Archive for January, 2010

Weekend $avings 1.31.10

Here’s a recap of my savings this weekend.

Friday night S and I went to the mall to check out the deals at The Children’s Place. I had a $10 perks points to use up before Sunday and I wanted to check out the winter clearance. I also used a 15% off coupon along with my perks points and I got all these items (minus the cute toddler) for $4.44.

Then we headed to Bath&Body Works so I could get my free antibacterial soap (had coupon). I picked up a bottle of Midnight Pomegranate lotion(to spend the required $10…oh, and I can’t believe a bottle of lotion is now $10.50!!), but I used a gift card to pay for it, so I really don’t feel like I spent anything!  I chose the Kitchen Lemon for my soap ($5.00 value).

On Saturday, I got some time to shop by myself while J watched S, so I headed to Walgreens. I saved a lot of money (about $30) on things that we actually needed, so I was pretty happy about that.  Then I went grocery shopping (stopped at Starbucks for my FREE coffee first…had an empty Starbucks coffee bag w/ coupon on the side…saved $2.00) and saved almost $20 by using paper coupons. Whoo hoo!

Saturday night J and I rented a movie from our local video store…except we had a credit, so we didn’t have to pay for it! (saved $4.00)

On Sunday, we all packed in the car and headed to Einstein Bagels for our free bagels w/ schmear (coupon). J and I also ordered coffees and got free bagel poppers (coupon).  Saved $8. Yeah for free stuff.

Then we went to Target so I could pick up some of the Sobe water (I had a B1G1 coupon and it’s on sale this week), but I FORGOT my coupons.  Darn!  I still picked up the free Special K granola cereal (coupon) and a few other things we needed. (saved $4.50 in coupons)

One other cool money-saving thing I did this weekend is I signed up for a Sunday paper subscription…I went through discountednewspapers.com and am saving 55%!  Besides saving a ton of money, I won’t have to leave my house on Sunday mornings in search of a paper…it will be delivered right to my door!  Sweet!

Approximate total weekend savings: $73.50

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J and I asked for these for Christmas because we were in need of some new everyday glassware. We’d been admiring the Picardie style from W-S for a long time.

Picardie Glass Tumbler, Assorted, Set of 24

Our everyday dishes are the white Apilco from W-S and I think they go perfectly together.

Apilco Tradition Dinnerware 5-Piece Place Setting

These are great glasses for everyday use. They are microwave and dishwasher safe and you can even use them with hot beverages (although we haven’t tried this yet). I love the French bistro styling.  We are very pleased with how these have held up in the dishwasher (haven’t scratched).

They come in four sizes. We have the 8.25 oz (for juice) and the 12 oz. (for water, milk, etc.).  We both agree that sometimes the 12 oz is a little too small, so I think we’ll be asking for a few of the 16 ouncers next Christmas.

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Early Bird

Here is some footage of the munchkin when she awoke at about 0400 hours one day. She was raring to go.  My favorite part is when she tells C-dog to “sush!”  Poor dog never gets any love.



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Since I wasn’t blogging when I finished S’s nursery way back when, I thought I’d add some pictures of her room. Now you can see how cute her bow holder looks hanging in her room.

The general theme for her room was pink and brown circles. I found this bedding at Walmart (of all places!) and thought it would be cute for both a baby and a toddler/little girl. I wanted her room to be able to grow with her as she did so I wouldn’t have to re-do her room every few years.

I knew I wanted some type of border around her room. We placed the border about a foot down from the top of the ceiling, so the border was higher up on the wall. I also tried to replicate the circles from her bedding on the wall. It was quite a job, but I’m really happy with how they turned out.
Then we ordered her furniture.  We selected the Babi Italia Espresso Pinehurst collection and ordered it from Babies R Us. Here’s the crib. I like that it will grow with her from a crib, to a toddler bed, to a single bed:
We also purchased the dresser/combo unit for the changing table. When we first bought it, it looked like this:
But, J’s dad bought us the hutch that attaches, and now it looks like this:
We slipcovered an old recliner for the corner and added a side table (Target):
My mom had these cute curtains made for me. When I ordered the bedding, I ordered a few extra flannel receiving blankets. I used the blankets for the material for the curtains. I found the pattern I liked and the curtain lady was able to replicate it for me. I love how they turned out!
I also had her make this pillow for the chair:
I organized her closet with this hanging divider/shelf I found at Babies R Us. I also purchased some baskets to store her socks, onesies, extra crib sheets and other little odds and ends.
A door organizer hangs on the back of her door. I keep her bath towels, wash cloths and extra flannel blankets here.
We also bought a small bookshelf for this wall. You can tell these pics are from pre-baby…there are no pictures in the frames!
I found these wooden letters at Hobby Lobby and painted them brown to match the border color.
Here’s the bow holder proudly displaying all her hair bows!

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Hair Bow Holder

This is a project that I’ve wanted to make…oh, probably ever since I found out I was having a girl. 🙂 We seem to be overrun with little hair clips and bows around our house. I find them all over the house, but, of course, can never find one when I actually need one. Enter the handy-dandy bow holder.

First I started with a blank art canvas (12×12) and some ribbon with various designs. I chose ribbon with polka dots since S’s nursery has a pink and brown circle theme. I already had the paint that we had used for the border in her room.

I applied the paint and let it dry for about 48 hours.

Then I gathered a hammer, thumb tacks, scissors, and an old towel (to lay the painted canvas down on so it wouldn’t get damaged with all the turning and thumb-tacking.)  Turns out I didn’t need the hammer because the wood frame was soft enough to push the thumb tacks in without one.

Then I lined up the order of the ribbon pattern. I secured each ribbon end to the backside of the canvas with a thumb tack.

I just eyeballed the spacing between the ribbon and made my way across the canvas. Eventually, I ended up with this:

I attached a bow to hang it from.

The hair bows just slip right under the ribbon and stay securely in place. Nice and handy for when I need to grab one quickly. Now I just need to add all her bows and hang it on the wall!

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I’m not sure how S managed to squeeze herself into this tiny box, but she did!





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Weekend $avings 1.24.10

Baby steps. I’m taking baby steps, but starting to see an improvement in our savings. I guess the true test will come at the end of the month when we budget for next month!  Saving money makes me excited, and here are a few “little” things that I got excited about while running my weekend errands:


I transferred a prescription to the Target pharmacy and got a $10 gift card (had coupon). It was very easy to do and they had my prescription ready to pick up right away.

Grocery Store

Used $7 in paper coupons, got a free gallon of milk (had coupon for free milk w/ $100 grocery purchase), and asked for my *first* rain check. It’s so silly, but I was so excited to go to the service desk to ask for one. There was a good deal on the organic whole milk that I wanted for S, but they were all out. Now I have two weeks to pick up some milk at the sale price!

One other thing I learned is to PAY ATTENTION while you are walking around the store. In the liquor section, I picked up a bottle of Beringer Syrah that was $1 off. Near the end of my shopping trip, I noticed a little stand by the dairy aisle with Beringer wine for $4.99 and some of the bottles had a coupon on them for $2.0o off any meat or seafood purchase. By spotting this deal, (and trading the Syrah for a Cab Sav) I saved about $4 in wine, plus $2 off my meat purchase! 


By using my Roundy’s rewards card, I was able to save $3.20 when I filled the gas tank. Not a lot, but every little bit adds up! I’m not looking forward to the day my grocery store stops this program.  It’s such a great money saver!

Lunch @ BK

I scored two free hamburger kids meals for lunch for me and S. (had coupon) Normally, I don’t feed her fast food, but she enjoyed the french fries from her meal and playing with the free toy. Saved $6.


I signed up for their email and got a coupon for $5 off a purchase. I combined that with a 15% off store coupon and saved about $10 total…a free outfit for S!  Plus, everything I bought came off a gift card…so I don’t really feel like I spent a thing!

Michael’s Craft Store

I heard through a money-saving blog tip that Michael’s was offering 25% off your entire purchase from 4-8 p.m. tonight. I was excited about this since I’ve been meaning to make a trip there to pick up some supplies for a bow holder that I want to make for all of S’s hair bows. I called the store in the morning to make sure they were offering this deal. The person I talked to said yes, from 4-8.  Ok, great. Later, I packed S up in the car and we headed out to Michaels, which is probably about a 25 minute drive from our house.  I found what I needed and got to the check out and I ask about the 25% off deal. The clerk says that I need a coupon.  What?!  I expressed my disappointment and said that was the reason I came out here and I didn’t know about a coupon and how the person I talked to this am didn’t mention this…blah blah blah.  Nope, she wasn’t going to give me the deal. Whatever.  I grudgingly paid for my things, meanwhile thinking how I was going to call the store tomorrow and speak with a manager.  Then I notice the lady behind me has one of the elusive coupons in her hand. I ask if she happens to have an extra one.  Wouldn’t you know it?  She did!  Again, I’m learning my lesson to PAY ATTENTION while shopping. I handed it over to the clerk and she had to re-do my transaction, but I didn’t care. I saved about $10.  Yay for me. I thanked the nice shopper again and was on my way.

That about sums up my shopping savings and deals for the weekend. Grand total savings: $36.00.

I’m also happy to report that little S was with me for all of these shopping trips and she did such a fantastic job! Now that’s she’s almost 19 months, she’s less and less like a baby and more and more like a little person every day.  Thanks for helping mommy save, S! 🙂

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Happy Shopping

I was off of work on Monday, so I decided to head to the outlet mall to take advantage of some great deals on clothing right now.

I’m on a new money-saving kick (using coupons, looking out for sales, etc.). It’s sort of addicting, now that I’ve discovered all these great money-saving blogs (see list under blogroll on right)…I compulsively check them throughout the day to see all the great freebies, coupons and other deals floating around the internets. The great thing about it is I’m really starting to see a savings. I’m keeping track here (#50) of how much I’ve saved since I started using my coupon organizer.  Keep in mind, this is ONLY money I have saved clipping coupons for grocery/toiletry items, it does not include money saved eating out or on clothing, car repair, dry cleaning or other things.

Back to shopping…simply by using paper coupons, I saved $22. In total, I spent over $410 (actual item price)…but with the sweet deals, I only spent $140!  And I got tons of cute things…like this outfit for S from The Children’s Place (it has matching pants):

So cute! My plan is to use this for her Valentine’s Day outfit. It’s pink, it has hearts…AND she can wear it for a few more months AFTER Valentine’s Day is over!

I also scored some great deals at Carter’s…a lot of their clearance was an additional 20% off.  Got some Christmas pj’s for S next year for $2.00!  I also picked up some cute baby things for a co-worker who is having a baby in April.

I promised myself that I would look for some deals for mommy, too, so I pried myself away from the kid’s stores and headed to Bass.  I heart Bass. I can ALWAYS find something that fits me here, and this trip was no exception. I found a cute fleece half-zip, a scarf (so not a scarf person, but it looked so cute on the model), some jeans (what I really needed), a sweater and a cute pair of black causal shoes (originally $80, but got them for $30).  Can’t beat that! one tip if you are Bass shopper, if they don’t have the shoes you want in your size, ask them to special order it for you.  Shipping is free and your shoes will come right to your house!

With my shopping bags filling my trunk, I headed to Arby’s to fill my empty stomach. Usually at fast-food drive thru’s I order a combo meal, but now that I’m watching what I spend, I decided to check out the dollar menu. I got a jr. roast beef, a value sized jamocha shake (mmmm) and a value curly fries for under $4! Not only did I save money, I saved some calories, too! 

I was a pretty content momma driving home…I got some alone time to shop by myself (hasn’t happened in ages), saved some money, got some really cute clothes, and enjoyed a tasty lunch. Now that I’ve had my shopping fix, this mommy is going to try to let her wallet rest for a while!

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Don’t let the strip mall location deter you from visiting this fabulous restaurant. An authentic Spanish restaurant is hard to come by, and I’m afraid that this gem won’t be around for long if people aren’t visiting it. I wish J and I could have date nights more often so we could go here all the time!  If you haven’t been to Tapas Rias yet, put on your flamenco outfit and get thee to this restaurant! You won’t be disappointed.

J and I enjoyed a “date-night re-do” last night while Grandma and Grandpa watched S. (last time we were supposed to have a date night, I got sick 😦 ).  I couldn’t wait to try this restaurant, as I had heard a lot of positive things about it. Now that I’m on the lookout for good deals, I ordered a coupon from MadisonDiscounts.com ($20 off of $40 coupon). It was the first time I had used this site and I was very pleased with how fast my certificate arrived and the ease of use at the restaurant!

As I mentioned before, the restaurant is located in a strip mall, but if you can get past that, you will be rewarded with a great wine selection, extremely attentive wait staff and (the best part), tons of tasty Spanish food. We were planning on ordering a bottle of Spanish wine (who wouldn’t want Spanish wine to go with their Spanish food, right?), but were advised from the bartender who came to our table that the Chilean Carmenere “Casillero del Diablo” was a much better choice. They offered us a taste of both the Spanish Tempranillo and the Carmenere so we could decide. Turns out, the bartender was right, so we ordered a bottle of the Chilean wine.

Our waiter was very helpful in suggesting good tapas to try. This was our first time at a Spanish restaurant, so we weren’t too sure about what to order.  

Our meal included the following plates:

Vieiras a la Plancha (grilled sea scallops w/ saffron)

Garbanzos con Chorizo (spicy garbanzo beans with chorizo sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and cilantro) This was the bartender’s suggestion. He said it would go perfectly with the wine, and he was right again.  I like that bartender!

Albondigas Catalanas (Spanish style meatballs, four meats mixed with pine nuts and WINE. Yum)

Patatas A La Riojana (Spanish style potatoes w/ Spanish sausage)

And for dessert, we ordered the assortment of Spanish cheeses. It was a great way to end the meal and enjoy with the last of the wine in our bottle.

Throughout the meal, our server, along with the bartender and other staff, were very attentive. At one point, J and I were looking around the restaurant, taking in the decor and commenting about certain things and right away, someone was at our table, asking if everything was ok. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal here.  Another plus was that they played the Gypsy Kings CD the entire meal. This happens to be the only Spanish CD that I own (bought it in college), so it was kind of cool to know the music that was playing throughout our meal. Nevermind that when I asked our server if he got tired of listening to the Gypsy Kings all the time, that he said they were OLD.  (ok, so maybe I’m not as cool…or as young…as I thought).

When I asked our server how business had been, he said sometimes people are lined up waiting, and other times hardly anyone is there. I really hope that this place stays in business. It would be such a shame for Madison to lose such a unique restaurant.

As far as rating this restaurant, I rate it 5 out of 5 wine bottles.  Yup, that’s right. This place gets my first ever 5 bottle rating, that’s how good it is!

*I forgot our camera, so the photos you see in this post were found on google images and are not from the restaurant.

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If you haven’t been to Starbucks recently (ahem!), you may not have seen these adorable, sugary, delectable mini donuts called…SPARKLES!  J clued me in to these a few weeks ago. We were having our car worked on, so he had stopped at Starbucks with S before the car place and picked up a coffee for him and a few of these donuts to share with S while they waited for the car. What a nice daddy. And for those of you wondering with my posts as of late, yes, we do feed her things besides SUGAR, so no worries.

Yesterday, I was at the pedi again with S to check on her fever…after an uneventful appointment (doctor basically said we just need to wait it out), I hit up the nearby Starbucks for a coffee for me and a vanilla sparkle for S. I figured she could use a little treat since she was so miserable dealing with her nasty sinus infection and going on three-day fever. We snuggled on the couch and she enjoyed taking little bites of her cute donut. (mommy snuck a bite, and yes, they taste every bit as good as they look!)  If you need some more convincing, Sparkles come in vanilla or chocolate flavors. I just can’t get over how cute (and yummy) they are!

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