Saturday, August 13, 2011

CVS, Kohls and JCPenney - still good this weekend!

I've had some great luck with deals in the last 12 hours (probably because I have a to-do list a mile long and no where on that to-do list does it say "run errands").  Last night, we hit up Kohl's and JCPenney to use up some coupons and this morning I got to CVS.  I've been meaning to get there all week, but 8am on Saturday morning did me just fine.  I was up bright and early this morning to go to a garage sale down the street.  They have a little boy that was born in January and were selling 0-12 month clothing.  I got a bag of nice things for the baby and 2 maternity tops/1 maternity dress all for $15.  Then headed over to Giant for some quick grocery shopping where I found their organic fresh meat marked way down!  I stocked up on chicken and extra lean ground beef (already in the deep freeze) and before pulling out of the parking lot filled up my tank with my 20 cents off per gallon credit that was going to expire on 8/20.  As you can see, it has been 12 hours worth of deals!
I paid less than 3 cents a diaper!!!
So here's the run down on CVS (this deal is amazing and should still work for any of you looking for diapers!):
2 - 12pks of pop.  Originally 5.69 each.  On sale for $3 and $3.33.
2 pks of Pampers NB Sensitive swaddlers (30ct.) Originally 12.99 each.  On clearance for $2.99 each.
1 pk of Pampers sensitive wipes. Originally 3.99.  On sale for 2.49 this week.
I used x2 $2 off pampers coupons (exp 8/31) and $1 off pampers wipes coupon (exp 8/31). I paid with $6 ECB from a previous transaction. 
Total OOP: $4.19  (Original Price would have been: $41.35... I saved 90%!!!)
Curious what stock up prices are on diapers?  Check out this blog post for my stock up prices.
Lovin the Booties : )
JCPenney Run Down:
1 Carters Monkey Frame. Originally 13.99.  On sale for $9.49.
1 set of Carters monkey booties.  Originally 11.99.  On sale for $5.99
Used $10 off of a $10 purchase coupon (exp 8/13).
Total OOP: $5.69 (Original Price would have been $25.98... I saved 79%!!!)
I get the $10 off of $10 coupons because I signed up for their newsletter.  To sign yourself up, go here.

Kohl's Run Down:
3 sonoma crew neck t-shirts.  Originally 24.00 each. On sale for $9.99 each.
1 Lilyette bra.  Originally 34.00.  On sale for $21.99.
Used $10 off of $20 intimate purchase coupon (came out of flyer in the mail)
Used $30 in Kohl's cash (we earned this when we bought the baby clothes 2 weeks ago)
Paid with my Kohl's card, so I got to do the scratch off savings coupon and got an additional 15% off.
Total OOP: $10.16 (Original Price would have been $106... I saved 91%!!!)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dining Room Redo

I've had a folder on the desktop of my computer for the last couple of months.  It's titled "Before and Afters".  I realized once we started posting pictures of the nursery, I never posted pictures of some of the other rooms we've redone in this house.  We did A LOT of work when we moved in - and looking back at these pictures helps me appreciate all of that.  We still are working on a few rooms/projects before our little guy gets here.  In the meantime - I'll post some of these pics to capture what the house looks like "pre-baby" : )

The "Before" Pics:
That's right, robins egg blue wall color, yellow trim (yes YELLOW) and those lovely sheer curtains... Clearly a before.
See that red carpet?  We got rid of that too - but that will come with the family room before and afters : )
Large built in buffet in the dining room - perfect for all my dishes.  And there are a ton of them!

The "After" Pictures:
Check out this table.  We bought it from an old man the day we were leaving Iowa to move to PA.  I saw a sign on the side of the road - we already had the moving truck... I negotiated him down to $80!  6 foot table with 2 leaves and 4 chairs :)  Ryan recovered the chairs with fabric to match the curtains and chair color.  Someday we'll refinish the chairs, but for now, it works for us.  5th year we've had it and it still works in this house!
The only thing we bought for this room was 1 extra set of blue curtains from target for $30 and the table runner and table cloth from Marshall's for 21.99 total.
This door goes to the side yard of the house.  We don't use it, but needed to put curtains up to make the room look finished.
All the dishes lined up in the cabinets in the buffet.  Here's the sad thing, we have a ton of cupboards in the kitchen and those are FULL too!  Thank you Pfaltzgraff for going out of business right around the time we got married ; )  Those 90% clearance deals couldn't have worked out better!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicken with tomato and pepper gravy

I made this new recipe tonight and it turned out really well.  It calls for a lot of tomatoes, but Ryan doesn't like tomatoes and he really enjoyed this meal - so don't let it scare you off.  The flavor was mild enough that it was delicious, but not over powering.  Starting with prep time, I'd say it took me about 35 minutes to get dinner on the table (I make the rice in the microwave - thank you Uncle Ben's)
Not pictured: kosher salt and water. I also used 3 tiny green bell peppers from the farmers market instead of one large one.
Simmering for the last 10 minutes or so while the gravy mixture thickens (chicken stays moist in the sauce while it's cooking)
Finished product.  Hard to see, but there is a thin layer of rice on the bottom of the dish.  We'll definitely be making this meal again.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
 2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp onion powder
 1 1/2 tsp prepared minced garlic
1/2 cup soy sauce (divided 4 tbsp/4tbsp)
4 tbsp of minced dry onion flakes
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 1/2 cup water
1 green bell pepper (sliced)
4 plum tomatoes (roma plum tomatoes seeded and chopped)
4 cups of brown rice (2 pkgs of the uncle ben's 90 second ready rice)

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and onion powder, and place in skillet. Cook for about 7 to 8 minutes - flipping halfway through. Add the garlic, 4 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons of minced onion. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, and the juices run clear.

2. Dissolve cornstarch in water in a small bowl, add remaining 4 tablespoons of soy sauce and stir together. Pour cornstarch mixture into skillet with chicken. Stir in green pepper, tomatoes, and remaining 2 tablespoons of minced onion. Simmer until gravy has reached desired consistency, about 10 minutes on medium heat.

3. Serve 1 chicken breast with 1/4 of gravy/pepper+tomato mixture over 1 cup of brown rice.
Makes 4 regular size adult servings (probably 8 WLS servings depending on how far out you are).

Nursery is DONE! Pictures included : )

I'm not even going to bother with a description to start - let's get to the good stuff... the pictures!  Cost breakdown and explanations are below.  (These will be the last pics of the nursery until our little guy is born, Dec. 1st due date!  We have some name specific decorating we plan on doing, but because we are keeping the name a secret - we won't be posting any more pictures until after he is born). 

View from the door into the room.  The room is the first room on the right at the top of the stairs.  We actually have 5 bedrooms in this house, but our bedroom shares the wall that the changing table is on.  I think we'll hear about every coo and cry there is to be heard.
Changing Table and Glider/Feeding area with paper lantern mobile.  Links to how we did it are below.
Window box that Ryan built.  Perfectly centered and even with the window - just like we both wanted it.  (links below)
Amazing 4 in 1 crib, a gift from both sets of Grandparents - it's the only new piece of furniture we bought for the room.
The mobile (rigged up so it's level - the arm of the crib has an arch) and a shot of the bumpers/monkey sheet.
Monkey security blanket and stuffed musical giraffe waiting for our little guy in the crib.
White refinished dresser/goodwill lamp/sale mirror & high school CD player - links below : )  Dresser was only $20!

Oh - it feels SO good to get those posted!  This nursery has been a vision in our heads for the last 4 months, but just since we found out we were having a boy in the middle of July - it got kicked into high gear!  I did have a few helpless moments where I was certain it wouldn't come together, but my trusty sidekick hubby would throw in some encouraging words and get me through.  (The same way I would when the project list seemed never ending for him : )

A few things guided the creation of this room.  The first was the color on the walls.  It was like this when we moved in and Ryan asked (more than a few times) that he not have to repaint the room if at all possible.  He's had a lot of painting to do in this house, so I totally understood and we both liked the color.  The next thing that gave us direction was the white 9 drawer dresser, white mirror and white end table that we already had from our last house, refinished of course.  We wanted to try and save some cost by using those in the nursery.  Finally, the piece that nearly sealed the deal was an awesome 8x10 area rug from Lowe's.  It was on clearance for $67 (was over $200)!!!  Now if you've been shopping for an 8x10 gender neutral rug, you'll know that these are nearly impossible to find and I was expecting to need to pay over $500 at the pottery barn outlet store or simply go without a rug.  Nothing was wrong with the rug, just the last one - must have been meant for us ; )

Alright, here we go with the run down:
Lowe's 8x10 soft green area rug on clearance: $67
Rebuilt/Redone changing table with accessories: $158
Craigslist Glider/Ottoman: $100
Balulu 8 piece bedding set from BabiesRUs with 20% off coupon: $118
Ceiling fan with light included from Lowe's: $34
Ceiling tray for fan on clearance at Lowe's: $12
Lantern Mobile: $25
Window Box/Radiator Cover: $39
Total Out of Pocket Cost: $553 (Our original goal was to keep it under $1000!)

Items we already had/re-purposed/or were gifts:
  • Wall hanging above changing table is actually the comforter that comes with the bedding set.
  • Blanket over the chair with polka-dots also came with the bedding set
  • White curtains were in the room when we moved into the house as was the picture rail around half of the room.
  • White end table and lamp in the corner next to the crib are pieces we had in a guest room in our last house. ($6 for that end table : )
  • White, 3 picture, hand print/foot print frame (originally gave this as a gift to my friend Carley.  They screwed up on the original order and sent her a brand new one.  She gave me the original one back and about 3 months later we were pregnant ; ) To buy, go here.
  • Mobile, bumpers, crib skirt, fitted sheet, monkey security blanket came with the bedding set.
  • Giraffe stuffed animal in crib was a gift from my parents long before they knew the theme or what gender the baby was going to be.
  • Waterproof mattress pad (not pictured because it's on the bed) is a gift from Ryan's parents.
  • Beautiful crib and mattress are a joint gift from both sets of grandparents - it was the only NEW thing I absolutely wanted in the room.  Here is a link to the crib.  It's a 4 in 1 and should last us for years to come!
  • White, 9 drawer dresser, we had from a guest room in our old house.  Paid $20 for it at goodwill originally.
  • Mirror was from another room in our house.  We got that mirror from Lowe's about 3 years ago on sale for $70.
  • Green glass bottle lamp that says No. 5 (our lucky number) was from Goodwill for $6.  Shade was from another thrift store for $1.  I bought this lamp over a year ago and finally have a reason to use it!  Ryan would tell you I collect lamps and dressers like it's my job ; )
  • CD Player - mine from high school that has gotten moved to 4 different states and a bazillion houses in the last 12 years - but should work perfectly for the baby.
Only major project left with the room - a total closet redo.  It's a very shallow closet that is of course original with the 1902 house. We're going to need to get creative to fit hanging bars and an organization system in there.  It's one of the next projects on the list though : )

This room is such a calm and soothing place.  We both love it and Bentley has made himself right at home on the carpet.  He's already hiding a few bones in there so he has something to do when we're up at all hours of the night with feedings and changings.  Can't wait!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dresser and End Table Redo for Nursery

Unfortunately, we do not have "before" pictures of these 2 pieces, but they are too awesome not to post about!  Both are goodwill finds that Ryan refinished for the FIRST time in our old house.  He has since put a new coat of white paint on each and sealed them with poly-acrylic sealer for the baby's room.  You will not believe the prices on these pieces... First, the pics!
Can you believe we bought these pieces 3 months apart and they match this well?  $20 bucks - seriously, $20 bucks!
And here's our $6 find with a similar bottom to match the dresser.  These were so horrible when we bought them - I WISH we had before pics to do them true justice!
Alright, so here is the story on these 2 pieces.  The big 9 drawer dresser is a Bassett Furniture Company dresser.  It was in horrible condition when we bought it from goodwill for $20 bucks.  It was so huge, our back end didn't close on my SUV to drive it home.  We used a bit of twine and drove VERY slowly.  This was probably the 3rd big piece of furniture we had bought since we met to refinish.  (I won't tell you what number we're on now because there is a slight chance my hubby is reading this and I don't want to draw attention to that number ; ) None of the drawers closed - not one.  Ryan had to rebuild all of the bottoms of the drawers, sand and put them on new tracks.  Now they are smooth as silk : )

The end table was found 3 months later at a goodwill store about an hour away from the original store.  These 2 pieces are not from the same furniture set, but I knew the bottoms would be close enough that it would work.  It was horribly stained on the top and again, the drawer at the bottom as all jacked up.  I paid $6 for this and was able to carry it to my car by myself - meaning I didn't have to call and ask for help on this purchase.  Just had some explaining to do when I pulled into the garage!

Here is the breakdown on cost (this will not be factored in to the nursery cost because we had these):
9 drawer dresser: $20 goodwill
End table: $6 goodwill
Wood/tracks to fix drawers: $30
Paint: $15 (sealer we had)
New dresser crystal/silver hardware: $72
Total cost for both pieces: $143.  

We will have these for YEARS in the kid's rooms or in guest rooms and I'll always have the memories of doing these projects together.  (Again, I do a lot of the dreaming and organizing after the fact - Ryan does the project labor with A LOT of love <3

Custom Made Window Box/Radiator Cover in Nursery

The finished product - thanks honey!!!
We live in an OLD house!  Originally built in 1902.  There is a lot of charm, but with that charm comes annoying things like radiators in every room upstairs and oil heat (boo to the budget on that one!).  I was concerned about having an exposed radiator in the baby's room for 2 reasons: 1) The aesthetic of the original radiator is horrible 2) Once our little guy starts crawling around, the last thing we want is him wrapping his fingers around the inside to pull himself up.  I dreamt up what I wanted and asked hubby to do this for us.  Ryan is GREAT and specking out plans and making it work.  I knew I wanted it flush against the window so it looked like a small window box.  It's not a true window seat, but I have some ideas for that space - those will come : )

The beginning... Isn't it lovely how it's off center from the window?  That doesn't fit with our Type A personalities - we like things centered and in line : )  Oh, we also replaced the ugly light fixture - pics of that will come.
The inside of the box.  Ryan supported it with L and T brackets and used basic lumber to build it.  Can you see how he notched out the bottom to fit the baseboard and pipes perfectly?  A-Mazing!
The front of the box, before the top was screwed on and painted.
Supplies needed for this project:
Wood to build the box: $20 from Lowe's lumber department
Metal Radiator Cover Screen: $7.50 (on clearance at Lowe's)
White spray paint: $4 from Lowe's
Hardware needed to assemble: $8
Already had white paint and poly-acrylic sealer from changing table redo.
Total cost: $39.50 (our goal was to do it under $50)

Lantern Mobile for Nursery

Our finished project.  It's going to hang above the glider and ottoman so our little guy has something to look at when he's being fed and falling asleep.
I saw something similar to this project in a magazine.  I went online and started shopping around and found what I thought were reasonable prices on for someone else to make a paper lantern mobile for us for the nursery.  I could customize my colors on these websites and request specific sizes.  The catch was I wasn't sure what I was ordering would look right (how do you know if you want 10 inch or 14 inch lanterns without having them there???) or if the colors would be right for the room.  Ryan and I set out to do it ourselves and I'm pleased to say I think it came out better than what we would have bought online and MUCH cheaper.  To order something like this online and have it shipped to us was over $100 (with my picks of colors/sizes) - to do this ourselves was a whopping $25.47 AND we have 6 left over lanterns to use at a later time if we want to!

Here's how we did it:
3 pk of 14" lanterns from Party City (bought in brown, green and white): 6.99 each x3
1 pk of 10" lanterns from Michaels (bought 3 in green and 3 in white): 75 cents each with 25% off coupon x6
5 white screw in hooks (had from an old project at the other house)
Clear Fishing Line (came in the packs of lanterns from Party City)
One of my inspiration pictures - clearly, for this child, we were not doing the pink : )

Looking up at the mobile from the bottom/floor view.
The supplies before the project started.  Less than $26 bucks total!
Different lantern sizes up close.

Changing Table for Nursery - Ryan's Redo!

The finished product!  To see how I made the custom chalkboard totes to fit the changing table, click here.
The changing table empty, without the totes or anything on top.
I've mentioned more than a few times how my amazing hubby has been remaking the changing table out of an old piece of furniture we had.  We bought this old hutch off of craigslist about 3 years ago for $75.  We had it in our loft area at our old house, but never had room for it in this house.  It was all one solid piece when it started, so to remake it - Ryan had to cut everything apart (very carefully) and then rebuild.  He rebuilt, sanded, used wood filler, painted many lovely coats of white paint and sealed with poly-acrylic sealer to make this all happen.  It is the perfect height for both of us - something that is hard to do considering I'm so flipping short (ok, 5'4", but short enough). He did this all in the crazy heat of July in the garage and it meant so much to me that he did this. He had MULTIPLE projects going that will start to be featured in the coming weeks as we are just now starting to wrap some of this stuff up.  Once again, he made my vision come true!  Enjoy the before and afters!
The original hutch with top at the old house.  The top pieces became the back and the top of the newly made piece.
In the garage before the top and back had been rebuilt.  Looking ROUGH!  But we had a vision :)
Ryan in the garage sanding after he had rebuilt the dresser - it was SO hot!

And just one last time... the finished product : )
Cost breakdown:
Items we already had: hutch, wood filler, misc. hardware, sander and necessary tools.
White paint: $15
Poly-Acrylic Sealer: $17
Chalkboard Totes Project: $91
Changing table pad and cover: $35 from BabiesRUs (used x2, 20% off coupons)
Total Cost with ALL accessories: $158 + Ryan's countless hours of work

Cost for the one we were considering at BabiesRUs originally $579 with NO Accessories! To view that one, click here.

Savings of at least $425 if not more!

20% off at Kohls this weekend - major clearance sales!

There is a 20% Kohl's coupon that you can use in store this weekend - over and over and over again (think multiple stores!).  They've just recently clearanced out a lot of their spring/summer stuff to make room for fall.  Should make for some good deals.  No restrictions as usual and awesome return policy if what you get doesn't workout.  You can also earn $10 cash back for every $50 you spend. 
Click this link, to take you to Saving with Shellie's page.  From there you'll click on the link that says 20% off coupon and it will pull up a separate screen that you can print it from.  Its a general coupon, so anyone can use it.
Ryan and I went tonight to stock up on little boy clothes for this summer.  I've found that I can shop the sales about 9-10 months ahead of time to buy for next year at Kohl's.  I wait for 70% or 80% off on clearance and then also wait for a 20% or 30% off coupon.  Everything I got was 6-9 months, 9 months and 2 pairs of shorts that looked small at 12 months.  Even if we have a little "chunker" on our hands, he will be 6 months in May and able to wear this stuff in May/June.  My hope is it will carry him through August/September - but we shall see.  
And now for the fun part - pics of what we got!
5 tees and shorts outfits
5 one piece rompers and 1 onesie/overall outfit
2 t-shirts, 4 polo onesies, 2 onesies (puppy pirate/Daddy and I say Mommy is the boss :), 9 pairs of shorts
Retail cost: $380
We paid $103.76 and earned $20 bucks back in Kohl's cash that we can use starting Wed. August 10th.
Net cost: $83.76
Savings of: 78% : )

If I can get our little guy $100 bucks of clothes that will last him every 3 months or so, we should be able to make the budget work!  Happy shopping!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Baby Bump: Week 21 & Week 23

My sister has said that my "normal" clothes are not showing my baby bump enough.  Well, I'm on a mission to take more "bump" worthy pictures and I guess you all get to benefit that we have to keep our family up to date with pictures because of the distance.  Today I am yet again in "normal" clothes and not maternity clothes, but the bump is showing just a bit more.  Look real close... just a bit : )  Still not gaining weight (docs aren't concerned) - but the body is changing.  Oh, and the final little note - I look insanely tired from week 21 to week 23.  You can totally tell this little guy is keeping me up all hours of the night.  If I get 4 hours of sleep a night right now, I'm lucky.  Our little monkey enjoys doing his flips in the night and sleeps perfectly during the day!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cheap Revlon Lipstick/Lip Gloss at CVS through Saturday

This week at CVS there is a special on 4 different types of Revlon lipstick and lip gloss.  Originally priced anywhere from $9.29-11.79, they are all on sale for $5.79 each.  For each one you buy, you get $3 in Extra Care Bucks back (ECB's) making them $2.79 each.  Here's where it gets good...  I scanned my Extra Care Bucks Rewards card at the coupon kiosk in the store and got a coupon for $3 off of a $10 purchase.  That made for some pretty cheap lip gloss!  Here's what I did:
Paid $1.29 each for Revlon!
Bought 2 Revlon Lip Glosses for $5.79 each = $11.58 total
Used $3 off of a $10 purchase in store kiosk coupon.
Paid: $8.58 for 2 lip glosses (paid with previously earned ECB's) and earned $6 in ECB's to use by September 3rd. 
Total cost: 11.58 - $3 coupon -$6 ECB's earned = $2.58/2 lip products = $1.29 each.  Without the $3 off coupon, they'd be $2.79 each.
There is a limit of 6 on this promotion.  Good through Saturday!

Baby Pics - Week 23

We had our 2nd ultrasound yesterday and we have new pics of the baby to share.  He was EXTREMELY active yet again and made it very difficult for the ultrasound techs to do their jobs.  He is doing full flips and I can fully feel it - all day/night long.  We've now had 4 doctors say to us "wow, this is an active one".  Guess I better get my running shoes ready for chasing him around the house.  I have a feeling as soon as this baby is mobile, there will be no stopping him!

The placenta previa has resolved itself and we are in the clear with that.  Now they are just tracking his growth because he's a little on the small side.  We're at 23 weeks today and I can't believe we have less than 4 months to go!  With school starting back up for both of us in the next week or so, the time is going to fly!  Our next ultrasound is in 4 weeks - so I'm sure we'll have more pics to share then : )


4D ultrasound shot.  He looks like he's sleeping here, but he wasn't.  This was mid flip that they caught this picture.  I'm not sure this child sleeps!

Profile shot at 23 weeks.

Another profile shot - it looks like he's sucking this thumb, but he was really just waiving his arms all around and this is how the picture was snapped.  I'd like to think he was peacefully sucking his thumb ; )