Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's 4th of July, without Apple Pie?

I found a recipe for Easiest Ever Apple Pie on   The recipe only takes 30 minutes from start to finish, so the easiest ever claim is believable.  If you would like to check out this recipe to have homemade apple pie at you summer celebration,  you can see it at GoodHousekeeping. com here.
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Octopus Dip

How fun is this ocotopus pepper swimming  in dip from Family Fun..  It is super simple but fun enough for the kids to want to eat it.    It would be good to use at an under the sea/ocean, zoo party,  or just because you want your kids to eat more veggies. 
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Another Cute Kitten Post

Now that summer is finally here, we are spending more  time at the Humane Society again. It is now kitten season when shelters have a high number of spring born kittens.   Here  Kara is  playing with three kittens  using the feather toy.  I took movie with all 3 of their heads moving at the same time, which was quite funny. 

Two of the kittens rest for a minute because playing is hard work.

This little girl was a sweetheart and very tiny.
These two girls were very playful.  Every time I would take try to take their picture they would take off running. 

If you are ever thinking of a new pet, make sure to check out your local humane society. There are so many wonderful cats and dogs who would really love to have a forever home. 
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

VGs and Kroger Deals

I lumped these two together since on both I paid more than planned, which I will explain  in a minute. 

I made THREE mistakes at VGs that cost me over $7, because I was in a big hurry.  I had less than 10 mins to check out and pick up my daughter at VBS.   It is not a good idea to shop in a hurry.

Milk $2.79  (part of the milk club)
2 Pasta Roni on sale $1 each
Jiffy mix .79
3 BBQ pringles on sale $1.50.  I used $1 off 3 coupon that doubled, final price .83 each
1 sour cream and onion pringles  $1
4 Kraft dressing on sale $3 for 5 but you got $1 more off when you bought 3. .  I had two $1 off 2 coupons that doubled,   final price $1.65 for 4 or .41 each
2 A1 sauce on sale $2.99.  I used two  $1 coupons that doubled, final price .99 each
Dole Cole Slaw on sale $1.50.  I used .50 coupon that doubled, final price .50
Buy 1 get 1 free Lays potato chips
cupcake liners ,99
Blueberries on sale $1.47
Paper plates $2.39
Vlasic relish on sale $1.50.  I used .55 coupon that doubled, final price .40

MISTAKE #1  Duncan Hines Cake Mix on sale $1.49.  I used a buy 2 cake mixes get 1 premium cake mix or brownies for FREE.   I picked up the brownie mix not realizing how much more they were.  They were $2.39. When taking off the coupon, she took the price of the cake mix which was only $1.49.  Overspent .90

MISTAKE #2   When I put the  two Energizer batteries on sale for $2.99 I got distracted and forgot to pull out the $1 off coupons.  When they rang up I paid the $2.99 instead of .99,  a $4 plus tax  oversight. 

MISTAKE $3.   I bought 3 bags of Sargento Slices on sale $2.50.  I had two coupons that I thought were .55 off ONE, which would have made them $1.40.  When the clerk scanned the coupons she noticed they were actually off TWO  (having a harder time reading small print as I am getting older).   I took back two of the coupons.  I kept the cheese since I have several kids in the house who will eat it but instead of paying $4.20 for 3,  I paid $6.40, another $2.20 overspent.

I used $14.69 in coupons, saved $20.87 in sales for a $35.56 savings.  I spent $38.44 but should have been only $31.10

We also went to Kroger last night to get some of the frozen food deals in the Daytona get $3 off 10 deal. Since I am feeding 5 kids this week, I need as many easy meals as I can get this week.

For the Party $16.97
3 boxes of Capri Sun on sale $1.99, final price $1.69 when you buy 10
3 bags Kraft Marshmellows on sale $1 each.  I used .60 off 2 coupon, final price .80 each
2 12 packs of Crush.. Sign said that they were on sale for $2.50 plus can deposit.  When I got home I realzed it rang up for $3.25 each plus deposit.  Another $1.50 overspent. 

Other groceries $24.37
5 Coke 2 liters on sale $1.19,  final price .89 when you buy 10
sour cream $1.25
cottage cheese $1.25
2 Hot Pockets $1.84 when you buy 10
2 Lean Pockets $1.84 when you buy 10, used $1.25 off 2 coupon, final price .71 each
4 Pizza Rolls (3 boxes already GONE) .99 when you buy 10, used .50 off 4 that doubled, final price .74 each
Lloyds BBQ Chicken $3.69 when you buy 10,  I also used .75 coupon, final price $2.94
Dove deodoant $1.69 when you buy 10,  I also used .75 coupon, final price .94

I used $5.35 in coupons, saved $30.20 in sales for a $35.55 savings.  I had spent $41.34

My totals for this week $106.39 on groceries  (would have been $97.55) and $31.07 on party food.    My total cost would have been $256.55 without coupons and sales, a 46% savings for the week. 
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Meijer Deals

This week I did spend a little more than I normally do because we are having our Beach Bash Birthday and we have houseguests.   I went to all 3 stores and got some great deals this week.     I think my best deals of the week were at Meijer..   I got all pictured for only $57.68 and I got back $1.50 in catalinas. 

For the Party $16.10
2 Meijer jello .50 ea
pretzel rings $1.99
Minute Maid lemonade on sale .79
Deans guacamole dip  on sale .99, used $1 off 1, final price. 49
Deans onion dip .same as above PLUS got back $1 OYNO for buying 2
Heluva salso dip on sale .99, used .75 coupon, final price .24
2 boxes of candy 2 for $2.22
Swedish Fish on sale $1.50
Peach rings  .88?  (something just rang up as candy, and I did not see peach rings on receipt)
2 boxes of fruit snacks  on sale $2, used $1 off 2, final price $1.50 each
Chex mix on sale $1, used .50 off 2 that doubled, final price .50 each
Jumbo marshmellows $2.50

And the rest  $14.58

Lemon Juice (for an upcoming blog post) .99
Chicken drumsticks on sale,  $2.11
Ground Chuck over 1.5 lbs $3.11
2 Ortega Seasoning on sale .54.  I used .50 off two that doubled and $1 off 4 MMB, final price FREE
2 Ortega Toastado shells on sale $1.49.  I used .50 off two that doubled and $1 off 4 MMB, final price .74 each
4 cans of pineapple on sale 79 each.  I used two .50 off two that doubled, final price .29 each PLUS got back .50 OYNO for buying 4
nectacrines on sale .99,  cost $1.35
2 jars Chi Chis salsa .99, used two .50 that doubled, final cost FREE
cool whip (for upcoming blog post) on sale .99
6 boxes Kraft mac and cheese.  .69 each, buy 5 get 1 FREE
hot dog buns .99
hamburger buns .99
bread $1.19
3 poptarts on sale $1.88.   Use $1 off 3 coupon, final price $1.55
Strawberry Nesquick syrup on sale $1.89.  Use .50 coupon that doubled, final price .89
Dannon Yogurt $1.99
10 Corn on the Cob on sale .20 each
2 Philly Cream Cheese on sale $1.50
2 Hormel Compleats on sale $2.  I used a .75 coupon, a .55 coupon and a .50 off 2 Meijer Mealbox coupon, final price $1.10 each
Ore Ida Fries on sale $2.50, used $1 off  coupon, final price $1.50
Ore Ida Tator Tots on sale $2.50
3 Vlasic pickles on sale $1.66.  I used .55 coupon and $1 Meijer Mealbox coupon, final price $1.15 each
On Cor meal on sale $2
2 Butterfinger on sale .59 used .50 off two that doubled, final price .09 each
2 100 Grand on sale .59, used .50 off two that doubled, final price .09 each
2  3Muskateers on sale .59, used .50 off two that doubled, final price .09
2 Crunch on sale .59 used two .35 off coupons, final price FREE

On this trip, I used $21.29 in coupons and saved 26.69 in sales for a $47.98 in savings.   My savings would have been higher but several of the items I needed to buy did not have coupons this week. 
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$1 Drink Coupons

I don't know if this is just a local promtion, but I would think it would be in other areas nationwide.   Not only can you buy gigantic cups of pop for only $1 during their summer promotion,  I was thrilled to find this coupon attached to my cup this week.    Its a coupon good for $1 off of any size and any flavor of their frappes, strawberry lemonades, and smoothies.    I spent only a $1 and got a bonus $1 coupon,  not a bad day.   
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Smore Cake

Wow, isnt this giant smore cake so much fun!  I am still not 100% sure what  kind of cake or cupcakes we are going to make for Kara's beach party this weekend, and I now think this one has been added to the list.   Serving a giant smore cake at your party, bbq or campout would definitely a hit.   To see how to make this yummy looking cake make sure to check out the blog Not Just a Housewife.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Patriotic Centerpieces

I found these easy and eye catching centerpieces on Create for Less.   I love the mix of textures with such a patriotic feel.   To see how to make them you can find the instructions on Create for Less here.
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Easy 4th of July Wreath

While looking on the Good Housekeeping site for something else, I came across this easy to make wreath that is perfect for the 4th of July.  This festive wreath is made from mini flag toothpicks and a styrofoam wreath.   Its hard to believe that the 4th is only one week from today. If you would like to see this and other easy red, white and blue decor check out 
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tip of the Day

We are coming up to another summer holiday which is great for coupon shoppers and stockpilers.   The week before big picnic holidays, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day, is the perfect time to stock up on condiments, chips, canned beans and even meats.      I have a few stores in my area and all of them have some of the same products on sale at great prices.  

Some of the best sales are on
barbeque sauce
salad dressing
baked beans
and chips

You can get most of the products on the list for less than $1 depending on your coupons and store polices. 

If you have room in your freezer this is also a good week for hamburger, brats and chicken.

If you stockpile according to the "season"  you really do save the most money on your groceries. 
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Weekend Fun...

We are lucky enough to live near a farm/orchard that has many types of U-pick fruit.  I found out yesterday that the strawberry fields would be open until July 1.  I asked my strawberry loving daughter if she wanted to get some and she jumped at the chance.   

We took a hay wagon to back of the farm where the strawberry fields were located.  I tried to take a picture on the wagon but every time I would try we would hit a big bump.  I have 3 pictures like the one above.  LOL!

We had a very large area where we could pick from.  There were a lot of people there but you can not tell from this picture.  There was another entire field behind where I was standing, and most of the people were in that field. 

This berry was enormous and a funny shape.  We had to pick it because it was so funny looking and biggger than 2-3 other berries put together.  

We ended up picking just under 5 lbs.   U-pick prices were comparable to a good berry sale at the store at $1.75 a pound.  We are going to go back later in the season to pick cherries, blueberries and apples.  

If you have a farm nearby but have not tried to pick your own you should give it a try.  Not only does it teach younger kids where food really comes from, its fun and you save money in the process.  
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Design Your Own Fabric

I read something really interesting  in Good Housekeeping last night.  Did you know there is a website where you can design your own fabric using your own photos and doodles?   While a little on the expensive side ($18 a yard and up)  you could do some really fun things with customized fabric.  To find out more check out the website
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Popcorn Bars

I just saw these on a linky party online,  and wished I had them in real life so I could eat them right now. These patriotic beauties are from the wonderful blog Red Couch Recipes.   She posts so many fun and colorful recipes on her blog.    These bars will be such a fun addition to any 4th of July party.  You can find the recipe here on Red Couch Recipes.  
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4th of July Tin Can Windsocks

I am loving these tin can windsock decorations by Random Thoughts of a Supermom.   I love how they look hanging on her porch.  I really think I am going to make a few  for the upcoming 4th of July holiday.  All you need is a tin can, paint and red and white ribbon.   You can see how to make them here on Random Thoughts of a Supermom.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Target Clearance

My son recently got a gift card as a belated birthday gift and he really wanted to go tonight to get a new DSi game.   While there I was happily surprised to find some kids clothing for 75% off.   Kara really liked the Disney Teddy Duncan, Alex Russo and Sharpay lines that were introduced a few months ago.   I found a pair of Teddy Duncan shorts thatregular price $14.99, now on clearance for only $3.74.  The white skirt also from the Teddy Duncan line was orginially $16.99, on clearance for $4.24.   In the boys dept most of the jeans on the jeans wall was on clearance for at least 30%.  I found a pair in a size that he can wear in the fall marked down to $3.24.  There was only one in his size, or I would have bought a few more.    All 3 items were a total of only $11.89, cheaper than one item regular price.  If you need any kids clothes, now might be a great time to check out Target.   
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Smore Heaven

What is summer without Smores.   I have found  some really fun adaptions to the original recipe you might like to try.. 

How about some Smores Pops. You can find this recipe on

How about Smores bars also from

Several fun patriotic versions from Chose to Thrive .  I love them all!

 How about Smores cookies.  You can find this recipe on Sweet Savory Life

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4th of July Ideas

Today while posting some of my new posts on linky parties (make sure to check my linky party page), I was wowed by several 4th of July crafts and recipes.  With 4th of July right around the corner,  I wanted to share what I found here.  

This is a fun idea! How about a cake made out of cake pops from Love From the Oven .  If you have a cake pop maker, this treat could actually be made pretty quickly. 

I love this simple but eye catching 3D cardstock wreath from Gluesticks.
How about Flag pops made from rice krispie treast  from Simply Designing.

Loving this red, white and blue brownie from Sun Scholars

How about red, white and blue stained glass jello from Brown Eyed Baker
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recycled Cardboard Party Props

When making my cardboard surfboards for our upcoming beach party,  I realized how many props I have actually made with recycled cardboard over the years.   A couple of years ago my son wanted a giant party.  I like to call it the Honey I Shrank the Kids Party, he likes to call it the Giant Stuff party.   LOL!  A friends husband owns a blinds business and had many long cardboard boxes.  We used this long skinny box and spray painted it gray.  I added a small white box with tape and it became a toothbrush.   The kids had so much fun with this prop.  It would be  very easy to replicate.

Not too long after we moved into our current house, I used large moving boxes to make dinosaur cutouts for my son's dinosaur party.  As  you can imagine, these were also a bit hit with the preschool set.  To make these dinosaurs, I found some pictures in childrens books to use as a  guide.  I then sketched, cut out and painted with acrylic paint.

For my daughters horse party, I used cardboard boxes to make a corral.  Originally it was going to be set up outside and go all around the horse, but it ended up being too windy that day.  You can see part of the corral in the background. 

Last summer we had a Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Party, which gave me many oppurtunites to use recycled cardboard.   In the first picture I used cardboard tubes painted yellow for a bowl of  large macaroni pasta.  I used small piece of foam board, cardstock and fiberfill to make the oreo.   In the second picture, the girls carry a giant french fry made  from a long box painted yellow.    In the last picture, the falling pizza was made from cardboard food boxes, recycled kraft paper and cardstock scraps.  

My most current recycled cardboard creation was made from a box used in the giant things party.  This at one time was a giant dragonfly.  I do not have a picture to post, but the wings were made out of white plastic and wire and the eyes from pieces of white cardstock.

I cut open two of the dragonfly boxes, and laid them flat.   I then cut out two large surfboards to use as picture props for our upcoming beach party. 

With a little bit of creativity, almost any box or large piece of cardboard can be made into some sort of party prop.
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Surfs Up! How to DIY Party Surf Boards


I love the look of the surfboard standees on Shindigz, I do not like the $50 price tag.  I had some left over boxes in the garage which gave me an idea.  I have made cardboard props before so I knew I could make my own.  

I had used this box at our Giant Party as one of two really big bugs. It used to have large paper eyes and plastic wings. It has been sitting in the corner of the garage for awhile because it was kind of big to put in the weekly trash.   I knew it would be the perfect size if I opened it up and flattened it out.

I cut both boxes into general surfboard shapes.  They are not perfect because they were done with an x-acto knife was a storm on the horizon.  I did trim down the shorter board because it was too wide

The taller board had an area that bent so I reinforced it with another piece of cardboard.   At this point the storm was very near, so I knew I would have to finish the boards inside. 

At first I thought I would spray paint the boards, but I did not have any paint and did not feel like going out to buy some.  I had many bottles of acrylic paint on hand, so I decided to hand paint them.  It really did not take that long, or that much paint.  I had several bottles of orange, but they were all partway full and different colors.  I mixed them, but not completely which gave the orange board an interesting look.  The multi colors make it look like flames.  Kara said she loved it, so we kept it that way. 

I thought I took a picture of me painting my long board but realized when downloading that I did not.   I found this Gone Surfin rub on, on clearance at JoAnns for $3.97. It was normally $14.99.

There was a small hole in the short board that I wanted to cover up.  The butterfly decals we found at the dollar store a couple of months ago were perfect for this purpose.  I allowed Kara to decide on the placement.   Right now they are leaning against the mantel.  I want to use them as props in our party pictures, so I still might add cardboard in the back to make them stand on their own.  

It only cost me $4.97 total  to make my boards.  A $45 savings from the cost on the party site.   While the look of the party site boards are really cool, I would much rather have simple boards and the $45. 

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