Thursday, September 23, 2010

Diaper Deal at Rite Aid!

For the Mommas posted details about the great diaper deal going on at Rite Aid this week!

Here's how the deal worked for me in Greenville, where most stores are being remodeled as they merge with Save-a-Lot:

(All printable coupon links are posted at For the Mommas.)

Buy three jumbo packs of Huggies Diapers – $10.99 each
Use $5.00 off $25 Purchase Video Values Coupon
Stack with two $3.00/1 printable coupons
Stack with $3.00/1 coupon (from a recent mailer)
Stack with $1.00/1 Huggies Video Values Coupon
Pay $17.97 (plus tax) after coupons
Get $2.00 UPRs 
per pack of diapers ($6.00 UPRs total!)
Submit for SCR #70 and get $10.00 Rite Aid Gift Card in the mail

My total came to $1.22 per jumbo pack of diapers (including tax) after coupons, UPRs, and gift card.

What a deal!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rite Aid Deals 08/29 thru 09/04

Rite Aid has some great advertised deals this week. And don't forget that many stores are also reducing a lot of merchandise 50% due to remodeling!

These are the deals that most interest me:

Nivea Lip Care – $2.99 each
Get $1.99 SCR
Get $1.00 UPR
Use $1.00/1 coupon (September All You Magazine)
FREE plus overage after SCR, UPR, and coupon

Pantene Restore Beautiful Lengths Hair Care – $4.00 each
Get $2.00 UPR
Use $2.00/1 coupon (08/29 P&G)
FREE after coupon and UPR

Pampers Jumbo Pack Diapers – $8.99 each
Get $2.00 UPR
Use $3.00/1 coupon (VocalPoint, expires 08/31/10)
$3.99 after UPR and coupon

You can see more deals with coupon match-ups at For the Mommas.

Walgreens Deals – 08/29 thru 09/04

There are some good-looking Register Reward deals at Walgreens this week. The following one especially catches my eye:

Buy two Soft Soap Body Wash or Irish Spring Body Wash – $3.50 each
Get $5.00 Register Rewards
Use $1.00/1 coupon (September All You Magazine)
$0.50 each after coupon and RRs

You can see more deals with coupon match-ups at Money Saving Mom.

CVS Deals – 08/29 thru 09/04

There are some good grocery deals at CVS this week!

Nescafe Taster’s Choice – $1.00 each
Buy two and use B1G1 printable coupon
Also use $0.75/1 printable coupon
$0.25 for two after coupons

Campbell’s Condensed Soups – $0.50 each (Limit 10)
Buy two and use $0.50/2 printable coupon
$0.25 each after coupon

You can see more deals with coupon match-ups at The Thrifty Mama.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Basic Economics!

On the way home from the grocery store one evening last week, I found myself trying to explain basic economics to my four-and-a-half-year-old, including the Scriptures' admonition to work.

I asked: "How do Mommy and Daddy buy food?"

Without even a moment's hesitation, she replied: "With coupons!"

I had to laugh right out loud!

And after the deals at CVS, Walgreens, and (especially!) Rite Aid this week, I can see where she gets that idea... (And all deals are good until Saturday!)

It's been awhile, but I'm again joining Sharon at Good, True, and Beautiful – Just for the Joy of It – sharing one of those little moments in life that brings a big smile!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is my adapted “healthful” version of a friend’s recipe.

These have quickly become a favorite! After all, everything’s better with chocolate – especially dark chocolate!

In a mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup bread flour
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

In another mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients:
1 egg
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Fold in:
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
¾ cup chocolate chips

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for five minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

This recipe makes 12 to 16 muffins.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hurrah for Rite Aid!

This seems to be the season for deals at Rite Aid – especially if stores in your vicinity are remodeling and have reduced many items by 50%!

I ended up going to one store for the Huggies diapers deal and then to two other stores for the bathroom tissue deal. (I was told by one manager that Rite Aid will be merging with Save-a-Lot.) The up side of the remodeling is the 50% off! The down side is that some items are out of stock. That was the case when I went looking for the bathroom tissue deal today.

I ended up modifying my hopeful scenario, finding reduced items for which I also had coupons in order to use the $5 off $25 purchase Rite Aid coupon at the first store, and then buying the rest of the bathroom tissue needed to complete that deal (and qualify for $10 in rebates!) at the second store.

The end result was all of this for only $8.73 – after coupons, store rewards, rebates, discounts, and a $10 gift card from an earlier diaper deal!

If I had remembered to stack another $0.50 coupon and use the $2.00 +UP Rewards from the diaper deal, I could have reduced the "out of pocket" by that much more!

And the manager at one store told me to check back next week for even more deals!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rite Aid Deals – 08/22 thru 08/28

This is looking like a Visit All Three Drugstores Week!

Rite Aid has great deals going on both diapers and toilet paper:

Huggies Jumbo Pack, Pull-Ups, or Goodnights – $8.99 each
Get $2.00 +UP Rewards
Use $2.50/1 coupon (from recent mailer)
OR use $2.00/1 printable coupon
Stack with $2.00/1 Rite Aid August Video Values coupon
$2.49 or $2.99 after coupons and +UPR

Buy four Cottonelle Bathroom Tissue – $6.49 each
Use $5 off $25 purchase Rite Aid coupon*
Stack with two $0.50/1 coupons (SmartSource 08/15)
Stack with $1.00/1 coupon (All You, July 2010)
Stack with $1.00/1 Rite Aid August Video Values coupon
Submit for Single Check Rebate #10 and get $5.00
Submit for Single Check Rebate #148 and get another $5.00
$1.99 each after coupons and SCRs
(Get an even better deal by using more SmartSource coupons – if you have them!)

*Watch twenty Rite Aid Video Values (averaging 30 seconds each) and earn a $5 off $25 purchase coupon (expires 08/28/10).

You can see more deals with coupon match-ups at For the Mommas. She also explains Rite Aid's new +UP program and provides a link to Rite Aid's new coupon policy.

Walgreens Deals – 08/22 thru 08/28

One main deal gets my attention at Walgreens this week!

Buy two Kellogg’s Cereals – $2.50 each
Get $2.00 RRs
Use $1.00/2 printable coupon
$1.00 each after coupon and RRs

You can see more deals with coupon match-ups at Common Sense with Money.

CVS Deals – 08/22 thru 08/28

The “money maker” deal I’m interested in at CVS this week looks like a repeat from last week! It’s a good deal if you’re just getting started at CVS or are trying to (re)build a stash of ECBs.

Blink Gel Tears – $7.99
Get $7.99 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $1.50/1 printable coupon
FREE plus overage after coupon and ECBs

You can see more deals with coupon match-ups at The Thrifty Mama.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Join the Baby Club at Publix Supermarkets!

Those who live in the southeastern United States* and are expecting a baby (or already have one who is under two years old), are eligible to join the Publix Baby Club! Membership is free and benefits include coupons, newsletters (with miscellaneous parenting advice, quick and easy recipes, etc.), and for first-time parents a free book: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child ($20 value) from the Academy of Pediatrics.

I'm a returning member, and here are the great deals I got just yesterday!

All items (except two which were part of B1G1 deals) were free!

You can also sign up for the Publix Preschool Pals Club.

*Grandparents who live in southeastern States (including FL, GA, SC, AL, or TN) can also sign up for their grandchildren!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Huggies Little Movers Jeans Deal at CVS!

Aren't these cute?!

Be sure to scan your Extra Care Card when you go to CVS; I did so this evening and got a $4.00/1 coupon for Huggies Little Movers Jeans – currently on sale!

Here's the deal:

Buy two Huggies Little Movers Jeans – $8.99 each
Use $4.00/1 CVS coupon
Stack with $3.50/2 printable coupon (links here)
$5.24 each after coupons when you buy two

Because I have a coupon from a recent mailer, I'm planning to get an even better deal!

Buy one Huggies Little Movers Jeans – $8.99 each
Use $4.00/1 CVS coupon
Stack with $2.50/1 coupon (from recent mailer)
$2.49 after coupons

Gotta love CVS!

CVS Deals – 08/15 thru 08/21

Well, it's been a long while since I've been in a CVS. (They didn't have them out west where we were traveling for six weeks...) So, I'm looking forward to getting some deals this week! I'll probably make several trips so I can better maximize the ECBs.

Blink Tears Drops – $8.99
Get $8.99 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $1.50/1 printable coupon
OR use $1.00/1 coupon (RedPlum 08/15)
FREE plus overage after coupon and ECBs

Kellogg’s Cereals – three for $10
Get $5.00 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $0.75/1 plus $1.00/2 printable coupons
OR use $1.00/3 coupon (RedPlum 08/01)
$1.08 or $1.33 each after coupons and ECBs

I'm keeping it simple this week since I'm essentially starting from scratch and building up ECBs once again...

You can see more deals with coupon match-ups (including a diaper deal!) posted by The Thrifty Mama.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

FREE lunch tote from Earth Fare

Sign up for Earth Fare's Healthy Challenge and you'll be able to print a coupon for a FREE insulated lunch tote!

The challenge starts on Wednesday, August 11, and ends on Friday, September 17.

Besides the lunch tote, you'll also be able to get other free products throughout the challenge!

Monday, June 28, 2010

FREE Aveeno products at CVS!

There's a great deal on Aveeno products at CVS this week:

Buy $25 of Aveeno Products – starting at $6.49 each
Get $10 ECBs (Limit 1)
Buy four Aveeno products – $6.49 each
Use four $1.50/1 printable coupons
Submit for $10 mail-in rebate
FREE after ECBs, coupons, and rebate

Check out The Thrifty Mama for more deals at CVS this week!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Swagbucks Update!

Don't miss out on the opportunity to get free gift cards; do your internet searches via Swagbucks! Right now, 450 Swag Bucks can get you a $5.00 gift card! Other gift card options include Target and Starbucks.

New to Swagbucks? Read more here, and then click here to sign up and start earning prizes!

I'm getting ready to place another order for FREE books!

Also keep in mind that Friday is Mega Swag Buck Day; you can earn extra Swag Bucks when you do your regular web searches via Swagbucks.

Here are other ideas for earning Swag Bucks:
  • Download the Swagbucks toolbar! You can search more easily and be automatically rewarded with an extra Swag Buck here and there. You'll have opportunity to receive special codes as well.
  • Click on the Surveys tab on the Swagbucks site and answer the survey questions.
  • Click on the Special Offers tab; at the end of the offers you will receive bonus Swag Bucks just for viewing those offers.
  • Click on the Polls tab to answer a quick question and earn a Swag Buck.
  • Get 50 bonus Swag Bucks on your birthday! Go to Account Details and enter your birthdate. The 50 bonus Swag Bucks will post to your account on your special day!
Click here to sign up and start earning points for prizes! You can learn more about how you can earn free books and lunches (like I have done) by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Huggies Diaper & Wipes Deal at Target!

So glad I didn't start getting rid of my stash of bargain-acquired diapers! I'm now back to stock-piling 'em – looking forward to October!

Here's a great diaper and wipes deal, currently going on at Target:
(Thanks, MoneySavingMom!)

Buy one Jumbo Pack of Huggies Diapers – $8.99 each
* Buy one (320-count) Box of Huggies Wipes – $8.99 each
Use $3.00/1 Huggies Diapers printable coupon
Use $2.00/1 Huggies Wipes printable coupon
Stack with $3.50/2 Huggies Diapers & Wipes Target coupon
Pay $4.74 each after coupons (before tax)

* Since the Target I went to did not have 320-count boxes of wipes, I was allowed to substitute the 216-count bag ($5.99 each) and get an even better deal!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eating from the Pantry: Again!

Well, we’re back – and back to Eating from the Pantry, trying to stretch our bucks and see how long we can make the stock pile (and creativity!) last… Other than spending about $9.00 at Aldi for milk, eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables when we returned, we’ve been eating from the cupboards and freezer. (The fridge was basically empty when we got home, and the cereal stash in this picture has basically been depleted.)

Here’s the menu for last weekend and this week:

June 12 thru 20

Oatmeal (with ground flax seed, honey, and milk)
Homemade Apple Cider
Scrambled or Fried Eggs, Toasted Sweet Butter Bread or Honey Oatmeal Bread
(Check out the new and improved recipe for the Honey Oatmeal Bread!)

Sat & Sun: Lunch with extended family…
M: Whole Grain Spaghetti with Meatball Sauce, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Cantaloupe
T: Lunch with friends…
W: Whole Grain Spaghetti with Meatball Sauce, Tomatoes
Th: Egg Salad Sandwiches, Bananas
F: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, Cantaloupe, Mandarin Oranges
Sat & Sun: Leftovers

Sat: Leftover Pizza (from our trip), Cantaloupe
Sun: Snacks
M: Late lunch doubled as supper…
T: Late lunch doubled as supper, with a Cantaloupe Snack before bed
W: Late lunch doubled as supper, with a Cantaloupe and Cookie Snack after church
Th: Whole Grain Spaghetti with Sausage Sauce, Chopped Spinach, Tomatoes, Fresh Berry Pie topped with FREE IceDream from Chick-fil-A!
(The pie included black raspberries, wild blackberries, and mulberries from our back yard, plus blueberries from Aldi.)
F: Tuna Noodle Casserole, Fruit
Sat & Sun: Leftovers

I'll most likely be getting more creative in the next two weeks...

Any ideas on how to maximize savings while on the road???

As missionary deputees, we've been traveling many, many miles since mid-April. The bargain-hunting has not ceased, however! If anything, we're more conscious than ever of the need to be wise stewards of the resources God is entrusting to us. But the scenario is different on the road – especially when internet and a printer are not always available to access those awesome high-value coupons!

Most of the time our housing needs are taken care of, but eating frugally – AND healthfully – can be far more challenging, and especially with a little one on the way! The "value menus" can certainly be a blessing to the "on the road" budget; our goal has been $5.00 or less per meal for our family of (almost!) four. And granola bars do make a great snack... But we would be glad to hear other (even better?) ideas for maximizing savings while traveling – and especially any ideas on how to eat more wholesomely!

I would definitely welcome helpful comments...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Birthday Season: Lots more FREE Loot!

It's "Birthday Season" again at our house, and we're planning to cash in on some very nice birthday coupons to help us celebrate!

Check my original "Birthday Season" post to see the goodies listed by category (i.e. main dish, dessert, etc.) Then register your birthday on the sites, so you can print coupons when "Birthday Season" arrives for you! Some sites will send a "welcome" coupon, and most sites will send an email reminder about the birthday coupon a week or two before the date.

Add to that list a couple others you might not want to miss:

Main Dishes:

Denny's – FREE Grand Slam Breakfast
Reportedly, just show up on your birthday with a valid ID!

Fuddruckers – FREE 1/3 LB Burger

Mimi's Cafe – Coupon for $10 off $20 purchase


Keva Juice – FREE Regular Blend Smoothie (24 oz)
Plus you get a coupon for a FREE Regular Blend Smoothie (24 oz) just for signing up!

Bruster's – B1G1 FREE Waffle Cone

Rita's – B1G1 FREE Ice-Custard Treat (of your choice)

Arby's – FREE Swirl Shake with any RoastBurger purchase

Don't forget to check the original list for lots more free loot!

Just for the Joy of It!

"Happy Birthday to You!" – from the frugal blogosphere!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Recipe for Honey Oatmeal Bread

This bread has a very pleasing texture!


1½ cups (warm) water
½ cup quick-cooking oats
½ cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
¼ cup oat bran (or Grape Nuts or bran flakes cereal, crushed)
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
½ tsp salt
¼ cup honey (or molasses or maple syrup)
1½ Tbsp vegetable oil
1½ tsp (active dry) yeast

Place ingredients in the bread case and insert the bread case into the bread machine. Select the Basic (Medium) Bread Mode and press Start.


Publix Deals – 03/24 thru 04/03

I’m actually going to make it to Publix since this is a holiday week and the deals are good through Saturday!

Here's my list:

Classico Pasta Sauce (8.1 to 24 oz) – B1G1 for $2.49
Use $1.00/2 printable coupon
Stack with “Save $1.50 on Beef with purchase of two Classico Pasta Sauces (SmartSource 03/14)
FREE after coupon
(Pay $3.49 per pound for Ground Round.)

Ronzoni Pasta (12 or 16 oz) – B1G1 for $1.39
Use $0.75/1 printable coupon
Or use $1.00/2 printable coupon
$0.20 or FREE (plus $0.05 overage)

Hunts Diced Tomatoes (15 oz) – B1G1 for $1.39
Use $1.00/4 coupon (Rediscover Your Balance Booklet)
$0.45 each

Chocolate Cheerios – B1G1 for $3.99
Use $1.00/1 printable Publix coupons
$0.99 each

Land O Lakes Sweet Cream Butter (16 oz) – $2.00 each
Use $0.50/2 printable coupon
$1.50 each after doubled coupon

Strawberries – $1.25 per pound

Sweet Potatoes – $0.39 per pound

And don’t forget the FREE Yoplait Greek Yogurt Deal! (Good through 04/04/10)

You can see more deals with coupon match-ups at FiddledeedeeMom.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CVS Deals – 03/28 thru 04/03

These are the deals I'm hoping for this week. I'll probably make several trips so I can use ECBs on grocery items; I love it when drugstore deals help the grocery budget!

Buy two Huggies or Pull-Ups – $8.99 each
Get $5.00 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use two $3.00/1 coupons (from various free samples)
Or use two $3.00/1 printable coupons
$3.49 each after coupons and ECBs

Crest Toothpaste – $2.99 each
Get $2.00 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $0.75/1 coupon (P&G 03/07)
$0.24 after coupon and ECBs

Lindsay Olives – $0.88 each (Limit 6)
Buy two and use $1.00/2 printable coupon
$0.38 each after coupon

Kellogg’s Cereals – $2.00 each (Limit 4)
Use $1.00/1 coupon (from various cereal boxes)
Or buy two and use $1.50/2 printable coupon
$1.00 or $1.25 each after coupons

You can see more deals with coupon match-ups at MoneySavingMom.

Walgreens Deals – 03/28 thru 04/03

These are the deals I'm hoping for this week. I'll probably make several trips so I can use RRs on grocery items; I love it when drugstore deals help the grocery budget!

Dove Shampoo, Conditioner, or Styling Product – $4.00 each
Get $4.00 Register Rewards
Use $2.00/1 printable coupon
FREE plus $2.00 overage after coupon and RRs

Dentek Floss – $2.00 each
Get $2.00 Register Rewards
Use $1.00/1 coupon (SmartSource 01/17) (regional)
FREE plus $1.00 overage after coupon and RR

Walgreens One Daily Multivitamin (100 count) – $3.00 each
Get $3.00 Register Rewards
FREE after RRs

Reese’s Cups – $0.39 each with in-ad coupon
Use $0.55/1 coupon (SmartSource 03/14) (regional)
FREE after coupons

Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna (5 oz) – $0.69 each with in-ad coupon (Limit 4)
Bumble Bee Chunk White Albacore Tuna (5 oz) – $0.99 each with Easter-ad coupon (Limit 3)
Buy four Chunk Light (Limit 4) and one Albacore
Use $1.00/5 printable coupon
$0.55 each after coupons

Campbells Cream of Mushroom or Chicken Soup – $0.79 with Easter-ad coupon
Buy two and use $1.00/2 printable coupon
$0.29 after coupons

Walgreens Pure Honey (32 oz) – $3.99 with in-ad coupon

Milk – $2.69
Currently the best price in town!

You can see more deals with coupon match-ups at Common Sense with Money.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Simple Resurrection Object Lesson

We did this for the first time last year, and our toddler enjoyed it thoroughly – and learned the true story of Easter!

Materials needed:
  • Printed script (See below.)
  • Small basket. (A bowl or small shoe box works well, too.)
  • Five (large) brightly-colored plastic eggs (You can get these for about $1.00 at Target, etc.)
  • A clip-art picture of a donkey (I printed it in black and white, colored it with pencils, and then “laminated” it with clear tape before cutting it out.)
  • Crackers (Saltines or oyster crackers work well.)
  • Two nails
  • A rock


Print the following script and keep it in the basket to read as you open the eggs. The script is targeted toward pre-school children; older children can be involved by looking up the Bible passages and reading them aloud.

Let the child open the blue egg and hold the donkey.
Jesus was coming to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. Some people cut branches from trees and spread them in the road. Many people laid their coats in the road like a carpet. Jesus rode into the city on a donkey. “Hosanna!” the people cheered as they waved palm branches. Some people cheered, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!” Jesus rode into the city on a donkey because a king riding on a donkey meant he would bring peace. God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to set us free from our sins and bring us peace.

Let the child open the purple egg and eat the cracker.
Jesus and His disciples (the twelve men He was training to tell others about God) celebrated Passover together. They went to an upstairs room in a house in Jerusalem. Jesus washed His disciples’ feet to remind them that they should serve others. Then Jesus and the disciples shared a special meal. Jesus knew it would be His last meal with His friends; He knew He had to follow God’s plan for His life and die for our sins.

Let the child open the yellow egg and hold the two nails; show him how to make the nails into a cross.
Jesus had to be nailed to the cross to die for our sins because it was God’s plan for salvation. The people who loved Jesus were very sad. Jesus did not deserve to be punished; He had not done anything wrong. Jesus died so that we could be forgiven. The Bible says in John 3:16:
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Let the child open the green egg and hold the rock.
After Jesus died, one of his followers wrapped Jesus’ body in cloth and put it in a tomb. The tomb was a special tomb cut into the rock on a hillside. A big stone was rolled in front of the tomb to close the entrance. Soldiers were posted to guard the tomb. Jesus followers were very sad that Jesus had died.

Let the child open the orange egg. It is empty!
Early the next morning two ladies named Mary went to visit the tomb. When they came to it, they saw that the big rock had been rolled away. The tomb was empty! The angel that had rolled away the stone said: “Jesus…is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead.” Good news! Jesus was alive again! And He is alive today! He took the punishment that we deserve for our sins so that we can be forgiven – and so that we can know and serve God. And one day we will go to heaven to live forever with God!

(This script has been adapted from a script shared at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, SC.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's Cookin'?

This week's menu includes some good-tasting, cheap food:

Classic Meatloaf

Sweet Butter Bread

Lentil and Sausage Stew

Otherwise, we're pretty much still Eating from The Pantry and freezer, etc. It's been a blessing!

I used a one-pound package of "Cocktail Smokies" little sausages from the freezer for today's Lentil and Sausage Stew. Besides omitting salt, I started by putting the frozen sausages in about two cups of water and simmering them until they were hot. (They're already fully cooked.) I then proceeded with the recipe as stated.

Recipe for Lentil and Sausage Stew

Serve this simple, hearty stew with whole-grain (homemade) bread* to make a great economic meal – complete with protein, vegetables, and fiber! I like to make one huge batch and freeze some for later. (For a smaller batch, simply divide the recipe in half.)

2½ cups dried lentils
8 cups water
6 small (red) potatoes, cubed
1 lb sausage (chorizo, Italian, etc.)

1 tsp salt
1 or 2 onions, chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium carrots, grated (about 2 cups)

Rinse and drain lentils. Put lentils and water in a large pot and bring to a simmer. (Add onion, garlic, and salt.) Add potatoes and sausage and then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are done and most of the water has been absorbed. (Add grated carrots and simmer 15 minutes more before serving.)

Garnish with freshly ground pepper, freshly grated carrot, etc.

(Yields approximately ten 1-cup servings.)

*We love homemade Sweet Butter Bread.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What's Cookin'?

It's a cool, rainy, late-winter (but almost spring!) day where I live.

So, what's cookin'? Some great, nourishing comfort food to match the weather:

Split Pea (with Veggies) Soup and Sweet Butter Bread

This is my frugal version of Split Pea Soup. (Of course, you can add ham bone, too.) But this recipe keeps the idea of simple, economic meals that are also highly nutritious.

I'm looking forward to supper!

Recipe for Split Pea (with Veggies) Soup

Serve this simple yet hearty soup with whole-grain (homemade) bread* to make a great economic (meatless) meal – complete with protein, vegetables, and fiber! I like to make one huge batch and freeze some for later.

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 or 3 Tbsp dried onion
8 to 10 cups water
2 tsp salt (optional)
4 cups dried split peas
2 medium carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
1 cup diced tomatoes

In a large pot, heat oil and sauté onions until lightly fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and stir until all are well mixed. Then cover and simmer about an hour, stirring occasionally (until peas are tender).

Garnish with freshly ground pepper, freshly grated carrot, or grated (parmesan) cheese, etc.

(Yields approximately fourteen 1-cup servings.)

*We love homemade Sweet Butter Bread.

FREE Italian Ice at Rita's – only on 03/20/10

Spring is in the air! It's time to think about celebrating with a Rita's Italian Ice again!
Rita's will be celebrating the First Day of Spring on Saturday, March 20, 2010 – by giving away 10-oz. cups of their famous Italian Ice! Yum!
You might even want to try the New Peeps Ice!

Check Rita's website to find a location near you. While you're there, sign up for the Birthday Club, too!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Diaper & Wipes Deal at Rite Aid (updated)

The Thrifty Couple has a detailed post on the great diaper and wipes deal currently at Rite Aid!

Here's my (hopeful) scenario:

Buy three packs of Pampers Diapers – $9.99 each
Use two $1.50/1 coupons (from select Cheerios boxes)
[Or use two $1.50/1 coupons (P&G 02/07 & 02/21)]
Use one $2.00/1 coupon (P&G 02/21)
Buy one pack of Pampers Wipes – $2.49 each
Use $1.50/1 coupon $0.50/1 coupon (P&G 02/07)
Stack with a $5 off $25 purchase Rite Aid coupon

Total after coupons will be $20.96 $21.96 (before tax).

Qualify to receive the $10 Rite Aid Gift Card. (See Rebate #18 here.)

The final price will be $10.96 $11.96 for four items – or $2.74 $2.99 each (before tax)!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

FREE Yoplait Greek Yogurt at Publix!

We're back in the USA after almost five (very busy!) weeks away.

Here's an especially exciting deal at Publix (through 04/04/10) for our yogurt-loving family:

Yoplait Greek Yogurt (6 oz) – $1.19 each
Use FREE Publix coupon
Stack with $0.30/1 printable coupon (doubled)
FREE plus $0.60 overage after coupons

Thanks, MoneySavingMom!
You can also see a simple recipe for homemade yogurt right here on this blog!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Review: Love Your Heart

Love Your Heart, published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., is the story of Katie, who can’t decide what to do for the School Talent Show. After a few quite humorous trials and mishaps, she decides to bring her amazing dog, Palio, into the act for a one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen performance! The night of the talent show finally arrives, and Katie is waiting backstage when she sees her friend Sophie crying. What happens next is a sweet, selfless surprise – an act of kindness that leaves Katie’s dad saying: “I love your heart.”

Each page is richly illustrated with fun fonts and whimsical illustrations by Abigail Marble, and Katie’s sweetly boisterous spirit sparkles and bounces right off the pages – showing that the very best of you lies not in what you can do, but in who you are.

In Love Your Heart, Tim McGraw and Tom Douglas once again capture the heartwarming father-daughter relationship that delighted readers in My Little Girl.

Another bonus for our little one is the fact that the book is richly illustrated with lots of purple and pink – even the title on the front cover and the large emphatic fonts throughout are in varied shades of those favorite little girl colors!

The brown paper package from Thomas Nelson Publishers, containing this sweet story especially suited for Daddy to read to his little girl, arrived in our mailbox just in time to wrap for a fourth birthday party. We love the celebration of the father-daughter relationship and the emphasis on the reality that true beauty is on the inside. We like to conclude the story by emphasizing that we need Jesus and His grace to give us clean hearts so that we can be truly beautiful on the inside. A real princess is a daughter of the King of all kings!

At a list price of $16.99 this beautifully illustrated jacketed hardcover book makes an extra special birthday or Valentine’s gift for little girls, ages 4 to 10.

A flip version of the book is available here.

A complimentary copy of the book was provided to me, as a reviewer for Mama Bzz, by Thomas Nelson, Inc. in exchange for today’s blog tour.

A big “Thank-you!” to the folks at Thomas Nelson, Inc. for the opportunity to enjoy and review this wonderful book!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Birthday Party Menu

We ended up postponing the party due to sickness and inclement weather, but we still enjoyed a little family party – just the three of us!

The theme was "healthful" this year. We should always do it, but we made a greater effort for the sake of my nephew. It was fun to see sales correspond with the "healthful" idea; hopefully, there will be similar sales when we reschedule.

This was the plan:

Organic Tortilla Chips (from Sam's Club)
Carrots (from Sam's Club)
Radishes (from Publix)
Celery (from Publix)
Broccoli (from Publix)

Homemade Hummus Dip
Pinto Bean Dip (from the freezer)

Deviled Eggs
Black Olives (from the pantry)
Mixed Nuts (from the pantry)

Grapefruit Punch (from Publix)

Homemade Fruit Smoothies:
Bananas (from Sam's)
Apples (from Publix)
Pears (from Publix)
Frozen Peaches (from the freezer)

I was planning to make a Chocolate Birthday Cake – from scratch – but decided to wait until we reschedule the party. (Instead, I used a brownie mix I had on hand.)

Recipe for Hummus

The balsamic vinegar gives this recipe a definite Mediterranean twist!

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, drained
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp garlic powder (OR 1 clove garlic, peeled)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cumin
2 to 4 Tbsp plain yogurt

In a blender (or food processor), combine garbanzo beans, oil, vinegar, garlic (powder), salt, and cumin. Blend, gradually adding yogurt, until desired consistency is achieved.

Serve with fresh vegetables, crackers, pita chips, or tortilla chips.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Eating from The Pantry: Final Update

We're planning to continue "Eating from the Pantry" – at least for a while longer, supplementing (as we have been doing) with fresh fruits and vegetables and deals that are just too good to pass up!

Here's how the challenge has gone so far – during January. Our goal was $15 (or less) per week on groceries (including food and household needs).

Week 1:
We spent only $7.63 on groceries, basically for two meats. (We were on vacation, sharing cooking duties with our friends.)

Week 2:
We spent $11.15 for groceries at Publix, $0.59 for milk at Walgreens, and $1.38 and $0.38 for miscellaneous deals at CVS.

Week 3:
We spent $12.92 for groceries at Publix and $0.16 on miscellaneous deals at CVS. (Remember that the beauty of shopping at CVS is the ExtraCare Bucks program!)

Week 4:
We spent $8.89 for groceries at Publix – and later allowed a splurge of another $2.00 for ice-cream, thanks to a $1.00/1 coupon from Publix Preschool Pals!

The FREE SoyJoy Deal (limit 6 per card, limit 3 per transaction) is still going on at CVS (until 02/14); it was fun to pay for five boxes (two and then three) with ECBs and $0.00 out of pocket! These aren't our favorite, but they do come in handy as snacks.

An "Eating from the Pantry Challenge" is a great way to save – not only because you're using what you already have on hand but also because you're stopping to figure out what you actually have on hand and then coming up with (creative) ways to use it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Eating from The Pantry: Another Update

We're in the fourth week of our (much-needed) "Eating from the Pantry Challenge" – and still enjoying it! We've been constantly reminded that stocking up when items are on sale (and finding new creative ways to be frugal – i.e. eating carving pumpkins!) are worthy investments.

What's Cookin'?! Lots of good food!

Here's the menu for this week:

January 25 thru 31

Pumpkin Bread (using the newly updated recipe that includes sweet potato!)
Scrambled Eggs with Toasted Sweet Butter Bread
Cereal, cereal, and more cereal

M: Leftover Chicken and Veggie Stew
T: More Leftovers
W: Mac & Cheese with Stewed Tomatoes, Fresh Fruit
Th: Special Potato Soup
F: Sandwiches, Fresh Fruit
Sat & Sun: TBD (probably more leftovers)

M: Tri-Colored Pasta with Tomato Sauce & Cheese, Veggies
T: Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Whipped Potatoes with Sour Cream, Peas & Onions
W: Leftover Chili (from the freezer) with Cheese, Fresh Fruit
Th: More Leftovers
F: Dinner Out (to celebrate a birthday!)
Sat: Birthday Party!
Sun: TBD (probably party leftovers)

I'm excited about the Birthday Party Menu, which I plan to post later. (I'm thankful for the benefits derived from a stocked pantry, a free Sam's Club membership, and recent deals at Publix!)

Speaking of Publix, I should tally up my (grocery) spending for the last two weeks. I'm struck with the fact that blogging can be a type of public journaling, where we write what we don't mind our family and friends reading. In fact, we hope they will read – and maybe even comment now and then! (Hee! Hee!)

Have I mentioned that we love Publix?! Yes, we do!

On the January 19 trip, we spent $12.92 – within the goal of $15 per week during this challenge.

On the January 26 trip, we spent $8.89 – again within our goal and actually a better total than expected because they gave me the Ocean Spray 100% Juice at 2/$3.45!

The biggest highlight, of course, was winning the 10-inch cookie – in the monthly drawing for the Cookie Club! (Well, we paid $0.20 tax for a $9.99 cookie.) Even the cashiers and customer service folks were excited for us, as they tried to figure out how to ring it up!

We love Publix! Yes, we do!
We love Publix! How 'bout you?!

Recipe for Special Potato Soup

(Adapted from a family friend’s recipe, this dish made us fall in love with rosemary and thyme!)

Sauté until softened:
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 Tbsp dried onion
2 Tbsp olive oil

6 medium-sized potatoes, cubed (or 4 cups mashed potatoes)
2 large carrots, grated
3 cups water
1 tsp salt + 1 tsp seasoned salt
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp rosemary
¼ tsp cumin
Dash of garlic powder

Cover and simmer about 20 minutes (or until vegetables are tender). Then remove from heat and mash with potato masher (or purée in blender).

2 cups milk
1 cup shredded (cheddar) cheese

Reheat, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted.

(Yields approximately ten 1-cup servings.)


Inspiration & Encouragement: JOY in Work!

God intends for His children to rejoice in their vocations – in their daily work!
Most honorable vocations exist to meet the needs of people; God has ordained His world so that people with various abilities meet various needs. We should think of our vocation, therefore, not as a necessary evil to pay the bills, nor even as an opportunity to become rich, but as the primary path of our Christian walk wherein God has planned good deeds for us to do.
(Jerry Bridges in The Fruitful Life)
What an encouragement! Because God Himself says:
By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
(Ephesians 2)
These thoughts have been a blessing to me this week, so I'm sharing them today – "Just for the JOY of It!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Publix Highlights – 01/26

We're in the fourth week of an "Eating from The Pantry Challenge" – and we're still enjoying it!

We'll be making a last-minute run to Publix for the following deals today!

Quaker Instant Oatmeal – B1G1 for $3.89
Use "Buy one Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Get one Naked Juice FREE" coupon (Publix Family Style Magazine, Spring Issue) (Get a free subscription!)
Stack with $1.00/1 Quaker Oatmeal printable coupon
Stack with $1.00/1 Naked Juice printable coupon (Join "Juice Nation" by clicking on link at bottom right.)
All FREE after coupons!

Hunt's Canned Tomatoes (14.5 oz) – B1G1 for $1.39
Use $1.00/4 coupon (All You Magazine, December 2009)
$0.45 each

Bosc or Anjou Pears – $0.88 per pound

Red, Golden Delicious, or Gala Apples (3 lbs) – $2.49

I’ll also redeem a "rain check" from last week:

Buy two Ocean Spray Grapefruit Juice (64 oz) – $2.00 each
Get one bag (5 lbs) of Fresh Red Grapefruit FREE
$4.00 for everything!

Drum roll, please!

My little one won a 10-inch Decorated Cookie in the monthly drawing for the Cookie Club – just in time for her birthday!

Gotta love Publix!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Inspiration & Encouragement: Celebrating Little Moments!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, allow me to say... In the goodness and grace of God, it's often the little moments in life that bring great joy – from the mundane to the sublime!
  • Looking forward to enjoying Krispy Kreme Donuts because of the great Valentines Day Offer!
  • Reading "The Gingerbread Man" and "The Little Red Hen" to my little girl – from the recently acquired book set I dearly loved as a little girl. 
  • Looking out the window at this afternoon's winter rain, remembering that two days this week we had the windows open to let is some fresh air and sunshine. Yes, it really got that warm in mid-January!
  • Reading a heart-felt letter from a dear saint in Spain, written to encourage my nephew who is battling cancer. She hasn't ever met him or anyone else in the extended family, but she's a wonderful example of how Christ's Church, His Body, should function!
So, I'm sharing these little moments – “Just for the JOY of It!

My biggest bargaining deal yet!

When I first started couponing and bargain-hunting in earnest about a year and a half ago, I never dreamed that it would lead among other things to my finally being able to get the 13-volume book set that I dearly loved as a child!

The big box arrived right before Christmas! The price tag was $195 for a gently used set, listed by a third party seller on Thanks to Swagbucks* and yard sales, I had paid only $3.99 out of pocket for the set – and that was for shipping!

This afternoon I sat down with my daughter to read two stories from Volume 2, the book that is on her level. What a joy!

Most of all, I'm thankful to God for teaching me much patience and perseverance...

*If you haven't signed up yet for Swagbucks, I hope this post will help to persuade you. What exactly are Swagbucks? Read details here and here – and then sign up here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Eating from The Pantry: Update

We're in our third week of the "Eating from the Pantry Challenge" – and we're still enjoying it! In fact, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I didn't realize how stocked our pantry was; we really needed this challenge!

What's Cookin'?! Lots of good food!

I've decided not to try to reconstruct the vacation menu for the first week – but it was good! I'm thankful that our friends shared the cooking responsibilities with us.

Here are our menus for last week and this week:

January 10 thru 17

Sunday, January 10: We were still traveling. We enjoyed breakfast at a Hampton Inn (very nice free lodging, thanks to credit card points)! After church we ate lunch with family and friends, and on the way home we stopped at a restaurant for supper.

Pumpkin Bread
Cereal, cereal, and more cereal!

M: Leftovers
T: Mac & Cheese, Stewed Tomatoes
W: Pasta with Veggie Tomato Sauce & Cheese, Applesauce
Th: Egg Salad Sandwiches, Pear Slices
F: More Egg Salad Sandwiches
Sat & Sun: We were traveling again and greatly enjoyed Venison Fajitas, Vegetable Soup with Mexican Cornbread, and Dairy Queen Treats, among other good things! (I get no credit for those wonderful meals.)

M: Ramen Noodle & Veggie Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
T: Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Four Cheese Bowtie Pasta, Green Beans
W: Beef & Veggie Stew, Tomato Bread
Th: Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Mashed Potatoes with Cheese, Lettuce Salad with Olives & Cheese
F: Pork Barbecue with Trimmings (We were invited to eat with friends, so I get no credit.)
Sat & Sun: We were traveling. (See above notes.)

January 18 thru 24:

Cereal, cereal, and more cereal!

M: Leftovers
T: More Leftovers, Noodle Soup, V-8 Juice
W: PB & J Sandwiches, Pear Slices, V-8 Juice
Th: Leftover Chili, Sweet Butter Bread
F: Leftovers
Sat & Sun: TBD (Leftovers?)

M: Scrambled Egg Beaters, English Muffin Toast, Venison Sausage
T: Chili, Sweet Butter Bread
W: Pumpkin Curry Soup
Th: Chicken & Veggie Stew, Sweet Butter Bread
F: Baked Potatoes with Broccoli, Cheese, and Sour Cream
Sat & Sun: TBD (Leftovers?)

A big benefit of this "Eating from the Pantry Challenge" is realizing how blessed we are!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Publix Deals – 01/13 thru 01/19

We’re still in the middle of an "Eating from The Pantry Challenge" – and we're enjoying it!

That said, I am planning a quick run to Publix for the following deals:

Green Giant Boxed Vegetables – 10 for $10
Use $0.50/2 printable coupons
$0.50 each after doubled coupon

Hunt’s Spaghetti Sauce – 10 for $10
Use $0.50/2 printable coupons
$0.50 each after doubled coupon

Pompeian Olive Oil – B1G1 for $5.99
Use $1.00/1 printable coupon
$2.00 each

Broccoli – $1.47 each

Celery – $0.99 each

Radishes – $0.99 each

I also learned last week that the Penny Item is no longer a Sunday or Monday deal; it now falls on either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the first day of the current ad in any given area. (Not good news for last-minute shoppers – like me!)

Krispy Kreme: Valentine's Day Donuts & Coupons!

My family enjoys an occasional outing for a Krispy Kreme Donut or two – or maybe even a dozen on occasion!

The heart-shaped doughnuts, topped with a yummy white icing and red, pink, and white sprinkles, are back!

Here's how you can get a sweet deal!

While supplies last at participating stores, you can get twelve Valentine's Day Cards when you buy any dozen doughnuts. Each card has a coupon on the back good for one free doughnut!

For a list of participating stores and Valentine's Day doughnut offerings, you can go here.


CVS Deals – 01/17 through 01/23

My sister and I are planning to go to CVS together this evening. She has $2.00 ECBs and a rain check to cash in – both from her very first bargaining visit!

I promised to come up with some good beginner’s scenarios based on deals I knew of, so here goes:

We’ll start with the rain check:

Nivea Body Wash – $5.99
Get $5.00 ECBs (Limit 1)
$0.99 after ECBs

She’ll pay with $2.00 ECBs and $3.99 (plus tax) out of pocket – and get $5.00 ECBs back.

Since she mentioned needing paper products, we’ll cash in on this deal at the second store:

Cottonelle Double Rolls (20 count) – $12.88
Get $4.00 ECBs (Limit 3)
Use $0.50/1 (SmartSource 12/13)
$8.38 after coupon and ECBs

She’ll pay with $5.00 ECBs and $7.38 out of pocket – and get $4.00 ECBs back. Not bad for the equivalent of 40 rolls of bathroom tissue!

The deals really aren’t all that great this week, so I’ll probably go for two of these:

SoyJoy Box (6-count) – $6.00
Get $6.00 ECBs (Limit 3)
FREE after ECBs

Friday, January 15, 2010

Office Max: FREE printer paper, envelopes, and markers

There are some great deals (FREE after MaxPerks Bonus Rewards) for teachers or businesses until Saturday, January 16. And you can order online!

If you don’t already have a MaxPerks Card, sign up here. Plus, get free shipping on orders over $50!

If you go through ebates when ordering, you can earn 3% back on all purchases from Office Max. If you’re new to ebates, you’ll also earn a $5.00 bonus – and sweeten the deal even further! Click here to sign up.

Here are the deals:

Boise X-9 Copy Paper (10 Ream Case) – $34.99 each (Limit 2)
Earn $35.00 per case on MaxPerks Card
FREE after MaxPerks Bonus Rewards*

Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Markers (12 count) – $5.99 each (Limit 3)
Earn $6.00 per box on MaxPerks Card
FREE after MaxPerks Bonus Rewards*

Ascend 30% Recycled Business Peel-to-Seal Envelopes (50 count) – $3.99 each (Limit 3)
Earn $4.00 on MaxPerks Card
FREE after MaxPerks Bonus Rewards*

*After your MaxPerks Bonus Rewards post, you can use them like a gift card on a future purchase at Office Max. (I’m planning to get toner for the printer.)

CVS Deals – 01/10 thru 01/16

Believe it or not, this CVS Fan hadn’t been to a CVS since my outing with my sister on December 26! Since I had ECBs that had to be used, I made two trips yesterday.

On the first trip, I picked up these deals:

Buy two CVS Reusable Bags – $0.99 each
Get $1.00 ECB (Limit 1)
$0.49 each after ECB

Buy two Pantene Shampoo, Conditioner, or Styler – two for $6.97
Get $2.00 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $3.00/2 coupon (P&G 12/27)
$0.98 cents each after coupon and ECBs

Cottonelle Double Rolls (20 count) – $12.88
Get $4.00 ECBs (Limit 3)
Use $0.50/1 (SmartSource 12/13)
$8.38 after coupon and ECBs

All Christmas items have been marked down to 90% off, so I also picked up two rolls of wrapping paper for $0.39 and $0.29!

I paid with $19 ECBs ($15 from taking a survey!) and $1.38 out of pocket – and got back $9.50 ECBs ($2.50 from fall spending).

On the second trip, I got these deals:

SoyJoy Box (6-count) – $6.00
Get $6.00 ECBs (Limit 3)
FREE after ECBs

I also redeemed the rain check from the week of December 26:

Nivea Body Wash – $5.99
Get $5.00 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $2.00/1 printable coupon
FREE plus $1.01 overage after coupons and ECBs

I also picked up four boxes of small candy canes (50 count each) for $0.19 each and some Christmas garland for $0.39 (Think: ministry with children!) I paid with $11 ECBs and $0.38 out of pocket – and got back $11 ECBs!

This is not necessarily the greatest week for deals, but since I had $24 ECBs I had to spend this week, I’m thankful to have stocked up on household paper for (almost) free!

Gotta love CVS!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eating from The Pantry

Yes, I missed my What's Cookin'? post this week – and last week, too...

We're currently in the middle of an "Eating from The Pantry Challenge" right now. In late December, before reading that the frugal blogosphere had decided to launch out on an "Eating from the Pantry Challenge" this January, we had decided to do so. I remembered reading about the whole idea last January...

I'm currently recovering from what I call "Post Vacation Trauma" as well. (You know how it goes: there's all the unpacking, putting stuff away, readjusting to the "normal" demands of life, etc.) So, I haven't taken time to sit down and blog about our progress – until now!

I'm planning to post my current menu later (and possibly what I can recall of last week's menu, which I left on the fridge where we vacationed).

That said, our main goal during the challenge this month will be to save most of what we would otherwise spend on groceries, putting it toward other expenses – possibly car repairs. Every little bit helps, eh?!

So far, it's been an exciting challenge!

Last week, we spent only $7.63 on groceries – basically for two meats. (We decided not to count the two times we ate out while on vacation.) Thankfully, we shared cooking duties with our friends, making the vacation more of, well, a vacation!

This week, we've spent $11.15 for miscellaneous groceries at Publix and $0.59 for milk at Walgreens. (That free cereal deal has also turned into almost free milk for this week!)

We've actually been eating very well. Sharing kitchen duties last week definitely helped, and rising to the idea of a challenge is also helping...

Since this is already a rambling post, allow me to ramble just a bit more and post our beginning pictures:

These pictures do not include the staples (flour, sugar, rice, beans, coffee, etc.) on the counters, the dozen or so boxes of cereal in another cupboard, or the contents of the chest freezer: turkey, chicken, venison, a half dozen or so gallons of milk, a gallon of orange juice, peach slices, breads, and more cheese!

We probably needed this challenge – just to use up what we have now! And we're already planning to stretch this challenge to at least another month, too!

Inspiration & Encouragement: Celebrating Life!

Last week, we enjoyed a (much-needed!) family vacation. We went to the (currently chilly!) South Carolina Coast. Our dear friends (and future ministry partners) joined us for part of that time.

As usual, I took LOTS of pictures!

Here's one of my favorites – of my two favorite people!

I'm once again joining Just for the JOY of It – just to share and to celebrate life! It's often the little moments that become the most cherished memories...

(By the way, this is Post #200 for this blog! And it "happened" to post at 2:02 p.m. Cool, eh? Another of those neat little details in life that make me smile...)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Publix Super Savers – 01/12/10

Gotta take advantage of some very last minute deals!

In late December, before reading that the frugal blogosphere had decided to launch out on an "Eating from the Pantry Challenge" this January, we had decided to do so. (I'm hoping to post our details soon...)

That said, there are some deals at Publix (good through today in my area) that I'm planning to get this evening; they're mostly of the kind that would be difficult to stash in the cupboards or even the freezer – or they match coupons that are too good to let slip!

Egg Beaters – B1G1 for $2.79
Use $0.55/1 "blinkie" coupons (in store)
$0.85 each

Quaker Life (or Oatmeal Squares) Cereal – B1G1 for $4.49
Use $1.00/1 coupon (from oatmeal box)
$1.25 each

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – $1.99 per pound
Use $1.00/1 coupon (courtesy of Publix Preschool Pals)
(The coupons arrived in the mail yesterday!)

Publix Salad Blends – $2.00 each

Bartlett or Bosc Pears – $0.88 per pound

Gotta love Publix!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Book Review: The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers

The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2, by Carla Barnhill, uses the (cute!) Little Blessings characters (Kaitlyn, Zoe, Parker, and Jack) to help children through easy-to-understand devotions. Each reading pairs a Little Blessings illustration with a short Bible verse and devotional thought that gets you and your child talking about the simple truths of Scripture. A fun, rhyming prayer or application completes each devotional. This book is a great way to get young children interacting with Scripture daily – to learn about God’s wonderful promises and timeless truths. Put out by Tyndale House Publishers, it was previously published as Blessings Every Day.

The back cover of the book states that the idea is “do-able, daily devotions” for preschoolers:
  • Do-able: You and your child can just pick up the book and start on today’s date.
  • Daily: Kids can learn about God and what’s really important, a little bit each day.
  • Devotions: Kids can experience firsthand how to connect with God.
The book is intended for three to six year olds, but my initial impression was that it is too simplistic for that age range. The more I read, however, the more I realize that there is a mix. Some entries are very simple, illustrating one verse or principle for very young minds; others are more developed, requiring more thoughtful application.

After perusing the book on my own, I started at the beginning with my toddler, reading through most of January in two sittings – for the sake of this review, of course! We then jumped right into the middle of the book, reading at random.

The lesson from Psalm 139 is definitely a favorite; because we have an avid little “painter” and “builder” at our house, I love the connection made between activities she understands and loves – communicating in terms she can grasp the wonder of the Creator’s delight in making her:
“When God made you, He picked out all your parts and put them together. So He knows and loves everything about you. You are His special creation.”
Another favorite is A Solid Rock, in which the qualities and uses of rocks are explained in terms little ones can appreciate:
“[Rocks are] really strong. Big rocks are great to stand on when you want to see higher or to sit on when you need to rest… God is incredibly strong, and He’s always there when we need Him.”
I do find myself fleshing out the more simple entries, sometimes substituting stronger vocabulary and more often adding in the message of salvation through Christ. For example, the entry on King David states: “He knew God loved him, even when he made bad choices and big mistakes.” I added: “Because God loved David and because He loves you and me, He sent Jesus to die for David’s sins and for your sins and my sins, too – so we can be forgiven!”

The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2 can be a good tool in the hands of discerning parents who desire to teach God’s truths diligently to their children. (See Deuteronomy 6:5-7.) And it might help to make a noble New Year's Resolution a reality. Measuring 5.75 x 7.25 inches, the book has 384 beautifully laid out and illustrated pages in a hardcover binding. Because it is a book that will be used every day, all year, the list price of $14.99 seems very fair.

My almost four year old is delighted with the endearing artwork by Care Bears artist, Elena Kucharik. The cute Little Blessings characters at work and at play illustrate beautifully the principles being communicated and provide opportunity to discuss those truths further. We're looking forward to reading together!

A complimentary copy of the book was provided to me, as a reviewer for Mama Bzz, by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for today’s blog tour.

A big “Thank-you!” to the folks at Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to review and enjoy this wonderful book!