Monday, December 31, 2012

New Skills

I've known how to crochet in a while, in the most basic way possible. I have perfected the art of chaining and double crochets.  There, my knowledge ended.

It gets incredibly boring to only do double crochets.  A friend taught me to do a V stitch and suddenly my world opened up again- only to close back down when I got bored with that stitch.

I finally made the leap and purchased Crochet for Dummies.  I am usually much more of a visual learner, benefiting more by having a real teacher than trying to learn from a book or video (which I tried).  However, I've found it to be really helpful to have this book! Not only has it taught me several new stitches, I've got tabs on each page so I can quickly refresh my memory on some little part of a stitch- like the half double.  Do I yarn over first? I flip to my page and see yes- yes I do yarn over.

The book has also managed to teach me a rudimentary crochet circle!  I am planning on practicing a bit more, then finding a very easy amigurumi pattern and trying to make my first stuffed toy!  It will probably end up a stuffed dog toy, but we all have to start somewhere.

I'm really happy to finally taking my crochet to another level.  It is so relaxing and at the same time it is so empowering! You start with a little piece of yarn and then you make cloth.  You, all by yourself, create.  Dish towels, scarves, sweaters, toys- it doesn't matter what it is, you did it with nothing but a little hook and a ball of yarn. 

It's incredible.


Saturday, December 29, 2012


Ibotta is a coupon app that you have to have. It has been out for iphone for a while, but thankfully those of us with androids are not left out in the cold any longer!

Ibotta is easy to use.  You login and check their offers- for example, I had one for a 12 pack of Coke Zero.  You click that add, then can perform three tasks to add value to the coupon.  They are very simple- a one question poll, a "learn a fact" and watching a short video in this case.  Each task was worth 25 cents, so by doing all three, I earned a 75 cent coupon.  These coupons last a long time too and when you redeem one, they add a new one to your account!

You check the list of qualifying stores (Walmart and Target are on there, as are a laundry list of grocery stores), go to the store and buy your item.  I went to Harris Teeter during a sale and bought a 12pack of Coke Zero for $1.97. 

Take a picture of your receipt, submit it, then scan the barcode of the product(s) you purchased.  Within 15 minutes, I had been credit $0.75!   Since it was my first transaction, I also got a $5.00 bonus.

That's it!  I invite you, you get $5.00 when you do your first deal, I get $1.00 for referring you.  Once you have $5.00, you can request the money be sent to your paypal.  The end.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Disappointed After-Christmas Sales

I have to admit- I was sorely disappointed with the after-Christmas Sales this year.

I luckily didn't "need" much.  I had already made the decision to wait until wrapping paper and bags went to 75% off because I have such a good stock of them already.  We have plenty of Christmas cards and ornaments, so I was mainly there to find a replacement Christmas tree (ours burned out) and take advantage of any interesting little things- special candy, baking items, etc.

Target was a bit of a disappoint, as I knew it would be. They had no Christmas trees, the candy was 30% off or less and paper goods were impossible to find.  It looked like a tornado had hit the store, but I accept that is due to rude shoppers and not due to anything Target did.  Most of the baking items weren't on sale and there were no dog toys or anything else of interest there.  They appeared to mostly have ornaments and wrapping paper left.

Walmart was a bigger waste of time-the first one had almost nothing.  The second Walmart did yield a green, pre-lit Christmas tree (we got the only one there that was pre-lit with white lights!) and I found a table top white tree.  It is much smaller than what I was looking for, but it will work for my purposes.  We picked up very little else- I found a small travel cup that was on sale for half off, but most of the candy and food items we were interested in were not on sale at all, even though they were in the Clearance aisle.  Tricky Tricky Walmart.

The best yields came from Bath and Body Works and Michaels.

At Bath and Body Works I spent $38 and saved $90.  Considering $30 (not including tax) was spent on Christmas gifts for five folks next year, that isn't bad at all! :).  I also splurged on a few little $3 body washes for myself.

Michaels is where I did my best deal of the day.  I bought myself a crochet needle case with 24 needles in it for $17.50!  It had normally been $35, but they had a 50% off one item coupon and I was quick to take advantage of it. 

Overall, it appears to me that stores are stocking less merchandise for the holidays. I've heard from numerous people that some are taking apart certain gift baskets and selling the items individually for regular price- which seems to me to be illegal.

I think more people are out and about hunting the deals.  The crowds are pushing shoppers to get up earlier and earlier- I just refuse to be up at 5am to be out shopping.  

I suspect this year will be my last year of feverish after-Christmas shopping.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Kellogg's Family Rewards

Do you use many Kellogg's products? Maybe you don't, but you don't mind keeping an eye out for free codes- if this is the case, I need to tell you about Kellogg's Family Rewards.

KFR is a reward program that allows you to enter free codes and codes from inside Kellogg's packages.  You can then redeem them for prizes- coupons, instant win games, or physical items like totes, magazine subscriptions, toys, etc.

You can also use their facebook app to spin "the wheel" 3 times a day for free and you could win points or even free groceries.

I currently have 825 point without buying a single item.  Not bad.

  • EZ25POINTSFORKFR (25 points)
  • KFRGIFTOFSAVINGS (50 points)
  • KFRDELTAENTERNOW (50 points)
  • COSTOFCEREALPOLL (10 points)
  • KFRFAVPOPTARTS10 (10 pts)
  • TAKECAREOFYOU20P (20 pts)
  • MARIECLAIRE50PTS (50 pts)
  • FOODNETMAG50PNTS (50 points)
  • KFRNOWONFACEBOOK (20 points)
  • goodhousemag50pt (50 points)
  • redbookKFR50pnts (50 points)
  • KFRFREEGROCERIES (50 points)
  • MYFAVCHARACTER50 (50 points)
  • HALLOWEENPARTY25 (25 Points)
  • JOINKELLOGG2SAVE (50 Points)
  • HOWITWORKS20PNTS (20 points)
  • KFRFIBERPLUSPOLL (10 points)


There is an app out called Ibotta. It has been out for Apple products for a while, but has only recently become available for Android users as well.

You download the app to your phone and then have the opportunity to access money back offers- for instance, one of my offers is for a 12 pack of Coke Zero.  You do little tasks to increase the monetary value, then scan the item and take a picture of your receipt when you buy it.  Bam! I would get $0.75 back if I were to purchase the Coke Zero right now.

It's worth taking a look, it is an excellent way to save money and possibly even get the items for free if you pair a good sale with good coupons!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Half Priced Pizza

If you are looking for a quick meal, here you go-

You can use the code 50DEC on to get 50% off any regular priced large pizza.  I was able to get a pizza with more toppings than I normally do for less money- 6 toppings for $9.87 including tax.

I do not know how long this code will last, but my guess is through December.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut

I've been a bit quiet this weekend as far as the blog goes. 

I, like I imagine most of you were, was glued to the tv and the internet sites, looking for updates on the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that took the lives of so many.  As the death toll numbers climbed higher, my heart sank lower.

As the names and ages, the pictures and the stories emerged, the tears started.  I wish I could say they have ended, but they haven't.

I was privileged to hear Tim speak on the tragedy in church on Sunday.  Privileged because he had written a different sermon.  He decided less than an hour before bed on Saturday evening that he would speak on the shooting instead.  He didn't write the sermon- he opened his mouth on Sunday and the beautiful words just came out.

He answered the question we all ask- Where was God?

God was with the custodian who ran down the hall calling warnings, with the person in the office who turned on the intercom to alert the classrooms to trouble.  He was with the principal and the school psychologist as they ran towards the shooter, not away.  He was there with the teachers who hid their children in bathrooms and closets, with the teacher who reached into a hallway to pull a child to safety as bullets flew past and with the teachers who used their bodies to shield their students.  He was with the children themselves, as they followed instructions, as they watched out for each other- as one child said "It's ok, I know karate.  I'll lead the way out."  He was with everyone who chose to preserve, to build, to help that day.

Tim told us something else important- this was not God's Will.  People will try to justify it by saying God had a plan and it was for these children to die. God needed the children more than we did.  Others will say God killed the children and wonder how a loving God could do such a thing.

God didn't kill these babies and these educators. We have the opportunity to build and we have the opportunity to destroy, through the free will that God grants us.  A person killed these children.  A person who made a terrible decision.  Noah, one of the little boys killed, had a twin sister who lived because of the decisions her teacher made. 

We can't change the events that unfolded in Newtown.  We can't say the words that will magically take the pain out of the hearts of every person there- and in people across the country and the world.  There are no words to say.   Maybe one day Noah's sister, shaped by the events of today, will do something incredible in honor of the brother she won't get to grow up with.  Maybe those of us who are blessed in that we aren't experiencing this tragedy from such a personal level will hold our loved ones tighter, tell them we love them more often.

The lasting memorial of these children and teachers is Love.  Love harder, love stronger, love more often.  Love those around us who need it, whether they are our relations.  When we rise out of the ashes with love, we take a step forward, a step closer to a better world.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Terrible Tragedy

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."- Fred Rogers

Our thoughts and prayers are with those in Connecticut who have been affected by the terrible events of today.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Taking Control of the Clutter

I'm slowly trying to take control of the clutter in this house.  Unfortunately with Tim sick and us being so busy, it has gone to hell in a hand basket.

With the addition of the new tv and the new tv stand, we suddenly have so much more room in the living room.  This has led to our ability to move an old bookshelf in to the living room to put our movies and tv shows on and remove the wobbly old stand that didn't hold nearly enough of what I needed it to hold.

I cleaned out under the china cabinet and boxed the dishes and things I wasn't using up.  They are headed out to the storage building first thing in the morning.   I filled up that space with extra kitchen appliances- one of the four crockpots went in, as did the dehydrator.  I'm hoping I can get something else under there, but I'm not going to hold my breath.  As it is, it's nice to have these two items off the counter.

I organized a closet recently- that yielded a Walmart bag full of clothing to go to the "Common Threads" clothing giveaway that Tim's churches trade off hosting.  A box full of old games are going to find their way to Goodwill, along with some duplicate books and knick knacks that are just gathering dust.

I managed to find a half dozen items that still had decent value on Amazon.  I'm pleased that the most expensive one has already sold! It's not much, but it is one less piece of junk to sit around and a little more money in my pocket!

Several additional Christmas gifts have been wrapped and are under the tree.   We may not have many decorations up and there won't be many presents, but hey- the ones that are there look good.

I've discovered why I can never get ahead on the house work.  I had been working for only 20 minutes or so when Tim started urging me to stop.  I think he was terrified I was going to ask him to help.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

$5 off "The Hobbit" Movie Ticket from Fandango

Go here and enter your email address to be alerted to when The Hobbit is available for pre-order!  They will email you a coupon code for $5 off a ticket to see The Hobbit from Fandango.

My code came pretty much instantly!

The site is getting hit kind of hard right now, so keep trying if you don't get through immediately!

Dollar General Coffee Deal

My friend Melanie shared this with me!

Dollar General Online Coffee Deal:

Maxwell House Wake Up Roast Coffee - 30.65-34.5 oz - $5.00
SAVENOW coupon at check out for $5 off $25
Free shipping on orders over $25

6 large coffee's for $26.?? with shipping and tax.

PLUS 2% cash back from Ebates!

Thanks Melanie!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Check the Fine Print

We bought a TV Stand yesterday and it just happened to be Better Homes and Garden brand.  With the stand came a deal- a free year subscription to the magazine of the same name.

I have no need for this magazine, but before tossing the little "free subscription card", I read it. 

Turns out, you can turn in a copy of your receipt and the subscription card for a rebate!  By writing REFUND on the card and filling out the information, I am going to get $6 back.  That doesn't quite cover the tax on the tv stand, but hey- if you saw $6.00 lying on the ground, wouldn't you stop to pick it up?  If you knew you could spend 45 cents (the price of a stamp) and get $6.00 back...wouldn't you do it?

Of course you would.

So the moral of the story is- take a few seconds and read those offers.  Chances are, you can get money back if it is something you aren't interested in.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Bah Humbug

It's official- I'm the grinchiest grinch of them all this year.

I've decided those Christmas decorations are just not getting put up this year.

The Christmas tree is out and mostly undecorated.  It is a pre-lit fake tree and half of the lights on the top portion suddenly winked out.  It felt a bit like putting lipstick on a pig to decorate the tree and then have the lights not working, though some friends sent us a beautiful bunny ornament- it is holding court in the middle of the tree, sparkling in it's singular glory.

The mantle remains unadorned- not stocking are going to be hung with care by the chimney this year and I don't even have a good place to put out the Nativity scene, so that probably won't happen either.

We have had so much going on and with it being approximately two weeks until Christmas, I just don't feel like going through the hassle of spending all night decorating, only to have to take it down so soon afterwards.

I just don't care about Christmas this year.  I'm so tired of the freaking out over presents and having to go to everyone's Christmas parties even though everyone there would rather be anywhere else.  No one ever comes to our house, so why should I kill myself trying to make it looks festive?

At least it is almost over.  Bah Humbug.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Sales

I have to work the Day After Christmas this year. 

I'm actually really sad, because I do so much after christmas shopping.  We all know this is the BIG one- the time even folks who aren't frugal shoppers rush out to buy. 


I normally stock up on Christmas bags, wrapping paper and cards (or, if I'm feeling daring, I wait until they go 75% off! It depends on how the stockpile looks) as well as Christmas packaged food and paper goods, paper plates, etc.

It's also a great time to get those "candy cane" rawhides for the dogs, since they also go half off.

Some folks do all their Christmas/Birthday/Mother's Day/etc shopping the day after Christmas. I have always been torn on that.  I will ABSOLUTELY buy "little something" gifts and gifts for the Christmas parties we have to go to each year. 

I kind of feel bad buying those baskets of soap that obviously come from Walmart at Christmas time and then giving them as gifts in June.   We all know what the Walmart stuff looks like.  We all know you bought the $15 basket for $7.50.

However- you let me find nice, non-obviously-Christmas-Clearance-gifts and I am all over that. 

I also like to shop for any decorations or items I just have to have.  This year I think we need a new Christmas tree, since half the lights have burned out and I'm tired of hotwiring it each year and wrapping the exposed wires in electrical tape.  This is when we buy Tim his inflatables.

Last year I bought a mini doughnut maker.  Just for fun.

So, while I won't be expecting the haul I usually bring away, I should still be able to score some good deals after I get off work.  I'm just sad I won't get to enjoy a yearly tradition- but hey, at least I am employed!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A use for bread ties-

Not my picture- I can never even FIND my tape!

So simple and easy.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Free 3.5lb bag of Hill's Science Diet Hairball Control Cat Food

Go quickly to Petco's Facebook page and enter to get your free 3.5lb bag of Hill's Science Diet Hairball Control Formula Cat Food!

This is a great item to donate to your local animal shelter if you don't think your animals will want to eat it.


PetSmart Friends and Family 15% off!

The PetSmart Friends and Family Weekend is coming up December 6th- 9th!  You get 15% off your entire purchase with this printable coupon.

Don't forget to check out the Purina Holilday Bucks items- you can stack a $5 Purina register coupon with the 15% off coupon to score better deals on pet food and cat litter!  Be sure to check your newspaper and online for any manufacturer's coupons on pet items you buy- they also stack with the 15% off store coupon.

I can't wait, we always buy multiple bags of dog and cat food, to tide us over until the next sale!