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Showing posts from July, 2009

Free Sample of Honey Nut Cheerios plus $1 Coupon

Click here to get a free sample of Honey Nut Cheerios plus a $1 off coupon! Thanks to Free Stuff Times.

An Interview with Hungry Girl!

Weekly Grocery Shopping ~ Under $50 again!

This week I remembered my coupons! Click here to see what happens when you don't! We were able to get everything we needed this week for $46.47, a savings of $31.91 or 41%.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Any budget breakers? Maybe the cherries? Otherwise, we did pretty well this week. I realize canned whipped cream is not the most frugal or eco-friendly. Sorry....we all have our vices!

And what's up with all the chips? My husband accepted the new job and will be traveling less, so we need some things for him to snack on. And these chips, thankfully, were on sale and had only natural ingredients (no trans fats or other gunk).

If this looks low on produce, check out my last two week's here and here. Or see all my shopping here.

Want to see how I usually save big on our groceries? Click over here.

Horseback riding in the ocean

Have you ever been horseback riding in the ocean? If not, it's a definite bucket list addition. It's so amazing. Why? Because horses don't just "walk" in the ocean. They RUN. They run, full out, with their bodies submersed in water. Talk about power! It's so amazing. It's like riding on a jet ski that you can't control. They are that fast!

If you have a chance, this is something to experience and worth the money. We rode these horses on the Grand Turk island. I'm the guy on the left... just kidding. So, you might be scared of horses. Or the water, but you can do it and you'll be happy you did. I am very afraid of horses and so unbelievably afraid of water, but I loved it. Ever since I've been dealing with you know what, I've decided to just go for it and try to enjoy some of the things I would have never done before. For the record...scuba diving is still OFF the bucket list.

Funny story and a little bit on topic. I've been horse bac…

Decorating a Little Girl's Room for $22

I decorated my daughter's room for $22. Here's the breakdown... I found her headboard and frame at a garage sale for $10. The blanket chest was mine as a little girl. I found her large and small dressers for free on craigslist. The lamp I got at a garage sale for $1. All were quality pieces, but none of this set matched. So...I bought a gallon of white paint and a quart of pink (plus some primer we had in the garage) and painted the set to match. After coupons and taxes, the paint cost me $11. Don't be afraid to mix and match pieces, a little paint goes a long way.

The butterflies on her wall were free after coupons. They are Wallies. The sheets for her bed were free with a $10 off JCPenney Coupon, and her bedding was a Christmas gift from her Grammie. The fabric piece on the blanket chest was a drapery valance left in my sister's home by the previous owners, aka free.

Okay, but certainly the mattress must of cost me something....or did I get a used mattress for free??…

Free Kelly Clarkson Single!

Click here to download Kelly Clarkson's single "Already Gone" for FREE.

Thanks Free Stuff times!

Free Baby Board Book from LeapFrog

Click here to sign up with Leapfrog and get a Free LeapFrog Tag Junior Board book. You may need to sign in with leapfrog first. That's what happened for me. I just signed in to my leapfrog account (which is easy to do if you haven't already) and reclicked on the form.

Thank you The Freebie Blogger!

It's NOT on sale!!

My children love to pretend and often they play store. It's not uncommon that I hear one of them yell out, "No, you can't buy that, it's NOT on sale". They really are watching at all times.

None of our own mail....

Yesterday, there were 3 pieces of mail in my mailbox....none of them mine! And today we had just a coupon mailer. I guess we're back to the same old mail drama!

Running Fast is Easier than Running Slow!

I'm about to say something that sounds entirely crazy, but it's true. Here goes: running fast is easier than running slow! It really is. If you're a newbie runner, here's an easy way to test the theory.

Start walking at 4 mph. Then speed it up...and up....and up... By the time you get to 5mph, you'll find it's easier to jog than walk. If you can go faster get up into the 6mph range. If it's tough for you (but you are fit enough to try this), pump the pace up to 6.5mph. I bet you it will be easier to run at 6.5 than 6. And believe it or not, 7.5-8mph is even easier.

Let me clarify really quick. It's easier for your legs. You will find that your legs want to run fast. It may not be easier on your heart and lungs, but if you try to run at these faster speeds for just 30 seconds to a minute each time, you will find that it's easier for your whole body (legs, lungs, heart) to run at these faster speeds.

Just take it slow and work your way up. And (quick d…

Tons of Free Running/Jogging Mixes

Click here to download tons of free running/jogging mixes. I'm downloading these right now. I'm hoping some upbeat tunes will get me back on track to hitting 5 miles!

She's so Glamorous!

My daughter is so glamorous! And I'm not just saying that. She loves everything pink and sparkly. As soon as she wakes up in the morning, she puts on all her jewelry and hair clips before she can leave the room.

She loves to be painted and shines like a Christmas tree if I let her put on some blush. This combined with her endless talking means we are in for big trouble when she's a teenager. We joke that my son will eat us out of house and home, but she's going to want a cell phone some day! And make up and jewelry and clothing! Yikes!

But I wonder how she got so glamorous? I have 2 sisters and of the three of us I've always been the nerdiest. And it's not just because I eat hummus and recycle. Okay, maybe a little. Seriously though, I just don't have the genes for style (or rhythm....so sad).

I'm working on improving my sense of style. I've been out shopping recently and I've made more of an effort to accessorize. Just the other day we were outside…

McAfee Internet Security 2009: FREE After Rebate

Through 8/1 you can purchase McAfee Internet Security 2009 3-User for $60 from Amazon.com. Then you can mail in the full rebate (PDF) to get your entire purchase price of $60 refunded to you! Plus you can select Super Saver shipping to have the software shipped to you directly at no charge. Please note: To be eligible for the MIR, you must purchase the software at the $60 price from Amazon.com
Thanks, Common Sense With Money!

Today's Garden Bounty

Check out what we picked from our garden today! Now this is more like it. We were able to take in one huge zucchini, one big tomato, and a handful of beans. A few peas and raspberries were picked...but they never make it out of the garden in one piece. :)

Win lunch with Jillian!

Click here to sign up with SELF and enter to win lunch with Jillian Michaels from the Biggest Loser! I'm all over this! Except, I'd want to skip the lunch and jump right into the yelling! I bet she could get me to run 5 miles!

Okay...you know I could never skip lunch. I'd grab it to go and finish it after the butt-kicking fest!

Free book: The Full Plate Diet

Sign up here to receive "The Full Plate Diet" for free. First 20,000 only!

Thanks to The Freebie Blogger!

Did I gain Weight?

I didn't run at all last week. In fact, I didn't do much exercise at all. I really only did some stretches and my usual daily activities. If you were following you know that I had lost enough weight to be underweight.

Most people don't understand how that can be a bad thing, but I really want to be healthy, not thin. Sure, being thin is a part of it, but there is such a thing as too thin for my body, and under 110 is it.

The Wii Fit helps me stay honest, so what does it have to say.....



You can click on the image to enlarge. Well....I guess the good news is I didn't lose anymore weight. You can see by the 0's that I didn't gain or lose anything this week. If I had run 12-16 miles I might be down another pound.

My husband thinks it's crazy that I'm even worried about it. Just eat more calories, he says. And I have been. I eat when I'm hungry and I don't ever count the calories. This week we went to 2 dinner parties. I sampled every dessert and a…

Step into Reading ~Free lunch bags when your child reads 3 books

Read 3 Step into reading books, fill out this form and receive FREE step into reading lunch bags. Read 6 Step into reading books and you'll be entered to win a whole new library of books for child and their school.

See more information here.

Thanks to Free Stuff Times!

French Braiding Children's Hair

Can you french braid? I've been practicing but I'm still not very good at it. My sister, on the other hand, is great at french braiding. She has more artistic hands. She can draw and braid! I can barely cut food without slicing my hands off!

Whenever we visit my sister, she braids my daughter's hair. Since I'm lazy I like them so much, I usually leave them in until they fall out.

Check out some of her handiwork in these pictures.

Any guesses how long my daughter's hair is? Super long! She's growing it long enough to donate to girls with alopecia. We're waiting so she will still have medium-long hair when it's cut. We're almost there!

Free 23 Song Album from Urban Outfitters

Click here to download a free 23 song album from Urban Outfitters through ITunes

Thanks Free Stuff Times!

I Missed Running!

This week I took a break from running. See why here. But I missed it! Say what? I thought you hated running? And I do, but I feel stronger when I run. And I miss the routine. I felt organized when I was running. But alas, I shall be back to running soon....and hating every minute of it! It's nice to have things back to normal. :)

Homemade Basil Pesto ~ Chopping it Old School

As an absolute food junkie, I'm embarrassed to say that I have only had pesto one other time in my life (besides today). A good friend brought us a tasty pesto pasta right after my son was born. I remember it was good, but that was all I remembered. Oh what a lack of sleep can do to a person!

But with Basil staring at me in the garden, and visions of Italy swarming my brain, I knew it was time to taste it again! I like making things at home so I know what's inside. Here are the ingredients I put in our pesto:



As many of you know, I've been saving up my swagbucks to get a food processor. I haven't reached that goal yet, but I'm getting close. How does someone make pesto without a food processor? This is where the old school chopping comes in. People have been making pesto for years, right? Surely they must have made it without a food processor. So I grabbed a sharp knife and started chopping:



I'm a rustic kind of girl, and I think chopping it by hand added to it. I…

Mission Accomplished ~ The floor can be touched

No...this is not a zoomed in picture of a tarantula. It's a picture of me touching the floor, taken by my 4 year old, so it's a tad fuzzy. I'm not a flexible person, and with all of the neurological issues I've been dealing with, my muscles are tighter than ever. I started a stretching routine, sort of a modified yoga routine (okay....a lazy person's yoga routine) and my one goal was to be able to touch the floor with straight legs.

When I started I could only touch between my knees and toes. Sad, I know. After a few weeks I could get to my ankles, then toes, and now..... Success! I have reached the floor. Now that I'm so bendy and can do hand stands...I think some flipping goals need to be added to my bucket list! Trapeze, here I come! By the way... I'm kidding....maybe.

Free Sample of Dove Shampoo & Conditioner

Click here for a free sample of Dove Shampoo & Conditioner.

I met my first coyote!

I came face-to-face with a coyote for the first time today. How exciting! I've seen and heard evidence of their existence, but today I finally saw one. He was beautiful, lean, and agile. I was so happy to finally see one in person!

How to Make your Own Table Centerpieces

I love the beautiful centerpieces you see pre-made at home stores or even Michaels, but they are always so expensive. Did you know you can create beautiful centerpieces for less than half the price?

Here are a few examples of centerpieces I made, each of them costing less than $5. These are our dining table centerpieces. I rotate them out each season. Click here to see about our Spring Flowers.

Our Fall Centerpiece: Made from 90% clearance sprigs and flowers found at Michaels

Our Winter Centerpiece: Made from FREE Birch branches found in the forest and an old flower vase, not quite as beautiful but appropriate for winter

An Arrangement in our Hallway: Again, made from 90% clearance materials from Michaels The links in this post may be affiliate links and products are often received for review purposes. Read the full disclosure and the privacy policy.

Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars ~ No baking

Want to make healthy, no bake granola bars at home? You control the ingredients. No preservatives. No weird additives.

This recipe is our favorite and it's fully customizable. Make it your own!
Our favorite no bake chewy granola bar recipe: Tips You don't have to follow the recipe exactly. You can adjust the amount of butter or sugar (they will still be good if you cut both of those ingredients in half! But they will be less cohesive and will turn out more crumbly.)

If you adjust the sugar or butter and yours don't stick together, just eat it as granola. It's so good! And easy!  This is the best and easiest soft chewy granola bar recipe.


The links in this post may be affiliate links and products are often received for review purposes. Read the full disclosure and the privacy policy.

Enter to win a Free Garnier Pure Active Product

Enter here to win one of 1000 Garnier Pure Active products.

Harvesting Petunia Seeds

This summer we found out just how easy it was to harvest seeds from Marigolds. But it didn't turn out quite the same with petunias. The seeds were not in the dead heads. They were in a separate seed "pod" that was growing just below the flowers. They star out green and are "ripe" when they turn brown and split like this. Inside, there are hundreds of little seeds about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. No wonder petunias are so inexpensive.

For all seeds, we need to let them sit out for at least a week to dry before we pack them away for the winter. My daughter is the most excited about this. She loves everything about flowers. She has enjoyed gathering the seeds and tending the flowers this year.

We've even been inspired to save our spinach seeds for next year too. The garden has provided so many wonderful learning and growing opportunities. And it's given us so many great reasons to get outside.

Free Sample of New Total Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal

Click here to get a free sample of New Total Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal!

Banana Raspberry Muffins ~ Half the sugar of Regular Muffins

I like to play around with recipes. Cutting the sugar in half, is one of my favorite changes to make. This is our favorite banana nut muffin recipe. You can make them with or without the raspberries (or nuts), but we love them with all the extras.

Banana Raspberry Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup oil (1/4 cup if using paper liners)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
20-40 raspberries
2 Tbsp flax (optional) I mix all the ingredients, then pop 2-6 raspberries in each muffin and put them in the oven. 350* for 12-17 minutes depending on the size of muffins made. Cook until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I made muffin tops in this photo, but I've also made them as mini-muffins and regular sized. My children love muffin tops, so I make them often. I used this pan, Chicago Metallic Gourmetware Original Muffin Top Pan and honest…

Look what happens when you FORGET your coupons!

Today I over scheduled our activities. By the time we got to the store, I realized right away that I had forgot my coupons! Our cupboards were bare, my children were tired, and there was no time in the schedule for driving back home, so.... I went in the store and shopped without coupons!

And here is the result (click on picture to enlarge):


I was fortunate that one coupon was stuck to the bottom of my shopping bag...a coupon for a FREE Digiorno flatbread melt. Wahoo! My husband will appreciate it! Note to self, stop losing free coupons....

What ended up breaking the budget? There were a couple of spendy things in this mix: 2 large packs of string cheese, fresh pine nuts ($15/lb!), 3 lbs of cherries, 3 packs of nitrate/nitrite free lunch meat, 2 boxes of Morningstar farms mushroom burgers, and my favorite...a very large container of hummus. All pretty spendy, but super worth it, even without coupons!

But what about the bag of unhealthy fluff in the back of the picture? Were they free?I h…

Free 30 Song Summer Download from ITunes

Click here to download a 30 song Summer Mix from Standford U and I tunes.

Royal Caribbean Party Pack ~ Part 1

My House Party Royal Caribbean Party Pack arrived today! Take a look at the contents.....

Can't see what's in the picture? A quick rundown: An apron (huh?), 6 small napkins, 8 balloons, a broken tropical necklace, a small banner, a promo dvd and a few coupons.

Okay, I've gotta say that I am seriously disappointed. I have invited 15 families to this party and they all RSVP'd YES. To be honest, this doesn't look like that great of a party.

They hosted a web conference today to discuss the party and mentioned that there would be a second party pack arriving in the next few days. From the conference, it doesn't seem to be very promising!

I signed up for the Caribbean cruise party for two reasons. #1 The advertisement went something like this: Would you like to ripcord through the jungle...how about dropping from a waterfall... Ummm...Yes and Yes! #2 We just got back from a Caribbean cruise and have lots to say and share about it. It's something I'm sure most of…

Save Money by building your own furniture ~ DIY built-in Homework Station~

Before we bought this house, we came up with a must-have list. Then we went out hunting for a house with all the things on our list. I highly recommend making such a list if you are in the market for a new house. Your list will change depending on whether this is your first, second or nth house, but it's so helpful to make sure you get what you really want.

Our house had almost everything on our list! But it was missing something I considered really important. I have always wanted a built-in homework center. A place where our children could do homework and use the family computer, that's in an open area for all to use.

My husband and I planned to put in a built-in desk in our bonus room, which we currently use as a playroom. Why are we even worrying about a homework station when our children are so little?

Well, we weren't but we always keep an eye out for sales. And it just so happened we found exactly what we needed, in the right color, and on sale this weekend! So, we g…

A 2 Mile Hike in the Rain!

Yesterday I took my children on a 2 mile hike.....through the forest....in the middle of a rain storm. And it was the most fun we have ever had on a hike!

How do I know it's 2 miles? The same reason I know my daughter's walking speed is 1mph....when you are a stay at home mom, sometimes you need to make your own excitement, know what I mean?

So what made it so fun? I think it was the wildness of it all! We ran through the forest, splashed in puddles, saved drowning worms, and just had a great time! We may have even found a sport my son likes, cross-country running. I've never seen him run so fast and so free! We will definitely have to add trail running to our list of summer activities.

It was so much fun to be wet and filthy. :) We saved so many worms, and we found this:




In case you are wondering, this is either fox or coyote scat (by the original size and form I'm guessing fox). We were so excited to find it on our walk, and my kids were amazed at what was inside. I didn…