffles before pregnancy, and hope that this enjoyment doesn't continue after or we might be in some trouble.  We have no eggo waffles in the house and clearly, no pancakes.  So our first option was to google the nearest IHOP (the only place I've ever eaten a pancake before now).  Turns out the closest one is over 45 minutes away, and that just wasn't happening.  While Dixie and Ryan agree that we just won't have any, I go online to find a low sugar recipe - and guess what?  I found one!  And amazingly we had all the ingredients (partly due to the fact that my family was out for Thanksgiving and we had some "bad" stuff left over : )  We just finished having them and here's what we've decided...

1) I was singing in my head "Put a Ring on it" by Beyonce while making these.  It's my new theme song for pancakes.  I have no idea why, but it works.
2) It doesn't matter how old the chocolate chips are, they are still good.
3) Dixie was my personal pancake coach and at some points was concerned... but it worked out!
4) It's a good thing we did this pre-kids.  I don't need my kids getting kitchen anxiety over something like pancakes!
5) If this whole career counseling thing doesn't work, we're going to open a pancake business out of a truck and drive it around where we live.  (Depending on the day, this seems like a very REAL idea ; )
Wouldn't change a thing about the recipe - so here ya go!

On the griddle waiting to be flipped: )
The final STACK!
1.5 cups of all-purpose flour
3.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cup skim milk
1 egg
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Pam baking spray
Sugar Free syrup (we've found that we like the Log Cabin the best)

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and use 1/3 cup measuring cup to spoon onto griddle.
  2. Spray the griddle top with Pam baking spray.  Heat the griddle to medium high heat (or about 300 degrees). Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/3 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
This recipe made 9 medium size pancakes for us.  For any WLS people out there, I had 1.5 pancakes.  The only sugar this recipe had was the tbsp of white sugar in the batter and 8 grams of sugar in a tablespoon of chocolate chips.  I had no problems with it, but if you're really sensitive to sugar, it might be too much.  I've heard of sugar free chocolate chips, but have never been able to find them.  You could also use whole wheat flour to make them or do half and half, but with my other 2 eaters - I figured I'd use the regular flour and I'm glad I did : ) 

Craving have been taken care of for the time being!

My Diaper Stock Up Prices

If you've been reading the blog the last few months, I'm sure you've noticed a few couponing posts where I mentioned that I got diapers.  Well, I've gotten a lot of diapers.  When we first found out we were pregnant at the end of March, I did some major research as to what the "stock-up" prices are of diapers.  Some people go the natural route and do the cloth diaper thing to save money, but frankly, the idea of that makes me sick!  I don't need nasty poo running through our washer.  Trust me, I'd want a new washer and THAT would be more expensive than diapers : )

About a week ago when I was organizing my stock pile, I decided to count up how many diapers we have, and after that little game of fun - I think I'm done... for awhile : ) We should have all we need to get us through the first few months.  Below is a list of what diapers we have, but before that list is my "stock-up" price guidelines.  It doesn't matter what promotion or coupon I have, if I can't get them this cheap - I don't get them!  (Oh, and I've gotten them cheaper than what's listed below too ; )

I carry this around with me in my coupon organizer on a little note card so I can remember exactly what my "stock-up" prices are!
Brand Name Diaper Stock Up Prices (like Huggies, Pampers, etc.):
Newborn: 25 cents per diaper
Size 1: 10 cents per diaper
Size 2: 12 cents per diaper
Size 3: 16 cents per diaper
Size 4: 19 cents per diaper
Size 5: 21 cents per diaper
Size 6: 25 cents per diaper

And drumroll please....  We currently have 1,667 diapers as of July 1st.  3 months of stocking up = not bad!
Here's what we have (All huggies brand):

Pure and natural Newborn 60(2 pkgs)

Little snugglers Newborn 180 (5 pkgs)
Total= 240 newborn (10 per day, 24 days or 3.5 weeks)

Little snugglers size 1 80 (2 pkgs)
Snug and dry size 1 600 (12 pkgs)
Pure and natural size 1 33 (1 pkgs)
Total= 713 size 1 (8 per day, 89 days or 12.5 weeks)

Snug and dry size 1-2 228 (1box)
Total= 228 size 1-2 (8 per day, 28 days, 4 weeks)

Little snugglers size 2 252 (7 pkgs)
Pure and natural size 2 30 (1 pkg)
Total= 282 size 2 (8 per day, 35 days, 5 weeks)

Snug and dry size 3 204 (3 pkgs, 1 box)
Total= 204 size 3 (6 per day, 34 days, 5 weeks)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Glider/Ottoman for the Nursery - Thank you Craigslist!

Obviously not set up in the nursery yet - just a picture of it in the mud room where it got put for the night before we carry it upstairs.  The nursery is still very much a work in progress - but pics to come!
Ryan and I have been shopping around the last few months to wrap our mind around what we want for the nursery - and let me tell you, everything is CRAZY expensive!  We are refinishing/building almost all of the furniture for the nursery so we can say "Mommy and Daddy made this for you" and so we can save some $.  The two items we were planning on actually purchasing from the store were the Glider/Ottoman set and the crib.  We're still going to need to buy the crib from the store, but thanks to an awesome find on craigslist - we have the glider and ottoman!!! 

This is the exact chair we wanted from BabiesRUs, and the set for the Glider/Ottoman at the store was over $500.  We scored this from a really nice family that was done using it (for only a short period of time) for $100 buckaroos!  Whoohoo!!! Very happy right now and will be even happier rocking our little one in a great chair that didn't break the bank : )

Successful Target Run #3

Target Round 3 : )
We just got back from Target (round 3 this week) and had another successful trip.  I feel one more trip before Saturday in my future, and then I am officially done!  I only got 3 of the 6 pillows I wanted because that's all they had left and I didn't want to wait in line for the photo machine.  I'll go back at some obscure time to get the pictures and hope that they have more pillows in stock.  The pillow coupons are good until the middle of August though, so I'll be patient : )

Here's what we did:
2 pks of sharpie markers - 1.12 each.  Used x2 $1 off target coupons.  Paid 24 cents total.
2 pks of papermate ballpoint pens - 1.39 each.  Used x2 $1 off target coupons.  Paid 78 cents total.
1 Benadryl itch relief stick - 2.29.  Used x1 $2 off benadryl manufacturer's coupon.  Paid 29 cents total.
4 pks of sierra mist - on sale this week for 2.75 per pack.  Used x4 $1 off target coupons.  Paid $7 total.
3 target brand standard pillows - 2.50 each. Used x3 $2 off target coupons.  Paid $1.50 total.
2 pks of hefty zip lock gallon size bags - 1.97 each.  Used x2 $1 off target coupons and x1 $1 off 2 manufacturer's coupon.  Paid 94 cents total.

Would have been $29.75 before tax
Paid $10.75 before tax.
Saved 64% on this trip.  The pop put my percentage up a bit, but I'm okay with that and so is my pop drinker, Ryan : )

Target is AWESOME this week! Sales are good until Saturday 7/16

Ms. Dixon and I recently made a trip to Target and we used some SERIOUS coupons.  Now I have to be honest, I made 2 trips in 1 day.  2 different stores.  And I plan to go back later this week for some more deals (I'll post what I hope to get later at the end of this post).  This is back to school season stock up and we rocked it!  This is just my stash, she had a stash of her own.  Oh, and remember the other night when I said Ryan was checking out a new computer at Staples when I scored our almost free office supplies there?  Well, he got one.  So now I have even one more computer to use to print coupons (usually 2 prints allowed per computer per coupon).  Watch out people!  : )  And yes, you can call me hardcore.  I've started to accept it.  Here's the breakdown:

Scotch Tape (400 inch rolls) 1.79 each - bought 4.  Used x4 $1 off scotch tape coupons and x4 50 cents off target coupons.  Total cost, 29 cents per roll.  (Side note, they do have $1 tape (250 inches) available in their school section that would let you get it for free - but I wanted more inches!)  Go to the scotch brand website for scotch brand coupons.

Scotch Scissors - 8 inch, 1.99 each - bought 5.  Used x5 $1 off scotch scissors coupon.  Total cost, 99 cents per pair of scissors.

Papermate 10 pack of pens - 1.02 each - bought 3.  Used x3 $1 off coupons from target site.  Total cost, 2 cents each.

60 photos from the automatic print kiosk in the store on sale this week 10 cents a print.  I used 3 coupons from the target website, $2 off of 20 prints, meaning I paid nothing for getting 60 pictures printed!

Sharpie 2 pk of markers - 1.00 each - bought 3.  Used x3 $1 off coupons from target site, total cost, nothing!

Sharpie 2 pk of highlighters - 1.12 each - bought 1.  Used x1 $1 off coupon from target site, total cost, 12 cents.

Sharpie 2 pk of fine tip permanent markers - 1.54 each - bought 2.  Used x2 $1 off coupon from target site, total cost 54 cents each.

Hefty One Zip bags, 22 ct - 1.99 each - bought 2.  Used x2 $1 off target coupon and $1 off of 2 manufacturer coupon.  Paid 99 cents for both boxes!

Papermate Ballpoint Pen 2 packs - 1.44 each - bought 3.  Used x3 $1 off target coupons, total cost, 44 cents each.  (These are our favorite - and Ryan always says I steal his pens ; )  Now we'll have plenty!

Crystal Light boxes, 10 ct of ready mix drink packets - 2 each - bought 4.  Used x4 $1 off manufacturer's coupons and x1 $1 off of 4 crystal light products target coupon.  Paid $3 for all 4 boxes.

Total cost would have been: $39.72 (before tax)
Total cost WAS: $7.73 (before tax)
That's a savings of 81% : )

Here's what I'm going back for this week:
More pictures!  I have 2 more coupons, so I'll get 40 more pictures for free.
2 more boxes of hefty zip lock bags (will be 99 cents total for both boxes with coupons).
1 Benadryl itch stick.  This week they are $2.28 and I have a $2 off manufactures coupon, making it 28 cents.
2 more packs of sharpie highlights or markers - whatever they have available.  Anywhere from free - 44 cents a pack depending on what I get.
2 more packs of papermate ballpoint pens - 4 more will never hurt to have around the house.  44 cents each for these with coupons.
Sierra Mist 12 packs are on sale for 2.75 each.  There is a $1 off coupon on the target site, making each 12 pk 1.75.  Ryan likes this stuff and 1.75 is considered a "stock up price".  I plan to get 4 more 12 pks. I did this deal before (3 total), but didn't include it in the picture on this post.
And here is the BIG ONE!  There is a $2 off coupon on pillows right now on the target website.  They have pillows for 2.50 each.  That means you can get a bedroom pillow for 50 cents!  I plan to get 6 and replace the ones in our guest rooms : )  Can't beat 6 standard size pillows for 3 bucks :)  I'll post once I get this next Target trip underway. 


"French Silk" pie - my version anyway

Don't you just love how all of my food pics are complimented by the blue counter tops? :)
A few weeks ago in another blog post about cheesecake, I mentioned how I had made a chocolate pie.  Well, I made it again and this time remembered to take pictures before eating it :)  This is like French Silk in someways, especially to someone that hasn't had real pie in almost 2 years. Best part is, I don't miss it one bit.  However, this baby has me craving some whacked out things lately.  The other night I would have knocked someone over for those mint flavored "crispy" m+m's.  Not sure if I've had those in the last 10 years, but I needed them in about 10 seconds with the way I was feeling.  I had a piece of chocolate pie instead and baby and I were both happy :)

What the pie looks like before the whip cream and me struggling to not break the crust before serving.

1 reduced fat keebler graham cracker pie crust
2 boxes of sugar free, fat free jello chocolate flavor
2 3/4 cups of skim milk
Whip cream - we like the spray reddiwhip in the can - it's fun!


Pour pudding mix into mixing bowl. Add all of skim milk and whip by hand with whisk for at least 2 minutes. 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.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Operation: Organize Greeting Cards

The finished product - 30 alphabetized categories with room to spare :)
I'm not sure if you'll remember, but about 3 weeks ago, Giant was having a great deal on their greeting cards (see that post here).  I posted about how I had stocked up once and was considering going to another store before the sale was over.  The deal was great, I did end up going to that second store!  3 hallmark greeting cards ($1.99 value each) for 40 cents total including tax was what I was going for!  I ended up buying 81 greeting cards for a total of $10.80.  Pretty awesome!  So then I had this huge stock pile of cards sitting around that I needed to organize.  Bring on my Type A organizational skills + getting off work 2 hours early today = We're ORGANIZED!  Here's how I did it:

Supplies Needed:
  • Label Maker
  • Paper cutter (optional, but makes it much quicker when cutting the dividers)
  • Scissors 
  • Pencil or Pen
  • File folders (the thicker the better)  I used the ones I just picked up at Staples for 75% off (see that post here)
  • Storage box (one tall enough that the cards will fit) I bought mine at Michaels last night.  It was $10.99, but I used a 20% off coupon and ended up only paying $8.80.
    Inventory list of categories for your greeting cards (for example: Thank you, Birthday, Graduation, etc...)
  • Greeting Cards
How To:
First, write out a list of the categories for your cards.  Use the label maker to make those stickers and use the scissors to trim up your labels.  Then, measure out what size divider will fit in the box.  Make sure to account for the top closing if you have a top on yours.  Use one file folder to make the template divider.  Trace that pattern on to multiple file folders (however many categories you have plus 3-5 extras).  Use your paper cutter (or scissors) to cut the dividers.  Place the labels, in alphabetical order (or whatever order you choose), on the newly created divider tabs.  Make sure to stagger the divider tabs every other way so they are easier to sort through when looking for a category.  Place cards in their category and presto - you're done! 

Other items I'm storing in my greeting card box are small packs of thank you notes, return address labels and a glue stick (Ryan refuses to lick the glue on an envelope :).  I also used this same technique, just on a smaller scale, when building and organizing my Mega Coupon organizer.  I did that this past winter, and those dividers are still holding strong with daily use.  I think I'll have to replace them about once a year, but I can do that as long as I find cheap file folders :)  To see my coupon organizer, visit here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Staples = Awesome deals!

Part of our running last night including heading to Staples.  Ryan wanted to check out a new laptop, his is about to die for good... it's been dying a slow and painful death the last few months and it's about time the thing kicks it.  I had great coupons burning a hole in my coupon organizer and wanted to go check out the deals I could score with them.  The coupons are still available for those of you that want to take advantage.  The links to print the coupons are below.

Here's what I did:
500 count box of #10 Security, 100% Recycled Envelopes: Originally, 24.49, on sale for $10
100 count box of file folders - sustainable earth: Originally 10.49, on sale for $8
400 page ream of HP 8.5x11 printer paper: $7.99

Used 3 75% off coupons (only one not used was for the pens).  Subtotal = $6.50 + .39 tax = $6.89!
Original price: $42.97.  That's an overall savings of 85%!

Staples 75% off coupons that are valid through 7/9.

75% off – HP Paper Product for inkjet, laser and photo printers

75% off – Any Uni-Ball Product

75% off – Any Boxed Envelopes

75% off – Any One Package Filing Folders, Hanging Folders or Expanding Files

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Full Disclosure

Alright, this is a true story.  We had chicken pot pie leftovers for dinner tonight.  (By the way, I figured out today that 1/8th of that pie is 107 calories based on the 2/3rd's filling that I used to make it - just in case you were wondering).  Anyway, after dinner, we went out to run errands.  On the way home, we both commented how hungry we were and that we were wanting some sort of a snack.  The proof is in the pudding... I definitely am pregnant!  Okay, not pudding literally, although that was a consideration when I was considering what my food victims would be.  Below are my choices...19 weeks tomorrow :)
Cantaloupe, Doritos, fiber plus Eggo waffle with peanut butter, and whole wheat toast. - YUM!
And for those of you wondering, why in the world is she putting this on her blog?  Ryan said to me as I was making my plate "Are you going to post this on your blog?"  I said no... why would I?  He said with a smile "you post everything else".  So this one is for you honey!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pie mix before going into the bottom pie shell (I ended up only using 2/3rd's of the mix)
Before going into the oven.
Fresh out of the oven.
Final product.  I cut ours into 8 pieces so it was easier to get out.  Would most likely serve 4-6 adults (non-wls)

This is a recipe from my mom.  She made it when they were out last November and I've been meaning to try it on my own and just got around to it - only a little more than 7 months later : )  I followed the ingredient list/recipe below, but it made way too much pie "stuffing" for me.  I used about 2/3rd of what the mix made and saved the rest to use in some other recipe I'm going to try and create.  Trash goes out Thursday morning... so the extra might just end up there.

2 (10 1/2 oz) can of Cream of Potato Soup
2 cans mixed vegetables, drained (mom says pick out the lima beans - they change the taste)
2 large cans white chunk chicken
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp pepper
2-9 inch frozen deep dish pie crusts
1 egg
Combine first five ingredients. Spoon into one pie crust. Cover and top with second pie crust.
Crimp/flute edges to seal. Slit top crust and brush with beaten egg white if desired.  Bake
at 375 for 40-45 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes before serving.

If you have a Walmart around, mom says that the Walmart brand of mixed veggies in the can already has no lima beans.  I just picked mine out.  I think there were less than 10 total between the 2 cans in my Giant brand : )