Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coupon Crazy

My computer is broken which means I can't get the copious amount of pictures off of it, so instead of posting about Ben's reception, hockey practice, or my cute little lady, I'll post a special little message (from my dinosaur computer) for my jealous, money wasting brothers. Read and learn my siblings. :)

A few couponing tips from the slightly-above-average couponer:
(Check local stores for variations in coupon policies, but these are the rules for my local Kroger and Publix)

1. Using coupons on items that are already on SALE yields the greatest saving. Browse your store adds (available in-store, online, and in the newspaper) to find sale items, save your coupons until the item you want goes on sale, and always keep your coupons with you when you're shopping. Yes, I am one of those extra cool ladies that keeps a hot pink, plastic coupon organizer in her purse at all times, and no, I'm never embarrassed to whip it out.

2. Coupons are DOUBLED in value up to $1. So, if you have a $.50 coupon, the store will take an additional $.50 off at the register.

3. You can use both a STORE coupon AND a MANUFACTURERS coupon on each item that you purchase.

4. You can use these two coupons on EACH item that you purchase. For example, if you are buying an item at Publix that is BOGO (Buy One, Get One Free) you can use a manufacturers coupon and a store coupon on the item you're paying for AND another manufacturers coupon and another store coupon on the the free item.

5. Don't buy in bulk when using coupons. You can often get an item for FREE when you buy the SMALLEST size allowed by the coupon and stack your coupons.

6. When shopping at places that give you Bonus Bucks or Cash back such as CVS, don't be afraid to break it up into SEPARATE TRANSACTIONS. Pay for all of the items that accrue bonus bucks. Then when they give you the receipt with the bonus bucks, ring up the rest of your items and immediately use your savings.

7. You can use coupons for MORE THAN JUST GROCERIES. I get coupons for clothes from Old Navy to Banana Republic. I get kids eat free coupons for Chilis, BOGO for museum passes, half price zoo passes, free sandwiches at Subway, and 20% off of DSW. The possibilities are limitless (just google your destination before you leave).

8. Don't fall into the trap of getting an item just because you have a coupon. BE PICKY and only use the ones that you need and that maximize your savings.

9. Always use your STORE DISCOUNT CARD along with coupons to maximize your savings.

10. You can get coupons EVERYWHERE. You know I'm a busy girl and I don't have time to leisurely coupon hunt, and I absolutely refuse to pay a service to cut and send me coupons, so here is a list of ways to get quick savings...
There are TONS of sights, but these are my favorite and completely user friendly)

Get your local Sunday paper.
Check the coupon envelops and fliers that are mass mailed. There's lots of junk, but you can usually score a couple decent coupons.

Get coupons sent to your cell phone at (free code text to you every Monday) (free code text to you every Monday)

Get coupons loaded directly to your card at:

Print coupons for free at:

Download apps onto your iphone or android that allow you to browse coupons and add them to your store card with one click.
key ring app
Kroger app

Sign up for coupons to be mailed to you:
and follow links on pages like and to have free samples and coupon packets mailed to you.

When ordering anything online, check out first for discount codes. Never press the check out button before finding a code to enter into the promo code box.

Like your favorite products and coupon groups on facebook to get free coupons.

So, I'm not one of those coupon using, stock piling, I buy cat food even though I don't have a cat because it was cheap kind of people, but I do spend my money wisely. So, hop on the band waggon and start thinking before you hand over your hard earned money.

And to end this marathon post,
an example of my savings....

Cinnamon Toast Crunch $5.49
BOGO - $2.75
Store coupon -$2
Manufacturers coupon $1/2 -$.5
= $.24

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fountain Circle

I love summer time... the kiss of cold water, the smell of sunscreen, and echoing giggles. Here are a few pictures of our latest trip to the water park downtown....

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Strawberry Pickin Good Time

I have quite a bit of catching up to do, and I guess strawberry picking is the perfect place to start.

The last few weeks have been filled with visits from loved ones, tons of work, a terribly sick little girl, gifts, yummy food, piles of laundry, an anniversary, playing outside, movies, mounds of dishes, suprises, and time with friends. The last few weeks have been happy, peaceful, and full of smiles. I feel so blessed.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Great Salt Lake

I'm a little embarrased to admit that I lived in Salt Lake but never actually went to the Salt Lake. I remember it being described with distain as smelly, salty, and swarming with flies. During this visit, however, we desperately needed a few moments of respite before returning to the airport, so we decided to venture on over to the lake. I must say, we were plesantly suprised. I had no idea how beautiful, how HUGE, and how peaceful the huge mass of water was. We stood in awe at its shores and layed our fears on its beaches. Every breath of fresh, salty air cleansed our minds and filled us with strength. I am so glad that we took the time to explore this little gem, and I am again in awe of the beauty that surrounds us.

A State of Mourning

Our hearts are so heavy. There is devastation all around us; 211 tornadoes touched ground on April 27th leaving our community marred, hundreds dead, a million homes without power, countless others injured, and entire cities destroyed. We escaped damage to our home, but lived without power for five days. Cold showers, doing dished by hand, and washing clothes in the sink pale in comparison to the grief and destruction that plague so many other families near us. We have each other, our home, and had prepared ourselves in advance with the vital essentials, and since we were unable to go to work because of the power outage, we decided to enjoy the time together. Every moment held greater purpose, time seemed to expand, and gratitude crept into my every thought.

Here are a few pictures from the last few days.

This is a picture (taken from the exact same spot) of the Flint River (above Sept 2010, below Apr 2011) on the day after the storms. We have never seen the river this high. As people began sifting through the rubble, our rivers are creeks began to crest from all of the rain that accompanied the tornadoes. I am so humbled by our world and its ability to create, change, and adapt.

This was the view from our front porch as the terrible storms came through. We knew it was an odd day when we woke up to the tornado sirens going off. Tornadoes usually roll through in the late afternoon, never in the morning. Soon after Sean left for work, I found myself huddled in the closet with the kids, listening to the roaring winds, and praying for grace.

After an entire day of hiding from storm after storm, we were told that the entire North half of Alabama was in the dark and that it would be several days before power would be restored. At first I felt the bitter sting of panic. How do I provide for my family without lights, warm water, phones to call for help, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, or air conditioning? We had just come home from SLC and hadn't done laundry or gone grocery shopping. We spent all of our money on our impromptu visit to the Denver hospital. What were we going to do?? Then I paused. Sean and I had talked about this (thinking of course that it would never happen). We had a plan. I inventoried our nonperishable while Sean hooked up the generator and left for Tennessee to find a place to buy gasoline to sustain us for as long as possible. A few days later, Publix opened using a generator. We rushed over to stock up, not knowing what the future held, and this is what we found in our dimly lit neighborhood grocery store.... I've never seen so many people snatching up groceries!

And a few more pictures of our candle lit Uno games, cornbread on the grill, and breakfast on day 5 cooking on Sean's homemade oven. Seriously, he made an oven with bricks and wood... I'm swooning just thinking about it. :)

I feel so humbled, so greatful, so blessed. My heart aches for those families who were torn apart and the homes that were destroyed so quickly and violently.

If you feel inspired to help but don't know how, check out this website, and to learn how to prepare yourself and your family for an emergency BEFORE the moment of crisis check this out.