Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weekly Savings

So I know you all are just dying to hear how much I saved with The Grocery Game this past week. You're NOT!? Too bad, you get to hear it anyway. Tee Hee!!

But first...

I shop at 4 stores. Hen House, Hy-Vee, Walgreens and CVS. Not all on the same day.

Hen House sells a TON of local products, and I am in the CSA (community supported agriculture) there, so I go every Saturday morning to pick up my canvas bag full of yummy, healthy, super-fresh food. Today there were 3 huge cucumbers, 3 gigantic hydroponic tomatoes, a box of red new potatoes, a loaf of fresh asiago ciabatta bread, a bison chuck roast, and a pack of sliced marble cheese. Yum! Hen House is the one place I don't have The List for, so I mostly buy specialty and/or local foods from there. I bought some local plums today that were so juicy sweet, they just melted in our mouths!

Hy-Vee has the best customer service around, so I'm glad there is a List for that store. I go to Hy-Vee on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.

Walgreens and CVS... well, what can I say? I save the most money at these stores. Especially CVS. Walgreens is easier to shop, but CVS has a much longer List, and I save more there. It's worth the extra time and effort I spend getting ready for my shopping trip.

Anyway, on to my totals!

The shelf totals were: $536.30
I paid: $332.06
My savings: $208.22
Savings percentage: 39% (I got 2/5 of my groceries and household items for free!)

Keep in mind, when you see how much I spent, that I am building up my stockpile. For instance, right now I have 7 bottles of laundry detergent to use in the coming months. After this 12-week sales cycle is over, my stockpile should be almost complete, and I won't be spending nearly as much, but I will be saving a lot more because my arsenal of coupons will just get bigger!

And I am only buying things I know we will use. I will NOT buy something just because it is on sale, has a coupon, and is a great deal. Even if it's almost free. We don't need clutter!

I have seen people who have been Grocery Gaming for months and years who are saving more than 50%, some closer to %60. I hope to be there soon!

Actually, I achieved 54% savings at CVS today. The cashier was so surprised when I handed him my stack of "money" and he chuckled his way through all of my coupons and CVS Extra Bucks (I had $31 from last week to spend this week). I watched my total go from $241.95 to $111.95, and my smile got bigger with every coupon he scanned. I also have $22 in CVS bucks to use on next week's shopping trip! Gotta love it.

My second biggest savings amount was 47% at Walgreens. I have come to know the cashier there, and she likes to see how much I'm going to save each week. SO fun! The shelf total was $103.18, and I spent $54.48. How cool is that?

Can you tell I'm having fun with this?

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Grocery Game

For the past several weeks, I have been playing The Grocery Game. Sounds like fun, right? Well, it is! And it really feels like I am pulling one over on the grocery stores and pharmacies in our area. Go to for more information or to sign up for a 1-month trial for $1.

This is my notebook. Yes, it is pink. I love the double layers of pockets it has on the inside covers!

I use this big velcro-close pocket to hold the coupons that the pharmacies give me that are actually just money off of my next shopping trip, and I also keep restaurant coupons and paper clips in here.

My "Tally Sheet" where I record this week's purchases and savings at my "List Stores".
I use baseball card pages to keep my coupons so that I don't have to flip through a packed coupon file every time I want to find one. LOVE it!!

My "Toothpaste Page"... I have yet to label my sections, I need to get on that!

This week's flyer from CVS, and at the very right of the picture is "The List" for CVS, which is copyrighted or I would show the whole thing. I pick the items on The List that I will buy, then print out The List, then go through and mark how many of each item I will buy. Basically, The List tells me all of the items in the store that week that are at their lowest prices, and it combines them with coupons to give me Rock Bottom Deals on all of the things I would normally buy. Then I stock up on these items (it takes about 12 weeks to go through one full "sales cycle"), and leave the store chuckling about all of the great deals I got.
A new weekly activity... clipping coupons! I never thought I would do it, but I'm totally addicted. It's like taking extra money to the store!
Did everyone else already know this stuff, and I am just now figuring it out? I feel like I am finally on top of my shopping. It will never be out of control again! Hallelujah!
It is fun to watch my stockpile grow. We will be taking a closet which we never use and putting shelves in it to hold some of the stockpile too. So fun, and I feel like we are prepared in case anything were to happen and I couldn't make it to the store for a while.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Zoo Day!

We went to the zoo with Bonnie and Diamond on Saturday, and it was so cool! Well, not "cool," literally... it was actually quite hot... but we walked around the Africa part of the zoo and enjoyed all of the wild animals. Then, when I was about to keel over from lack of water, we finally found an oasis in the middle of the desert. An oasis that charged $2.50 for a bottle of water. Well, I would have paid $5 for water at that point, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Then Bonnie had to head home, and we were taking our sweet time, so she went on ahead while we toodled along. Mike even let me take a rest break and sit in the shade while he took the boys on a little walk of their own.

It was a great experience... I want to go there sometime without children and take some pictures. It's a bit hard to line up a shot when you have a little one pulling on your shorts/shirt/arm/whatever he can reach at the moment. The animals were beautiful (with perhaps the exception of the warthog), and SO much fun to watch!

So, forget the kids, MAMA wants to go to the zoo.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Just Passin' the Time

VERY long day of watching the boys... Four is so much more work than two, it is really unbelievable! But it is fun at the same time, and the day seems to go by pretty quickly.

We have named our little group. We are now "The Peanut Butter and Jelly Club" and we each play our own roles. I am bread. Griffin and Nicolas are peanut butter (chunky, apparently). JJ is jelly ("plain jelly", he told me when I asked him what kind of jelly he was). Sammy is bread too. And Mike... well. Mike is nuts. Er, well. Nuts as in peanuts. Apparently he is the "chunks" in the chunky peanut butter. Or so declared JJ today when we were naming our roles in this club of ours. And then we made a Peanut Butter and Jelly Club Sandwich... otherwise known as a Group Hug! Very fun. :)

We played outside twice today. It was SO nice this morning that we had to take advantage of it, and then this afternoon the sun was calling to the boys again, so they ran outside after JJ's mom picked him up and played like crazy little people until I called them in about ten minutes later. They were dirty from head to toe, so they had a bath. Ah, the sweet smell of little boys after a bubbly bath. It doesn't last long!

We watched Baby Songs Christmas this morning. I know, call me crazy, but I am in the Christmas Spirit lately! It must be all of the good will going on at The Painted House lately. There are some very generous people out there! And the Christmas music, along with the video of horse-drawn carriages, kids laughing and openings gifts, and families gathered around singing together, just put me in the mood even more. For Christmas, that is.

I'll be going out for coffee with Bonnie tonight. It is so nice to spend time out of the house with a really great friend! And no kids. What a concept! I just got home from a trip to Costco all by myself, which was nice, but not really my idea of a relaxing time. I need to sit. And then go to bed. My bedtime these days is still 9:30. Some days I make it, some days I push it 'til 10 or later and then drink espresso in the morning to wake myself up. Works every time!

A Night at the Ballpark

We had so much fun last night!! Mike's parents' church choir was singing the National Anthem at a local ballpark last night, so we took the boys to see their very first baseball game! Nicolas and Adrienne came too, and it was just a ball. hehe... a ball.

When we got to the ticket booths, we were approached by a man selling extra tickets his church group had purchased. They were $20 tickets, and they were selling them for $10 each. So we got to go up and use a suite!!! Oh, the joys of baseball. And no, I would NOT be saying that if we had not been enclosed in our own little area, with a nice big air-conditioned room (with tables to eat at) behind us. Totally worth the extra money. And I have been saving so much on groceries lately, I feel like we can splurge every once in a while now without feeling guilty! Of course, it was Mike's money we were using... poker winnings and tax rebate spending money... but I think he would say that it was worth it. Even $70 later. Yes, we spent $40 on food. 6 hot dogs, 2 orders of french fries, an order of chicken strips for $7.50 (with french fries underneath them to make the 5 measly "chicken" (mostly breading) strips look like more), 1 bottle of Coke and 3 bottles of water, and 2 frosty malts.

And we even had condiments in a little fridge in the suite, so we could prepare our food in air-conditioned baseball heaven!

And did I mention that the boys were restrained to a small area?

Yeah... we stayed for the whole game. TOTALLY didn't expect the boys to last that long. And we lost. But it was so worth the experience! And then a nice guy sitting in the section (suite) next to us gave Griffin and Nicolas (Sammy was with Mike, who had gone to find his parents and visit with them for a while) a handful of peanuts in the shells, so they sat to work getting the peanuts out, and then they went to pay the nice guy another visit, and came back with two boxes of Cracker Jacks! After many "thank you's" they both settled down and munched away on their boxes of crunchy goodness. Adrienne and I sat and giggled at the joke that was on the little "surprise" inside the box. My "surprise" was a dud... information about a baseball team I don't know or care about. Oh well. The joke was funny, and then she told me some more jokes and had me giggling like a schoolgirl. I love silly jokes!! Here's the one that I remember:

"Where did the General keep his armies?"

Don't know?

"Up his sleevies!"

Yeah, I was laughing so hard! I can't even remember the other jokes she told me, but MAN... too funny... it's been too long since I heard a good joke. Apparently!

A good time was had by all. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sites to Save You Some Moo-Lah

This is an e-mail I sent out earlier today:

I just wanted to let you all know about some websites that I have found to be very useful in my quest to save money. With gas prices being so high, I am trying to not spend as much in other areas that I can control. Also, I was inspired by Angela over at to "share the love" and do something nice for other people. I know this isn't much, but this has worked for me so I thought I would share it with you all! Go check out Angela's blog; she is having a contest!! You just have to do one nice thing for someone, and tell her what you did on Monday. She'll pick a name out of a hat on Monday, and the winner gets $50 in gift cards to Whole Foods and two reusable shopping bags! How cool is that? So go do a good deed, and share the love!!

Here are the websites: (forum) (forum) (tons of great deals) ($30 for $65 worth of food, once a month, pick up at local churches) (this one you pay for, $1 for the first month -- worth it! -- combines your local grocery/pharmacy store sales with coupons from your local Sunday paper so that you get Rock Bottom Deals) (money back from stores if the item you bought goes on sale after you buy it)

Some of these have links to websites that have printable coupons. The first three were listed in the Kansas City Star a few days ago in an article about two women who have made it a priority to save money on their groceries. They spend about two hours a week clipping coupons and shop at a couple of different stores every week, but if you don't have that kind of time to spend each week you can still save lots of money. I am signed up at The Grocery Game, and every week there is a long list of awesome deals at several stores in my area. It's a great way to stock up on Christmas presents or just things you know your family will use.

Anyway, go check out the sites, and start saving some money!

Okay, so I know it's not a big thing to tell people how they can save money, but that was my small way of showing people I care about them. Also, for another "good deed," I gave away one of our "Free DVD Rental" coupons for RedBox last night. The gentleman in line in front of me was asking where the lady in front of him got her coupon from, so I gave him one of mine. He said "Wow, thanks, that's awesome!! That's so nice of you!"

It does feel good to do good... so go do some good!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Creations

Inside the Christmas Card it says :
"Jolly surprises, a tree shining bright -
Mistletoe kisses, a home filled with light.
Hearts that are merry, a time of good cheer -
Wishing all this and a Happy New Year!"

The snowflakes are sparkly, and so is the little scarf on the penguin. Adorable, no?
"Your Birthday Is Easy To Remember"

"so sorry i'm late... did i at least get the month right?
happy belated birthday!"

Need a Superhero?

'Cause I've got three. Okay, so one of them isn't mine, but he comes here for his day job. They're little, but they're mighty!! Don't they just look like they have too much time on their hands?

Oh, and you can have the dog, too. AND all of his hair. Because even superheroes can't get all of the dog hair out of the carpet.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pool Fun... NOT in the sun

All Dressed Up


The Toe Test
First One In

Shoveling The Water
Everybody In... Almost!

Monday, June 09, 2008


Just some cards I have been working on... they both say "Happy Birthday" inside. :)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Real Big Reveal

I made you wait long enough, didn't I? Well, some of you have already seen the new bathroom in all its jungle-y glory, but for those of you who haven't... sorry I made you wait! I have been rather busy the last few days, and very tired because of the extra kiddos I'm watching this summer. I've been going to bed around 9:30, which basically means that as soon as the boys are in bed and asleep, I get ready for bed. That doesn't leave much time for blogging, or any of my other evening activities. But I LOVE getting up early!! The sunrise is so amazing to watch. It's like watching the world come to life again every day! I can't believe I slept in for so many years and missed this.
Do you like the bathroom? The boys sure do!